We were in a house that was apparently his, though it was not the house in which he'd lived when we were kids, but a dream-altered version of the house which had been next door up the hill from my own. His younger sister was there, too, drifting about the rooms in the background as figures in dreams sometimes do. I knew even in the dream that, just the house and the landscape were not those I'd actually known in reality, he was not really the person I'd known. I think the dream was on the verge of lucidity, but I could not bring myself to interfere with its course. My dream-self kept talking, bringing up old times, making observations about how things had changed, and though I found his/my speech annoying I didn't make him shut up. Dream Richard was minimally communicative, almost serene, smiling at me and gazing off at the altered view distractedly.
The altered view- that was strange, too. Instead of the suburbanized valley floor and the distant mountains of reality, there was a nearby flood plain under development, a few small lakes and streams and patches of woodland, and a line of tall bluffs receding into the distance. Even in the dram, I knew this to be all wrong, yet I accepted it as real and found myself missing what had never existed-- this landscape as it had been decades earlier in dream time. I found both the dream place and dream Richard to be far more precious to me than their equivalents in reality had ever been. As the dream scene trailed off with gathering clouds releasing a few raindrops and mist obscuring the distant and so tantalizing bluffs, I tried to perpetuate them. I wanted to get to know that place and that person and that self with a history rooted in that dream world, but I managed only to convert a few of that world's images into memories to carry back to waking life.
Hours later I walked around my back yard enough times to make a good half mile, until the darkness away from the porch light grew so deep I'd be unable to tell if I were about to trip over the wandering cat. The crisp night air felt good, and I sat for a while on the porch, looking at the darkling shapes of the pines and oaks. I couldn't remain focused on the scene. The fragments of that dream still tinged the real world, distracting me. The longer I'm away from it, the more I want to be in that place that never really existed. Nostalgia for reality has been displaced by nostalgia for a creation of my subconscious. Perhaps I'll become untethered from reality altogether someday. If so, I hope that Richard and I get a chance to go exploring the stream that runs along the base of those bluffs. It's something we'd have enjoyed as kids, if we'd been real.