Last night I had a vivid dream which has stayed with me. These are the details:
I am standing barefoot on a beach. The sun overhead is much brighter than normal, and when I cover my eyes and look up I can make out that it is much larger than normal also. The sun blinds me a moment, but when my sight resumes I see a seagull gliding through an incredibly blue sky. I follow the seagull’s path toward a pier in the distance.
I am dressed in khaki pants that are rolled up and a loose shirt. I stuff the shirttail into my pants while continuing to follow the seagull. I stop when I no longer see the seagull. In my peripheral vision I see soft ocean foam sliding up toward my feet. The ripple wave kisses my ankles, and leaves her scent behind.
Up ahead on the beach, just before the pier, is an elegant seafood restaurant nestled in a colonial Andalusian building. The Moorish influence is striking: Sophisticated geometric and arabesque motifs in stucco with a minaret that from a distance looks vaguely like an old lighthouse. The grand doors into this mosque like structure are open, and sea winds sweep the white sand inside. Beside the building is an outdoor dining area underneath a white linen canopy. Men in white suits, and women in summer dresses, wander lazily in and out of the building with cocktails in hand. There is an Art Deco band underneath the canopy that is still setting up. A sommelier in a black tuxedo with blood red bowtie and cummerbund uncorks a bottle of champagne somewhere beneath the canopy, and one of the tables roars in approval. Just outside the outdoor dining area is an old man with a patch on one eye. He has an accordion and a monkey on a string, and whenever he plays a melody the monkey dances Michael Jackson’s Moonwalk. He gets the attention of new arrivals who like myself are wandering up from the beach. Well heeled patrons flip silver coins into the bucket beside his feet as they make their way into the restaurant.
I am now standing inside the doorway to the mosque like building. An untold number of arches ascend toward the heavens. When I look up I make out what looks like images of the sun carved and painted into the ceiling. Some of those suns are rising, some setting, some holding court at noonday. I look back down and see a bar directly ahead of me that is backed up against what would be the prayer wall. Old liquor bottles stored above and behind the bar counter sparkle like diamonds.
I walk up to the bar. There is a woman seated alone whom I recognize from my distant past. She is not dressed as formally as the others. She is in a black bathing suit with an engraved towel wrapped around her legs. Her short, boyish, red hair suggests a pretty, athletic woman with considerably more vitality than would be suggested by her age. I happen to know that she is in the late autumn of her years. Only the slight stoop in her shoulders gives that away. I sit beside her, and we talk like dear friends who had never been apart all those years. Indeed, our conversation does not start with any pleasantries but rather resumes in mid sentence the topic we had been discussing the last time. It is as if lost time is simply not a reality around here. Neither are we ashamed nor disgruntled about anything at all. Whatever had separated us way back when is forgotten, or if it is remembered it is not at all relevant.
My friend stands up from the bar, wraps the towel around her, and offers me a flirtatious smile. She is going to jog further down the beach, and I am welcome to jog alongside, if I can keep up. I tell her that I am going to wait for her back here. I shall reserve a table for the two of us for later this evening. We step outside together. The sun is no longer as big and as bright as before, as it is well on its way toward its home out west. I turn to my old friend in order to ask her if she really has enough time to jog, but she is gone already. As I look further down the beach I think I may have caught her in a fold of sunlight, but then she is as gone as if she had never been there. I hope to see her later this evening, and as I turn back toward the bar I feel seawater splashing up against my feet. I look down and see that the rising tide is pushing seawater across the floor of the outdoor restaurant. It is also spreading into the mosque like building. No one else seems to mind all that water splashing up against their legs. I decide not to be bothered by this either, as I make my way to a vacant barstool beside another old lady friend from way back when.