Last night I dreamed I was with Jonathan again.*
Aggghh! Why is he appearing in my dream? I haven’t even thought of him in years. We were married in 1968 and divorced in ’73.
The dream dissolved instantly when I woke up, feeling distraught and confused, thrashing in the sheets. I tried to think, why was I so rattled?
Then I remembered. The dream. I couldn’t recall what Jonathan and I had been wrangling about, but I remembered that he had two briefcases with him, a fat one and a slim one. The slim one looked like the wine-colored leather attaché case he’d given me, but the initials engraved on it were: “A.D.” Not mine or my ex husband’s.
My mother’s initials. Alice Davidson.
My mother and my husband. Can’t we have a different cast, already?
I felt pissed and frustrated as I started my morning ablutions. Why, in 2014, are these people still disturbing my sleep? I enjoyed a loving, reconciliatory time with my mother before she passed. As for Jonathan, I used to think that if I’d known, in my twenties, what I’d learned by my fifties, we could have made a go of it.
Ahhh… I don’t think so. He’s on his fourth wife now and I’ve had two marriages and divorces. Neither Jonathan nor I had come equipped for or received the gift of a long-lasting, nurturing partnership. As he often said, paraphrasing Leibniz, “Life is a bitter mystery.”
Moving through the five stages of grief, I arrived pretty quickly at acceptance. My ex and my mom are pieces of my custom made puzzle, the pieces I’ll keep working and reworking, trying to reach that satisfying moment when the pieces snap together, fitting perfectly on all sides, aligned with all the other pieces so the full picture is revealed.
These are my pieces, it seems, for the duration, as you have yours. Can we come to love them, to handle them with tenderness, until it’s time to put them all back in the box?
And I’m wondering, what the hell are dreams anyway? I’m astonished that in a few seconds, there are characters, plot, settings, props, and speeches, fully formed. If I were to write such a scene, it might take me all day. How does that instantaneous creation happen?
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment below.
* Can you recite the famous first line of the novel I’m parodying in my first line?
And do you remember who had the hit single of “Too Much to Dream?”
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