Loren Logsdon: Life is but a Dream
“Where are you going?” the voice seemed to be coming from far away.
“What?” Grant Clements responded.
“I said, 'Where are you going'?” This time the voice was closer.
Grant shook his head to remove the drowsiness of sleep and realized that he was standing at his front door with his hand on the door latch. “How did I get here?” The question was directed more to himself than to the person addressing him.
“You got out of bed and walked to the door. I could tell something wasn’t right with you. What happened?” Marjorie asked, concerned because she had sensed recently that Grant was troubled.
Grant’s head began to clear, “I know this will sound strange, but I heard someone call my name. The person was calling from outside the house. It sounded like a woman’s voice that seemed familiar, but I just couldn’t put a name or a face to it. I felt a sense of urgency in the voice as if the person needed me for something. I have been having a weird dream the last few nights, and I must have been dreaming.”
“But you have never walked in your sleep before. Did you sleepwalk when you were a child? I have never heard you speak of having that problem,” Marjorie added, trying to be helpful.
Grant shook his head, “Never had that problem. You know when I go to sleep I go down deep and stay there until morning. My mother said many times that I could sleep through a tornado. Lately, though, I have been bothered by this recurring dream.”
“Well, let’s go back to bed. I will hold you in my arms and maybe you can sleep peacefully. We can talk about this in the morning. Do you think you can go back to sleep?” Marjorie asked.
Unlike Grant, she was a light sleeper, and like most mothers she was awakened by the slightest noise. She tried not to let on that she was worried.
Grant was asleep the minute his head hit the pillow, and Marjorie watched over him until the sun rose.
At breakfast before the children awakened, Grant and Marjorie discussed the events of the previous night. “Is something bothering you? Is it anything I’ve done? Did something happen at the university?” she asked, trying to cover as many bases as she could.
“The answer to all of those questions is no. I can describe the dream, and maybe you can make sense of it. It all begins when I hear a voice, far away, calling my name. I am walking down this dark corridor and there is a closed door at the far end. It’s quite a distance to the door, and in each dream I get closer to the door. Last night I was close enough to open the door until I heard you ask where I was going, and that stopped me.”
“Don’t you love me any more?” Marjorie asked.
Grant was moved by the sadness in Marjorie’s question. And he replied, “Yes, of course I love you, but lately I have this haunting feeling that something isn’t right, that I belong somewhere else, that I am an impostor. I can’t explain it. Sometimes during a faculty meeting when one of the super intellectuals speaks about the need for academic rigor, I feel I don’t belong in college teaching.”
“That’s ridiculous,” Marjorie countered. “You are an associate professor and you have tenure. Of course you belong.”
Grant appreciated Marjorie’s efforts to reassure him, but he said, “No, no, I have felt the same way during the social events at the university when the crème de la crème do their peacocking. I identify with Prufrock when he said he should have been a pair of ragged claws scuttling across the floors of silent seas.”
“My goodness! What a sad thing to say. Do you think you should talk with Father Curtis?”
“Well, I need to talk with someone. I will call Father Curtis today. I promise.” Grant responded and then added quickly, “Thank you for listening, and please believe me that you have done nothing to cause my strange dream.”
That night Grant had the dream again and was prevented from leaving the house by Marjorie’s vigilance. The next morning she told Grant, “I’m going to call a locksmith to put a lock on our bedroom door. I can’t trust myself to watch over you every night. I am weary from lack of sleep, and I fear what might happen to you if you open the door and leave the house.”
Grant took Marjorie’s hand, looked into her eyes, and said, “Please wait a few days before you do that. I am feeling a little better.”
Marjorie agreed and said, “I will respect your wishes, but I still believe we need a lock on that door.”
That night, as usual, Grant had the same dream, but this time Marjorie did not intervene. She was fast asleep and did not hear him get up and leave the bedroom. He reached the door and opened it. He stepped outside and found himself enveloped in total darkness. This time the voice was very close to him, saying. “Grant, please wake up. We love you and need you. Please come back to us.”
Grant opened his eyes and found himself in a hospital bed and his wife Mary sitting beside him, crying.
“Where am I? What am I doing here? Why are you crying?” he asked, bewildered.
“Thank God! You are back with us. You have been in a coma for two weeks, and the doctors were almost to the point of giving up on you.”
“How did I get here?”
“A semi crossed the center line and hit your car head on. You have been in a coma ever since, and the prognosis was not good. The doctors thought you might not regain consciousness. We were afraid we had lost you. I sat at your side and called your name, hoping I could reach you in your darkness.”
“Thank you, Dear Mary. I heard you, Dearest, believe me, I heard you,” Grant said. He didn’t know the extent of his injuries; he would find that out later, but now he was suddenly overcome with a sense of well-being, with the feeling that all was well and all would be well because he was back exactly where he belonged. DSS
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