It’s been a long time since I dreamt of something. Anything. Much less something as long or as vivid as the one I dreamt today.
I was at a high school reunion. Weirdly, it seemed as though the only ones involved in it are my batch and the batch before ours. We arrived separately; I was there much earlier. I distinctly remember seeing almost no one from my batch that I was close to, only those who have mocked me in the past and/or people close to her. I saw you when you arrived. We started crossing the field from different directions, but were apparently headed towards the same place. I was getting ready to greet you, to act nonchalantly, for what could be worse than giving a clue as to the true nature of our..association to this group of people?
And as the tendency with dreams, I was able to follow you without my dream self being there with you. (This may very well be a jumbled sequence of events.) Before we actually talked in the dream, I saw you socialize with your batch mates and you were still as easygoing and seemingly as popular with them as you made yourself out to be, through your stories. It reminded me how weird I thought it was that you hung out oftentimes with the popular people in your batch, yet I’ve never heard of or noticed you before she told me about you. By the way, she wasn’t there. Not of my close friends were. It’s like my subconscious is mimicking my real life situation, how my closest high school friends don’t study in the same campus as I do,.. Or maybe it’s just sparing me the feeling of criticized by the very same people whose opinions I highly value.
When we finally got to talk, we were standing in, I think, a corridor, leaning on the walls across from each other. I was able to sense the tension in the air, the caution we so carefully observed in the way we acted and conversed, trying hard to look as if we were talking easily but without sounding very familiar with each other. Our efforts seemed futile when a couple of my batch mates went by (luckily*sarcastic* those who got along so well with her but seemed to despise, or at least really dislike, me) and they were looking at us suspiciously, even as I said ‘hi’ with a cheery smile. Already, I saw the judgment in their eyes. But then I looked at you and you didn’t look like you noticed anything wrong. Until we resumed our conversation and you sounded resigned and..
I don’t remember the exact words or topics we talked about, but I distinctly remember one thing you told me, even though it’s not verbatim. You told me,
“Can’t you see? She won.”
My dream self felt a big twinge at that, but consistent with my current self, I didn’t show it. Fast forward to a scene where we’re sitting far apart and I toss you your ID. It may have been too hard but I tell you that I didn’t want my throw to fall short.
Fall short. That’s all I will ever do, all you will let me do, isn’t it? Even if you don’t mean it. I find it fitting that you told me yesterday: “Some time this morning I had a thought: “I can’t believe I’m still going through the process of moving on“”. I’m glad that we’re close enough for you to tell me these things. However, that plus what your dream self told my dream self.. It really drove home what I’ve realized so long ago but failed to accept as fact:
It’s hard to compete with a memory. Much more if that memory is of a person with whom you had no closure with, who will forever be a ‘what if’ in your mind. I know she’s fantastic and an amazing person; sometimes I can’t even fathom how we became close, as uninteresting as I am. But, as many people can attest, holding on to the memory of someone oftentimes makes you hold onto the idea of being with that someone as you remember them. Never mind that they may have changed drastically over the years. And all of these things combined, with her still remaining fabulous (and maybe growing even more fabulous with each second), you may as well have been right.
Thank you for the wake up call, my subconscious. I know you’re just looking out for me.
Hugging a pillow to my chest,