My wife and I were in a large multi-story loft in a room full of dead people and animals that we we loved who are now gone. It wasn’t heaven, unless heaven is a loft on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. There were also unfamiliar faces and animals as well as people we know that are still with us. I remember a hybrid monkey / cat coming in the window from the fire-escape who had long, crooked fingers like roots that crept up beside me and slowly, very deliberately felt the contours of my face as though it was blind. We became friends.
The dead people were mostly relatives and all looked youthful and healthy as though they were at their prime age in life. My mother was busily zipping around getting things in order. Kristen’s grandmother and grandfather sat in ornately carved wooden chairs next to each other holding hands. Of note was my wife’s very cheery and youthful uncle - looking dapper at perhaps 30 years old. (Who just passed away earlier this year at age 71.)
There were numerous people and cats running amok from room to room in some kind of odd celebratory chaos. I remember wanting to ask my mom a question about Shakespeare but she held up a finger and dashed off. I walked about the place - which had cavernous, high ceilings and massive, castle-like doorways 10 feet high - all trimmed with elaborate wood finishing. Every room was abuzz with conversation. The cacophony of voices made it difficult to discern what it was all about.
Some dirty faced red-headed kid tapped my hand and indicated that he could probably get my car started; that is, the ’73 Galaxy 500 with side-pipes parked in the alley. The same one I took to the junkyard in high school after the engine blew on the highway. I told him to have at it.
Finally it was time to leave and I descended via the fire escape, a couple of cute girls smiling through open windows as I passed down by their lofts. One asked me if I knew any magic tricks. I responded that I did, and reached into my pocket for a deck of cards, but my wife nudged me to keep moving. I indicated that I would show them some magic on my way back. The younger one laughed and said, ‘Oh, silly! You’re not coming back.’
Time, I absolve myself of your vow to vanquish me.