As the night wind tossed the trees, rushed through their branches making the sound of breakers on the beach, rattled the rose tree against my window, I dreamed scenes from the small town five miles from my childhood home. It was night, windy like this, and warm, and my bed was a nicely made single in a corner between two well kept red brick buildings. There was another bed nearby, made up and ready as in a hotel but outside, all normal as it is in dreams. The lights of a nearby empty intersection blinked red and green on the brick walls and on the coverlets. My son was expected back from his evening activity, and I was wondering how to describe where I was, since he was not familiar with the streets. You were somewhere near, in a casual way, and I felt you glance at me as I read.
Then I was in church at a morning service–not the one my parents used to attend, but another big, traditional stone one, the Anglican one, I think. Except instead of being mostly empty but for a few blue haired ladies and quiet, gray husbands, we were in the front pew, right below the pulpit, just as if it were a revival church. You were sitting beside me on the left at a slight distance, though you don’t go in for church as far as I know. I was aware of you out of the corner of my eye. Then a tall, flamboyant, long haired man came down the aisle to the pew, preparing to sit down. He hailed us and pulled out a whiskey bottle, which I felt was out of place, and I wondered what to do. Then I caught the smell of vinegar, not liquor. “Salt and vinegar! Best thing for wood!” He said, and proceeded to rub the yellowed, peeling seat of the pew with a rag soaked in the vinegar solution. I considered whether to tell him he wasn’t correct, that he’d best sand and rub on wood finish, or leave the pew alone. “Are you best buds?” he asked us, smiling broadly. A few of his teeth were missing, and his eyes were bright and wild. The music had started. “Yeah I guess, sort of,” I answered, wishing to go along. “Are you going to dance?” I believe you took my hand, also no doubt to go along. It was awkward, since I did not know what you were thinking, but the feel of your clean, dry hand was not unpleasant.