This is the recurring dream that I keep having. Over the last week or so, I’ve probably dreamed it half a dozen times, always just about the same. Sometimes the conversation is a little different, but it never strays far from the original. I know it’s just a manifestation of what I want most in my life right now, but it’s been wearing on me to spend my nighttime hours living in a world that the daytime hours have yet to create.
I’m in my childhood home, though I have no idea how I know this, since it’s nothing like the house that I actually grew up in. And my family is living there, too, though an odd assortment of them: my parents, my brother and his wife, and my sister, who inexplicably, is pre-teen (though in reality she’s mid-30’s with a husband and kid). My parents know that I’m gay, but the rest of the family doesn’t.
I’m texting a friend of mine (and yes, I know who I’m talking to). There’s a disagreement of some sort, though nothing major. I start to get annoyed when she stops answering my texts, but then – the doorbell rings. I go to answer it, and there she is, looking a little mischievous. I’m surprised: she’s never been to my house and I didn’t think she had any idea of where I lived. But – I’m really happy to see her, to know that even though the misunderstanding we were having wasn’t anything huge, that she thought it important enough to seek me out.
We go inside and sit down on a big, fluffly arm chair. I’m sitting regularly, she’s sitting on the arm of the chair facing me, legs sprawled over mine. I’ve got my arms draped over her knees and she’s constantly either got her hands on my arms or shoulders. I have no idea what we’re discussing, but it’s clear that the conversation is intimate. Not romantic, but intense and close.
All the while, my family is milling about around us, though we hardly give them a glance. It’s as if we’re in our own little world, hashing out whatever it is that we were disagreeing on.
After a time, there’s resolution. I can feel it in my posture and how I comfortably slump back into the chair. We both smile at each other, and she gets up to leave, her mission having been accomplished.
After she’s left, though, there’s a feeling of regret hanging in the air. We’re on good terms, but I didn’t really want her to go. My brother — in a very derogatory way, which is completely unlike him in real life — snarks: “You should go after your girlfriend” as if calling me gay were the worst insult in the world. I stop, look at him and say, “You’re right — I should” and I hightail it out of there while his mouth hangs open at the implication.
It’s at this point in the dream where I start to realize that this isn’t just a friend — this is someone I’m meant to be with.
As I leave, my parents and my sister-in-law are following right behind me. We go downstairs into the train station (hey – it’s a dream – I never said it made total sense) and some random worker dude comes out from behind a stack of suitcases and hands me two packages, telling me they’re for me.
I open them, my family hovering over me, watching me unwrap the packages. The first is a set of newspaper clippings, detailing parts of her past, along with a note that says, “Whatever you do, I’m proud of you.” The second package is an old-fashioned key — like a skeleton key. Attached is a tag that reads like a Visa commercial, where the last line is, “the key to my heart: priceless”.
At this turn of events, my Mom urgently tells me that I have to go after her, and that I can take the bus to Halsted and then walk from here. I’m only half-listening to her, though, and instead, I pull my phone out of my back pocket, dial, and without any preliminaries, ask, “Where are you?”. Like in the movies, about 5 trains pull out of the station at the same time and I can see her leaning up against the far wall, phone to her ear, just waiting for me.
I walk over to her, matching her half-smile with my own. We meet up and share a long, tight hug. A hug that says, “yes, you’re the one I’ve waited for.”
Next thing, we’re back upstairs at the house. I have to finish my bowling game (???… yes, my dream childhood house has a bowling alley in it….). We’re all having fun and laughing and playing around and after that, I’m tired and tell everyone I’m going to go to bed. At that point, I’m in bed, but in my here-today-real house.
I’m dozing on and off, not necessarily waiting for her, but knowing that she’ll probably show up. She walks in the room, wearing these ridiculous pajamas — white flannel with red hearts all over them — and while the bottoms fit nicely, the top is about 3 sizes too big for her. Oh, and a matching kerchief. (And yes – in real life I’d call it a “bandanna” but in the dream I distinctly remember thinking of it as a “kerchief”)
She climbs into bed, and is perched on one elbow, looking down at me. Her eyes well up and one tear slides down her cheek as she says, “How can I be so happy and know that this is so right, and be so scared at the same time? How do I know this won’t end?” I reach up to her face, and with my thumb wipe away the tear, and assure her that I love her more than anything and am not going anywhere, that this is the most right thing I’ve ever been a part of. And with that I put my hands on her waist and pull her down to me, whispering that we should just hold each other and that everything was going to be all right from now on.
And – end of story. That’s where the dream ends. And I wake up knowing that’s exactly what I want in life (and – perhaps even the person I want it with) but knowing it isn’t going to happen. Which leaves me feeling empty and hopeless.
From the moment the dream begins, I know exactly who this other person is. She’s someone in my life whom I initially had a tiny crush on, but it quickly turned to just friendship and she’s what I consider a close friend. And I can’t say that I ever thought about her in a soulmate kind of way, but now every time I see or talk to her, my view is tinged with this “What if…” sentiment.
Which makes things a touch awkward for me. I talk to her several times a week and she has no idea that our entire relationship has changed — at least from my perspective. Somehow my subconscious decided that she’s the person I’m meant to be with. Of course, real life doesn’t always reflect our deepest desires (or fears or hopes, for that matter). And this is a case where I realistically don’t think something like this would ever happen.
And that’s okay. I mean, who knows – sometime in the future, things might cosmically change. Until then, I’ll enjoy the friendship we do share. And perhaps go about my life with a better understanding of what I’m really looking for, out in that big, bad world.