"How Many Times Has It Been That I've Dreamt of Him?"
Updated: Jan 10
"How Many Times Has It Been That I’ve Dreamt of Him?"
I used to be able to count the number of times that I dreamt of him.
By the time the autumn leaves transformed into Washington D.C.’s type of subtle winter hail and the Starbucks a seven-minute walk from my apartment, the equivalent of two Lana Del Rey songs blasted into my ears via my newly bought Beats, started selling peppermint mocha lattes instead of the previous pumpkin spice, that number had reached four. And it just remained there for a while, sticking to a plateau while other things occupied my mind, or, when I didn’t even dream about anything at all.
Ever since I saw those pictures, though, new vantage points into his prior secretive existence, he found a way to sneak back into my mind, allowing my thoughts to muse over him almost as vividly as they did when it was my last night in that city, and my desire for something dramatic, for some last “huzzah,” made me romanticize and want him more than anything else in the world. I wonder what it was that pulled the trigger, what made me want to care so much about those mere pictures and allow him the opportunity to once again assume the center-stage role of my attention. Maybe it was the coming home--the absence of all the other work I had to think about. Maybe it was the isolation from everyone else that made me truly realize whom it was that I desired, because you can’t lie to yourself as well as your performative, actress self can lie to others. Maybe it was the season and its emotional association with nostalgia that made me sentimental for him. Afterall, Thanksgiving came and went with virtually no sign of him appearing in my dreams, my only simply remarking on our time together to my eager siblings who sat ears and eyes open whenever I recounted the romantic adventures that took up these past six months. But those simple narrations never felt the way this does, right now. How can someone I left in August be so present in December?
Now, I don’t know how many times I’ve dreamt of him. I can’t count it on a single hand; I can’t remember the cause for each dream like I did before. It used to be sporadic, one day here and another day there. Now, it’s consecutive; it’s never ceasing. My heart isn’t afforded breaks; I don’t get to plan out the dates and prepare myself. He just appears in whatever form he takes, like he just dropped from the sky and I have to deal with all the intended and unintended consequences, the messes that he leaves. When I wake up in the morning, I just know that I dreamt of him. Sometimes, I can remember it in all its random details--the location, the time period, the reason for our meeting. I even contemplate buying journals just to write them down, to keep them as memories that aren’t memories, stories and plotlines that exist between the worlds of fantasy and reality. Most times, though, the memories fade in the morning. I can’t remember what exactly my dream was about—whatever twisted message it was trying to send me. I just know I dreamt of him.
It’s a different feeling, a kind of escapism, when it’s about him. And that’s because I want him. I used to never want anything. And when you never want anything, dreams are out of the question; they’re not in the realm of possibility for where your mind can go at night. The only options are nightmares. For a short period of time my junior year of high school, I only had nightmares because while there was so much that I feared, there was nothing, especially no person, that I ever truly wanted.
Now, there is.
I wake up and attempt to enjoy the last few moments of that other dimension before I go to start my mundane day, washing my face and putting on makeup, hoping that he’ll talk to me and, maybe, spur a new thought for tonight, a new topic, perhaps a happier one, to dream about. I can’t explain how I know; it’s just an innate awareness that my dream was a romantic one. And what other love is there in my life besides him?
And those “early” mornings turn into late ones, as I end up wanting to stay in bed, justifying my decisions by assuring myself I’m only sleeping in because of the late time at which I went to bed the night before, even if it was merely 12.
I end up wanting to go back to those dreams, even if they are fake realities. When I left him, it’s like the world lost all of its fun; it lost its danger, its spontaneity, its existence of an abundance of treasures that I once had to work hard to seek out. I attached being alive to him that, now, without him, it’s hard to find the excitement in anything. I’ve psychologically manipulated my mind, only allowing myself to feel vivacious when he’s around.
And so, I want to remain in my bed and go back to the only place where I feel mortal and alive and different and changed and not in the thick of the mundane, in the eye of the absence of a storm.
Let the dream be sad, or, even, turn into a nightmare. Let him curse me out, tell me he never wants to see me again, and criticize my obsessive habits. Let him find out that I looked him up on Google and that I found his LinkedIn page. I honestly just care that he’s there.
Let my moves get brushed aside and disregarded. Let him believe it pointless to attempt anything of significance with me. At least, in that dream world, I care about something. In this limbo of after Christmas but before the New Year, there’s really nothing to do. Time doesn’t exist right now; it seems like nothing does.
Might as well go back to sleep and be with him because I can’t quite reach him right now, at least not in this current, material world.