I had just found out that an old restaurant colleague of mine from back in Chicago had recently moved to The Hague, where she was now a lawyer at the International Criminal Court.
Dina C. had been living in Alaska where she was a public defender for many years.
She had bought a castle-like building on the roundabout just off the Low Water bridge where the ground floor was made into a flower shop run by her wife.
On the second floor, Dina—who I found out had attended cosmetology school when she was younger—opened a small hair salon where, during her spare time, saw a select group of personal clients.
One day, I made an appointment, but using a fictitious name as I wanted to surprise Dina, who I hadn't seen for years.
Upon arriving at the salon, I was greeted by a woman who I didn't recognize but who knew me and came gleefully running over to me with tears in her eyes and calling me by my childhood nickname, "Ricky," which I immediately thought was strange as by the time I had met Dina in my mid-twenties, most people I knew called me "Richard."
The woman told me to lay down on what looked like a massage table and I thought it was odd that there was no barber chair in the room.
Seeing the confused look on my face, she told me that she liked cutting her customer's hair lying down and that her customers were equally as pleased with concept as it allowed them to fully relax during their appointment.
I stretched out on the table and the woman climbed up and told me to turn over on my stomach. She then sat on top of me and began cutting my hair.
When she was done with the back and sides, she told me to roll over on my back and proceeded to sit down on top of me again while cutting the top.
Then, she asked me to sit up and began shaving the hair on my arms, shoulders and back with a clipper.
Not wanting to appear ungrateful for the woman's efforts, I appeased the woman and let her get on with her job.
Noticing I was a bit taken aback, she confidently said that this type of service would normally cost 100 dollars anywhere else.
As I was getting ready to leave, the woman said it was nice seeing me again after not having seen me since high school.
Then it hit me that it wasn't my co-worker Dina C. at all, but Dina R. who I attended grammar and high school with and who somehow knew the other Dina and got a job working in her salon.
As I left the building, I started walking towards the Hollands Spoor train station.
Walking through the construction site where new student housing was being built, I was approached by two thugs who I felt had the intention of either trying to mug me or hit me up for some money.
Trying to avoid the thugs, I tucked into a café and ordered a coffee and took a seat on a high stool at a table in the corner.
The thugs walked in a few minutes later to use the restroom and luckily didn't see me sitting in the dark corner of the café.
After I finished my coffee, I got up and put my phone in my back pocket. Just then, I noticed a similar phone on top of another stool and picked it up and put it in my other pocket.
I noticed the phone was not an iPhone and had been switched to silent. I saw there had been many missed calls, obviously by the phone's owner who had been trying to locate their phone.
Walking back through the construction zone, I saw two women walking in front of me and when they saw me, one of them called out my name and came over and said hello.
It was another old friend from grammar school who coincidentally had been in The Hague for work.
The other woman, who looked vaguely familiar, didn't say anything and kept shifting her gaze away from me.
My friend said she was in a hurry to get to a meeting and said goodbye to me and to her friend and the two women walked off in different directions.
I followed the other woman who was walking on the other side of the security fence and I called out to her.
I asked her if she was Deena K., who also attended Clinton School with me in the 1970s.
She said it was and apologized for not saying anything, but she had remembered my having been her first crush and rejecting her when we were kids and lived in the same building on the corner of Rosemont and Mozart.
She said seeing me had brought back some sad childhood memories.
I told her that I had actually liked her back then, but thought she didn't like me.
We both laughed it off and I told her I had even tried to search for her on Google many times over the years and found someone with her name living in France and Spain.
I asked her about her sister Rachel, but didn't inquire about her mother, fearing that perhaps she had passed away.
We wished each other well and went our separate ways, though I regretted not getting her number.
On the last leg of my walk home, I decided to take a short detour and walk past the apartment I lived in where the third of my four daughters was born.
Turning into the canal and tree-lined street, I noticed an odd sight as there were a couple dozen young orthodox Jews sprawled out on blankets participating in what I imagined was some religious ritual.
I was waved along by a security guard and asked the man what was going on and he told me it was some sort of protest.
I tried making my way past the narrow walkway but accidentally stepped on one of the men's blankets, apologizing as I hurriedly stepped to the side and walked along.
Then I woke up.