I left the house at 4:30 a.m., slipping into the dark garage as quietly as I could so as not to wake my daughter’s dog, Winchester. When Winchester is awakened before his natural time to shake off the night’s sleep, he tends to drift off at inopportune times during the remainder of the day, like when he’s eating or relieving himself.

Seeming to have successfully left Winchester asleep in the den, I tapped the button on the garage door opener and watched the big white door rise to reveal the blackness of morning. I turned right out of the driveway, climbing the hill slowly to avoid slamming into armadillos and squirrels and raccoons. When I reached the top of the hill, the car did not follow the road down the other side but, instead, just kept going up at the same speed. I took my foot off the accelerator almost immediately when the wheels left the ground because, with the tires having no traction, the engine began to race.

I should have been surprised—shocked—at finding myself rising into the sky in my car, but for some reason it seemed perfectly natural to me. Looking through the windshield into the dark sky above, I felt calm and utterly at peace. When I looked out the side window to the ground below, I saw only a few dim street lights; but above me, the stars became brighter and brighter as I climbed higher.

“Dad?” I was startled to hear my daughter’s voice. “Dad, what are you doing?”

“Denise, where are you?” Her voice sounded as if she were right next to me, but I was alone in the car.

“I’m right here.”


“In the radio. I mean, I’m not IN the radio, I’m talking to you THROUGH the radio. I’m sitting next to Winchester in the den. He told me you left a few minutes ago. Where are you going?  And why is the car five thousand feet in the air?”

“How do you know that, Denise? And how are you able to talk to me through the radio?”

“C’mon! Think about it, Dad.”

“Okay, you’re saying I’m having one of my weird dreams, right?”


And that’s where it ended. I don’t know where I was going, but it was obvious Denise didn’t want me to go there.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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