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Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Dad Meets John Saxon

As I've written in the past, I am both blessed and cursed with vivid dreams that, in the moment, are as utterly convincing as real life itself. This means that my dreams can sometimes be traumatic, which is why I'm writing this at 5 am.

Last night--in the dream, I know now--I was in my library, culling books to make room, a project I've been working on for a couple of weeks now. As I was boxing some old thrillers I know I'll never read again, Dad, who died back in 2018, appeared in the doorway. This seemed quite natural, even though Dad appeared to be in his late 30s or early 40s--younger than I am now.

I was very pleased, but because I've always been a bit emotionally stunted, I didn't let it show. We exchanged greetings, and then this conversation followed:

"How are you doing?" I asked. "Hey, I don't know if you've already heard, but John Saxon died a couple of days ago..."

Dad laughed, embarrassed. "Oh yeah, he came by to see me as soon as he got here."

"And what did he say?" I asked eagerly.

Long ago, you see, Dad had a dream in which character actor John Saxon confronted him in a narrow staircase. Saxon was coming up the stairs toward Dad menacingly, and this is how Dad reacted, in his words: "I shot that son-of-a-bitch in the face."

This always made Sean and I laugh uproariously, because Dad is not a violent man and it's hard to imagine him shooting anyone, nor even wishing harm on anyone. We always asked what he had against John Saxon, and Dad always said he couldn't explain it, he just couldn't stand the guy--despite never having met him in the real world.

"And what did he say?"

And Dad said, "He said he'd heard about me, and he came by to tell me that there were no hard feelings, because there were times in his life when he really had been a son-of-a-bitch. Turns out he's a pretty good guy, told some interesting stories."

Dad then asked if he could borrow a couple of the cardboard boxes I'd set aside for the books I was giving away, and of course I said sure. He took them and walked away, and I woke up crying, which was very therapeutic because I haven't had a good cry over Dad's death yet; it's been brutally suppressed by some emotional mechanism I don't understand. Sylvia comforted me, but unfortunately I woke up again, this time in the real world--or so I hope, as I'm writing this--dry-eyed and feeling numb, catharsis lost.

I am not a spiritual person, not a believer in ghosts or the afterlife. And yet I hope Dad really did meet John Saxon, and that he's enjoying himself in some joyful place beyond mortal ken, because he deserves it, gone too soon and forever missed. 

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