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While I Was Sleeping

I think my subconscious hates me.

Every time I wake up from a restless sleep it is because I have been dreaming about him. Specifically about him and his wife. The dreams vary in setting and action sequence but the underlying context is always the same: his wife shows off how happy they are and reminds me that he didn’t want me.

The most vivid of these dreams was one where I ran into his wife on the 3rd street Promenade in Santa Monica. She smiled at me, baring teeth, took my hand and led me down a series of corridors to their newlywed house. He was there editing a clip from a new documentary on Kevin Bacon, which he paused to come meet us on the couch. His wife exited the living room, momentarily leaving him and I alone, long enough that my memory could paint an exquisite picture of his features that I loved so much. We sit there staring at each other, me silently mourning lost opportunity, him plastic and emotionless, a life-sized Ken doll perched on the corner of the ottoman. The wife returns, arms full of scrapbooks detailing their happy life together. She seats herself between him and me. She holds me hostage to my own misery while she flips through the books, every picture a memory he chose to do with her instead of me, every kiss a faint memory of what I once had but will never experience again. I sit there, frozen, immobile. I have to see this, I have to feel this, my unconscious tells me; remember this pain that you are ignoring? I am still here. I have not been dealt with. I haunt every relationship you have had and will have since. Help me!

When I rescue myself from this distress my pillow is damp, a combination of sweat and tears. I get up and find some water in an effort to replenish myself because I feel so hollow and spent after these dreams. It doesn’t matter how long it has been. I wont let myself forget you. I kneel down and earnestly plea with God that you will find your way back to me. I feel His disappointment. I plea further, offering specific suggestions for how He can make it happen. I don’t think God listens to those prayers. I get up off my knees, drive to McDonalds and quench my grief with deep fried carbohydrates. Eventually the shock wears off and I can go about the rest of my day not burdened by the aching I feel where my heart used to be.

In any case, I forget how sad I am until I fall asleep. There my unconscious mind can explore the depths of the depression that is repressed in the daytime. Yes, I guess I did love him. Yes, I was the only one to blame. No, despite my best efforts to get another chance, I did not get what I wanted. I don’t know if it is my soul trying to fix itself by reminding me to repair the rupture, or if I am truly a secret masochist feeding off of the endless pain I create for myself.

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