The Dream

Fate Magazine

The dream was so vivid.  Even now, decades later, I can recall it as though I just blinked awake.

It was 1974.  I was in eighth grade.  I awoke with a start one night, but the peace I felt was so all-encompassing; so new; so welcomed.  In my dream I had been with a group of my classmates.  We were on a large open cemented area.  We were trying to lift heavy boxes up onto a platform of some kind.  A crane hoisted large rope netting with boxes in it over our heads.  Suddenly the boxes came down on my head.  I was pushed to the ground but felt no pain.  A peace engulfed me unlike anything I’d experienced in my fourteen years on earth.  I heard crying and yet I was happy because of my peace and tranquility.  I awoke smiling.

I pondered that dream for months, grinning every time it crossed my mind.  I used the experience to help complete a creative writing assignment that year, finishing with the sentence, “I don’t anticipate death, but I no longer fear it.”

In 2001, while living just outside Raleigh, NC, I answered an ad in the newspaper to work for a NC-based airline.  A huge turnout, we were told about the positions for which they were interviewing.  “Ramp work” was paired with customer service desk work.  It sounded good to me so I jumped through all the hoops and was accepted into their eight-week training course. 

I was assigned two roommates and was given an apartment with a van that would shuttle us to our classes at the airport each morning. 

The first week was eye-opening as we were introduced to the various airplanes, told to memorize airport codes from across the country, updated on airline rules, codes and protocol.  We were taken onto the tarmac and shown how to guide planes in to their final resting spot, bring the jet bridge to the plane side and unload the luggage.  My biggest thrill was to actually guide a plane to a stop.

One day while my class of 12 was on the tarmac being shown how to load and unload luggage, the bottom door of the plane by the cargo area began to lower over my head.  Instantaneously my middle school dream was before me.   Although I had all but forgotten the vision, I was again on that large cemented area with my classmates.  The cargo door came toward my head and my body shook with the chill of death. 

I looked at a female classmate and whispered, “I dreamed this!  I’ve been here before!”  She smiled as one smiles at an insolent child interrupting a priest.  The peace I’d felt in that dream decades earlier returned to me from the top of my head to my toes. 

That night while taking to my husband on the phone, I told him about my childhood dream and about the experience on the tarmac.  He was troubled and suggested I quit right away.  I assured him I’d be careful and that if it wasn’t my time to die nothing would happen.  I tried to be logical.  “If it is my time to die, it doesn’t matter where I am, I’ll go.”  He was less than pleased.

One early morning during the beginning of the third week of training, we were each in our respective bedrooms preparing for the day and I listened to the news on the radio.  The announcer said that our airline had just filed Chapter 11.  I ran to the bathroom and banged on the door.  I yelled for my other roommate to come out of her bedroom.  Together we listened to the news.  I silently reflected on my dream and what it meant to remove this hazard from my life.

As our classmates gathered in the parking lot to wait for our shuttle van to pick us up, we began to lament our futures.  Once we all arrived in our classroom at the airport we were told that everyone except those from Connecticut and Georgia were being sent home immediately.  For me that just meant a drive into the suburbs.  The following week we learned that those few remaining trainees were also sent home. 

Sometimes when it “isn’t your time”, extreme things take place to redirect fate.  I’ve never had a recurrence of the dream or the feelings associated with it.   When I do I will know, my time has come.

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