“A Beautiful Dream”
You once told me “I will dream for you a beautiful dream” and it was beautiful. Thank you for the time we had. I hope you find what you seek. When: Monday, June 21, 2010. Where: In passing. You: Woman. Me: Man.
The sun once shone through my window; that’s what would wake me up. And there’s a part of me that knows where that sun has gone. But I don’t know if I am aware of that facet of myself—that layer of my personality who wants to wake up in the morning. That part of my personality was probably with you when you left. Maybe it stole away in your suitcase with all the ironic stickers, or your guitar case that you were carrying when we met. I remember when you told me of the things you saw when you closed your eyes at night, and how they inspired me. I remember.
We’ve gone down different paths now and I know you will be happy. That is, I think you’ll be happy. At least I can hope. There’s a part of me (a different part) that thinks you can never be happy without me. The part of me that knows you can be happy without me was in your glass pipe we used to smoke out of and watch silly things; it was in your teddy bear that often slept between us at night. I want that part of me back, damn it.
It was cold when we met, right at the start of the New Year in Eugene, and the frost was debating between melting away or sticking around to watch everyone take their Christmas decorations down. It was definitely watching me as I was doing just that, right next to the café where you were playing that guitar. I was too worried about the slippery ladder I was entrusting my life with to hear you singing about your deepest thoughts. You finished your once-steaming mug of black coffee and put away your guitar, hoisted the case behind your back and walked back to what I assumed was home—right past my house.
Now I don’t remember the date, but I do remember you calling out to me, saying something about how you didn’t know anyone actually took down their holiday decorations before the month of March, followed by the typical regional cry of “Right on man!” I heard you compliment me and it made my day. I then had realized that somewhere in the back of my mind I had heard you singing just a moment ago, and I was going to compliment you back, but you were gone before I got a chance to. So I sighed and continued with my chore.
I finally saw you again nearly a month later at Horsehead. I had rationalized to myself that I wanted to go out for Happy Hour not because I wanted to drink for drinking’s sake, but because the whiskey would warm me up. That and I couldn’t afford to turn my heater on at home. I walked by you and waved, but you didn’t look. I was feeling shy or maybe generally expecting you not to remember me. So sitting alone outside with my book, sipping away at a hot toddy, puffing away at a cigarette, the day was ending and night beginning. It does get lonely though, to lose myself in the dream of a book surrounded by all of these characters, only to look up and see my empty drink and table. Though this time I looked up and saw you coming back out from outside and you waved. You had remembered me! You waved me over to your table and I met some new folks.
We talked about art and music and objectivism, but not about love or lust, which I covered by internal monologue. Happy Hour turned to Witching Hour and you ended up on my porch, playing that guitar that I heard you play. I heard you bare your soul before I even saw your face. I don’t think many lovers could say that about you, or anyone. In whichever case you played your music and I loved it. You asked me to sing along and I said I didn’t sing but you were doing well enough for both of us. You sang a song about Christmas lights which made me smile, and I asked you if you had taken yours down. You said you didn’t bother with those kinds of things, and I said okay. You asked if you could spend the night in my bed; if you were motivated by the cold or by the whiskey, I’ll never know. We slept together—no just slept together—and it was amazing.
I offered to drive you home in the morning, and you declined. You liked the walk, you said, plus you had some thinking to do. I didn’t want to seem too clingy so I let you go wondering if I would ever see you again. Completely unexpectedly, you kissed me on your way out. Then I knew I would see you again. I had forgotten to ask for your phone number but you seemed so “out there” you might not even have a phone.
A couple of weeks later, I was sitting on my porch sipping coffee and heard you playing music again. I walked next door to the café and sat with you while you finished the song you were improvising. You smiled when you saw me and your hair was fluttering around a little in the breeze and I liked that. We sat and talked about global politics and stickers and kindergarten, and you made my day again. I asked what you were doing today, and you said you were planning on scaling Spencer’s Butte alone, but would rather someone else come. I was off of work that day and joined you. You said you’d drive and your car was right outside. We got in the rattling old VW bus you said was yours and hit the road. The back was packed full of your things and I kind of guessed it then, but before long we were at the Butte and ready to do some chilly climbing. I almost slipped and you saved my life. It was still a little frosty near the top and I wasn’t expecting it, but you had a feeling and grabbed my arm as a threatened a deathly tumbling act.
We sat at the top of the Butte and talked about our lives and how you wanted to become famous for hating being famous and how I wanted to help people in some intangible yet necessary way and how you loved your mom but your dad was dead and how I was once in love but she passed away. Talking of death as I had just narrowly escaped it felt strangely gutsy, as if I was becoming stronger with you. Or maybe not stronger but definitely better protected. You told me about how your car was your home and I knew I had guessed it and offered you room in the empty side of my bed, though the only heat I could offer was from my own body and you smiled and kissed me and I kissed you back and next I remember we were inseparable. They call it puppy love, right?
You moved in that day and I didn’t regret it for about two hours. I realized after living alone for so long I was set in my ways (I lied: I knew I had taken down the Christmas decorations on January 3rd, because that’s when it’s always done) and you may not buy into that. Maybe my being an extreme creature of habit was something that needed to be broken, or maybe you needed some structure in your life. I wrote it all off as over-analysis and cuddled up next to you, both dreaming beautifully. Our love was perfect. You wrote songs about me and I cooked you breakfasts; you brought home a fifth and I brought home a paycheck. You kept me feeling alive while I kept you alive.
As these things tend to do, our love decayed at some rate about proportionate to my last relationship. Except this time it didn’t rot underground but above; it putrefied in your heart metaphorically rather than physically. At least we made good use of the love before it was expired, but past its due date you never said much to me. Maybe I cared too much, or maybe I didn’t care enough to look outside of the box. I hate talking about this vile yet requisite decline of something as amazing as what we had, so I won’t. I’d rather just get to the end of this sob story before you all lose interest.
At any rate you found it fitting to leave in your bus with an audio cassette taped to the refrigerator with my name on it. I put it in and you sang me a song, a song about a beautiful dream you would make, a song about the things you and I had longed to happen in the world and how you would make it so, a song about love gone yet everlasting. I listen to the tape every now and again and think of you, of course, but what I don’t know is that you made a copy for yourself as well. It gets more use than mine does.
I saw your ad. I’m still looking for solutions but think of you. Hope you see this and know why we can never see each other again. When: Friday, August 27, 2010. Where: Halfway across the continent. You: Man. Me: Woman.