Chapter 14 1998 - One Week


I and Angela awoke at 4 AM and couldn't fall back to sleep.

"Sunday is the one day each week that I can sleep in," I complained. "Why can't I have just this one?"

Angela disagreed. "You can sleep any day of the week, silly, there's nothing different about Sunday than any other day."

"Yeah, I know, this life of leisure can make one a bit lazy, I suppose. But come to think if it, Sunday is a bit different. Any other day of the week we've got to get up to either take the kids to school or to some Saturday morning event. Sunday, to me, is sleep day."

"You know," began Angela, "we could always go to church. We haven't done that for a long time."

"Church? I'm afraid the walls would fall down once we entered the building. At the very least, the minister would probably pass out on the floor as soon as he saw our faces."

"You know, we used to go regularly. Now we don't even attempt to make a token visit on Christmas or Easter."

"And what good is it to start going now? You think my soul needs saving? Remember, I've seen it , I'll be around until I'm 113. What's going to church going to do for me?"

"How do you know it's not because we go to church that you'll reach that ripe old age?"

"Tell you what. Give me one week and if anything bad happens then we’ll start going to church next Sunday. One week."


At 4 AM, I woke covered in sweat, heart beating rapidly and mind racing. Angela, disturbed from her slumber asked, "What's wrong? You look like you've seen a ghost."

"I think I have. It was just a dream. No, a nightmare. My grandfather was haunting me, telling me I've got to change my ways or spend an eternity in Hell to atone. I barely knew my grandfather, he died while I was still young. Why would I dream about him?"

"Could be that sign you were seeking about going to church. Why else? Was there anything there to indicate that’s what he was suggesting."

"Dreams don’t work that way. They are never explicit. They’re wrapped up in mystery, and full of symbology. I’m sure it was just a dream. Nothing more. You got me all worked up yesterday and this is what manifested. It's nothing. Go back to sleep, it's still dark. We’ve got three good hours of sleep ahead of us."

I lay there for another hour before he could fall back to sleep, pondering the dream. Did it really mean he should go to church? Was his grandfather’s dire warning going to come true? Was his life of leisure going to get him in the end?

“It was just a dream,” he told himself. “Nothing but a silly memory that worked it’s way into my slumbers.”

But if he could disregard this one, could he continue to believe his 113 prediction?


I woke at 4 AM on Tuesday, as well, but there was no dream, no sweats, no rapid heart beat. Just a feeling of calm and solace. This began to worry him. “What now?” he thought suspiciously. “Is this some sort of mind trick?

Setting it aside, he fell back asleep quickly, and woke at his normal time of 7 AM. He felt refreshed, as if the interruption of sleep at 4 AM hadn’t even happened. “Did I dream that as well?” he wondered. But the feeling had been so vivid, he knew it had to be reality.

As was his usual custom, he visited each of his children’s rooms and woke them to get ready for school. Each one greeted him with a smile and a hug, and I felt a warm sensation flow through him. “This isn’t how it usually goes,” he thought. “There’s usually some level of complaint. At least one of them feigns sickness. What is going on?

As the day progressed, events unfolded as without effort, every step he took felt like he was walking on thin cushions, not enough to feel clumsy, but just enough to take away the cares of the day. The taste of food was a little sharper and pleasant, the drinks crisper and more refreshing. Even water tasted better than he had ever experienced.

When he finally retired at his usual bedtime, the complete sense of calm once again enveloped him, and his last thought as he drifted off to sleep was “Is this Heaven?


I woke on Wednesday at 7 AM, fully rested and ready to face the day ahead. He was not quite ready to get out of bed, just yet, as he vividly recalled yet another dream during the night. His grandfather appeared again, kindly addressing him this time, as opposed to the fire and brimstone speech of his dream two nights before. “Yesterday was my gift to you,” he heard him say. “This is the kind of peace you can expect, if you only believe.”

His grandfather’s words were mysterious, nearly incomprehensible. “Believe? Believe what?”

“Believe” and grandfather faded away.

As I arose from bed, he stubbed his toe on the bedpost, and the kids were being rambunctious and not willing to cooperate about going to school. In other words, pretty much a normal awakening. “Was yesterday just another dream?” he wondered. “It seemed so vivid, so but unreal at the same time.

