Bad DreamsHi, my love,
I was going to tell you about our camping trip--and I will, I promise--but first I need to check with you about something.
I just awoke from two different bad dreams. Fortunately for you, I don't remember the first one. But the second was one of those that leaves a really bad feeling, the kind that lingers all day as the vague feeling that you've forgotten something terrible that's happened and are just about to remember.
In my dream, you were still sick, and very, very thin. You were mysteriously and not entirely happily outliving your prognosis; no one could tell why, or how long it might last.* You were telling me that while I was working, you had developed a new life, with new friends, and that you were going to leave me. I was angry. I was hurt. I begged you to tell me it wasn't true--that you loved our life together as much as I did. [For some reason, in that strange counter-logic of dreams, we were having this conversation in three different locations: a bedroom we never actually had; a gigantic thrift store in which our conversation was periodically interrupted by my selection of a tchotchke; and the front seat of your car. These locations appeared and disappeared throughout the conversation, as happens in dreams. There was also a period where we were driving through the thrift store in the car, while people pilfered things from our open trunk, but that seems beside the point, and it's too hard to explain the logistics of a dream.] But you insisted that you had new friends now--including a single mother named, as I recall, "Tanya." And that you had been living a whole separate life--nothing illicit, but unknown to me. I couldn't believe that after all our work to save you (even though, in the dream, you were less "saved" than enduring a kind of perpetual-cancer state), you were telling me that you didn't love me, and that only now could you tell me. And that you would be moving out, eventually. And that you had purchased a small white VW beetle (the old kind). [It was this last part that really got me; you loved those cars. It made the rest of the dream seem more real.]
And now I'm awake, and feeling shaky and doubtful, and wishing you were here to help me realize it was just a dream.
I find myself doubting my version of our life together, now that it exists only in my memory and in the sound-bytes I trot out for my friends: "My husband used to.... He was....He liked....He once said...." I feel responsible for keeping you around and on people's minds, as if that could give your life more meaning. (Presumptuous of me. You gave your life plenty of meaning). But I feel less and less sure of myself as the keeper of your flame. Did it all mean what I think it did? Why is it left to me to tell your story? And what if I get it wrong?
You did love me, right? And our life together, short as it was?
Please tell me this is all just a bad dream.
I love you,
*For some reason, almost all of my dreams about you take place in this not-quite-happy imagined future, with you in this not-really-cured state.