The Dream or The Nightmare

(Part 1 from 2)

This night found me sitting in this big old house with long shadows falling across the room as the setting sun was gently slipping under the far off horizon. I knew that I needed to leave for some fresh air; perhaps a drive would relax me this night.

So I gathered my keys and headed out the door. Funny, I never really noticed the lonely squeak in the large wooden door that once opened to more than a house. The sound was that of a saddened door to what are now just four walls. Stepping down the 5 steps to my car reminded me of a day to where these steps brought up happiness and a feeling of being wanted and desired. The crunching of the rocks under my shoes echoed loudly in my mind. I remember a day where I used to run out that door and hardly touched the ground to my car. Today, I feel every step and movement. The pines whistled the wind to my surprise a familiar tune that for years I sang in my mind.

This night was particularly different, the clouds looked very odd, the sky was colored with pink and purple hues that even Van Gogh couldn’t resist a brush and canvas. I turned my head down and continued walking to my car. The thoughts ran through my mind like a thief in the night.

Inside my car I put the keys in the ignition and I thought I really never noticed the chime that rang out. I suppose I am beginning to notice little things more now than before. This night will be different.

Where am I going I thought out loud? I guess I will just drive till I get there, wherever there is! I turned on the radio to help soothe my mind and take my mind off of whatever it was that brought me to this point. The songs were very familiar and they brought back memories of yesteryear. My mind took over. I noticed that I was driving in a direction that once upon a time was driven like a postman on his route.

After a few hours of driving I found myself at a small beach town. It was a quaint charming town. Yes, it had only one light and it was flashing yellow in a very predictable pattern, 2 flashes and 1 steady light, I looked up at it wondering why they would have a light flashing like that. Well, I thought, it must mean something so I didn’t take the time to figure it out. Looking at my watch, it said 11:59pm I’m starting to get hungry so I drove another block or two and found a bar and grill. So I pulled over and parked my car and got out.

The breeze coming off the water was warm and very refreshing. I took a long deep breath and filled my lungs with nice fresh air. The air here seemed different, the whole atmosphere was different. I just couldn’t put my finger on it. I’ve never been here but yet I have been here before, many times it seemed. Closing the door of my car, I clicked the alarm on my key chain and locked the doors. The horn beeped twice echoing around the empty streets. It caught my attention and hopes that I didn’t disturb anyone. I walked around the front of the car and stepped up on the sidewalk towards to open door of the bar. From a distance I could see inside the bar; it was gently lite with soft red and pale lights.

As I walked to the front door I noticed on the ground the threshold that separates the entrance from the sidewalk. A simple and worn plank of raised wood, scuffed with the many years of service. I wondered how many people stepped on it and yet it remains strong and true to its function. I know there’s a lesson there that I could learn from but this night was going to be another lesson in a different subject.

I walked inside this inviting bar. Inside there stood a bartender to my left just like in the old movies. He was wearing a white apron polishing a tall glass with a towel. He was a salty looking man, scruffy beard and large forearms. He didn’t speak or nod to my entrance. I suppose the only thing missing would have been a half chewed cigar in the corner of his mouth. I guess I watch too much TV.

The bar was worn with a raised lip in front of where patrons would sulk with their drinks. The bottom of the bar was a gold rail to place your feet, it was tarnished and certainly could have used a good polishing. The bar was long perhaps 12 feet in length; it took up most of the left side of the front area. There were no customers sitting there. The evidence of past patrons was evident with beer bottles and shot glasses. Peanut shells lined the floor just in front of the bar and in the walkway to the next area. I noticed the crunching of the shells as I made my way to the tables that were sporadically placed in no particular order, sort of just here and there. This area was very dark. It was deliberately dark. A place to where one could come and not be seen by anyone.

I found a table in a corner to my right so I sat down and placed my keys on the table and positioned my chair to where I could see the entrance area. I looked up and noticed that the light hanging just a foot or more from my head was illuminating a very pale light that barely cast shadows beneath it. I wondered the purpose of such darkness and seclusion.

There was soft music playing in this back room. I guess it helped set the mood. I counted the empty tables around me and I came up with 10 or so. All empty. It was so dark in here there could have been others but I just couldn’t see clearly. Someone could have easily been sitting in here and one wouldn’t have ever known it.

