Dream of:30 September 1983 "Mr. Payne"
Brian and I were running together down the middle of the street in front of the Gay Street House while cars passed both ways on both sides of us. We held on to each other as we ran and swung each other around so sometimes our feet would leave the ground.
A car headed north toward us slowed down almost to a stop. The driver apparently feared he might hit us.
We stopped running and I looked at the House. In an upstairs window sat my brother Chris in a wheelchair. He stood up from the wheelchair for a moment and looked out the window, but he didn't see me. He was becoming weaker, so standing up from his wheelchair was more and more difficult.
Brian and I entered the House and walked into a room where my father had his office. While Brian exited into another part of the House, I sat down on a little bench in a recessed corner.
I heard my father coming. He entered the room, followed by a tall slender man (about 35 years old). They were talking with each other (at first I didn't think they were going to see me) about having an alcoholic drink; my father asked the man if he wanted a drink.
Suddenly my father turned to me and said, "And Steve, do you want a drink?"
I told him I didn't. My father introduced me to the man, whose name was Mr. Payne.
Brian walked back into the room and when my father introduced himself to Brian, I said, "This is Brian. And this is Mr. Payne."
I told them that although I didn't want to drink, Brian might.
My father began talking about the work he was doing. He was apparently engaged in teaching children like my brother Chris to read and write. He said he had been quite successful teaching the children. He had also been teaching Chris to read and write.
Lying nearby were several notebooks which my father used to teach the students. Apparently a separate pile of notebooks was stacked up for each student.
My father mentioned how he had needed to lie to one little girl about what he had been teaching her. Since the girl hadn't wanted to learn, my father had pointed to someone in terrible shape out on the street and had harangued the girl that the person on the street was the kind of person who had tried and who had failed to learn. My father seemed to feel a bit guilty because he hadn't actually known anything about the person on the street. The little girl, however, had been the only person he had had to lie to; the rest of his students had done well without lies.
I thought about Chris – I wouldn't be in Portsmouth long. I had been there several days and I had only seen Chris a few times. I had been neglecting him; I really wanted to spend time with him.
I was unsure what Mr. Payne did. Apparently he had also tried to teach children before, but had failed miserably. I asked him his occupation and he told me he was a preacher. I asked him if he would be preaching soon. He said he would tomorrow. I told him I hoped he would do well. Mr. Payne said, "Steve, I can guarantee you, I'm going to fuck up."
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