Usually when I dream, I at least have the suspicion that it’s a dream… I just had a nightmare that was unrelentingly vivid, and even now that I’m awake, I’m still shaking.

In the dream, I get a car, and I’m driving around Tokyo. It’s a rainy day, and I’ve been walking around Disneyland. Daryle and Amy are in a car behind me. I’m at a stoplight, and the lane I’m in becomes a parking lane on the next block, so I speed up as soon as the light turns green, merging lanes so that I can get ahead of the car next to me.

Except my foot’s all slippery from the rain and I can’t get to the brakes.

When I run over the cars at the next light, I remember being a bit surprised that I didn’t outright crash into them, but instead went over them. Maybe my car’s lighter than I thought. Maybe no harm is done. I start my fight or flight response… maybe if I speed up, they won’t catch me and everything will be normal.

But I pull over to the side of the road. Good thing, too, because one of the cars there was an unmarked cop car, and it’s pulling in right by me.

As it pulls in, I notice it has a gaijin in the back in cuffs, and he’s mouthing something to me urgently. I can’t tell what it is.

They get two half-Japanese, half-gaijin cops to drill me, the classic bad-cop, good-cop routine. One starts talking about how I was drunk and ran over a kid, which I of course object to — I didn’t have a drop to drink, and there was no kid.

Except there was a kid. Somewhere between 5 and 8. And he’s dead.

Suddenly, nothing I say will matter. There won’t be a trial. There won’t be a waiting period. My visa’s going to be cancelled and I’m going to be sent back, without so much as saying goodbye. And I’m going to have to live with being a murderer for the rest of my life.

What I remember after that is the horrific crying, the non-stop, body-shaking wailing that I collapsed into on the way out of the station. I’d explained my situation, how I just hadn’t driven in awhile, and my foot slipped, and how sorry I was, and it’d fallen on deaf ears. Well, of course they’re deaf ears. I’m a murderer.

I get back home, and for some reason, Shawn is the only one meeting me there — Daryle and Amy are nowhere to be seen. As the cops are walking me along, Shawn is protesting, saying that “You don’t know this guy, he’s got this awesome website he’s helping us make, and who’s gonna take that over?!” and I just fucking lose it and yell and yell and yell at him to shut up, just shut his mouth and go the fuck away.

When I get in my apartment, I fall apart, crumple up in a corner and just cry.

No saying goodbye to Japan.

No saying goodbye to my kids. Who knows what they’ll do for a teacher. Who knows what they’ll say.
No goodbyes to the JETs. Everything I’d been planning to do for them, up in smoke. No plane ticket back. No nothing.

No Golden Week in Okinawa. No saying goodbye to Kana, no explanation to her.

And when I come back, what then? Could I ever live with myself again? I’m a murderer. What could I possibly do that would fix that?

I cried for what seems like hours… then I woke up. It’s the crying I remember and the crying that’s staying with me, even as I finish typing this up. Terrible, gutteral moans, crying until there weren’t any tears.. convulsing like I was dry heaving, until my sides physically hurt. Then doing it some more.

At least I have no classes to teach today.