For some time I had been at this exquisite party. It resembled something like a red carpet event being held in a Japanese-style bathhouse in Heaven.
I had since lost memory of how I got there, who I had come with, where I had been before… but apparently I was really working the room here because, next thing I knew, someone introduced me to River Phoenix!
He didn’t look like River Phoenix. But somehow, absorbed in the logic of that placed, I was convinced it was him. He was kind of a nerdy-looking guy who seemed like he was about mid-thirties. He had the feeling of being an ‘old soul’, or someone wise beyond their years- a child prodigy. He was the kind of character that I might normally find intellectually intimidating. At this moment, however, I was quite enthusiastic about our meeting.
Introducing myself, I told him I too was an actor- in an experimental theatre group.
“Experimental theatre, huh? You’re not gonna make many silver dollars doing that.” he quipped.
I didn’t get it and yet somehow it occurred to me as funny, so I laughed.
River Phoenix was a cool dude. He gave off a feeling of profound calm and it was infectious. For days afterwards, I had felt like I was hovering above my mundane day-to-day reality.
My meeting with him may have been as brief as what I have already described here, or maybe it went on for what we would consider hours. The sense of time is often lost on these kind of experiences.
Eventually, my life in Sydney began to filter in until I was completely back there in my bed.
A couple of nights later, I was up late watching videos on YouTube. Some long thread of random selections led me to watch this one where an African-American preacher was heralding the end-times.
This was at the beginning of the Global Financial Crisis- a time when, this preacher believed, the prophesied Armageddon was about to take place.
He raved about this for several minutes and with such passion and appropriate Bible quotations that I was almost ready to believe.
And then there was something of an incongruity from him…
Having established the idea that the Earth was about to fall away and God’s people about to be beamed up to Heaven, the preacher- taking an unexpected turn towards financial concerns- had one word of advice.
“You need to get yourself some of these…”
He held up a coin.