I don’t dream with the frequency that I did before the divorce. Now and then I still have deeply symbolic nightmares.
A bit of set up: I met a nice gentleman on my journey who was kind, attractive, and intelligent. We had several fun conversations and enjoyed the same music from the same era though he was several years younger than I. We both love poetry and reading and shared our histories readily. He treated me to the tour of the Caverns of Sonora, dinner, and several starlit strolls with Sammy in the frigid winter air. All in all, despite age and origin differences, we had many things in common.
Obviously, I couldn’t let THAT go on.
Then, the second night I had one of those “this symbolism is so obvious it’s stupid” nightmares.
I dreamed I was a very attractive, youngish, homeless woman who had been killed in a rage by her childhood sweetheart. I haunted the place of my death but people who saw me only saw a lonely, waifish young woman. I would talk to them, entertain their advances only so far, then abruptly disappear.
On one such occasion a man took too much liking to me and got too amorous. While he meant no harm, he was playing at being aggressive because he thought it was sexy. My “character” began to panic and started warning him, “Stop! I will hurt you!” repeating this over and over, louder and louder. I began punching, biting, scratching, screaming until he let go with a hurt and shocked expression. My now non-corporeal self was flung backwards as it had been in my death and, as in my death, began bleeding profusely from a huge gash in my torso. Invisible hands dragged me away slowly as had my former love when he tried to conceal his crime. The poor man who simply wanted to fool around with a pretty girl, stared on in terror as an unseen force dragged me away leaving a thick trail of bright red blood on the concrete.
Such dreams take me several minutes from which to recover and gather my thoughts.
When, after about fifteen minutes, I was awake, clear, and had processed the dream, the symbolism slapped me hard.
I am in no way like that girl on the surface: I am “a woman of a certain age”, a little “fluffy”, and only passably attractive. Yet, I do somehow get attention from men. I am alone in this world now which is in itself something that attracts people.
The more important aspects of the dream are these:
I have referred to, in writing, my love relationships as “bleeding out” in a gradual process for thirty nine years. From first love to first marriage to second marriage to first-love-after-divorce I have experienced my vision of love and the men who present it to me as a “death by a thousand cuts.”
While I am not at all bitter at this point (I do not hate men!), I am entirely untrusting. I may feel completely comfortable with the person, but never comfortable with their hearts or my ability to navigate them.
A boy told me he loved me and slept with my best friend.
A man told me he couldn’t live without me while sleeping with exotic dancers and fretting he might get HIV (it was the 80s).
A man told me I was the love of his life and he was still in love with me yet held the divorce door open for me because exploring/fixing why we were constantly arguing was just too scary for him.
Lastly, a man told me I was his ideal woman but the timing was wrong.
So when a man tells me, “I think you’re amazing and would love to get to know you,” all my alarms go off.
Naturally, I screamed, “I will hurt you!” in some quiet, metaphorical way, and let the loves of my past drag my bloody corpse away from my new friend.
I have said many times recently and in many ways that I foresee a life alone from this point on. There are numerous reasons, not least of which are the houseless life I have chosen, my age, a heart still tied up in the last man, and a strong desire to be utterly independent. Ultimately however, being alone looks to come from my experiences and the doubt they have foisted on me.
To my new friend I met
on the RV-life trail
I’m sorry for the bloody corpse.
Someday these cuts may heal.
And yes, J, you were right. I miss your easy laugh and conversation. I miss our common ground, of all sorts. Wish I’d gotten that playlist, too.