For the last few days I have been filled with stories of us. Stories of the lives we have shared and stories of my own design. Last night was a tragedy. As with all dreams it began in the middle and branched out from there. It was the story of a mentally ill woman who attempted suicide after a breakup (a breakup that began with a kiss on the lips and a warm hug). I was that young woman. Difficult. Tortured. Manipulative. Naive. Selfish. You were the young man. I wish that she/I had stood there and listened to all that you would say. You said to the best of my recollection. “I’m not sure if my life is better now. I think I liked my life better before.” She/I did not listen. She/I stormed off while shouting something spiteful like “fine return to your old life then and forget about me.” She found a pair of scissors in an empty library. She fled down a staircase past children selling drugs. She pushed open countless doors. Doors without knobs. Doors with no rooms between them. Doors with only darkness. She found a space deep within her labyrinth of doors and slit her wrists vertically.
“How did you find me?” She asked feeling herself lifted. “I always know where you are.”
The next she woke in a hospital bed. You stood at the far end of the room or rather she sensed you. Your voice was soft. I don’t remember your words. In the final scene she sits in front of a dirty vanity mirror. She’s outside and the country landscape is exquisite. There is a nurse beside her instructing her to clean the glass. She scrubs and scrubs but cannot find any reflections in the mirror. The nurse admonishes her to use gloves when cleaning, otherwise she will never get the mirror clean. She passes out and into your arms.
I woke from this dream very upset. When I think of it now perhaps she was in a mental asylum all along. The children selling drugs might have only been patients lining up for their medication. The gloves might have represented the need to set boundaries. The endless row of doors might have been the doors of her own mind, of every futile effort to save herself without relying on anyone else. I do not know if you were a visitor, a caretaker, or a figment of her imagination. I do not know if she only imagined you in the faces of others because deep down she longed for you to return and save her. I do not know if she imagined the whole relationship. I do not know what happened because I was in the mind of a troubled young woman and I couldn’t see beyond it. Perhaps you did find her and save her and then moved on because she wouldn’t or couldn’t follow you back to the world. Maybe you were there beside her every moment.
I decided to finish the story, to fill it out, to rewrite the tragedy. In my dream you end the relationship because your friends and family don’t approve and she doesn’t fit into society much less into your life. You want to be happy and she is messy and complicated. In my version you visit everyday. You brush her hair because she likes it and it gives you something to do in that, sometimes, too quiet room. You kiss her brow, her hair, her hands. When she is happy and coherent you kiss her mouth. You hold her while she sobs and she clings to your clothes gently. At first she is silent, withdrawn but by degrees she begins to talk and to listen. The days pass and she gets stronger and then one day she turns to you and says “I’m glad we are friends.” She still does not know that you love her and in what way you love her and her obliviousness hurts. Then again it is possible that you have never told her what was in your heart. So you show her and notice that she reciprocates even without knowing all that is in your heart and bit by bit you start to speak more freely with her. You speak and she listens. Then when she is stable you convince her parents to release her to your custody. You marry her. She is a terrible cook and she isn’t much of a housekeeper but you love each other. You meet each other half-way. Somewhere between insanity and sensibility. You gain wings and she in turn gains roots. You realize that you are both human, both innocent and you forgive. You forgive so that can live and love more deeply.
Perhaps another day I will tell you a different story, one that hurts less in the middle.
I love you. I will learn to listen. I will ask for help. I will offer a hand. I’ll live as fully as I possibly can whatever happens. And I will forgive. You. Me. The Situation.