If you really want to know why I’ve been different lately, it’s because I haven’t been getting enough sleep. Everything seems dull. The skies, once bright and orange have become downcast. My coffee, once bitter and teeming with life now tastes stale. My nights, once peaceful are now riddled with aimless dreams of him.
It was a Tuesday when I first saw him. After a particularly long day at the office, my bed seemed to welcome me with open arms. As I let myself slip into slumber, my thoughts started to wither away. I suddenly found myself inside a theater. It was dark and I didn’t have my glasses on so I couldn’t see what was playing. It took me some time to notice that someone was holding my arm. I briefly glanced at my unnamed seatmate. There he was, as sullen as the day I first met him. He smiled- one of those wry half-smiles he was known for- and I felt him subtly squeeze my arm.
He got up to get something to drink. He said he would be back. As the end credits rolled, I sat motionless in my seat.
“The movie has ended”, the usher said.
“I noticed.” I looked around. I couldn’t find him. He was gone.
I woke up the next morning feeling breathless. I got up to get a glass of water and on the way to the kitchen, I kept holding on to my chest. The elders used to think that we left behind little bits of our souls when a photograph was taken. My whole dream played like a moving picture. Perhaps I left bits of my soul in it.
The next evening, he came to me again. We were at the supermarket. It was a scene straight out of The Stepford Wives. We looked like a happy family. A little boy was sitting in the cart with the rolls of tissue and tubes of toothpaste. Mundane suburban living, I recalled. He walked towards the third aisle and told me to meet him at the counter.
“Where’s daddy?” asked the child.
“He’s gone,” I answered. The lights started to flicker. The cart and the child disappeared. From the benign darkness, I called out. “Are you there? Please come back. Please. Are you there?” He wasn’t there. He never was.
The third night, my dreams found me in a nondescript restaurant. Over salads and steak, we started to recount our first few days together. Who could forget the confusion, the hesitation, the bliss that ensued after all the chaos? Our wine glasses were dry. We tried to call the waiter but neither of us could see him. Exasperated, he rose to look for the guy. I was a little wiser. I knew he wasn’t coming back. As the waiter finally arrived to announce the last call for alcohol, I asked for the bill and went home alone. It started to rain but I didn’t use my umbrella. I needed my skin to feel as cold as my heart.
So if I’ve been a little different, please forgive me. My bed has become a prison. You may think I’m crazy but I can’t wait to get home tonight. I can’t wait to close my eyes and dream of him. I can’t wait to go through all the usual feelings- elation, exasperation, expiration. Why? In waking life, he exists in a world apart from mine but in my dreams- even for a brief moment- he is there. He is happy and smiling. He holds my hand. He laughs with me. If he should leave me at the end of the dream, at least I know he will be there tomorrow night. If only in my dreams, I know he is there. And so I wait- a tall glass of water in one hand and my heart in the other.
Dreaming With A Broken Heart