The 2nd Time Around

“A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.” ~Walter Winchell

Years ago, I had this dream…

I stood outside of the well-lit party. People danced. The atmosphere excited me. There wasn’t a single wallflower in the place. I scanned the party looking for anyone I knew and noticed a friend I grew up with, in attendance. She danced without a worry in the world. I stood far off taking the scene in and I smiled at her. I fixed my eyes on her. She moved with the beat, her eyes bright, her happiness made me warm; head bopping and feet shifting. Then suddenly, the lights dimmed. My position as a bystander became one of another party-goer. I went to my friend. The lights gradually dimmed, and I knew soon it would be too dark to find my friend. The party-goers danced. My happiness for my friend turned to fear; I had to get her out of the party before it got too dark to see. I reached my friend in time and the dream focused in on us, I began to beg her to leave the party before it got too dark to see. She refused and tried to pull me back on the dance floor with her, but I broke free. She went back, dancing in the dark. I watched in a panic, the black mass in front of me.

I don’t always dream true but when I do, it’s eerie. To think that a dream can give you a peek into the future is mind-bending. For me, a dreamer, it’s a part of who I am. When I was younger, I thought that maybe I could use dreams to shift reality. For instance, pray for a friend and change the outcome of a dream. Life experience taught me that we all have the right to choose our destiny. We are in total control of our lives. I decided to accept that I am not in charge of deciding if a choice is good or bad, my lesson is to accept that this journey has many paths. There is no right and wrong way and we all end up at the same end. This is just a pinch of how dreams have shaped how I see the world.

Well, the story regarding the party and my friend, unfolded in time. We grew apart. I stopped partying because I soon started my family. She continued to party. With our lives going in different directions we lose touch. I ran into her around the city and we’d share what our lives had become. A few times we exchanged numbers but there was never a follow-up. The last time I saw her, I was having dinner when she came walking into view. She asked for my number and I lied and somehow was able to distract her. We hugged in the spirit of old friends who still had a love for each other.

Earlier this year word reached me that my old friend fell on hard times. This is when the dream from so many years ago rushed back to me; the party engulfed in darkness. Her refusal to leave and then how distant we became over the years. I missed her during those years, even after I accepted that we grew apart. We were inseparable growing up. My high school years could not be separated from hers. Every story included her. When I reminisced about my wild teenage years growing up in the city and misbehaving, she was included. I still hold near all the advice we received from family and friends to slow down and enjoy life. I remember how we laughed at them. We were young, wild and careless.

The news I received wasn’t good, but I never dreamed this end. We connected again, old friends chatting it up. We talked about the ’90s. She filled in where my memory eluded me and laughed just as hard as I did at the death defining moments we conquered, made this meeting golden.

A writing mentor once said that the best stories are written using the ugly truth. By the way when she said that we were working on my now shelved memoir. Her quote rings true to me when I think about my friend’s life now. This is what made me want to be her friend but later it is what pulled us apart, her ugly truth—the fun we experienced always resulted in someone being hurt. We lived through it and came out on the other side with bumps and bruises that made us who we are today.

We have remained in touch keeping each other appraised on how our lives are unfolding. Her journey is way different from the one I imagined but it is not mine. I hope to invite a new dream for her.    

One where the lights are bright. One where we dance together. One where no one stands on the outside looking in.

“Our greatest story is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” ~Confucius

I understand now that just because the dream ended doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the journey. There is always the ability to choose a different direction. I know that had it not been for the time that our teenage lives merged, that I could not have received the call to be a friend again.