The Gift – Part I

         Andy looked at the instructions he had written down on a scrap of paper from the night before.  They were barely legible.  Jesus Andrew, your handwriting looks like a kindergartener wrote it! 

        He stood at the top of the hill looking out over the valley.  It had taken him forty-five minutes to hike up to this exact location.  He scanned the valley looking for the marker.  The sky was dark and cloudy making it even harder to see.  Thunder rumbled up ahead.  Damnit.  Where is it?

        Suddenly, as if responding to his thoughts, lightning flashed down from the clouds and struck a large willow tree in the distance.  Right in front of you!  The lightning bolt sent chills down his spine and raised the hairs on the back of his neck. 

        Andy started thinking back to the dream he had the night before, the dream that had given him the instructions.  In his dream, Andy was at a party, mingling about, when he noticed his friend Jon at the top of the stairs, making his way down towards him.  He was excited to see Jon because it had been over three months since he had seen him.  Three months since Jon’s suicide.  That’s when Andy realized he was having a lucid dream.

        Jon came down the stairs and gave Andy a huge bearhug.  “It’s great to see you, Andy!”

        “Jon, it’s so good to see you!  I have so many questions.  So many…”

        “Not now,” said Jon, cutting him off.  “Follow me to the backyard.”

        Andy followed Jon outside the house and away from the party.  The backyard was empty and dark, except for a small lantern dimly lit, sitting on a table by the swimming pool.  They walked over to the table and sat down.

        Immediately Andy recognized the lantern.  It was the lantern Jon and Andy always used when they went camping. 

        “Jon…” Andy started.

        “Sshhh,” Jon interrupted.  “There’s no time for any of that.” 

        Jon handed Andy a notebook and pen.  “I’m going to give you specific instructions and I want you to write them down.”

        “Jon, we’re in a dream, how is writing them down going to help me?”

        “Your mind doesn’t know the difference between a dream and reality.  Believe me, it will help.”

        Jon started giving Andy the instructions; about what, Andy had no idea, but he wrote them down feverishly.  Once he was done, Andy looked up into Jon’s eyes.  They were full of pride and satisfaction.

        “This is my gift to you,” said Jon.  And then Andy woke up.

        Andy shook the remnants of the dream from his mind, looked out over the valley at the willow tree, then started making his way towards it.

        A light rain began to fall as Andy began the journey to the willow tree.  He flipped the hood of his rain jacket up over his head and pulled the drawstrings tight.  He placed the instructions in his pocket and zipped it up so it wouldn’t get wet.  What did you mean by: “This is my gift to you.”?  Andy thought.

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