As I type the words of this dream, I feel great pain…
I had chosen the path on a whim – there was no actual reasoning to suspect it would be any more helpful than any other, but I knew I wanted to believe. The path served the blunt of the contained population, but that certainly did not mean you were any more likely to find what you were looking for compared to the alternative location further down the line.
I tried to act the role; I tried to actually become the person who makes such decisions without reasoning despite the dire nature of the issue – despite all I had riding on it.
On any other day it’d be a long shot, but today I knew could count on a fight abruptly breaking out; sure enough one person brushed against another such person who’s friend was also the kind of person not to take kindly to these things, and in these extreme conditions the violence erupted with no further warning.
I had been prepared – I let out a loud expression that more or less equated to “everyone look at this guy get his ass kicked by two other guys,” and the response was sufficient; what was once incomprehensibly chaotic was now an approachable level of chaotic.
I knew you wouldn’t be drawn to the event. While the masses converged to the general area of the fight, you and very few others would find a way past it to continue on.
In the past I could count on you turning around and looking out for me, and I’d be there of course, silently calling out to you on a frequency only we shared. You’d wait and I’d join you and we’d carry on, hand in hand – no amount of bodies could deter us or detract from the joy of being with each other.
That was no longer the case. I knew if I didn’t keep my eyes peeled you’d slip away.
However, as much as I didn’t want to, I couldn’t help but reach out for you on that old line we used to share. I didn’t want to know if you checked it or not anymore, and I didn’t know how I’d respond if I learnt you didn’t. I couldn’t stop myself from reaching out, but I couldn’t force myself to accept a result.
As long as I can remember I’ve had the same reaction when I spot you somewhere – my heart pauses and my mind processes the possibility before my senses can pinpoint the point of interest. Regardless of if I’ve seen you or only heard your voice, I know I have to confirm the identity before I can regain control of myself. That’s why, when I felt that rush overtake me, I knew I had found you.
You were in the front of the line heading into the main building. I rushed towards the crowd, and desperately sought an entrance to the line. Another familiar face let me in, someone I hadn’t seen in a long time – probably six years or so. At first they seemed like they wanted to catch up, but I unintentionally killed the concept altogether – I was scoping the areas above, wondering how far you would get in the time it took me to enter.
As the line move forward I nearly fell to my knees and cried – there you were, back to the wall, looking directly at me, waiting. Had you felt me there after all? I didn’t care. I ran towards you and held you in my arms. I pulled you close to me and if I were any happier I’d have laughed and ruined the moment. Taking your hand once again, we began our walk.
It was hard for me to think actual thoughts as we relived our trip from the past, and I wanted to believe I would never again have to think of anything other than how amazing it was to have you back. That was short lived though.
It was only for a moment that I saw, out of the corner of my eye, her. Who she was exactly wasn’t possible to answer – I’d never before seen her, but I knew who she had to be. She was the one I’d hurt, the one I’d wronged, all the ones I’d let go of. I saw her smiling face, and I saw through it. For only a moment I saw all the ghosts of my past telling me they were glad to see my reconciliation with you, but for longer than I’d care to say I felt the sting of their sadness. There was no hatred in their charade, just the sense of defeat I had feared mere minutes earlier.
I tried to shake those thoughts, but the guilt was too heavy for me to abandon. Desperate, I turned to you for guidance, but what I saw was an entirely new level of devastating. Where you had once been, by my side in my hand, is where she now stood – her hand replacing yours in mine.
I don’t know why, but I kept walking. As I did I tried to understand what I’d seen. Her face was now happy – perhaps, I thought, as happy as mine looked with you. Her hand, though, felt dirty. As relieved as I was to see her happy, I knew her overjoyed face was connected to the out of place hand – neither of them belonged.
Could I really hurt her again though? Could I outright decimate her happiness for my own?
In a tone that feared the world around it, I barely managed to tell her “You’re not the one I want.”
I couldn’t look at her face, but it didn’t make much difference; I could feel her crack – I felt her entire existence crumble, but we both knew exactly how this had to play out. Doing her best to maintain composure – not in an attempt to convince me she was okay, but out of obligation to tradition – she insisted “Of course I am, silly. You’re holding my hand.”
For a moment, I gave in. I was silent. I held her hand in mine and we kept walking.
Now tears were welling up in my eyes. I told myself I was doing a good thing by letting her be happy. I tried to fill my breaking heart with images of her true, warm smile. It was no good though. My tears of lifelong disappointment turned to tears of rage. I didn’t want to be nice to her, and I didn’t want to work towards her happiness. I wanted you. That’s all there was to it.
This time around my body was too tense from my frustrations to lift my head up and face her – with my eyes clinched shut, utter distress in my voice, and the body language of a man past his final straw, I cried out “I want you to bring her back.”
That’s when I heard your voice calmly tell me “I’ve always been here – you’re the one who’s been gone.”
I couldn’t take it. I had no idea who was by my side anymore or who’s hand I held – I was terrified by the implications of your statement, and I did the worst thing I could do; I walked away from you. I walked and never looked back – I walked all the way to my job and I was alone there, and I woke up.
As I type the words of this dream, I feel great pain acknowledging that I can’t blame this on my need to work; I can’t express the amount of grief that haunts me as I consider that by the time work took me away I had walked away.