My parents weren't sure if they wanted to sell their beautiful bungalow for a cement brick ranch on Mulberry Street. This house belonged to my Uncle Al who had recently passed away and the family offered to sell this house to them at a very low cost. I wasn't too pleased at first. I was always afraid that it was haunted (though it really isn't, it seems now) as it had such a rich past in our family's blood line.
It was built in the 1950's along with many other identical houses on the block, and my grandparents were the first residents. My grandmother had eight children, my mom being the youngest, and one of the five still living today. Not to mention, my grandfather had died of cancer when my mom was eight - she found him black and blue lying inside his bed, but still alive. My grandmother also died of cancer and lived her last months in what is now my bedroom. My Uncle Jim, one of the oldest, was found dying (so to speak) on the couch in the living room - he died in the hospital. My Uncle Al is the only other one to actually spend his last few moments in this house before facing death, but my Uncle Dave died only a few months before he did. They were really close.
Our house at the time was just one busy street away from my uncle's house. The move would be easy and rather inexpensive. We would get more for our cute little house than we would have to pay out later, but it was safe to say we mostly wanted to stay put.
One night I had a very strange dream. I was inside of my Uncle Al's house - it was dark all except for his computer room, which now contained a bed, a dresser, some luggage, and my parents. They were talking and I was thirsty. I made my way into the kitchen - "Is that you, Dave?"
My first reaction was fear. I could never miss that voice. It was my Uncle Al, and I froze right there in the doorway to the living room. There he was, sitting in his chair with his legs up, his newspaper open, and a full head of hair. His pipe was hanging out of his mouth and I could smell his tobacco. I didn't say a word.
"Dave, is that you?"
I stood there still, not able to move - not that I wanted to. I was honestly so terrified, you don't even know. All I could think about was how dead he was, how seriously dead. I watched his coffin as it was sealed inside a tomb forever. In a wall. In a cemetery really far away. But there he was clad in dark blue jeans, his (only?) white tennis shoes, black t-shirt with the pocket on the breast for his pipe - the glasses, the paper, the chair...
I could have told him that I love him or that I miss him but instead I remained silent and hoped that it was all just a dream, that I wasn't really seeing a dead guy - even if he was my uncle - sitting in the living room asking me if I was yet another dead guy (again, my uncle) and not looking up from his paper once. I don't think he knew it was me.
My Uncle Al was my favorite - we were really close. He spoiled me and I loved him to death. I visited him frequently. We talked in the backyard about politics. We both loved to play with Furby.
But he thought I was Uncle Dave.
At one point I mustered the courage to bolt straight out of there and into the computer room, at which point I tried to explain to my parents that Uncle Al was reading the paper, but I woke up mid-explanation and realized that it must have been a dream. I wasn't even in the right house.
I stepped out of my room for a glass of water and found myself face to face with my mom - who also seemed a little out of place. We just looked at one another. "I just had the strangest dream..."
She just stared at me for a moment and then responded, "Me, too. I had a dream about Al. He was sitting in his living room reading the paper. He wanted to know how I like his house..."