During my younger days, the neighbourhood boys would often come round to our house to chat with my brothers, especially the older three. As shy as I was, I even got to know a few of them quite well. Not many, just two or three, which was enough really. It just seemed natural when certain friendships were formed. They were older and all they were to me were "the neighbourhood boys" and nothing more.

One of the boys, D, was two years older and always seemed a bit of a loner to me. He was tall and lanky and had a younger sister but wasn't close to her. He came round often as he was also one of my older brother's schoolmates. We did talk now and then though not very often. In fact, he and I hardly shared any lengthy conversations. He seemed nice enough and was always polite and helpful to my parents. I think about him now and wish that he and I had communicated more with each other.

I think about him now because not too long ago, I dreamt about him. The dream was rather vivid although now I'm not sure what it was about. I think I dreamt about him two nights in a row so naturally I thought that there had to be a reason for it. He was in my dream and I wasn't sure why. And I wondered if he was all right.

Long before I left home to get married, he had migrated to another country with his parents and sister. Some time later, when I was in my early twenties, he came back to stay with us for a while. My mother was kind enough to offer him free board and lodging while he tried to find whatever it was he was trying to find. I still didn't know his entire story. He seemed a little lost but maybe he was just unhappy, unsure about his future.

When I was about-twenty-one, I was working as an assistant teacher at a child-care center. There was a Saturday meeting that the Principal wanted me to attend but it clashed with a parish retreat that I was also participating in. The Principal wouldn't take no for an answer so my mother asked D if he would drive me back to the church (I managed to find my way to the center on my own, if I remember correctly) and he was kind enough to oblige. I remember sitting beside him in his car, feeling a little awkward at first but grateful that he was so willing to help. We made some small talk and there is a vague recollection about fast cars. He certainly seemed very much at home behind the steering wheel.

Why even write about D just because of a dream? Why not? Upon waking up, the dream bothered me and there was a nagging feeling that wouldn't leave me. I was troubled about something -- about D -- and I didn't know why. In the dream, he and I knew one another and we talked. I remember that much. For a few days, my thoughts were on D and I prayed for him as I had never prayed for him before. I even went so far as to contact my third brother who used to be in touch with D and had even visited him but who hadn't heard from him for almost a decade. And I asked my brother to pray for him, even telling him that the dream left me feeling uneasy and a little sad, and I didn't know why. I did think about D on and off but he was always at the back of my mind as were the others that I used to know, just an old childhood acquaintance, a friend of my brothers, a neighbourhood friend who frequently visited our home.

And I think about him again because I vaguely remember being told that he went to his parents with tears in his eyes after finding out that my father had passed away. I was seventeen at the time so he was nineteen.

As an older adult, I am reminded that I didn't know D very well even though he often came over to our house, spending many hours with my brothers. He would sometimes smile and I think I smiled back and we would make small talk but I was really so shy during those younger days that it's hard to sometimes recall.

Now, many years later, with the both of us so much older and having experienced more of life, I think about D and hope that he is well and in a good place in his life. Those dreams that troubled me somewhat upon waking up were the only ones I had, or remember having. And even though he and I are thousands of miles apart, I even think about D fondly these days as I do all the others. How could I not? It was a different time and place and we were all younger and maturing with each passing year, living our lives then, not knowing -- I certainly didn't -- where we would be twenty years later.

I just hope he found whatever it was that he was looking for. And I hope that he is happy. Until I can know for certain, I can always hope.


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