It was just a dream, but I woke up Monday night thinking it was real.
As I sat upright in bed, I realized that a song had started playing in my head. And I wondered whether it had been a dream or a vision. Or was I even awake?
Well it might have been a vision
Or it might have been a dream
Like a photograph of Eden
It was like no place I’d ever seen
— Tonio K., “You Were There,” from “Notes from the Lost Civilization”
There was a gate in the dream. It led to different places in time when you stepped through it. Lucy was there, but in the dream, this dog could talk and she seemed wise, like what you might expect from a spirit guide in an fantasy epic that taps into the archetypes of Jung’s collective unconscious.
But this wasn’t a story about Lucy. It was a story about a woman. The Woman. Whatever this dream was — however insignificant it was — the story was about her. And I need to tell you the story. I don’t know why.
You know how Yoda was Luke Skywalker’s guide and was frustrated when he didn’t understand the lessons he was supposed to learn? Lucy was my Yoda in this story.
The first thing I remember was Lucy suddenly talking to me and telling me it was time for us to go. I didn’t seem surprised that she was talking and she didn’t seem surprised that I was slow to understand where we were going.
She told me to follow her down a series of dark passageways. It wasn’t quite a house but it also wasn’t bare rock and dirt, and it seemed to be underground. We emerged from the mouth of the passage into a large room. I couldn’t see the other side of the room, because it was dominated by a large gate which was made of wood and metal — and it had gems embedded in it.
Without her having to explain it, I suddenly had complete understanding of where we were going. The time had come for us to return in time to visit the Woman — when she was a teen-ager. We were there to change my future — and her future.
Lucy and I opened the gate and stepped through, closing the door behind us. Suddenly, we were in a place I’ve never been, but I knew where it was. We were in her hometown. Oddly, I even knew where to find her.
It didn’t seem to surprise her when a talking dog and a strange man showed up at her door. Things like this just happen in dreams and visions and epic fantasy tales and nobody bats an eye.
I said that Lucy had come to tell her something, but Lucy replied that I had to be the one to speak the words.
“Say what you need to say,” Lucy said, “because you won’t remember the words when we leave here.”
Lucy waited outside the door and I carefully shared all that we had come to say. I don’t remember a word of it now, but I know I was passionate and intense and completely confident.
The teen-age version of the Woman listened. I’d guess she was about 16, maybe 17. She wasn’t the mature adult she is today, but I was fascinated by the intensity and the life in her eyes. Even though she was obviously immature — and even laughed nervously at odd times — I could see the seeds of the woman she has become. It made me think how immature I would have seemed at the same age.
I was insistent that she and I were going to fall in love one day and be together. I remember telling her that part. I just don’t remember the details or why I was there to explain to her what to do — and what not to do — to bring this about.
I remember that she had a brother who laughed when he heard what we were talking about. It’s not that he didn’t believe what I told her. There was simply another man from the future who he wanted for her — and he said so. I ignored his influence and hoped she would remember my words after I was gone.
I didn’t want to leave this beautiful young woman. I wanted to stay and watch her grow. I wanted to watch all the things which I knew she was going to do. But it was time for me to leave, so Lucy and I left the house and went back to an open field where the gate was waiting for us.
We stepped through the gate again and I expected to be back to my home. Instead, we were in a dark place where there was something like a floating castle on a giant mountain-like place. And all around this foreboding place were small flying dragons that protected this place up high from intruders — intruders such as me.
It wasn’t the upper parts of the castle we were interested in, though.
At the lowest level of the castle-like structure, there was a large passageway into what must have been the deepest dungeon. There was no gate or door, but just inside the entrance, there was a huge and scary version of the flying dragons which guarded the rest of the castle.
This dragon was evil — and his entire job was to keep the Woman from leaving on her own.
I was terrified, because I knew I couldn’t defeat the dragon and “rescue the princess.” That’s what it felt as though we were there to do, but Lucy told me we couldn’t do that. The Woman was trapped in this place, but she had to leave on her own. If we tried to bring her out, we would die.
The dragon was fearsome and he breathed fire — as such dragons do — but he wasn’t fast on his feet. Lucy had to go inside the castle — she said I would never make it, because I couldn’t fly — so I had to distract the dragon while she went inside.
I climbed part of the way up the hill which faced this floating castle and I picked up the biggest rock I could lift. I threw it, not to hit anything but just to make noise. The evil dragon heard me and came bounding out of his lair to see what had disturbed him.
The dragon saw me and I ran. He chased me. I stayed in an area where I wasn’t exposed above — so he couldn’t get me by flying — and he had to run after me on his slow feet.
I’m not the fastest man in the world, but I could outrun this giant dragon who would have destroyed me if he could have attacked from the air. He wanted to fly, but he had to run after me instead — since there was some sort of covering above where I was.
While I was distracting the beast, Lucy took off as though flying was the most natural thing in the world for her. She went straight for the passageway which the dragon had been guarding — and she flew straight inside.
I don’t know what happened inside the dungeon of the castle, because I was busy escaping the dragon. I was running out of places to run when I realized I had circled back to the place from which I started. I was back out into open territory — and the dragon took off into the sky to dive at me.
I knew I was about to die, because I suddenly had nowhere else to go. The place where I’d been escaping the dragon on foot had disappeared.
As the evil dragon swooped down to strike me, Lucy suddenly came flying out of the passageway from the dungeon.
“Open the gate,” she yelled to me.
And I realized that the gate through which we had come had reappeared behind me. I turned and opened the huge door. Lucy went bounding through it and I was just behind her — and the door slammed shut.
“We did what we set out to do,” Lucy told me calmly. “You did your part and I gave her the secret to the rest. Now you wait. She will walk out of the castle on her own or she will die there.”
That’s when I woke up.
As I sat in bed wondering what had just happened, the song continued.
And I dreamed that we were laughing
And I dreamed that we were free
And I dreamed we were becoming
Who we were meant to be
What had I just dreamed? What had it meant? Were we going to be laughing and free? Were we really becoming who we were meant to be?
Lucy doesn’t really talk. As far as I know, she doesn’t travel through time. She doesn’t sneak past dragons to tell women trapped in dungeons how to escape.
As the song also says in another verse — the song still playing in my head — “I woke up in total darkness; I’d been dreaming about the light.”
It was just a dream. But something about it was incredibly real. And in a way that I can’t explain, I was dreaming about bringing light to that pitch black darkness.
Maybe the story will never make sense to me. But maybe it will. It’s her story, not mine, so I don’t get to write the ending.