Because I can

I dreamt I caught a bus in a rainstorm in a college town, after showering quickly and throwing on a long shirt with a jacket, and somehow getting lost in someone's backyard.

On the bus I met an ex who'd been looking for me all day. I knew he had something of import to show me, but still I walked on past his seat, pretending not to notice him. He reached out a finger and lightly traced my kneecap to get my attention.

I peered around the plastic at him, noticing the stack of papers in his hands a second before he put them in mine. A fifty-page marriage proposal to his current girlfriend. I resented the need for my approval (not of the girl, clearly, but of the words and the rationale) yet was flattered to matter again. Didn't want to blurt out "why" and break the spell.

We ended up at his apartment- he on a broken futon with an overflowing ashtray at his feet, while I curled up under the covers in his bed, my wet hair slowly dampening his pillow. As I sorted through his notes, I shifted around in the bed, put the pages in order. Tried to get my thoughts in order.

Fifty pages of a marriage proposal. An analysis of him, of her, the set up, the proclamation and the question. I wanted to ask him if he was sure, explain how big this decision really is, but it was pretty obvious how sure he was. I wanted to cry, but it wasn't obvious I wouldn't be crying for a missed opportunity.

The pouring rain turned into static against his window as I marveled at how comfortably we were existing in the same space, in this situation- it had been years since our last serious conversation. I swatted at the
BNL lyrics tumbling over and over in my brain (am I the only one that gets to make you laugh until you cry... am I the only one who asks you to go on without me... and who do you think I'll be without you...). I rolled my eyes and hid my wounded pride as I read how much he loved this girl. Then raised my eyebrows when I read how much he hated her best friend, flagged it to later point out the folly of mentioning this is in a marriage proposal.

Sometimes I feel the only way we confirm our existence is when there are others in the world who remember the same event, or relationship, or place, in the same light. Breadcrumbs and validation showing us we (have) matter(ed). Life does not have nearly enough dimension to be able to explore every path not taken, find out the alternative to every quick decision made in the moment. I plod on, hoping I've meant something to someone, that I'm remembered with the same weight I give to my own memories. That whether or not a decision can be proven "right," it will still lead to (eventual) happiness.

In the dream I struggled to climb out from under the blankets, papers cascading over the edge of the bed. Whether my ex needed my approval, my opinion, or needed to see me flinch at his feelings for another woman spelled out and underlined (in 50 pages!), I didn't ask. I pulled on my jacket, hugged him and wished him well, and left the manufactured melancholy of the bedroom to the natural melodrama of the storm. As the rain re-soaked my head, I thought of him going to sleep that evening on a pillow still damp from my hair, maybe causing a memory or two of me to play (however briefly) on his consciousness, before drifting off to sleep and waking again in his current reality. It would be enough.

And now, I’d kill for a cup of coffee and a way to get this damn song out of my head.

2 comment:

Anonymous skyhawk said...


This is eerie, as I had a dream sort-of along these lines the other night, and have been debating whether or not to blog about it myself. Must be something in the water here?

1:48 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

This was an amazing post woman. Wow. Your words and discription -- this post has a beautiful poetry to it... You painted a very vivid picture, captured the tone eloquently and wove some philosphical thoughts in there to boot.

My favorite post of yours thus far.

11:48 PM  

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