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Visits with Lewis



I had the dream again last night.

There are, perhaps, two-to-three dreams about my father that are played on regular rotation throughout the year. My mind selects them (for what reasons I do not know) every 6 months or so. Last night saw the return of the 'Old Lewis' dream, as I like to call it. The events play-out in fairly similar fashion each time: dad is still alive, older (the age he'd be today), and I visit with him for a few days at a time. They seem pretty realistic in the light of day, save for the fact that Lewis is, in reality, dead.

It's odd, but the dreams are set in present day, with me being a 38-year-old adult, however they almost always have me leaving mom's house, waving goodbye to her like some overly-excited schoolboy, as I depart for dad's house for the next few days. It's like the visits with dad I had in my teens, except I wasn't too happy about those at the time.

In the dream, dad lives out of town (somewhere, though it's never defined) in a ranch house with white aluminum siding and one of his customary pick-up trucks parked out front. Dad greets me at the door and we go inside. It's a modest home. We often sit in the eat-in kitchen and attempt to talk. Earlier I mentioned how this is a pretty realistic dream, and a lot of it's because of the awkwardness of our (attempted) conversations.

Dad and I never really 'got' each other. That's a fairly honest appraisal. For years I used to blame him, then blamed myself, then blamed him again, and now I realize that there really is no blame to be had. It just was what it was. At least, in the dream, we're trying to communicate. We tried in real life, too, though more clumsily than is often allowed in the smoothness of the sleeping world.

We always reference the cancer Lewis had, but of course in the dream he'd beaten it. Sometimes, this dream is followed within the next few nights by a follow-up dream wherein he has a recurrence, although he always beats it again. About this, and nearly everything else, dad is shy and retiring. This is definitely an older, humbler Lewis.

After a few days, it's time for me to leave. We always plan to visit again, either with me coming to him, or with him calling me to do lunch or dinner if he's in town. Every time this dream occurs, it is a promise kept from the previous occasion. Upon waking, these events -- occurring wholly within the neural patterns of my mind -- are both refreshing and depressing.

There's just never enough time, is there? Perhaps that's what these nocturnal illusions are about. I haven't seen my dad since 1997. There have been no hugs, no conversations, no opportunities. This is not, of course, by choice. His wife at the time was robbed of a husband, my half-brother was robbed of a dad at a very young age, and Lewis was robbed of life.

There's just never enough time. Except, of course, in our dreams.


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