Dream Tigers

Last night I dreamt about my ex. This is not a common occurrence, as our split was rather acrimonious and didn’t exactly represent the finest moments of yours truly. It’s funny. We spent five years together, even were engaged for a brief while there before things got bad. And yet I hardly ever think about her, and never dream about her. She curled into the space my arms reserved for her warm body and hers only for so long, yet I never wake up in the middle of the night feeling her absence. I guess much of that has to do with the mind protecting itself from pain, regret, loss, whatever name you want to lend to a boundless guilt and a stubborn love.

Then last night. Out of nowhere really. I hadn’t pored over the emails and chats I have saved; I’ve only done that once or twice since it all ended. They’re all stowed away on my external hard drive, so that there are enough intervening steps to access them that a lazy bastard like myself won’t take the effort casually. I have to be in a certain wistful or self-flagellating mood, in the former of which I find myself too often, and latter I avoid for the sake of what sanity to which I can lay claim. Even after dreaming about her, I haven’t taken that step. It seems a silly thing, no? What harm could reading a request for a tea while coming home from the library late do? Or a quick note to let me know she’d be in the studio, just in case I’d be coming that way (which, of course, I would make sure to do). Just a few clicks and an entire past opens up before your eyes.

Honestly, it’s the mundane things like that that hit harder and deeper than any long-winded professorial exhortation on my part (typical) or a simple “yes or no?” on hers. When all’s said and done, it’s not the breathless nights making out under a summer moon on a silent beach that stay with you; it’s a Saturday morning waking up together with bad breath, blearily trying to decide what to do for breakfast, whether to go out with friends tonight or spend the night in, whether or not to check out the Unitarian church tomorrow morning. Most people will read that last sentence and respond, “well no shit, Ben,” but it’s taken me some time to get there. Chalk it up either to inexperience or immaturity: both are accurate. I’m 26, never been in a more serious relationship, and — with no prospects on the horizon — am not likely to be in the near future at least, but it seems that love constitutes itself out of the small moments, the seemingly irrelevant that can mean everything.

I dreamt of her. In the dream, she came to me — I forget where we were, some nebulous here or there in dream time — and forgave me. She held my hand, and we went out to eat and then theater, though it wasn’t relevant where. Whatever my brain was telling me in my midnight haze, it had nothing to do with cuisine or film. I drank in those cheekbones, those electric eyes, alive with everything that inspires passion, held her (always cold) hands in mind, and took her back to our place, made love (I hate that phrase for its stock-ness, but can’t think of a better one that takes in both the physical act and its meaning for the pair involved), and woke up around three. Her thin arms were draped around my neck and her breath was soft and low. I looked out the window and saw snow and stars.

That was the dream anyway. Its interpretation seems pretty straightforward, yet what was jarring was just the fact of finding myself entangled in this girl again, this girl I loved so much and still do in a complicated way, yet will likely never see again. C’est la vie, no?

~ by Benji on February 29, 2012.

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