I almost wasn't going to mention this, but this experience was singular enough that I thought it might be interesting. It concerns a dream I had about a week ago. Even though it has been several days, the dream was vivid enough that the emotions it aroused haven't yet faded.
Here was the dream: I was at some kind of park, one with playground equipment. It was semi-dark, as though during twilight, and there were just a few people around and some kids playing on the equipment. I was there to see an ex-girlfriend. Who, exactly, wasn't specified in the dream, in that ambiguous way dreams are so good at doing. So to any previous girlfriends who might be reading this, fear not, because it wasn't that specific. I think it was supposed to be a sort of amalgamation of both known-past and unknown-future girlfriends.
Anyway, I went to this park to meet with this ex-girlfriend and shoot the breeze. Not long into the conversation, she drops the bomb: "Soon after we broke up so many years ago I discovered I was pregnant." I was floored. Was she implying it was mine? She then points beyond me, and I look over and by the playground is this young girl about maybe four or five. I even remember what she looked like: dark straight hair, dusky complexion, and a light pink dress. And of course she looked a bit like me. I went over to this little girl and knelt beside her. She was looking up at me in that wide-eyed and vulnerable way little kids excel at. "Do you know who I am?" I asked. She nodded. "You're my daddy."
As soon as she said that I felt this surge of emotion that hit me really hard. This was the weirdest part of the dream -- not the memorable visual aspects, or the dialogue, but that rush of happy/sad emotion that punched me so hard. I remember being incredibly happy, so happy I started to well up with tears, and at that moment I awoke to find tears in my eyes for real.
People who think dreams predict the future won't have to work to hard to tell me what they think it means. Those who think dreams reveal secret inner desires won't have to work hard, either. But supposing that dreams are neither of those things, but are imaginitive translations of the firings, random or not, of our synapses, what could it possibly have meant? It could be I had in mind the little girls who live where I work -- there are three of them, the daughters of the caretaker of the tiny adult education center where I work, and they are probably the most happy children I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. Every time I come by, they see me and rush up to give me great hugs, shouting, "Sir! Sir!" and beaming great smiles. I don't know what their mother is doing to raise them so joyously, but she's doing something right. A visit to these girls raises my spirits every time. Perhaps my storm of hugs earlier in the day was playing in the back of my mind. It's children like those who can make one wish, perhaps, that maybe... one day...