Charles Walker Heywood
For the first 5 or 10 years after Walker died, I’d have these dreams where we’d be discussing what was wrong. We couldn’t figure out the problem but it hovered there in the dream, and we knew it was bad. Then, when I woke up, I’d have that one weird moment when you’re awake but you aren’t up to speed on events. Then it would hit again: What was wrong was that Walker was dead. He had been killed in a terrorist strike on a Pan Am jet while it was on the ground at the airport in Rome, Italy on December 17th, 1973.
All these years later, the dreams have evolved to the kind last night where Walker returns. Last night he appeared in a cab – not as young as when he died at 19 – but around 30 in appearance. I walked up to him and said, “You’re Charles Walker Heywood. I haven’t seen you in over 25 years.”
The best part of the dream was the absence of pain. He was amused, and so was I, just the way we used to kid around back when we were best friends growing up in Arabia. He even jokingly disputed the facts of his own demise. When I’d say how it had happened, with a phosphorous bomb thrown in the middle of a jet full of people, he laughed it off, saying no, that was not how it had happened at all. We didn’t have the right date, we didn’t have any of the facts correct. We were mistaken, otherwise how could he be here now? I didn’t dispute any of this but I sort of knew he was kidding. We went out to the car and started carrying in all sorts of amplifiers, for Walker and I had been in bands together since 6th grade, almost continuously till he was a college student at Stanford.
I even glanced briefly at these strange amps, knowing they had to be vintage, but not recognizing any of them.
The mood was one of relief. We were actually quite irreverent and lighthearted as before the attack. Walker had returned, he was older now but still much younger than me, and the best part was that he was alive.