You might as well know up front that I believe in life after death, mental telepathy, and mind over matter. Also, that I spent quite a bit of energy in my youth trying to make Purrfur-the-cat levitate, and that I have had at least two precognitive dreams. A third dream may have tapped into an unknown dimension as well.
So, in the first dream, my boyfriend’s life was in danger. He was a winsome 2nd class midshipman at the US Naval Academy, and I was an angsty, song-writing sophomore at Washington College. We had met on a blind date and hadn’t been going out very long, when I awoke in my cinderblock dorm room in Minta Martin Hall knowing my boyfriend and all his classmates were in mortal danger. The dream was just weird enough that I went to the phone at the end of the hall and placed a call. “You’re in danger,” I said. Then I shared the dream warning on a feedback loop in my head. “You won’t know who he is, because he’s one of you.”
“That’s weird,” my boyfriend replied. “Last night, we went on lockdown. A guy who graduated in June had a mental breakdown in basic training at Quantico and was driving back to Annapolis to settle a score. He had a uniform, of course. And a gun. And a DOD sticker on his car to get through the gate.”
In the next dream, I was sitting in a circle with a bunch of other college kids from all over the east coast, listening to a tall, soft-spoken man with thick white hair, introduce us to his wife, a diminutive blond with a French twist and an authoritarian vibe. “Your purpose in life,” she explained, eyeing each of us in turn, “is to learn and to grow.” Not a week later, I arrived at the Craigville Inn and Conference Center on Cape Cod, where I would be waiting tables with other students from June through August. I can’t say the exact circumstances of the dream were replicated but as I reported to the front office, with its faux wood paneling and worn orange carpet, there they were. The man and the woman I had just dreamed of –only now they had names—Dr. and Mrs. Pierre Vuillemiere–co-directors of the conference center.
Unfortunately, all I learned that summer was how to pack on a fast 30 pounds cutting up Boston Crème pies, and that true southern boys, who want to marry southern girls, think Maryland is a northern state. But the third dream is the one I hang on to. How can we know if it’s true?
I was thinking about guardian angels one evening just before bed. I was a young mother of three at the time, which probably is why the whole concept came to mind, as in, I could use some help here… Is there someone assigned to watch over them? Over me? Over you? Maybe an ancestor or relative we’ve never met? Or one we’ve lost? I thought of my Aunt Lenora, who had died at 104 with a cap of white curls and the sparkling blue eyes of a fairy godmother.
And that night I dreamed I did indeed have a guardian angel and that person was standing right behind me! I could feel the presence, a benign loving energy, close enough to touch. And I thought, all I have to do is turn around. A mystery of the universe is about to be revealed. Male or female, I wondered. Young or old? Familiar or stranger? Slowly, slowly, I turned to meet my protector and guide. To say thank you, I’m so grateful, how can I serve?
And there was not one person in attendance behind me, there were hundreds, maybe thousands of souls standing there–smiling, compassionate countenances as far as the eye could see. As tightly packed as a crowd at a rock concert or a Superbowl, only lovingly silent,
The world is a mysterious place, and we are hardwired to learn its secrets. What is consciousness? Quantum entanglement? Dark Matter?
We want to know how everything works but here’s the thing: until we do, we live in a world in which we’re not in charge. Where the inexplicable can happen. Where a girl can try to save a boy who’s just entered her future, where a stranger can weigh in on the meaning of life. Where you already possess all that you long for. Where in your scariest moments, you were never alone.
Laura J. Oliver is an award-winning developmental book editor and writing coach, who has taught writing at the University of Maryland and St. John’s College. She is the author of The Story Within (Penguin Random House). Co-creator of The Writing Intensive at St. John’s College, she is the recipient of a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award in Fiction, an Anne Arundel County Arts Council Literary Arts Award winner, a two-time Glimmer Train Short Fiction finalist, and her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her website can be found here.
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