Ten years ago today, one of my closest friends died. He was a few months shy of 17. I have a fair amount of vivid dreams, and I’ve had a lot about Pierce since then. But one dream has stuck with me more than any other.
In the dream, it had recently snowed, and the sun had set. I was excited to go out; I love the snow. So, as on countless other days, I stepped outside and walked up my street, a steep three-block hill lined with row houses. At the top was the school my friends and I hung out at. You’d see us there almost every day, some of us just sitting around, others skateboarding. In my dream, Pierce had passed away, as in real life. But there he was. Everyone was acting like nothing had happened. It’s hard to describe how I felt when I saw him. Confused, shocked, elated.
I asked a friend what was going on. He told me that Pierce had been allowed to come back for one day. I didn’t think to ask how or why. I didn’t ask Pierce what the afterlife was like.
I had one thought: I want to have just one more snowball fight with my friend.
With tears blurring my vision and a smile spread wide across my face, I scooped up a handful of snow, pressed it into a ball, and threw it at Pierce. Then I woke up.
The dream saddened me, but there was something comforting about it, too. I’ve often said that dreams are almost like memories of real events. While you’re dreaming, it feels real. And in vivid dreams, you truly feel the emotions, the state of mind you’re in. So yes, the dream still makes me sad. It brings back the pain of losing him. Of seeing him lying in the hospital bed. Of serving as one of his pall bearers, lowering him into his final resting place while fighting back the tears, trying to stay strong like a pall bearer is supposed to. This pain isn’t as fresh, but it’s still deep.
But the dream also gave me this memory of getting the chance to throw just one more snowball at my best friend. A friend I’ll never get to see again.
Real or not, I’ll take it.