Do you ever dream about that person, the one who got away or who, for one reason or a thousand, you never actually got together with? The person who would have changed your life in fundamental ways? I’m not talking about changes to jobs or locations lived or careers taken, but major life decisions that would have changed who you are, not just what you do or how you act.
Yeah, that person.
Mine was (is) E—- and I dreamt about her all through last night. Dreamt we were together, dreamt we were not, dreamt we had children but that they weren’t really mine—the details have become muddy throughout the day. I haven’t talked with her since she got married about 4 or 5 years ago, though I do know she has a kid. She was often a focal point of desire from the first time we walked, after school, to the Peacedale library. Holding hands!
Yeah, we were freshmen in high school, but we grew up slow back then.
Throughout all of high school we were friends, but my crush on her never went away. Oh, I may have been plenty distracted by other girls and other crushes, and whole years would go by when we didn’t see each other and I thought myself beyond the crush and safe into just-good-friend territory, but if E—- had said “yes” at any point from, say 1984 to maybe 2000-ish, odds are I would have gone to her. Without very much thought to the matter. I would have jumped into a life that would be, in many ways, unrecognizable in comparison to my current trajectory.
I don’t regret losing that life, as this one is a good one, despite all the collisions and pain and struggle. I think I may have dreamt about her, about that alternative life, because I spent several hours last night with Jay, talking a bit about the past, and a goodly amount about the future and the decisions and choices that have let me to embark on this sojourn out to the desert in an attempt to find a stillness from which to center my writing and my creative life as well as my relationships with those around me. For whatever reason, my subconscious decided to spend most of last night throwing up image after image of a life (or lives) with E—- and I woke profoundly . . . something. Not quite sad or nostalgic, certainly not really regretful, but a slightly melancholic mix of all three, with a smidgen of genuine curiosity about what my life would have been like in that alternate world. Perhaps there was also a hint of sexual frisson at experiencing the fulfillment of a desire that was a significant part of my teen and young adult life. All in all, I awoke a bit dazed and distracted, like I had still not fully returned to this world, this life. Like there was a small part of me still over there, still living a life with E—-.
Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about that.
(Image by Alex Scarcella)