I sat there for a few minutes just taking it all in and out of the darkness from my right stood a very tall waitress. She was every bit of 6 feet and very skinny. She was wearing black shorts cut in the fold of the top part of her leg, you know in the groin area. Her top was a black tight tank top, it conformed to her every curve of her chest. She was holding a serving tray in her left hand that lay across her forearm with a notepad on it. She asked me “What can I get you tonight?” I said “I’m not sure, do you have a menu or something?” “Yes” she answered. She turned to her left and grabbed one from the neighboring table and handed it to me. “Take a few minutes; just let me know when you’re ready to order” she said as she turned and faded back into the darkness.

I opened the menu and realized that it was worn and tattered, like everything in here. It has seen its better day for sure, I thought. The menu was pretty basic, the usual suspects were all here, burgers and fries and the like. Not a place really for eating. This bar served a different purpose. It is a place to come to drown your fears and tears. It’s a place to come to help you forget your troubles. With all the half empty and nearly empty whiskey bottles that lined the wall behind the bartender was proof of that. But why wasn’t there any customers here, this is the prime time for those folks to be here when there is nowhere to be.

So I looked back down to the menu again and finally decided I would just settle for a cheeseburger and a small plate of fries. I closed the menu and placed it back on the next table and sat back down. It was just at that moment the waitress stepped back out of the darkness, as if she had been there all along.

“Did you decide?” she asked. “Yea, I think I’ll have just a burger with cheese and a plate of fries, small please” I answered. She said, “It’ll be a few minutes” and gently she slipped back into the dark. I settled in my chair and tried to cut the dark with my eyes and I just couldn’t see beyond a few feet in any direction. I have never seen such darkness before. I wasn’t scared or nervous at that, just overtaken by it all.

The bartender began to make his way to me with a drink in his hand. He was silhouetted by the dim lights and made the front of him very dark and shadowy. His gait had a slight limp to his right leg, perhaps a mate on a ship in his early days lead to an accident to his leg I thought. As he got closer he said in a rough Irish sailor voice, “You be a needing this lad” and he placed the tall drink in front of me and turned away. I didn’t order anything to drink I realized. But I was thirsty and it would help quench an overwhelming thirst I had acquired since I came in here.

I didn’t take a drink though. I stared at it. I’m not sure why. I looked up and noticed the bartender again polishing glasses and looking right at me as if I was expected to drink his offering. So with that in mind I lifted the glass to my nose and smelled a very familiar scent. It was a hint of rum and other alcohol mixed together. I held on the glass with a sweaty hand and drank a portion. To my surprise, it was very good. So I took another drink, this time I took a mouthful and felt the soft velvety smoothness of the drink slide down my throat and stomach. I warmed me. It was also very familiar to me.

As I sat the glass down on the table, I noticed the bartender staring at me and gave a laugh to himself and turned away. I gave it no thought and thanked him for the drink.

It wasn’t long that I was starting to feel the drink working its magic. I was becoming very relaxed and more comfortable than I was when I first walked in here. I looked down to my watch, 12:20am. Where was my food I began to wonder. And just like someone was reading my mind the waitress appeared out of nowhere and placed the plates in front of me, the burger was beautiful, lettuce, onion, tomatoes flowing off the bun. The sandwich was perfectly centered on the plate with a slice of a pickle just to the right. She placed the smaller plate of fries to the right top of the larger plate. It was deliberate and with thought. She handed me a dinner napkin that would rival a 5 star restaurant. It was a very warm soft linen towel. She never said a word. She just nodded her head and disappeared once again.

I took another drink of that wonderful concoction and proceeded to dive into my dinner. As I lifted the sandwich to my mouth I looked up and noticed that the darkness wasn’t as mysterious as it was earlier, perhaps I’m getting my eyes adjusted finally. The room wasn’t as scary as it once was. Although it was still very dark, I could make out objects in the room.

I took a bite of this fabulous burger and it was like cotton candy. I hate to say this but it did “Just Melt in Your Mouth” just like an M&M commercial! As I placed the burger back on the plate and reached over to get a few fries I again looked around the room and this time I saw the room had a few women sitting at a table just across the room deep in the throes of a dark shadow.

