In the dream, my uncle John looks like he does in my memory, not the way he looked the last time I saw him at Thanksgiving. At Thanksgiving, he looked like hell, stomach bloated, body frail, cheeks sunken and hallow — the effects of serositis of the liver. In the dream, he looks like he always did; a big man, beer gut, salt-and-pepper grey hair. We’re in a car, driving, but I don’t think either of us is actually driving. We’re on a road that looks like Highway 1, it feels like we’re heading south, up by Sea Ranch, the Mendocino Coast, and we’re passing a series of old houses. Most of them are boarded up, in various states of disrepair. A few are still occupied, smoke coming out of the chimneys, old beat up, broken down trucks in the drives, the sort of houses you see a lot of on side roads in the Pacific Northwest. John and I are musing on who would buy these places. It’s beautiful up here, but who’s going to buy these houses? And why are they run down to begin with? Why did people leave? We decide to head to the coast and turn off the main road, and though it feels like we’re heading east now, I feel as though we’re getting closer to the water. We’re climbing a mountain pass and there’s snow on the ground.

My uncle John passed away last night, some time around 9 o’clock. My mom called this morning to tell me.

I’ve never dreamt of him in my entire life.