Once when I was very young, I had a dream that I will never forget. In the dream I was dressed in a costume worn by Columbia in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, but with high platform shoes. I was in a room, green and industrial looking, but with long tables like an Octoberfest gathering. There was festive kinds of food, like a thanksgiving feast laid out on the table, and people were sitting with glasses of beer, or wine. I was tap dancing across the tables because I knew no one could see me.
Just earlier in the dream I had been informed that I had died, by my mother, who was dressed in a nurse uniform from the nineteen fifties. She showed me an x-ray of my spine and pointed to the vertebrae that had initiated this early death in a very clinical and pointedly cold way. I took a look at her and then flew off. She was putting stuff away as I left and she never looked up again
I loved that I could fly now, I also thought it was cool that I could be as outrageous as I wanted to be, no restrictions, no boundaries, I could do or go as I pleased, because no one could see me.
So there I was tap dancing right through mashed potatoes and stuffed turkeys and cranberry without upsetting a gravy boat when this old man says something.
He is sitting there in his chair, picking at his nails. He has a dark blue suit jacket hanging off his chair, striped shirt, suspenders, skinny tie; I can still see him.
Without looking up or moving his lips he talked directly into my head.
‘What?’ I said.
‘You don’t even know what you are doing here. Go back and find out.’ he repeated, shaking his head at my foolishness.
I was about to ask where to go back to, when I noticed there was shelf running along the top of the wall with people kneeling on them. They were looking over onto the crowd below, occasionally pointing and obviously engaged in conversation and commentary about these people.
Next thing I knew I was up there on the shelf. Off to the sides, going through the wall, were long square white tunnels, like the halls you walk down in bigger airports to get on the plane.
I knew I should walk down one particular tunnel and thought to myself, ‘Just like they say, but it’s not a tunnel of light’. I noticed that there were people sprawled across the narrow passage and I would have to step over them to get to the end. The first man grabbed my arm and as I looked at him he pulled an arrow out of his chest, part of his lung came out with it and I knew he was going to die. He was a beautiful man with deep mahogany skin and long thick black hair. He knew what it meant too and he held my arm in a tight grip until he disappeared.
The next was a frightened twelve year old boy being carried off by a crazed crowd. He did not understand what was going on as they brought him up to a guillotine and added his head to the mounting pile of aristocratic crowns.
I felt like I was pulling him back into the tunnel from there as he stared in shock at his rolling bodiless head.
He could not understand how his all powerful parents could allow this. He could not comprehend how the very people his Mother had given him to to raise, the women that suckled him, washed and dressed him, the people he trusted to look after his every need would now slap and pinch him and throw him to the ground. He called for his mother, and there was nothing I could say to him to comfort him.
I had no explanation to offer him, so I just held him there.
This tunnel was long, there were beautiful black women singing softly, their stories floating through my senses, old women in blankets who whispered to me, I can’t remember all the people I passed as I came to the end of the tunnel.
I looked out and saw beautiful green mountains, snowcapped in blue in the distance. Flatlands in floral bloom stretched invitingly towards them, tumbling into foothills before the mountain majesty.
I realized suddenly that being dead, I was not going to be able to go to the Rocky Mountains, I had plane tickets for a week ahead and was signed up with my College for this traveling course. I was very disappointed as I was looking so forward to this trip and had worked hard to pay for it. On a student job salary that had to cover tuition, rent and general living expenses, this was a big deal. I realized that all that would not matter anymore either.
A woman with long silver hair stepped out and told me it was fine, I could still go, and reminded me that I could fly now. She was wearing a beautiful flowing robe with markings embroidered in gold and deep purple, the more you looked the more colours she had in the gown, yet it looked a golden white from a distance. I was kind of fascinated with her robes, and saw she was holding another one over her arm.
‘This will be a lot more comfortable than what you have on I think’ she said as she held the soft gown out to me.
I did feel uncomfortable with the tight stuff binding me and the now seeming ridiculous shoes. When I put on the soft gown I thought, ‘Oh, this is why they see ghosts like that’.
‘It kind of looks like that when we ‘fly’, which is more like gliding though space, with these gossamer gowns trailing below. We just are being comfortable.’ I told myself happy to understand all this. I was excited to fly over to the mountains and wondered if it was OK to be there a week earlier than expected.
Suddenly there was a ringing phone and i found myself in my student apartment answering a phone. It was the restaurant where I worked the bar section at night. My boss was asking if I could come in and work the lunch shift in the restaurant part, and I was telling him that I could not because I was dead.
‘I know you worked late last night but I have three women who did not show up and I am sending you a cab. It will be there in fifteen minutes.’
The uniforms we had to wear in the restaurant part looked like maid uniforms, and I thought it was funny because it reminded me of the characters in the beginning of the Rocky Horror movie. I told him I would come in but that as I was dead no one would notice. I was amazed that the cab driver could see me and that everyone in the restaurant could too. It was so busy, I was running from table to table wondering how I could still do this! In moments pause a co-worker said to me, ‘So, how do you like being on this side after being on the other side so long?’ She nodded to the bar in the other part of the place, where I usually worked.
‘You have no idea’ I answered her. ‘Just no idea’.