Letter Y is for you.
A to Z entries: My post for each letter of the alphabet will be anecdotes or musings based on an element from the previous letter’s post. Names always changed, events always real.
~ Letter X was for X-ers , namely me, and so this one is for…you. ~
Maybe we reached for the same shelf of herbal tea in the supermarket. Your hair was greasy with two-inch grey roots, your eyes unseeing, and your lips set in an unpleasant frown. But I had just come from a good audition, and greeted by rows of fresh tulips by the cash registers. So as I stepped to the side for you to get to your tea first, it was easy for me to make eye contact and give you a true smile. That’s when the unexpected happened. Your entire countenance reset into something soft and gentle. You smiled back a true smile too, and that was even better than the tulips.
You made a difference in who I am. Every eye contact and smile I make is because of you.
Even if you put a parking ticket on my windshield and I cursed you under my breath, the fact that I’m thinking about you now, means you made me different. And I don’t mean into a meter-maid-cursing grump. I mean, maybe from tomorrow on, in my heart, I won’t lump your together with your job. (For the record though, you made a dreadful career choice – you upset people all day long.)
Or you may have worn hospital blue and tipped up your chin at me almost imperceptibly while I waited for someone dear to come out of surgery. Such a microscopic toss of strength, and still you made my brows unfurl.
You recorded yourself into me. You are as much me as my individual cells.
You were the homeless guy in the copy shop, with dirt on your face, a shopping cart, and an iPhone that absorbed you. What were you there to copy?
There have been tens of thousands of you. And before I die, there will be hundreds of thousands, as many as can be held in one’s field of vision at any given time and added up over a lifetime, at sidewalks, street fairs, restaurants, concert halls, airports…
You all register in some way, even when none of us knows it.
Your faces combine to make the faces of those who populate my dreams. In them, we live out stories together.
When I dream, I know it, so I think I’m making you up. Sometimes we survive an apocalyptic world together. Other times, we live a whole lifetime. Maybe you’re my lover, my husband, my sister, my child, my precious friend, all with faces I don’t know in waking life. If it’s a good life, and I feel myself about to wake, I fall into your arms and give you one last squeeze goodbye. You often look confused about it. But sometimes you accept our parting with more grace than I do.
If it’s a struggling life, as in the apocalyptic dreams, when I feel the waking moment, I rush to reveal to you: I’m leaving, but don’t be afraid. Nothing can really hurt you because this is a dream. Your ordeal is over because I’m waking up and – I’m so, so sorry to tell you – you’re not real. You don’t disbelieve me, but you’re devastated; you didn’t know you weren’t real. It’s unbearable to me that I’ve brought you pain when I was trying to take it away. You embrace me goodbye, and I’m broken.
Once, while still in the dream, I believed you were real. I was convinced you were going to exist in that realm after I left it. This was important to me, though I didn’t expect to see you ever again. I looked you in the eyes and held you firmly by the shoulders. I told you, even though I’m about to wake up, my love for you is real.
I meant to come back and look for you, but I didn’t want to say it aloud and raise a hope in you that wasn’t in my hands. While gazing at the flecks of sea green in your kaleidoscopic eyes, I said helplessly, I don’t want to wake up! But there’s some important appointment I’m not remembering. I needed you to be okay with me leaving. Wish me luck, I said weakly.
You took my face in your hands. You wished me luck and meant it. Then you pulled me close and wept. I wept too, wrapping myself around you.
When I woke up, I was conscious of my head on the pillow. Even awake, I was wrought with emotion. I was curious to feel my eyes for real tears. There weren’t any. But the pulling apart in my chest wouldn’t go away. I replayed the last moments of the dream and it brought a drop or two of waking tears.
I nodded. I won’t forget you. I wiped the side of my eye.
~ Part of the A to Z Challenge ~
A post a day except Sunday for the month of April to cover topics beginning with each letter of the alphabet.
Cathartic Monkeyism returns in May.
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This is stunning. Beautiful. Thank you for this piece.
Thank you for being here, and for reading it.
