I was a ghost. Full skirts rustling along the floor and a freshly starched apron and hat, all-white from vocation as well as from transparency.
I was a long-ago nurse in a hospital of the same vintage, dark wooden floors scrubbed to shine, massive windowpanes that opened up and out by pulley. I passed through a closed door and into a ward full of babies and to the first crib in a long row. I knew him as Liam, knew him as mine. He was plump and sleeping. I gathered him in my arms and nodded to the other people there, and they nodded back. They saw me for what I was. Bleeding light like heat I drifted back through the closed door with him in my arms, and that was the beginning of the rest.
"It's not exactly rocket science as far as dream interpretation goes," I told a friend later.
"How do you mean?" she asked.
"Because in the dream we were together, and I felt joyful but ordinary. Ordinary in such a good way. Physics and shit luck and everything else hadn't happened. I was just his mother. He's gone now, and I can't access him the way I used to. He feels a long way away, or like a window has closed. But that dream... it's not an expression of grief. It wasn't sad. It was right. I don't dream—not that I can ever remember. So it's a rare thing."
"That's good," she said. "How did you know you were a ghost?"
"I was seeing through the eyes of a bystander, but I was inside the consciousness of myself at the same time. As a bystander I looked at the nurse and baby and thought 'She is his mother, and he is her son.'"
My friend knows dreams. She's one of those types. She looked in a book from her shelf:
May represent feeling a need to be taken care of or healed.
May suggest a physical or emotional healing is in progress.
May symbolize a part of you that is nurturing and taking care of other parts of you.
She put the book on her lap and appraised me, satisfied.