They were sitting around a round table positioned in a way to where they could all see me. I saw 3 women dressed in dark clothes, although it was hard to really see what they exactly had on due to the darkness. They were sitting in front of a very large book shelf. This wall was full of books from top to bottom of the wall. Again, the darkness of the room hindered me from seeing much more. I did, however, noticed the woman who sat in the center of the three pick up her glass and took a long drink. I swear I heard her say “Pick yours up and drink” in my mind. I could have sworn she spoke to me in my head. Without hesitation or fore thought I did what she said. I took another drink from my glass.

As I sat down my glass, I saw that my drink was empty. And right on cue and right out of the darkness my waitress appeared with another tall glass in her hand. The bartender was watching and nodded his head to me and turned back away from me.

I was hungry so I continued eating my dinner. I guess it wasn’t much longer I finished. My watch said 12:49am. The alcohol was hitting me pretty good, despite only having a couple of these drinks. I figured I had better start making my way back home. I got up and began making my way to the scruffy bartender to pay my bill when again I was approached by my waitress. She said” I hope you have a wonderful and memorable evening” she handed me a small piece of paper that I assumed was my bill. As I looked down on it read, Your Dreams Have Paid Your Bill in Full. Odd I thought, and I asked the bartender what that meant, he said nothing but yet said everything with his eyes. I reached in my pocket and laid down a twenty dollar bill and began making my way out of the bar.

To my surprise, I heard him say in his thick Irish voice “Everyday lad, it’s just like starting over, your lassie mate awaits you” I stopped mid stride and turned and looked at him, but he wasn’t there. He had just been there not 5 seconds ago. Perhaps again, did I hear this in my mind or was the alcohol playing tricks on me? I don’t know, so I turned back towards the door and made my way outside.

In the breeze outside as I walked to my car I heard a whisper again in my head it said “Come here” the sound turned my head towards the beach to where the bar sat. I found a sandy trail alongside the building leading to the beach. It was a well worn path taken by many in the years past. With the shine of the moon as my guide I found the beach pretty easily. So I made my way down to the waterline. The tide looked to be out, so it made for good walking around.

My shadow was following me by the moon above, it was full and bright. Just enough light to see pretty clearly. Unlike the bar, the darkness seemed to live. I saw on the ground little crabs scurrying around looking for a dinner for themselves. Typical sounds of the ocean waves were both comforting and relaxing. I suppose the alcohol and the waves were relaxing me. I walked a little ways up the coast, not too far as to lose sight of the bar and its path.

Again, another voice was saying turn around. Without consciousness I turned around. When I did I saw a woman standing just feet in front of me, she was darkened with the shadows of the moon behind her. I couldn’t see her face at all, but I did notice a very familiar scent of perfume that long has been taken away from me. The scent of perfume and hair enveloped me totally. I have had this scent with me before. I dared not think any further. I couldn’t. I wasn’t able.

I couldn’t speak or move. Her hand reached out to me and without thought I reached out to hers. Her touch was very warm and very familiar. She spoke not a word as she led me to a place on the beach that I did not notice as I passed earlier. I had just walked past this spot now where she stopped and turned towards me. I did not see this before. It was an open area in the scrub of beach plants. As if it was just placed here just moments ago. I thought, I must be really drunk form those drinks.

She had on a dark robe type outfit that was loosely flowing in the ocean breeze. The fabric was like the linen dinner napkin from the bar. It was a full length robe. The robe was blowing from my left to the right as she stood in the breeze. I couldn’t see her face at all. But when I closed my eyes I could see her just as plain as day, but yet I couldn’t. Something very familiar with her took over me. I know her but yet I don’t.

She got down on her knees and with her extended arm gently tugged me to join her. I knelt down on the sand and sat with her. She spoke not a single word. I didn’t either.

Her hand began to rub across my chest and slowly unbuttoned my shirt from about mid ways up to the top. Her left hand held her up on the beach as her right hand rubbed across my bare chest. I could hear in my thoughts every word she was telling me in her touch. This is what I heard “When You Close Your Eyes…Do You Dream about Me” I heard this whisper with passion and with a heavy breath. Yet she never spoke a word as I told you before.

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