The Dream That’s Been Haunting Me for the Last Two and a Half Years

August, 2012, camping somewhere near North Fork, Ogden River, I dreamed the following dream.

We are in a hotel, this absolutely stunning brunette and I. We know each other, but my waking memory of the dream holds no image of her face. She is wearing a fancy dress, maybe white, maybe black, I don’t recall. We somehow end up in the hotel bathroom together. Not one of the room bathrooms, no: one of the fancy, “all guests can use it” bathrooms. There is no one else around. We start kissing, which turns to passionate kissing. The passion explodes, and before long we are at the bathroom counter, in danger of breaking some bathroom fixtures from repetitive motion strain. We are still dressed, to provide for a quick escape should someone enter. We hold nothing back, fully embracing, uniting. No one enters, and we let our passions follow their course.

Finally, exhausted and satisfied, we leave the bathroom hand in hand. We decide it would be best to also leave the hotel. The exit we take opens to the main road, with several steps down. I place my right foot on the first step down, when she pauses.

“So, when are you leaving your wife?”

“I’m not,” I replied, expecting to explain why not; something along the lines of: “Suppose I left my wife for you. You and I have a fabulous relationship, we get married. Ten years down the road, there’s an attractive younger woman in my workplace. How likely is it that you would be worried about me leaving you for her, even if I assured you it wouldn’t happen? Wouldn’t you think, ‘but it has happened, you left someone for me, and you could do it again?’ I don’t want to give you that complex.”

I never got the chance. She ran down the steps, tears streaming down her face. “Wait!” I called. She took off her heels to run faster. “Wait!” I pleaded as I bounded down the steps. She turned left at the corner. I ran as fast as I could, expecting to catch up to her after I turned the corner.

When I turned the corner, she was gone. G-o-n-e, gone. Vanished. I looked all over for her. Not just that moment, but for many days. I could find her nowhere. I looked where we met, I looked where we had hung out, I even tried the hotel where I made her mine then broke her heart. Not a trace. I wandered, empty inside. Whatever other relationships I had started to crumble.

My dream fast-forwarded to when I was 40. In my dream I looked like Bill Murray, but it was most definitely me. Single, I was waiting at a bus stop, because for some reason I could not drive (the plausible reason for that is that my seizure medication stopped working). My heart skipped when I saw someone that reminded me of her, shortly before the bus arrived. I saw that phantom long enough to begin to fantasize about her. After boarding the bus and taking a seat, I removed my shirt and put on a clear plastic raincoat, though the day was sunny (never mind that I was on the bus). I looked around the bus to make sure there were not many others around.

Seeing sufficiently few people, I took matters into my own hands, seeking the relief I could only get while fantasizing about her. I died, figuratively of course, and took delight in the mess I had made, smearing it all over my bare chest and belly, as the bus stopped to pick up another passenger. A disgusting freak—that’s what I had become, and though I didn’t want to be, for the moment I didn’t care, as the natural high, the fantasy, were still coursing through my veins and brain. This, I understood in my dream, was what became of me after she disappeared.

§

That dream pressed itself into my waking thoughts often. Usually when I have dreams where the people are that clear, the actions that “everyday life” (well, for a monster), they either come true or have the potential to. What did it mean? How could I avoid becoming that monster? As I retold the dream, which has been a very limited thing, my thoughts had reshaped the events. I said, “When she realized who I was, she was ashamed and ran away,” because she realized that in “conquering” me, she had destroyed something beautiful, and robbed me of something she would never have wanted to, had she known it was there and that our rendezvous in the hotel could have that result.

Around two years after the dream it occurred to me I had been recalling the dream incorrectly. It wasn’t when she realized who I was that she left. It was when she asked me when I was going to leave my wife, and I told her that I wasn’t going to, that she left.

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