I had a dream last night. One that I have had many times before. It always starts with me as a child in this immense, green forest. The trees seemed to go on forever all the way through the atmosphere. I could see that the sun was going down and I knew I had to make it through this forest before night fell. I was scared and looking for any familiar signs to find my way out. It grew darker and darker and the trees and the wind started to pick up. These immense trees were now being bent by this wind and in the wind, I could hear voices that called me out by name. I began to run through the forest, through the branches and through the bushes that were covered in thorns. I ran straight ahead hoping that eventually, I would make it out to the other side. The faster I ran the denser this forest seemed to get and the faster my heart began to pound but I kept running, not paying attention to how the branches and thorns of the forest were tearing my clothes apart. I tripped over a tree root and when I hurried to get back up I could see a light out of the corner of my eye, I got up and ran now with excitement and no longer fear. The light grew larger and larger and I felt such joy and relief that soon I would be out of this forest. At last, I broke through the last of the trees and in front of me stood my childhood home. I looked behind me and there was no longer a forest but the other houses of my past neighbors. There were children playing outside and in my house, I could see the silhouette of my father; He just stood in the kitchen, looking at me. As I walked closer to the house I suddenly woke up in my bed with an uneasy feeling.
There was fogginess to my vision when I woke up and my head felt like it had been placed down on the railroad tracks and crushed by a locomotive. My body felt weak and immovable from my bed. I couldn’t shake the images of that dream. Seeing my family in the dream made me think of them all day long, especially my father. I would catch a glimpse of him every time in the dream, maybe only his silhouette in the window for a few seconds, but I knew it was him. He looked the same as he did the day I told him I hoped I would never see him again and slammed the front door right in his face. My father was not a mean man, but he and I did not see eye to eye on a lot of things whether it was what I wanted to do with my life, politics, you name it. These things pulled us apart over time and eventually I had taken enough and decided to leave. That was 15 years ago when that happened and every single day I have felt bad about what I did to him. Today was the day I attempted to mend those wounds.
I got in my car, put the key in the ignition, sat back and took a long breath to prepare myself for this. I was scared but I knew it was the right thing to do. It had been a long time since I was at that house but I knew how to get there. All I had to do was drive a few miles up the road, take route 9 to highway 195 to the New Jersey Turnpike and get off at exit 10 in Edison, New Jersey. I knew from there my instincts would take over and I would have no problem finding the house. So I drove and I drove with a surprisingly calm demeanor. I wasn’t cursing out other drivers or honking my horn; surprisingly, I was just enjoying the drive. Maybe it was my nerves or maybe today was the day I turned into a new man, a man people could be proud of and look up to hopefully as people did with my father.
After about an hour drive I knew I was close. I passed my old school, my old church and I saw the green street sign that read, Revere Blvd. I made a left on to the street and my mind was flooded with memories. The road where we played street football looked almost the same as I remember it, tar black with now lines and the gravel separated from the road which made a familiar popping noise on the bottom of my car. I saw old friends house to my left and right, and near the end of the street, I saw the familiar baby blue paint of my childhood home, the home my father built with his own two hands, the home that I abandoned because of my own pride and selfishness. I looked harder at the house and I could see a car in the driveway, the trunk was open and I wasn’t sure what exactly was being pulled out of it. In the front yard, there was a sign but I couldn’t make out what it said. As I drove closer I could clearly see what the sign said and it made my heart sink. It read in big white print, FOR SALE, and underneath that in a smaller blue font, it read, SOLD.