I woke up...
I woke up from one of those dreams you don't want to leave. It started so bizarre, me, marrying the Homecoming Queen - living in a plush mansion, learning she likes to play golf (why I didn't know ahead of time I don't know, but I like cool surprises so I was unfazed by such), and driving off in our little smart car... The dream then warped to traveling through Europe, visiting an old high school, and then a house in Heidelberg, Germany, where I and my traveling companions ended up walking around the back only to find a criminal element had moved into my childhood home. After fisticuffs I found myself walking through some ambiguously European streets, only to jump into a clothing shop with a friend to escape the hustle and bustle of the busy street.
We got into the shop just in time to see a fashion show going on; but not just any kind of fashion show. The show consisted of normal people; big, tall, small, fat, skinny, etc. At the very end of the fashion parade was a special needs girl, her speech and gait giving evidence to my conclusion, accompanied by her father. Her dad has a false left leg, and for some reason the shoe on the false leg, which was more of a peg or pole, was turned backwards.
And while this was proceeding I turned to my friend and let loose a disparaging remark about a guy I knew, who I believed was presumably trying to woo my romantic interest. No sooner had I said such flippant words did she, my romantic interest (turned out it was an ex-girlfriend of mine named Kerry) reveal she was standing behind me the whole time.
I felt like an ass. She looked at me, stepped close, face next to mine, and for some reason she bit my earlobe, which caused a lot of pain, and then said, "If you ever want me to be this close again, you won't talk about people that way."
It was the longest moment...
It was the longest moment as I held my breath and considered one, yes, I really shouldn't speak ill of people, even in general, two, my earlobe was in a lot of pain - why did she have to bite it, and three, she acknowledged what was real in my soul; that I liked being with her, and she wasn't opposed to it, but my actions should reflect that as well. And I exhaled with, "Okay."
Then we were off, outside on the busy streets, which I came to understand were in Iceland, and we were in a bay watching cruiseliners begin to sail out of port. A golden sunset was making its way across the bay and I really wanted to just take a picture to capture the moment. I thought about just using my smartphone and posting to Instagram, but I felt like I needed to use a better camera. I looked, and Kerry had run off with my camera bag. So I chase after her, she runs up an embankment, and as I'm following I realize it's snowed. Not in town, but here, in this wooded area, I'm surround by snow. And there she is, laughing and making snow angels. I fall beside her, and after some talking we're both looking up into the starry night sky, hued in blues and blacks.
Then a metro bus arrives not to far from where we are, and I look at her and ask, "Are you ready for them to find out about us?"
She laughs, and we both get up and walk towards the bus.
And then I wake up.
And I'm floored by this rush of emotions and this longing for intimacy and I can't figure out why I even thought about Kerry to begin with - it's been over seven years. And then my mind is racing over moments with other ex-girlfriends, real moments this time and not dreams, and I feel like there is this crescendo of an epiphany and it's like I'm not in a fog anymore, I can see with clarity, I can feel with clarity...
But why Kerry? That's not the way it was between us. We were never able to find our rhythm maybe that's why we broke up, I don't know. But why in the world would I think about her, after all these years...
I started backtracking.
I started backtracking. Was this a sign from the heavens, a signal of a new turn in the path before me? I went to bed feeling nostalgic, yes, but that wasn't it. I didn't watch any old movies though I wanted to. What was it? I went shopping the night before... Wait... The peanut butter. I bought peanut butter last night. And I stood there for a solid five minutes just looking at peanut butter trying to figure out what to buy when I noticed some peanut butter was "100% natural". And Kerry only liked to eat natural peanut butter.
That was it. Kerry loved peanut butter. Peanut butter toast. Peanut butter chocolate candies. Peanut butter on celery. Peanut butter in a spoon. But it had to be natural, and not the dehydrogenated oil kind.
And just like that the chorus of epiphany came crashing down like a clumsy percussionist knocking over a set cymbals and windchimes. The swelling in my chest deflated and it was like waking up from another dream all over again. For an instant it was like I had this puerile appreciation for the mystical elements of love and intimacy, but then I remembered the goddamn peanut butter and it was extinguished like the snap of a finger.
Kerry and I had a few moments to be sure, and my heart, it longs to be in those specific moments again. They're like they're an echo for a song that if I could just listen to, just one more time, I might find this restlessness satiated, this longing quelled. But it's not just Kerry, it's all the moments from all the times before with all the other people.
The text message with just the smiley face emoticon in it.
Long talks under an African moon.
Coloring Mr. Potato Head pictures.
The first time she fell asleep on my shoulder.
I was really pissed off after I remembered the peanut butter, but now, as I think about it, I'm grateful for the memories that have been. Even with all the garbage experiences, there were some pretty great ones in there as well.
And that - I suppose - is just part of life...