He awoke at 3 am as he had done so often that week. Once again, the same dream had been happening. Though he was beginning to think it was more nightmare than dream.
It was one of those dreams where he was standing in front of a panel of people he knew from his childhood who at one time or other had offered him advice.
In every dream, it was the same thing, “Did you try this? Did you try that?”
Always the dream ended with a chorus of voices saying: “He never listened. We knew he’d amount to nothing.”
Around him, the people at the table would be shaking their heads that look of: “If only he’d taken heed.”
In the early hours of the morning, there are very few distractions, and his mind wandered to what the dream was saying.
Yes, he remembered as a child being told his sporting ability could take him to high places, that his school work showed promise and if he applied himself there was no telling where it might have led him.
But he had a lazy streak about him. It was easier not to apply himself. Easier to join his mates and go out partying at every opportunity such that he just passed his final school exams and was not able to get into University.
He had a series of dead end jobs, joined a rock band and played bass with them. They enjoyed moderate success but because he was lazy practice was not something he desired. Instead, the thrill of the performance, the girls who threw themselves at him was far more instantly gratifying than any school or university course.
But like everyone else, he grew old. He lost his boyish charm and looks. The band disintegrated, he fell out of work, he couldn’t do manual labouring work as his back was shot and so he relied on social security.
And now these dreams were happening one after the other.
What was it he could do now?
It gnawed at him that he found himself in this predicament.
Then an add appeared in the local paper. “Volunteers needed at the Red Cross Centre. No experience needed.”
Inside him, something stirred. He’d turn up, see what they wanted and how he could help. It had to be better than sitting at home twiddling his thumbs. After all, he was sure he had people skills.