“white surface” by Enrico Mantegazza on Unsplash

There was nothing except me . . . and whiteness.

Just the same bleached white space whereever I looked. I was searching for something other than the white light, when I realized that even searching was impossible. There was no space, no direction to look towards. There was neither up, nor down — I was just suspended, in a world, a universe, of me and and a pitiless white light.

I felt a panic, because I hungered for something, anything that was different. Some change in the light that my eyes (did I even have eyes?) could resolve into a horizon, a setting of the light, a change, any change. The plain, uniform whiteness mocked my restless energy. I wanted desperately to escape this white desert, to be somewhere, anywhere specific, a place with things in it. Here there was no time, because there was no change. I didn’t belong in this emptiness. I would be forever anguished as I drifted aimlessly in it. I yearned for some unremembered place where I knew I belonged.

With the wish came the change I sought. I discerned some lines, and as I looked harder I saw the lines become the rectangular outline of a door. The presence of a door now meant I was in a room.

A man knocked three times on the door, and I knew it was time for me to leave.

Now that I knew I had to leave that room, that surrounding globe of white, my restlessness turned into terror. The still, utter whiteness that was just a torment before time started now seemed the sweetest place of repose. The whiteness wasn’t cold now, no - it was a glowing, comforting embrace. Too soon the knock came, before I even knew I belonged where I had always been.

This simplest of dreams was the most disturbing dream I’ve ever had, and I often ponder it now, many years after I experienced it. It was a premonition of death, a knock on a door insisting that I had to leave this world. To this day, when I ponder it I still feel the same sharp fear I felt when I woke up, startled. Knowing my time will be up quickens my love for a world, and a life, that has almost always seems so unsatisfying.

Only when I’m called away will I appreciate what a grace this life was.

Retired software developer, husband, father. Student of history. Met Fan

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