I had many dreams last night but the one I am going to tell you about involves me going off to war. I was living on a planet that might as well have been Earth but wasn’t. I say that it might as well have been Earth because if you had been born into that world it would have been Earth to you. I say it wasn’t Earth because I had to go to war in some inhospitable [I had to wear a breathing apparatus] region of the planet and fight imposing insectobeasts. I never actually saw any of this, but I knew it from television in the dream. I never actually watched television in the dream but I still had this information from television as a sort of dream backstory. I find this interesting; a dream past, dream memories, strange. The war had been going on for a very long time.
I was in front of my mother’s old workplace with a group of other recruits and we were all saying goodbye. The only person there with me was my grandfather. We were talking about fishing, not fighting. When the call came for us to get on our transport [accompanied by a deafening roar as it started up] I suddenly felt panicked about what I was getting into and I hadn’t said goodbye. I turned and looked at my grandfather but didn’t say anything. Neither did he. We wouldn’t have been able to hear each other in any case. He just looked at me, a scared young punk kid, and that was enough to calm me and give me a sense of resolve.
The look that my grandfather gave me is what I find most interesting in this dream. That, and why it affected me so much. It was one of the most powerful dream moments I’ve ever had. I’m sure much of the power comes from my close kinship and friendship with my grandpa. Whenever we went fishing together was a great time. I’m sure part of it has to do with my engagement in the civics of Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, which helped me finally understand what most likely motivated my grandfather to fight in World War II. Which is probably why the look was so powerful. My grandfather understood what it meant to go to a far off place and fight to not die. Even though he was old when he saw me off, he probably saw his face overlaid on his young punk grandson. There probably wasn’t anything to say in that situation. Conveying complete understanding through that one look was probably the best thing my dream could have done.