My freshman year in Troy, I met Chuck. His warm personality and impeccable taste in music drew me in immediately. He had a contagious smile and a sense of humor that was out of this world. We were friends from the very start.
As the school year drew to a close, we both found ourselves free from past relationships and we tried our luck at dating. We spent all of our free time together – cooking, laughing, partying and just enjoying ourselves. But the chemistry was never there. Don’t get me wrong – we adored each other. But we lacked the spark that is essential for a lasting relationship. By the end of summer, we decided we were better off as friends, so we ended things with no hard feelings. He met my next boyfriend and I became close friends with his girlfriend. We still talked several times a week and remained very close.
As time went on, I began seeing a different side of Chuck. As happy as he seemed on the outside, he had his demons. He started dabbling in different drugs – always calling me for counsel when he started feeling guilty about it. He drank a lot, and often made bad decisions as a result.
In July of 2005, I got a frantic phone call from his then girlfriend. Chuck got behind the wheel after way too many drinks. He had a horrible wreck that took months of recovery. He had to have reconstructive surgery on part of his face. He needed braces to correct the damage his steering wheel had done to his mouth. It was bad.
I just knew that the wreck would serve as a wake up call – that he’d settle down some and surrender his keys when he wanted to drink. I was wrong.
On February 12, 2006, I got another phone call. This time it was from Kevin (my then boyfriend and most recent ex.). He worked for the Sheriff’s department and had been called to work a wreck at two that morning. When he got there and ran the tag, he immediately called me. It was Chuck. Kevin didn’t know his status, but told me he’d call me back as soon as he did. Instead of a call, I got a knock at my door. I opened it slowly, vainly hoping for good news – but instead, Kevin looked at me with sad eyes and shook his head. I fell to pieces.
I walked through the next few weeks in a daze. I went through so many different emotions. First, I was angry. I couldn’t help it. I was so mad that he’d do something so selfish and stupid – especially after his close call less than a year before. Then there was the overwhelming sadness of losing such a close friend. It seemed so unreal – so that’s when the denial started. I refused to acknowledge it for awhile – which of course just made it that much harder when I finally had to face the fact that I’d never see him again.
But then life resumed. It had to, you know? You get busy with your life and don’t have time to dwell on being sad. Over the past three and a half years, I’ve thought about him a lot. I stop by his grave and talk to him every time I pass by the cemetery, which isn’t that often anymore. I still think about him, but not like I did back then.
That’s why last night’s dream hit me like a ton of bricks. Out of nowhere, he was there – so real and just as vivid as life. I woke up so confused. Here’s what I remember:
I was lost – I know that much. I was wandering around the woods and came upon a group of girls sitting around a fire. There with them was Chuck. I can’t explain it, but I knew he was a ghost and that I was the only one who could see him. No one seemed to see me either, though. Chuck looked up at me and smiled. “I’m lost. I need you,” I said. He just nodded, stood up and walked over to me. He never spoke – but he put his arms around me. It felt so real. I could smell him – feel his embrace. He pulled away and looked at me, and although he still didn’t say anything, I knew what he meant. His look said, “Let’s go.”
He led me by the hand through the woods. At some point, we were swimming. I kept getting pulled under, struggling to keep going. He got behind me and pushed me through the water. The next thing I remember, he was standing on the shore, pulling me out. I was sobbing and he just looked at me with knowing eyes and gave me a sad smile. I leaned into him, put my head on his chest and just as he put his arms around me – I woke up.
What is that about? It was so random, yet it seemed so significant. I’ve been in a funk all day – I just can’t shake that strange feeling I woke up with this morning.
I don’t always put a lot of stock into dream interpretation, but if any of you would like to take a shot, I’d love to hear your thoughts.