I visited Mom tonight. At one point she said, "Did I tell you what happened to me?"
I allowed as how no, she hadn't; what happened?
"They came and got me and put me on a stretcher, and they took me to the stationhouse. I was there for three solid hours! I didn't know what to do; I was afraid to complain! Finally they came and got me and took me back to that place where I was."
"Mom, do you think it might have been a dream?"
"No, it wasn't a dream. It was real. I was there for three hours, from six o'clock to nine o'clock!"
"Well, what do you mean, a stationhouse? Like a railroad station?"
"Sort of. It was a round room. And there were other people there."
"Was it a roundhouse? Like where they turn the train engines around?"
"Yes! Three hours! They just left me there!"
Gentle, be gentle, be gentle.
"Were you scared? It sounds scary."
"I was terribly scared! I didn't know what to do."
Hold her hand.
"Shall I talk to the staff? I can tell them not to take you anywhere else if you want me to."
"Oh no, don't do that. I don't want to make them mad."
"Did you know the other people?"
"I knew some of them. They were from that other place. I tried to call everybody! I called Annamarie, but she wasn't home."
Smooth her hair. Touch her face.
"You know, dreams can seem very real sometimes. I think you might have been dreaming."
"Well... But three solid hours!"
I may have convinced her it was a dream. Then again, who knows? Dreams are part of her reality now. Stephen King writes about places where reality is thin; where the difference between dreams and not-dreams fades. Who's to say that she wasn't in the stationhouse, waiting from six 'til nine? It was as real to her as the bed she lies in.
I guess it's all part of the journey.