The sky expanded in blues of stillness, damp grass beneath our feet; I could smell the sun on my skin-a Ritz cracker saltiness- and heard the chatter of my children running through the maze of trees that surrounded us. The sensory images were clear, the information obscure. Everything was fine until it wasn’t.
A moment later I realized she was next to me, the sensation of my face forming a smile, dimples deep, lines that follow. I saw a shadow move across the corner of her body, I felt warm, at ease, and happy again. We were walking side-by-side, what she was saying didn’t matter. I could see her out of the corner of my eye, hear her laughing, and feel her moving next to me. I was content.
We came to a clearing; there were people in the distance seated in groups around a large in-ground athletic field. I turned to her asking, “Where should we go? I don’t understand why everyone is seated so far away.” I was confused, and in the confusion it all came down around me. The images started disappearing, almost like a film melting from the screen. My mind started asking logical questions.
The all-consuming sense of loss-that empty space in my body was returning. I fought to stay asleep, closed my eyes tight to stay in the dream, tried to return to the state of what I once knew as normal-being with her, but it was fading. For a few moments I was relieved of the pain, only aware of this when it returned, only aware that it had for a moment, dissipated; that my dream had offered an escape from my reality.
A profound awakening: To know her as a dream.
I’m fully awake now, stretched out in my bed, cocooned in her replacement-a fortress of pillows. The hole is still burning; the dream had been a temporary salve for my suffering, which, when in return, my wakeful state-coming out of a dream-caused me to feel the injury of my sadness all over again.
It was almost like this thing that happens to me whenever I get sick with a virus or bug. When I don’t feel well, I realize how good wellness feels, and yet I don’t appreciate wellness until I’m ill. The same holds true for my dreams, they feel so good, but when I wake from them that goodness reminds me of how sick I feel-how good I felt when I was with her, and how sick I feel now that we’re apart.
They come to me nightly; I anticipate sleep, a welcoming of what’s familiar-a relief from the pain of the unfamiliar. I’m processing through my dreams, coming to terms with what is real with each morning I wake. I am no longer in disbelief. I’ve stopped looking when I know she’s not there. This doesn’t mean I’ve come to terms with it yet-fully accepted my fate-it just means that on the surface level of my emotions I understand that she’s not here.
In my dreams I look for and find her; it’s where I’m healing and unveiling the secrets of my subconscious; there we laugh, we play, and we love. I see her in sparkles of light, though cracks in doors, and also when I’m truthful with myself,
I find myself with her in stressful situations, in places where she’s just out of reach.
We’re floating on spinning umbrellas overlooking an Emerald City on the sea, twirling as we pass by. I barely open my eyes, afraid to look down at the narrow boardwalk below, squinting my visions outward towards the drifting jewel- palaces hovering above the water like an island without roots. In my mind I’ve already moved in, rearranged the furniture and sprawled on chilled linens.
In an instant we’ve stopped. We plant our umbrellas in sinking sand, she’s frustrated with me. We duck almost underground and into a dim den with strange people under smoke-hazed-lights. She’s ahead of me moving through the crowd, I’m behind her always looking ahead, always looking for her. She disappears through large double doors and I follow, she’s in a stale atrium, she seems surprised, I ask, “Where do we go from here?”
And now I’m awake again. My feeling has changed from loss to a glossed over and familiar-in an old way sadness-recognition of the feeling that I was always searching for her. It was an unpleasant nod to the nostalgia of my constant longing for something I couldn’t have, a reminder of the unobtainable.
I wanted too much, and felt like she couldn’t give enough, it left me with nothing but a desire of more of her-like I was chasing something I could never have, never reach, something I just couldn’t hold and feel.
It reminds me of that iconic 80’s song, “No One Is to Blame.”
“You can look at the menu but you just can’t eat, you can feel the cushions but you can’t have a seat; you can dip your foot in the pool but you can’t have a swim, you can feel the punishment but you can’t commit the sin.”
I felt frustrated.
She called it, “Power plays.”
I called white flag on myself.
She threw out the white flag on us.
I guess we’re at a stalemate.
At the dawn of every morning more facts are being revealed, my facts, the truth about me, and what I hid from myself. My dreams represent my narrative; they color in the fantasy world I created, the outline of my reality. I can lie to myself like no other, but my unconscious mind gives me away.
Each night I meet myself there, we look for her, and we work through the unspoken.