I put in a really shitty night. It was hot, and I had nightmares. In
one of the nightmares, I woke up to find a light coming from behind
the door in the other room. On my way to investigate I stumbled over a pile of old newspapers. The door wouldn’t open until I forced it. Upon entering, I found myself standing in an immaculate room. In opposite corners were antique lamps giving off an ultra soft light. The light brought out the redwood floor’s rich tones. A canopy bed stood in the middle of the room. Lying in the bed was an old man who looked to be more than a hundred years old. We remained fixed in each others gaze until I looked away in fear. I wanted to run, but I couldn’t. And then came the voice that said, “If you have come for a visit you are welcome. Visitors are rare!” The voice sounded strangely familiar. Was this guy really my old college professor?
His eyes were open, but the old man looked dead; again I heard
the voice, “Well,” he said. I didn’t respond. I just stood there, silently
looking into his eyes, watching his breathing become more labored with each passing moment. Finally, the silence was broken when he again said, “What are you doing here?”
I looked back at him hard. How could this be? My Professor wasn’t that old, but that was certainly his voice. “What are you doing here?” I shot back to him.
“Are you blind, I’m sleeping,” came the response.
“I mean, you’re not supposed to be here,” I said, “you’re supposed to
be back in Michigan teaching classes.”
“Not anymore,” he replied. “That was a long time ago. If you have
come for a visit, that’s okay. I don’t get visitors anymore.”
“Well, not exactly,” I said. “Actually I don’t know why I’m here. I
mean, I don’t know if I’m really here, or why you’re here. I was
hoping you could tell me. It’s all screwed up.”
“Get on with it,” he tersely replied, “You’re either here, or you’re
not, which is it?”
His face began to contort. The last place I wanted to be was in front
of an upset college professor and, as was common in dreams, at that
moment I lost dream consciousness. The next thing I knew, the dream switched to a bar. I was drinking a beer, and into the empty barroom walked Dr. Gill. This time he was his right age—60 something.