Our friends on Pine Street wake up on the first day of the new year, slowly recognizing the cycle of the calendar has reset to January one.
As they come to full awareness, this sense of a new start, a blank slate, offers both anxiety and hope.
Each of them has been to at least one celebration of life in the year just ended, and each knows they will likely be called to attend more in the year now beginning.
And each has dreamt of the way their loved ones will speak of them once they, themselves, have gone. If the afterlife, as some traditions hold, is how we are remembered by those who knew us, each of our friends is deeply curious about where they will end up.
Their dreams arise to tell them.
In Allison’s dream, it is Leo who rises to speak first. She is glad for this, as he has always been both heartfelt and honest. She is also curious to see what he will say about her.
“What I loved – love – about Allison,” he begins, “could fill an encyclopedia. Her absolute determination to rehabilitate this old house, one floorboard, tile, nail, and screw at a time. Her courage in shifting her whole life from the track it was on – you might not know she defended her thesis at the university, then went to work at the office supply store. I mean, who does that? Allison. She had the courage to reinvent her life to satisfy herself. We all should learn from that. I know I did.
“She cared for her parents, too, even though they didn’t make it easy. Their last few years, she spent more time there than here.” (Dreaming Allison feels an ache in her heart; of course she hopes she will outlive her parents, but of course, she does not really want to.) “I honor her for that, too.
“But honestly, what I loved – love – most about Allison is simply that she is – was – my friend. We didn’t have all that much in common, but that did not matter to her. She saw me as I am, and loved me for it. And I love her for that.”
Allison wakes from this dream in the still-dark early morning of the first day of this new year. She rises, stretches, and carries with her all day the warm sensation of being loved, even as the details of the dream melt away.