Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Nothing like finding out just how stupid you are, especially on a hellishly hot day. I've had a headache all afternoon, and not even the Ibuprofen God is touching it.

I wanted to get out of the house this afternoon, so I went down to Mayberry to visit Jon and Suzie, my friends who run the secondhand bookstore there. After hugs from both and being plyed with coffee, I told them I'd broken up with Kevin. Yes, you guessed it: They weren't surprised. Then Jon said "Getting high shouldn't be a lifestyle," and I was surprised. I was aware Kevin did occasionally, but he knew I wasn't crazy about it, and when he was unemployed, I informed him he'd better not use my money for it. He agreed--or so I thought. I was SO fucking naive. I'll just say that he bought frequently, and with guess whose money? No wonder he never had the incentive to look for a job.

My head is pounding, and I don't know whether it's still the headache or a combination of fury and embarrassment. If I have to interact with Kevin, I might wind up running him through with the bread knife. I should just go back to bed, huh?


For the past few weeks, I've been dreaming about old boyfriends. No, no, not like that. I've never had dreams like these before. They're an abbreviated form of the entire relationship, almost like looking through a kaleidoscope and seeing bits and pieces in a colorful jumble. At the end, the break-up, I summarize what went wrong in one brilliant, concise statement (definitely the stuff of dreams there) and say exactly what I wanted and meant to say--but didn't at the time.

They're the most satisfying dreams I've ever had.

I won't describe every one; I'm too lazy to type all that, and who the hell wants to read about a series of dreams? The dream I had tonight, which was so vivid it woke me up, was about my ex-husband. Trust me, it doesn't take a Freud to figure out the symbolism. I'll skip past the parts representing our relationship to the last "scene." We'd been at a party with a lot of his family and old friends from theater days. The Ex was in his element: He talked to everyone and wound up being the center of attention, holding court while he told jokes and stories. I noticed a lonely-looking teenage boy sitting in the corner; he was around 17 or 18 and clearly miserable. I worked my way over to him and sat down. I attempted a little chit-chat, he responded well, and soon we were talking away a mile a minute. He turned out to be very sweet, sensitive, and smart, with a surprisingly quick wit. We made smart-ass comments about other people in the room and sent each other into fits of giggles. I spent the rest of the party talking to him.

The Ex seemed to be in a good mood on the way home, but as we were getting ready for bed, he turned on me, as he so often did. Now, are you ready for the surreal part? In my dream, I was a real, flesh-and-blood woman, and he was a plastic, life-sized doll. So as he was screaming at me about flirting with someone at the party (yes, the teenage boy, which is exactly as irrational as he was in real life) and embarrassing him, his creepy glass doll's eyes were rolling around. Instead of feeling scared, the way I usually did, I started laughing because he looked so ridiculous. I said, "You put on this charming, caring act with everyone else, and they think you're such a great guy. To me, though? You're cold and unfeeling and cruel, just like the doll you are. I'd like to push your stupid plastic doll's face in!" And then I proceeded to do just that.

I woke up smiling.

I've been puzzling over why I'm having these dreams now, and I've come to this conclusion: It's my brain's way of sorting and summarizing what happened in past relationships so that I don't make the same mistakes again. I've started what I intend to be the last romantic relationship I ever have with a man, and I'll be damned if it's going to end because of my stupidity or his. These dreams are certainly cheaper and more efficient than psychoanalysis; however, I could schedule therapy sessions to not wake me up at 1:00 a.m. Oh, well, there's a trade-off in everything, right?

I'm going back to bed. I wonder who's next in my dreams?