Had the strangest dream last night. Not bad-strange, but nice-strange..... and a bit melancholy.
I'm at the shore, watching a pick up baseball game, sitting off to the side and just past third base, next to a car that is too nice to actually be mine, but is, and squinting in the warm sun. Suddenly a foul ball whizzes by my head.... and I'm not worried, just amused. But then other balls start being lobbed at me by a guy standing up by the dugout and I realize it's an old friend of mine. Laughing, I catch some, dodge others, and taunt him to come get me.
Next thing I know, I'm back in a beach house, going from room to room - aware of hearing him in other rooms, and knowing he's coming to get me. We're playing some childish game that's a combination of hide 'n seek and pulling pranks on one another. While he's in a room, I try to tape the door shut with duct tape (because what can't you do with duct tape??), but he hears the telltale rip of it coming off the roll and comes at the door before I get any more than the top sealed.
I squeal and laugh and take off up a flight of stairs, throwing myself into the first closet I see - climbing over a vacuum and a box to hide in the back, just peeking out of the crack of the slightly open door.
As I am in there, heart pounding with the excitement of potentially being discovered, I hear him laughing, running up the stairs. In that moment of pure joyful intoxication, I suddenly realize: this friend died years ago. In my dream, I flash to what are, apparently, dream-life memories - flowers on a headstone.... flowers laid in the dirt next to third base.... a baseball hat....
I walk out of the closet to an empty and silent room, turn and descend a different set of steps to a kitchen, where I hop up and sit on a granite counter top, waiting.
Pete walks in, laughing and talking with two other men I don't know. I smile, looking at a face that is older than the teenager I knew, and yet, every bit as youthful and exuberant. He smiles back and the three of them stop talking. He's holding a baseball glove and a hat in his hands, his hair longish, his face tan, but with the traces of wrinkles and smile lines around his mouth and eyes. I am comforted and happy, but I don't get off the counter - just smile back.
He tells me something that I don't remember. Perhaps it's small talk? I just keep watching his eyes and I don't talk. Then he tells me that he left me a message - two messages actually - but I won't get them until after thanksgiving, which I think is odd and sad because it's summer and thanksgiving is so far away and I am anxious to know what he wanted me to know.
Then I wake up.
It's the first time Pete has visited me since the year after he died - which was many years ago.... plus the more than 10 years before his death that had passed since I last saw him in person. It was nice to see him again.
Do I actually believe the spirit of my dead friend came to me in my dream? Yes. Is it wildly ego-centric of me to think that he'd take time out of his busy afterlife just to seek out his high school girlfriend to play hide 'n seek and lob some baseballs my way? Clearly. But I still feel it. I don't care if that makes me crazy. It may actually be one of the more minor ways I'm crazy anyway.
He looked good. He looked healthy. And he looked happy.
It was good to see him.