A tale of a very special house. (12/2002)
Her hair still a mess, but her teeth brushed, Claire closed the door to the guest bedroom in which she had slept and skipped down the stairs and entered the kitchen. “Good morning, Anne,” she said as she saw her host sitting at the table drinking a cup of coffee and reading the morning paper.
“Good morning, Claire. How did you sleep?”
Claire didn’t really know how to answer; she hadn’t actually slept much and yet felt incredibly well rested. She had had the most amazing dream of her life, which had occupied her mind the entire night. Perhaps more amazing than the dream itself was the fact that she could remember it in its entirety. And in vivid detail.
“I had the most amazing dream last night. It was so powerful, so real.”
Anne looked up from the paper. Claire was now the third guest they’d had stay over to mention having had a dream of note while sleeping at her house. Maybe just coincidence, but maybe not.
“Do you want to tell me about it? It’s okay if you don’t want to – I know dreams are kind of personal. Maybe you don’t even remember it… that usually happens with really good dreams.”
“No, not this one. That’s the amazing part. Or at least one of the amazing parts. I remember everything.”
“That’s unusual, isn’t it?”
“That’s what they say. I know it’s unusual for me – I can almost never remember my dreams. They just sort of unravel when I try to recall them.”
“Yeah, exactly. That’s what happens to me, too.”
“Well let me tell you… this was a great dream to remember the details of…”
“Well, David and I were on a tropical island somewhere. For a while in the dream, we were just lying out by the pool, drinking daiquiris. At one point, we both hopped in the pool to cool off. We drifted over underneath this great waterfall and started getting frisky. Ten minutes later we were in the room going at it like rabbits. Like when we were in college. I swear I dreamt we were having sex the entire night.”
Anne, a bit shocked by her long-time friend, found herself feeling jealous. She and Tom hadn’t been physically close much lately. She listened quietly as Claire gave a semi-polite summary of her erotic dream.
“Well, I should go upstairs and take a shower and get ready to leave. My plane leaves in two hours.”
“I’m so glad you arranged your layover so you could spend the night. I miss seeing you and Dave.”
The women hugged and Claire hurried upstairs to get ready. Thirty minutes later, the women were hugging again. Then Claire waved out of the window of her rental car and was gone.
Anne went back to the kitchen table, topped off her coffee and tried to go back to reading the paper. But she couldn’t. She was too distracted by Claire’s dream.
A few months later, Anne’s nephew slept over in the guest room. Her nephew, John, was her sister’s 13-year old son. John was already five foot eight inches tall and it didn’t look as if he was going to stop growing any time soon. Her brother-in-law, John’s father, was six four. He’d come by to drop John off after dinner on a Friday night.
“Thanks, Anne. We really appreciate you letting John stay with you. Debbie Murphy, the mother of one of John’s teammates will pick John up in the morning. She’ll be at your place by 6:00 a.m. John’s game is at 7.”
“No problem at all. Nice to see you.”
“You too. See you soon.”
Anne turned towards John and motioned towards the door.
“Thanks Auntie Anne.”
“You’re welcome, John. You’re always welcome here. Who are you playing tomorrow?”
“Andover. They’re undefeated so far this season. They won the league championship last year.”
“Well, get some rest tonight so you’re ready for the big game.”
“That’s the plan.”
Debbie Murphy picked up John at 6:00 a.m. the following morning. Anne was still sleeping when Debbie’s van pulled out of the driveway. John had left a short “Thank You” note on the kitchen counter.
Anne showered, dressed and headed out for a day of leisurely shopping. After a light lunch – a great Niçoise salad and an iced tea – she returned home. As she threw her keys on the kitchen counter near the phone, Anne noticed that she had a message on her machine. She pressed the big round button on the machine and grabbed a Diet Coke out of the refrigerator while she waited for the message to play. It was a message from John, her nephew. He was going on and on excitedly about how well he’d played (he’d scored two goals), how his team had won the game and how he completely credited the intense visualization he’d had in his dream last night.
When Christmas came a few months later, Anne and Tom had three couples over for Christmas dinner. Anne stayed with the classics – turkey and ham – while Tom made a delicious corn casserole and homemade pumpkin pie. During the course of their two-hour feast, the eight friends consumed six full bottles of wine. Not surprisingly, at the end of the night, the visitors were in no position to drive home and needed to crash. Anne and Tom, having a large country home, easily accommodated their friends. After making their visitors comfortable in their guest rooms, Anne and Tom headed off to bed.
Anne’s husband, Tom, was VP of Sales at a local high tech company. He was constantly traveling as evidenced by his 10k membership, which meant he’d flown over a million miles in the past year. He had just come back from Boston the previous night, and although tired from his trip, he was invigorated by the dinner party and by how beautiful Anne looked. They made love for the first time in weeks.
