Dream of: 21 December 1997 "Visitation"

I had stopped by Upton's home in New Boston, the house where he had lived when we had both been in high school. We took seats in the living room and smoked a little marijuana. I dozed off or blacked out for a short while, and awoke lying on the couch. As I straightened myself up, I noticed a small amount of pot had been spilled on the floor. I also picked up a few marijuana seeds which had been separated out from the pot, and I mistakenly threw them back into the little container of pot sitting on the coffee table in front of the couch.

Upton was sitting on the floor in front of the coffee table, looking out over several containers which appeared to contain different kinds of drugs. Clearly Upton was dealing drugs and I thought I would buy some pot from him. As I stood up in front of him, however, a new idea entered my mind — I wondered if Upton had any heroin. I had never tried heroin; but it was becoming more popular and the heroin now available could be smoked instead of injected. I suddenly decided I would very much like to smoke some heroin. As I sat down on the floor in front of Upton, I asked Upton if he had any "smack." I told him I had never smoked any smack, but I had heard so much about it, I would like to try it. He seemed surprised by my question, but he indicated he did have some.

Before he could retrieve the heroin for me, I sat and scrutinized Upton's face, trying to figure out why this whole scene seemed so strange to me. Upton looked about the same as always; he was probably in his late 20s, and had short frizzy hair. But as I concentrated on his eyes, I suddenly remembered: Upton was dead. Or at least I had been told that Upton was dead, that he had died of AIDS. I remembered my old friend Weinstein had told me that Upton had died.

Now the whole history began coming back to me. Upton, Weinstein and I had all graduated from high school in the same year and had lived close to each other. Weinstein and I had lived in Portsmouth, and Upton in the neighboring town of New Boston. Upton had been gay, and I had never hung around with him much, although I had always found him to be a pleasant person. Over the years, Weinstein and Upton had both ended up settling down in Manhattan, where they became friends. Although I had lost contact with Upton, I had kept in touch with Weinstein, and one day Weinstein had called me to tell me Upton had died of AIDS.

As these memories returned to me, and I continued to stare at Upton's face, I was at a complete loss to explain what was going on. I blurted out to Upton that Weinstein had told me that he (Upton) had died of AIDS. I even remembered the conversation with Weinstein, how he had told me he had visited Upton at the hospital the day before Upton had died, and how Weinstein had attended Upton's funeral. I had accepted Weinstein's words as the truth, and I had long believed Upton was dead.

As I searched for an explanation, it occurred to me that I might possibly be dreaming. If that were the case, it would mean that Upton might actually be dead, and that he was trying to communicate with me in a visitation. But I felt sure I wasn't dreaming. It was easy to tell the difference between a dream and a waking experience: dreams tended to be hazy and vague, with a lack of detail. But everything in this room was bright and clearly defined. I wasn't simply focusing upon a misty image of Upton in front of me; I could see him perfectly. I could also look all the way around the room and see everything in the most minute detail. Such awareness simply wasn't possible in a dream. There simply could be no doubt that I was wide awake. Upton was alive and sitting in front of me.

Upton stood and indicated he was ready to smoke the heroin. I also rose and he indicated we should walk into a back room and smoke the smack there. But now as I followed him, I began to have another concern. If Upton were actually alive, he probably did indeed have AIDS. After all, it was certainly true he was gay. As we headed into the back room together, I thought of asking him if he had AIDS, but I refrained, deciding that such a question would be too impolite. However I was concerned because I was now worried about smoking the heroin with Upton. If Upton rolled the heroin into a joint, and we smoked it together, was it possible I could catch AIDS from him? It seemed as if I had heard it was possible to contract AIDS from an infected person's saliva. How could I possibly take such a risk?

As soon as we were in the back room and the door was shut, Upton pulled out a thin joint rolled in dark brown paper, the color of a shopping bag. He immediately lit it up, took a hit and handed the joint to me. Taking the joint in my hand, I could already smell the thick sweet smoke. I wanted to take a hit, but hesitated, as I looked at the end of the joint and saw it was moistened from Upton's lips. Nevertheless, throwing caution to the wind, I raised the joint to my lips and took a hit. I tried to simply hold the joint between my lips so the joint wouldn't touch my lips, but I still felt the moist paper come in contact with my lips.

Immediately I knew I had made a terrible mistake. I stuck my finger in my mouth and tried to wipe my lips clean. I was afraid it might be too late. Perhaps the AIDS virus had already passed through my lips into my body. My body felt so strong and healthy. I had so much going for me. How could I have been so utterly stupid to have committed such a deplorable act?

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