Neat post GG. “No man is an island” and indeed every one I have ever met or had interaction with, has become a part of the tapestry of my life. You’ve described that in an emotional manner that is unequalled. As usual, an exquiste presentation of what it means to be human. Your positive attitude and obvious love for all who cross you path is amazing and adds deeply to the description. No doubt that is, in part, a hallmark of GG-ism. Thank you for once again you have made my life deeper and richer for your words.
You touch me deeply, thank you, Paul.
Sometimes, I feel like I’m reading poems instead of prose when I read your posts. Your unique writing style is awesome. Bravo!
That’s just lovely to hear. I feel lucky to have such amazing people reading these posts.
Jesus Christ, H. Of all the days I needed to read such an entry, it is today. So you’ve gone and seen my dreams again, liebling. Damn things keep recurring, and I haven’t yet understood their message. Or don’t want to.
This one is my favourite.
I don’t understand their message either, but I try. One day it’ll make sense. It has to…
This is gorgeous.
Big smile to you.
And according to VSauce, our dreams are indeed populated with the faces we’ve seen in real life, but haven’t registered as relevant to us. As our subconscious de-frags, all of the faces come back to provide the characters we encounter as we sleep.
But I expect you knew that 🙂
Rarely have I had such vivid dreams of people. Places yes, and things, but rarely people.
Yes, I have exceptionally vivid dreams of people. I’ve fallen in love with people in my dreams that I didn’t think of in that manner in real life. It can be quite inconvenient!
Do the feelings continue into real life? Did you ever return to the dreams? What was different for you when you met them next?
I’ve not fallen in love in my dreams, but I’ve definitely had (shall we say) encounters, in my dreams, which have been rather pleasant. But I think I’ve usually felt guilty, knowing I’m IRL married… (apparently the conscience doesn’t stop, even in the sub-conscious).
Beautiful GG. You’ve captured something magical with your words.
I’m glad you think so… I’ve given it more attention and cleaned it up further thanks to everyone’s response.
One of my favorites, love it!
I agree that it’s more like a poem, one that I’d enjoy reading over & over.
It’s strange, I’ve re-read the paragraphs about dreams a few times, and each time, they trigger a new memory.
The way you see the world… you are truly awake. I don’t mean you’re more evolved, or wiser, or more pure than the majority of the human race (although you might be some of those things!) …I mean that you have more than your eyes open, you have an open soul, and the world flows through you like the tides. There is staring and there is seeing, there is existing and there is being.
(Also, lest I sound lik I’m trying way too hard to be profound… my most immediate takeaway from this was that, if I had to be homeless, having an iPhone would mean more to me than just about any other possible possession. You could at least stay connected to the world, and be entertained, and not feel so desperately alone.)
You have a sensitivity about you that I’ve admired ever since I began reading your writing, so your words here mean a great deal to me. Thank you.
Yeah, it’s kind of scary how fond I am of my phone. I have a theory that the people who were able to quit smoking in recent years did so because of the new preoccupation with their mobiles.
So happy you picked this one for us to read. Truly poetically beautiful!
Thanks. The piece is special to me because it chose its own path. I think this is why we write – we want to see where the words take us.
This is exactly why I love duets. Two people on an unexpected journey. When you get time write a duet with me 🙂 hastywords.wordpress.com
I would LOVE to. I’m at your blog now.
*biting nails nervously*
Absolutely stunning and magical.
It’s odd, I’ve had even more dreams since writing this piece.
Write them. Some of my best pieces are born from dreams 😀
I hope to!
I had to let this one steep for a bit before commenting. It says things in layers, I believe. I love the way you see things.
Your use of “layers” in this context has gotten me thinking deeper about an essence in the dream section that I haven’t grasped consciously but know is important for me to explore. Thank you.
The last part of this made me feel as if I was holding my breath. Maybe I was. I have had such vivid dreams, about people I know, but usually people I think I’ve never met. Sometimes those emotions you feel in dreams, carry over into reality and it’s an odd predicament to feel so strongly towards a person or situation that was only part of your imagination. I love how you were able to put this all into words so eloquently.
Oh Deanna, it’s so true! As I said above to Lizzi, I’ve fallen in love with dream versions of real people, and it is a predicament when you wake up, because the feeling doesn’t go away.
It would be very hard to choose a favorite on your blog but today, this is my favorite. I’m sorry to be so far behind on my reading. Real life…you know. This is lovely.