Thank God it was only a dream. Tim Hyatt awoke, startled and now as alert as a wild animal evading the huntsman. He clutched the bed sheets as if his life depended on them, like a man hanging from a rope for dear life. In the gray, silent room, the only thing he could hear was his own heavy breathing which had already begun to subside. A nightmare, he thought.
Tim looked to the other side of the bed for Laura, his wife. Their tabby cat, Phoebe, lay curled up in place of his wife. Laura must have gone downstairs to make coffee. So, he showered, brushed his teeth, slipped on some clothes and headed down for breakfast. The whole time he kept trying to recall the details from his dream, but they were fading fast.
Tim and Laura had celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last week and were looking forward to the birth of their 2nd great grandchild. So aging had its upside and its downside. Tim’s prostrate cancer was still in remission, but he had discovered the cancer in its later stages. The prognosis remained unclear.
The couple had to say goodbye to their youngest son about a year ago. His unit fell under heavy fire during a battle in Afghanistan. The enemies’ bullets killed Brad instantly. He’d just been promoted to captain. Left behind were a wife and two kids.
“Morning Dear,” said Tim. He kissed Laura, grabbed some coffee and headed to the deck to read the morning newspaper.
“You slept in this morning,” she said.
“I guess I stayed up kinda late last night. Then, I was sleeping well until something woke me up. Pretty sure it was a bad dream.”
Tim nodded his head as he placed his hand on the door knob. He began to turn it, but then hesitated.
“Yes. It’s weird, but it seemed so real. It was a long dream, but now I can only remember a little–just the tail end. But it was one of those kinds of dreams, Laura. You know, there was more to it.”
Tim looked down at his bare wrist and up to the empty kitchen wall. “Hey, what did you do with the clock?” he asked.
“What are you talking about? Come on, tell me more about your dream.”
His hand relaxed, and he let go of the door.
“It was scary. And I believe you were with me. I remember–you were there. Oh, it’s all a blur now. We were in a cramped space of some kind, and we were moving. Music was playing. There were these things … uh, black things waving in front of us. Two bright lights came out of nowhere, and then the strangest thing happened.”
“What?” asked Laura.
“The lights began to swerve back and forth and then spiraled toward us.”
Laura had a deep, concerned look on her face, as if she’d heard this all before. “What happened next?”
“Hey, you want to go sit on the deck?” asked Tim, “Looks beautiful out there.”
Tim leaned against the deck railing, breathing in the clean, crisp air. He stared at some mountains in the distance. “I never get tired of that view.” He cocked his head to one side and squinted at the panoramic scene. “Notice anything different about those hills?”
Laura shaded here eyes with her hand and looked in the direction Tim was staring. “Yeah, they seem a little clearer. Maybe it’s the weather.”
“It’s like I’m seeing them for the first time,” said Tim.
The sky was extremely bright, which was a curious thing since it was about 9 a.m. and there was no sun in sight. Nature surprised Tim with her vivid features and her finer details. The leaves dripped the morning dew, creating a cadence of sound through the forest. The flower blossoms projected deeper, richer colors. The bees seemed to hum in a different rhythm than he’d ever heard before.
“Hey, there’s a fox over there! Look!” He pointed to the other side of a very green and lush pasture. “I’ll get the binoculars.”
Tim soon found the fox through his field glasses. He released a little gasp. “What in the world? Now, that’s strange. Maybe I should go back to bed.” Tim slowly sat down in one of their Adirondack chairs.
“Why do you say that?” asked Laura.
“Ah, never mind.” said Tim. What he didn’t want to tell her was what the fox was doing. At least to Tim, it appeared that the fox was playing with a rabbit which, as we all know, is not what foxes do.
“So tell me more about this dream,” said Laura.
“I don’t know–I’d like to forget the whole thing.”
“Well, it might help to get it out and get it behind you,” encouraged Laura.
“I don’t know … maybe.”
“It’s okay, Hun. You can talk about it later if you want.”
“No, give me a minute.” Tim folded up his paper and leaned back in his chair.
“It was so dark. Such a dreadful, dreary place. I remember feeling very frail–if that’s the right word for it. It was hard to breath–the air seemed as thick as molasses. Water kept falling down my face. Salty water. There were blinking red lights and these weird sensations in my body. Then there was this guy in a mask.
“A mask,” uttered Laura.
“Yeah, a mask that covered most of his face. But I remember the eyes. They were sad and serious. I could hear voices. Then just one voice.”
“A voice? What did the voice say?” asked Laura.
“It said, ‘I am …’ I didn’t catch the last part. And then it said, ‘You are here.'”
“Interesting. So what do you think was happening?”
“I don’t know,” said Tim. “Guess there’s no need to analyze these things too much.”
Just then a blue bird landed on one of the deck posts. The blond-haired Jim could have sworn that the bird winked at him. So, he just smiled back. The brunette wife squeezed her husband’s hand. He caressed her smooth, radiant arm. How it seemed to glow brighter in the morning light. Not a blemish on her. She looked like she could pass for a lady in her late 20’s or early 30’s.
The doorbell rang. “I’ll get it,” said Laura.
“Who was it?” asked Tim.
“It was the FedEx guy.” She opened the small envelope and pulled out a card. Her eyes grew to the size of golf balls.
“It’s an invitation!” She nearly dropped her coffee cup she was so excited.
“Who’s it from?” Tim stood and set the paper on the table.
“It’s a dinner invitation. Look who signed it.” Laura beamed at her husband as she handed him the note.
Tim read it and laughed with joy. On the back of it were directions to the party. It simply read: You are here. Signed … I AM.
“I’ve been waiting for this invitation all my life, Laura. Guess we both have. It’s hard to describe how I’m feeling right now.”
“I know,” she said, “I’m struggling to find the right words myself.” They hugged each other tightly and kissed, and the world seemed to pause.
Tim kept his arm wrapped around his wife as he drank the last of his coffee. Their eyes spoke of a hope like no other as they gazed on a new world. The present reality had engulfed them and swept them up in a few brief moments. The morning was only getting started.
After one or two eternal minutes had passed, Laura spoke up, “So, what were we talking about before the doorbell rang?”
Tim looked at her oddly. “I can’t remember.”