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Visions?

Hey, maybe it’s my age. I’m just past the 60 km mile-post, you know. So I don’t think I’m senile but occasionally I get these strange… “experiences.” No, not dreams. At least I don’t think they’re dreams. Maybe “visitations,” I just don’t know whether they’re real or not.
So let me tell you about these experiences. Sometimes, yes only SOMETIMES, and I don’t seem to have any control as to when, but usually when I’m on my back in bed and before I’ve fallen to sleep, I have visitors. I see them. They’re not like dreams which I think of as being in the back of my mind and aren’t always there when I wake up. These are more like VISIONS. I see them with my eyes, always in front of me and usually just to the side of where I am facing. These visitors are always people, never animals, and they are always recognizable but so far no one that I know. Frequently it is just the face but sometimes the upper body as well. I can’t remember any more exposure. One face will morph into another face but both are so natural that they appear to be real people.
So of course, my immediate questions are: Are these real, living people? Are these real people in another dimension (maybe dead)? Have the people I have seen, chosen or been guided to visit me? By whom? Why? Or are they indeed simply creations of my imagination? A dream? The fact that I don’t recognize anyone perhaps favours the last possibility, but somehow they seemed more, what shall I call it??? more “solid” than a dream.
One day I suddenly noticed a “return visitor”—a woman who had visited me before. Even though her presence was only for a few seconds, I felt sure I had noticed her on another occasion. So was it just someone who LOOKED like a previous visitor or was it really a return call? This experience made me more alert in the examination of each future “vision,” if that’s what they were. And then it happened again! The same woman. This was getting creepy.
Then there came the day when she reappeared yet again and I had time to study her. A crop of jet black hair loosely coiffed and sliced with random streaks of grey. A well crafted, attractive face as in a careful drawing. Full, red lips, dark, dark eyes with a inquiring smile, as if she was aware that I was examining her with some care. And just before she disappeared I am sure she winked. To be honest, I am not SURE but she left that impression with me. In any case her visit was carved into my memory. After that experience I was on the alert, and subconsciously looking for the real her wherever I went.
I do go to a lot of places because I travel a lot. Being an active widower, I examine the field whether at home or abroad so I see a lot of attractive women, and quite a few truly beautiful women, but in the year or so since these visions have been happening, I have never come across her in real life.
Until one day, maybe two years after this story began, I was out shopping at the local supermarket. As I am alone I have to do my own cooking, consequently my own shopping. I was pushing my cart down an aisle scanning the shelves rather than looking where I was going, when I literally crashed into another shopper’s cart at a blind corner. When I say “crashed” I really mean that. It was with strong enough force that somehow the cages of the two carts entangled and would not pull apart. Of course we were both flustered and full of apologies but more concerned with separating the mess than we were with each other. Both of us were bending down trying to undo the “ties that bind,” without much success.
I tried to take male command. “If you could just lift your cart a bit, I think I can pull mine out.”
She responded. with a shade of irritation, “The damn thing is too heavy for me to lift. It’s full.” Subconsciously I “tasted” her voice and found it very pleasant. A light contralto. I looked at her cart and indeed it was full. It would take a small crane to lift it.
“I need something to lever it,” I muttered, looking around. “Ah, this will do it, I think.” I picked a broom (for sale I presume) with a long wooden handle, inserted it between the carts, pried them apart and voila, they were free. I got up from kneeling and looked directly at her for the first time. It was the woman from my vision!
A quizzical look was taking over her face. Her mouth was parted, perhaps in wonder, certainly some sort of amazement. “I think I know you?” she said more as a question than a statement.
So what do I say? Do I tell her that I think we met in my dream. Get with it, Lawrence, this is your first real encounter. She’ll think you’re a nut. Play it cool.
“My name is Lawrence Venables.” Does that mean anything to you?
She pondered. “No. I don’t think that rings any bells. Could it have been at some party or meeting or something?”
I toyed with various possibilities. “Maybe we just inhabit the same places. Do you live in my neighbourhood—Cabbage Town?”
“No. That’s not the answer.”
She looked me over with a tentative smile. “Let’s try another angle. Do you think you’ve met me?”
I decided to bite the bullet. The worst that could happen is that I get my face slapped. “Oh yes. I’ve met you on two or three occasions. I recognized you immediately. You do stand out in a crowd, you know.”
She blushed—but then ignored my flattery. “So where did we meet? Or perhaps I should phrase it, ‘Where do we meet?’”
I took a deep breath. “In my dreams.”
She recoiled. “IN YOUR DREAMS!!! But I don’t even know you. What am I doing in your dreams?”
I stood my grounds. “I don’t know. You’re the one that visits me. You tell me.”
She stood there in the aisle with a full grocery cart and ogled me. “ So maybe that explains… This is crazy…”
“Look, Ms…. May I ask your name?”
“Melinda. Melinda Ogden.”
“OK, Ms Melinda. You have been visiting me in my dreams for the past few weeks. Not every week, mind you, but enough so that I now recognize you—in the flesh, as it were.”
She seemed utterly stunned. She carried on as if in a dwam. “Those visits. I remember them. You live upstairs in a small flat on Engle St. What was I doing there?”
“Visiting me, I guess. But look. Let’s be practical for the moment. We’re holding up proceedings in this aisle. How are you getting all these groceries home?”
“I’ll call a cab.”
“I could drive you home and help you load and unload.”
She shivered. “I couldn’t so that. We’ve only just met.
“Not true,” I countered, more bravely than I felt. “We met some months ago.”
“Did we really? Are you sure? Oh you mean in your dreams. That hardly cou… O hell, what have I got to lose? I can’t say life as it is, is any fireworks display.” She looked at me for a long time. “OK, I’ll go for it, but I don’t know why. This is against everything I’ve ever been taught.”
