That day was Tuesday, early in June. It was a nearly perfect summer afternoon. I scratched my chin on a thorn while planting my face into a burst of white petals covering the wild rose bush. Bluebirds were singing overhead while baby rabbits bounced back into the shrubbery when I trespassed onto their dens in the tall grass. I slowly started to recall last night’s dream that had been with since morning.
That day I had left work early and driven straight home. Anxious to get out of my corporate uniform of a dark blue suit and white blouse, I had quickly thrown on a pair of shorts, a paint-stained T-shirt, and old tennis shoes. Stepping outside the door, I wondered why I had felt so compelled to get outside and walk.
What happened in last night’s dream? … I am flying. A peaceful feeling of sofness t and light, cool breezes and fresh air surround me. I sense the cockpit holding me as the spruce walls envelop my body. Wrapped up inside my little sailboat with the front and right runner on the ice. Left runner is slicing air, the sail lifting me up. Now I am gliding, floating, flying while my eyes are searching. For who, and why? I don’t see Ronnie or Tom. I don’t see my fleet below the start-finish line.
Then I see her, off to my right where the scoring team stands with their clipboards and pencils. She is surrounded with the silence of falling snow. The wind is softly whipping the sparkly white flakes around her head, forming a halo. I recognize an angle’s face with curly red hair, green eyes, a big smile. It is Debbie and she is waiting for me. She is there to record each lap time and my final finish, just as she always does, at every North American DN iceboat race.
That day I continued my afternoon hike, squinting in the bright summer sunshine. Stepping around the tracks and across the sandy mound at this place where the deer dance. Why haven’t we invited Paul and Debbie to our new home? We have so much in common. I first knew her from catamaran racing days of twenty years ago during our soft-water sailing on the Great Lakes in warmer seasons. Her husband is a good man, a friend and mentor to all sailors.
I know Debbie is busy with her hectic schedule as a nurse at the big hospital in Southfield. I want to see her; it has been several months. Along with Paul, she must have gone windsurfing by now for their spring vacation on the East coast. I’ll have to speak with Tom and plan a big party this summer for all the sailors.
That day, while awake and walking around with all these memories coming back and future plans being made, my thoughts are interrupted with the sound of my husband’s truck along one of the may hidden driveways of the area. We exchange early evening greetings and go about our business. I’m standing at the kitchen sink when the telephone rings. Tom answers “Hello”. I can make out that the caller is Paul, but I hear only Tom’s reply.
“Paul, did you say ‘Eddie’? I can’t hear you Paul. Do you mean Eddie from St. Clair Shores has died?” Tom looked my way as he was struggling to understand what he did not wish to hear. It was at that moment when I heard the like-sounding name of another sailor, that what had been conveyed to me in a beautiful dream was confirmed in harsh and unexpected reality. Debbie is dead. I had not contacted her. Debbie is dead but in her last few hours during the first month of her forty-ninth year, Debbie had visited me on that day.
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