The rest of the day had him feeling uneasy again, wondering what was around the corner at every step. Was danger lurking? Was injury imminent? He couldn’t place a source for his anxiety. Nothing was really going horribly wrong. It was in general, just a normal day, but he couldn’t shake the feeling that something was different. He felt as if his head was in a cloud. Interactions with others did not have the same feel, and he wasted no time finding his bed, ready to shake off the day and try again tomorrow.


I woke at 4 AM, once again in a sweat, and with a pounding headache. He got up to take an aspirin, and found the bottle empty. The room temperature was like a refrigerator, and the sweat chilled him to the bone. Angela lay asleep, undisturbed, and he couldn’t bear the thought to try and wake her up to ask what she might be experiencing.

He slipped on his robe and slippers and went downstairs. Opening the refrigerator, he pulled out a carton of milk, so that he might sip the comfort of a warm glass. He poured into a glass, only to discover that the milk was curdled, plopping into the glass, and splashing over onto the countertop. The smell was putrid, and he quickly poured it down the drain, flicking on the garbage disposal to rid himself of the foul liquid. The switch failed to engage the disposal, so he only was able to flush it down with water from the tap. “At least that’s working,” he thought, “I’ll have to call the repairman later this morning.”

He looked over at the phone and noticed it was off the hook. Picking it up, he listened to hear only silence. “I must have forgotten to hang up after the last call.” But he couldn’t recall a call coming in, or making a call. “Maybe someone else did it. I’ll have to get after the kids for not taking care of things properly.” He hung up, waited a few moments and picked up again, but the line was dead. “Great. I’ll have to use the neighbor’s phone to call the disposal repairman and the phone repairman.” As he stepped out to leave the room, he slipped on some of the spilled milk, and his head on the counter on the way down. He fell, unconscious, to the floor.


I awoke the next morning, once again at 4 AM, in bed with no idea how he got there. Angela lay beside him, as if she hadn’t moved. He touched his head when it had impacted the countertop, but felt no injury, not even a slight bump. He got up, looked into the mirror and could see no evidence of his unfortunate fall. He’d lost a complete day. Had he been in the hospital? Was he suffering from amnesia induced by the fall? He once again went downstairs into the kitchen and checked the refrigerator. The carton of milk was still there. He gingerly open the top and took a sniff. Perfectly fine. He poured a glass, and it came out smoothly. Placing the glass in the microwave oven, he heated it to a perfect 120 degrees, warm enough to comfort, and not too hot to burn his mouth. He decided to add a dash of chocolate to it, and popped in a couple of small marshmallows as well. It went down with satisfaction and relaxation.

I returned to the bedroom. Angela hadn’t stirred and he was fine with that. He had not wished to disturb her in his night cravings for comfort food. As he lay down and his head hit the pillow, he fell asleep in a matter of seconds.


4 AM arrived, and the alarm went off. I quickly silenced it to not disturb Angela, and it appeared as if he had succeeded, as she did not stir. “It must be my curse to wake at 4 AM, but I’m not tired, so maybe I’ll just accept it and watch a bit of TV. Maybe that will help me fall asleep and wake at a more normal hour.

I headed downstairs once again, and sat down in his easy chair. He picked up the remote and wondered what might even be on TV at this ungodly hour. As the image begin to emerge on the screen, it revealed itself as his grandfather. “I’m not dreaming this,” he mumbled to himself. “But I don’t understand what’s happening. Maybe I’ve seen this show before, and the man I’m seeing was appearing in my dreams, and I just assumed it was my grandfather.”

The image addressed him directly, and I was taken by surprise. “It’s been one week, and you’ve seen what life can offer, both good and bad. Choose wisely, my son. Choose wisely.”


I looked over at the alarm clock and it read 7 AM. Turning over, he saw Angela laying there, looking at him. “I’m glad we were able to fall back asleep, I needed those few hours.”

“What’s today?” he asked her.

“Still Sunday, just like it was three hours ago when we woke up. Why?”

“Oh, nothing,” as a calm of peace once again overcame him. “Let’s get ready for church.”