The elevator doors opened, and there he was. It was as if it were the most natural thing of all for my deceased father to visit me in my downtown office.
He looked at once old and wise and youthful and carefree. He grinned from ear to ear upon seeing me. After a kiss, he stood back and gazed at me as if I were the most special human being who ever walked the planet.
Next he did something that was also standard practice for him. He hugged my boss, whom he’d never met, because he knew how much I admired her. If I admired someone, well, then, he just knew they were persons to be admired.
Though he looked ancient, his skin was wrinkle free and had a golden sheen to it. He wasn’t wearing glasses so I could see his cornflower blue eyes piercing mine without his bifocals blurring them. I was surprised to see that his eyes carried no tension in them, unlike mine do in this present year of 2020.
He put his hands on my shoulders. With a look of childlike joy on his face, he exclaimed, “Laurie, San Francisco is so beautiful!”
It was in that moment it dawned on me. He must not know about this era’s virus now striking the planet, I told myself, nor anything about our current political climate.
I decided not to break the spell.
Soon afterwards, I woke up. I walked around our quarantined house for I don’t know how long. It was as if I were looking at everything through gauze.
When I was little, my father and I often spoke about the other side, the afterlife. A few months before he died, he told me that after he was gone, he would do everything he could to get a message to me from the other side.
Was this one of those messages? Was he telling me that everything is going to be alright? It would be in his nature to do so.
I’m also left with the feeling that in the afterlife my dad is filled with joy. He’s in San Francisco, living his authentic life, the one he left behind at 20, more than eight decades ago.
He was so at peace in my dream. I know he’d want me to feel at peace, too, despite the horrors that today’s humans are living with.
In life, my father believed that I could do anything I set my mind to. He always had faith in me. In my dream, I think he was asking me to have faith in him one more time, to believe that things will get better.
Thank you, Dad. I’ve been waiting for you.
Laura Hall’s memoir, Affliction, will be published in July 2021.