As they did every Christmas morning since they’d been married ten years earlier, Anne and Tom woke up early, made coffee and nestled on the couch reading the paper while listening to Christmas music. In an hour or so, they’d take their long walk in the nearby hills, then rent a bunch of sappy Christmas movies like “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Die Hard 2” (Tom swore that it qualified as a Christmas movie) and watch them all day long.
Tami and Chris came downstairs around 8:00. Both looked somehow different. The way people look when they’ve made a big life decision and are feeling confident about it.
“Hi guys. How’d you sleep?”
“Great, thanks,” Tami answered.
“Thanks for letting us stay over,” Chris added. “I guess we both had a little to much to drink.”
“No worries, guys. That’s what friends are for.”
“Well, speaking of being friends, we wanted to share our decision with you…”
Anne and Tom glanced at each other and then turned back at Tami, who continued.
“We’ve decided to sell our house and travel the world for a year. We’re going to start a family afterwards, but both really want to see the world before we settle down with kids.”
Remembering her friend Claire, her nephew John, and several other guests that had spoken of having powerful dreams while staying at their house, Anne asked whether they’d been planning the idea for a long time or not. If her suspicions were right – and she was confident they were – she thought she knew the answer.
Tami answered first. “No. In fact, we’ve never really talked about it. I mean, except for always saying we want to travel. We just made up our minds this morning.”
Chris added, “Yeah… it was the strangest thing. We both had essentially the same dream last night. It was weird, I’m telling you.”
“But it made us both realize how much we want to travel. First Europe, then Asia. Maybe Australia and New Zealand.”
“And lots of time here in the States. Maine, Boston, the South, Alaska.”
“Yeah, Alaska. It’s going to be great.”
Just then, Barbara and John came downstairs, followed almost immediately by Katherine and Kurt. Both couples entered the living room just as Tami and Chris were excitedly sharing their newly formed plans.
“What’s all the excitement?”
Anne answered, “Tami and Chris are going to travel the world, the lucky ducks.”
“Really? How exciting.”
“Yeah. We’re pretty excited,” Chris replied. “Mostly we just want to see the world before starting a family.”
Barbara started to speak. “Speaking of family –”
Anne suspected that the mystery of her dream house had been working overtime the previous night. Sure enough, Barbara continued.
“John and I have decided to have kids. Lots of them. I had this amazing dream. It just felt so… right. In my dream, our house was full of children. Six, seven, eight of them. Maybe more. There were boys and girls and toys and bikes and dolls and a messy house full of love and joy and laughter. When I woke up, I told John about my dream.”
“And I told her I’d had exactly the same dream. We both always wanted kids so much, but we’d never really talked about it much. And, sorry for coming down so late this morning but, er, well, I suspect Barbara will be giving birth to our first in about nine months.
“I wondered what all that noise was this morning,” joked Kurt.
Barbara blushed, but joked back, “At least we’ll be saving money on the condoms we won’t be needing.”
Next to chime in was Katherine. She and Kurt had their news to share as well.
“Well, well. It looks like we all have our announcements. Kurt and I have some news as well. We’re getting divorced.”
“What?” This was the shocked response from their six friends in the room.
“Are you sure?”
“You should get counseling. Talk things over.”
“Come on guys,” someone pleaded.
“Hush all of you. I know you all mean well, but Kurt and I realized last night that we’re just not compatible. We love each other and always will. But, we’re not meant to be together. I know this must be hard for all of you to accept, but trust us, we’re sure. It may sound strange, but we’re both happy and at peace with our decision.”
“Wow,” was about all anyone could say.
Anne’s and Tom’s guests left an hour or so later. Once they were gone, Anne and Tom settled in to watch their movies. After watching three movies, Anne and Tom had a late, romantic candlelit dinner of leftovers. During dinner, Anne began describing her suspicion – that somehow their guest rooms, their house – was responsible for the powerful dreams that their visitors had been having. Tom thought she was crazy at first, but the more examples Anne gave, the more he had to admit to himself that she might be on to something, however strange. He reluctantly agreed to her request that they sleep in one of their guest rooms that night.
Once the table was cleared and the dishes were in the dishwasher, the two headed upstairs for bed. After brushing their teeth, washing their faces and changing into their nightclothes, the two walked down the hallway to the guest room across the hall. With a twinge of excitement, they crossed the doorway into the room. Moments later, they were under the covers and ready for bed.
The following morning, Anne and Tom set out on their new life course and one month later, the town’s newest – and soon to be the most popular – bed and breakfast was opened.