There wasn’t a locked gate, mind. Just the sudden shock of waking up in the dark, at four in the morning, with the rain desperately lashing against the window, and the same thought running madly through my head: “I didn’t just dream that again, did I?!”
I had. A clear five or six years since I last did, I had the same recurring dream. Or, rather, I had a very similar dream, because the precise details, location and causes and things, always seem to change, I guess depending on what unsorted backdrops my subconscious can find waiting to be filed away neatly in my memory. But the precise content; Deus ex machina meetings, and revelations and forgiveness and tentative friendship was just the same as ever it was. The only real differences I could work out was the anachronistic use of a Thames Travel double-decker bus (rather than a creaking Midland Red one), a major role for Ruth, and a definite fuzziness in people’s faces, where the synapses my brain used to polish daily have got worn down and overgrown as I’ve slowly given them less and less attention.
It’s the kind of dream I used to have more or less regularly, and it once buoyed me up during some of my darker moments with the pathetic hope “but it could happen!” It hung round for a while after it was strictly relevant, resurrected, I imagine, by my thoughts straying vaguely as I was drifting off to sleep, but it’s not been back since, until last night.
Which is why I woke and was shocked. Or – more specifically – I woke and my first thought was “O, God, no, it was only a dream!” just as ever it did, closely followed by “No, wait… What was that?”
Evidently some part of me still wants answers, explanations, acceptance. In this day and age, presumably, I could even endeavour to accrue them, with a little help from the All-Seeing Eye of Google, and perhaps a couple of speech marks. On the other hand, Google cuts both ways, which is why I’m being sparse on names and details, here. I have no idea if I ever caused damage or upset to anyone beyond myself, but if I did I’d rather not compound it out of the blue.
The whole thing was a big mess, and the best analogy I’ve ever found to describe it is the experience of being adrift in a shark-infested ocean on a life-raft lashed together from the debris of your sunken ship, bound loosely together with incomprehensible knots you can’t see, let alone begin to fathom, and which randomly flips itself over, desperately trying to throw you into the sea, baring jagged edges that slice at your fingers every time you’re forced to cling on, spilling fresh blood in the water, whilst the lead shark dances round in a spitefully oblivious frenzy screeching the phrase “the precious meanwhile!” like a sadistic parrot on acid and deriding your feeble skill at swimming at every chance it spots…
A big and horrible mess, like I said. Given the alternative, though… well, I was never a very strong swimmer, and I doubt I could train a shark to give me a lift to a happy island paradise full of rum cocktails with little umbrellas in the glass, so I guess I had to make the best of what I got, huh?
Still, it looks like I’ve still got a level of concern that I might’ve worried people who had nothing to do with me. Hell, people who would never have had anything to do with me as long as I lived. I don’t know if that made things better or worse. Probably worse, I think, because if I’d had any chance of being friends with them in any way, I don’t think I’d’ve been in that crazy situation of… Well, I still don’t really know. But I think it was the crazy situation of relying on the sight of them to drag myself from one day to the next without needing to think of the
[sweet Jesus Christ. This is a sentence that doesn’t want an ending putting on it. Uh. Bear with me, I’ll try again.] …relying on the sight of them to take my mind off the fact that I’d never be able to see [look, guys, I don’t want to burst into tears in my office, OK? If ye can’t work out where that sentence is going, ask me at some point when I’m very drunk.]*
Crap. See, this is why I never tell people things. My brain digs its heels in and says things like “I’m not going back there! It’s scary and sad, and I haven’t got a torch!”
[O, hey, a feeble joke to distract everyone from the issue at hand. Nice going, brain! Unsubtle useless bastard.]
I guess everyone needs a floatation device, anyway. And, probably, I’d’ve had to find one from somewhere. It was just bad luck – and fucking awful timing, like there was ever going to be any other sort – that meant a burgeoning teenage crush heading in one direction met an out of control juggernaut of pain and sorrow and loss heading the other way, with nobody sufficiently in control to sort out the pieces properly.
And so, just shy of a decade since the whole thing started, just over six years since I last did anything of the sort, I find I’m still waking up in the middle of the night, thinking “God, it was only a dream,” like a seven-year-old thinking it was Christmas and then waking up in October, and still, apparently, flailing around in the desperate hope that “Hey! We could put all this behind us, explain it, forgive! We could be really great friends!”
…The difference is that now, I can see that it won’t happen. And I think that’s probably for the best.
No real point beyond that, but this is one of those things that I’m pathologically incapable of thinking through and setting out if I think I’m the only person who’ll read it. I explain much better to an audience than to myself, I guess. Anyway, the coin says post.
* I was going to edit out this whole section, to make everything look neat and smooth, but I don’t really like doing that with blog posts anyway, and, besides, I went to a lot of fucking effort even to get those two half-sentences down; I’m not just digging ’em up and throwing them on the compost after that.