“Trust me. I’m not the dangerous type. I’m a pretty safe bet.”
We checked out at the cashier one after the other. I got the car and loaded up our purchases. She gave me an address in the Annex and I drove there.
During the trip our conversation was confined to pleasantries and general topics: we both had been married before but had lost our spouses to illnesses. She had two grown kids, I had three. We shared a mutual interest in the arts. In our conversations we didn’t encounter any mutual friends.
When we arrived at her address in an old part of town, I unloaded her groceries and hefted five or six bags. She was able to handle the rest. It was up one flight of stairs and the door opened up to a pleasant and surprisingly large flat. I immediately noticed the delightful street view out the window and a few interesting paintings on the walls.
When we had disposed of the purchases in various shelves and cupboards, she turned to me. “Look, uh, Lawrence. I have no idea what this is all about, but thank you for the help with the groceries… I suppose the least I can do is offer you a cup of coffee.”
I was about to refuse—the polite thing to do—but changed my mind, if only out of curiosity. “That’s a great idea. I’ll take you up on that.” She looked positively pleased. She retired to the kitchen and I heard kettles and cups rattling.
“Cream and sugar?”—from the kitchen.
“Just cream please.”
I took the opportunity to examine the two large paintings that graced the living room walls. One, I was sure, was a reproduction of a Riopelle—quite an advanced taste! The other was an original, but I couldn’t place the artist. She came in with the coffee and saw me bending down to the picture trying to read the signature. “It’s a friend of mine, Suzan Lind. Only an amateur, but I thought she captured something unique.”
I agreed. “It’s a very interesting and provocative abstract. I think she has a lot of talent.”
“I’m glad you agree with me.”
We settled comfortably, she on the sofa, I on an adjoining stuffed chair, and carried on an easy conversation with a wide range of topics. But my curiosity about our strange circumstances kept nagging at me, Finally I plunged in. “I told you that you came a few times to visit me in my dreams. What’s your side of the story?”
She shrugged. “I don’t really know. Well yes, I guess I do, but it doesn’t make any sense.”
She put her cup down on the table. “You know this isn’t easy for me. I’m letting my hair down in front of a stranger… Who the hell are you anyway?… OK. You’ve been frank enough to tell your story. I’ll tell mine.
“Bill and I made a good couple. We loved each other. But he died two or so years ago. After I got over the shock and had moved into these new digs, I had time to take stock. I was alone but with enough assets to take care of my needs for a goodly while. But… I was lonely. I didn’t have anyone to share experiences with. Look I didn’t miss the sex angle, but I did miss the sharing as we were dropping off to sleep… Good God, why am I telling you all this? I don’t even know you!”
“Go on,” I said without emotion.
“OK. so I’m lonely. Then when I was lying in my empty bed, sometimes I started taking excursions. Oh not literally. I never physically got out of bed. But mentally I went visiting. I guess Freud would have answer to this, but my visits were all to men. Not to men I knew but just to men. It was quite a parade. I never expressed an opinion, I just went meekly. You were one of these visits. I think you were the only one I visited more than once. That was the only thing that made you memorable over the rest. That’s how I suddenly recognized you in the supermarket. Normally, it would have ended there with just dreams, but then our carts got entangled and I recognized you.”
She was right. It didn’t make much sense. Surely we must have met person to person, at one time or another. I glanced at my watch and sat up with a start. “Good heavens. I’ve been here over an hour. I’m taking up too much of your time. I must get going.” I stood up.
She smiled. “I’ll tell you honestly Lawrence. I hadn’t noticed the time passing.” She stood up beside me—close enough for friends, not close enough to be intimate. She went with me towards the door as I shucked on my coat. “Thanks for all your help in bringing up my groceries. It would have been two trips for me.”
“That was pretty simple,’ I said lamely. There was so much more I wanted to say but simply had not the courage. I didn’t want to blow it. She hadn’t suggested I stay longer. Nor that we should meet again. I attempted some “memorable parting phrase” but my mouth just dried up. I very much wanted to leave a good impression. Perhaps there might even be a hint that she would like to see me again, but I couldn’t detect it. Finally there was nothing for it but to leave. I started out the door and held out my hand. She grasped it. Her grip was cool and efficient but without the warmth that I had longed for. I had been hoping that this was the start of something but it was beginning to look more like the end. She stopped me at the door.
“Oh, you might need this, Lawrence,” she said, thrusting a folded note into my hand.
“What this?” I asked, looking dubiously at it.
“My telephone number.” She smiled warmly and gently closed the door.

8 Responses to “Visions?”

  1. Libby Buchanan says:

    Great idea, but I find it a bit unbelievable!!! But great fun. Thank you Lyman

  2. Lorna Kelly says:

    I don’t think it is unbelievable, just romantic, and wishful.
    Thanks you Lyman for a nice warm moment.

  3. Lorna Kelly says:

    I don’t think it is unbelievable, just romantic, and wishful.
    Thanks you Lyman for a nice warm moment.

  4. Rose says:

    That was great once again Lyman. You speak the truth. Guardian angels come into our lives in so many disguises and dreams do come true. What a wonderful uplifting story. “May all your dreams be dreams come true”.

    Thank you.

    Rose

  5. charles kirby says:

    Who knows…stranger things have been known to happen ! “FATE is stranger than Fiction”.
    Charles

  6. John Crossley says:

    Looking forward to the next chapter Lyman– I’m sure you will not let it end here.

    John

  7. Joy MacFadyen says:

    I’m beginning to think of you as a romantic rogue addicted to flights of fancy.

    Joy

  8. Peggy Moxon says:

    Lyman,

    I don’t know…..it isn’t as strong as your earlier work…. but you did leave us wondering if you would continue.

    Peggy

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