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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