I woke to the sound of waves rushing furiously against the shore. What body of water was this? I knew I was on earth, but I had an eerie feeling that I had traveled far. There was something inevitable in this feeling, as though I was experiencing my past, and at the same time witnessing my future. And in the midst of this strange sensation a feeling of nothingness prevailed.
If I had a mind to I could have seen them; my family and friends. I could have seen the house where I lived and the place where I worked eight hours of the day. I did not have a mind to. I did not care to. There was something inside of me; a force holding steadfast at the very center of my being; a counterpoise of some sort confronting love with hate, compassion with ill-will, fear with might, doubt with confidence—anxiety with peace of mind. None of the burdens which plagued me during my every day existence had claim to me now, nor could I remember moments of happiness tossed here and there to cushion the maddening circumstances life sometimes has to offer. I felt nothing.
The water was calm now. In the distance I saw the figure of a man moving toward the shore. As the figure became clearer to me I noticed a long, green robe around his shoulders. At first I thought he was walking on the water, but then I could see a small boat. I got up and began walking towards the shore when the vision suddenly disappeared. Was I hallucinating? The boat was there. I was not mistaken about that. I walked back to where I had been sitting when I first saw the figure come into view, hoping that the distance would clear my uncertainty. As I turned to sit down the figure was visible again, but he was now standing on the shore. He began walking toward me slowly but surely, as though he had expected to meet me there. Standing before me now I could see the man was tall and lean, and what at first appeared to be a green robe was actually a vest of pale green, under which he wore a white satin tunic with long, flowing sleeves. He offered me his hand.
“I am Martin.” he said, introducing himself with a smile. My eyes were drawn to his emerald cufflinks.
“I am John.” I replied, shaking his hand.
“It has been some time since one of our kind before the extension has come to being here.”
“Your words are curious.” I responded. “What do you mean, ‘before the extension?’”
“You will know in time.” He smiled again and patted my shoulder. “Come with me.”
We walked back to the boat and he motioned for me to step inside.
The ride was a short one. As we drew nearer to the shore of our destination, Martin pointed to a small development of shacks and spoke of the people who lived there with him. “Beyond the arcade is my home. It is not much to look at in terms of architecture—especially if I compare it to my former situation, but it is a peaceful village and we are all happy there.”
“Your former situation?”
“Where I hung my hat, so to speak. I grew up in a large house with many servants. I have no remorse whatsoever in regard to its passing. I recall mostly my mother’s love. It was genuine, but not enough to keep me at home.”
I was beginning to wonder about this man; the profound manner in which he spoke. I could not guess what he meant when he said he had no remorse for its passing, referring to his home; and the fact that he recalled mostly his mother’s love, that it was genuine but not enough to keep him there.
“Your mother?” Martin asked abruptly, breaking my train of thought.
“My mother? What do you mean?”
“Tell me about her. Did you love her?”
“Yes.” I answered quickly. Although I felt it was necessary to clarify that my mother was still alive, since he phrased his question in the past tense. “I do.”
“Describe her to me.” He said.
My confusion must have been evident. As I looked at Martin I began searching my mind for the vision of my mother, and to my surprise I could not recall her face.
“Is something wrong?” Martin asked.
“I can’t remember. Why can’t I remember?”
Martin did not answer me. We were near the shore now. We disembarked and pulled the boat up on to the beach. I could see the shacks clearly now.
Martin motioned for us to proceed forward. “Come, let me introduce you to my friends.”
We began walking. I felt a queer sense of kinsman ship with Martin. I started to see him in a different light; thinking that perhaps I had known him before, in some other time and place.
As we entered the confines of the village, people began to emerge from their huts. I stopped momentarily as I watched them approach. Their mannerisms were strange; almost spiritual. We all came together in the middle of the village. They surrounded me. Then they were gone. Martin too.
I’ve had dreams before, but none so perfect; dreams that brought to mind people I had not seen in years, or people that I had met only the day before. As perplexing as this dream was, it was as vivid: the character of the man called Martin; our conversation as we crossed the water in the row boat; the feeling of fellowship in a society I was not as yet exposed to; and the most harrowing feeling of all, that memories of my mother faded to the point of disassociation. I looked at the clock on my night table. It was two minutes before six. The alarm would ring soon and I would have to get up for work. That thought did not appeal to me. It was Monday, the worst day of the week for me, and the hour from six to seven the most painful to live through. I turned around to look at my empty bed and before I knew it I was back under the covers, with no intention of getting up again. I took the phone off the hook to be sure.