It’s Summer vacation, and I’m not used to being up this early. So, why am I?
Well, originally I thought it was going to be because I got excited last night/early this morning about maybe starting to clean my room today. I went over the Pinterest board I made especially for this task, full of neat little organizational tips and tricks to declutter my space.
Instead, I am up this early because dreams can be a real bitch sometimes.
In the dream in question, I was in the living room of my home. My phone was charging by the TV, and I had gotten up to go to the kitchen for some reason. When I came back, my phone screen was lit up and displayed a recently missed call. The caller was someone I became friends with back in my late middle school/early high school years, someone I haven’t heard from in years. What was odd was that his last name was spelled differently on the screen than it is in real life. I thought that maybe I had always spelled it wrong, or there was some other, perhaps sillier reason for the misspelling. After all sometimes that does happen when you have the option of putting any name you want for numbers in your contact list. For some reason, my phone was still on the Accept/Decline screen, so I swiped to Accept and held the phone to my ear, feeling a burst of excitement in my chest.
When my friend answered, I was over the moon. You’ve got to remember that this is someone I was so close to, I thought of him as a brother. He said hello as if we had just talked last week, which felt so familiar and normal that I was vaulted over the moon again. I asked how he was doing, and he said that he was taking a break from cleaning the house. I think he said something about moving somewhere with his wife, so they were either cleaning their soon-to-be old place in preparation, or they had just moved in and were cleaning there. He said he needed a break, and thought the perfect excuse would come in the form of a visit my way sometime soon. I didn’t think it was weird for him to call with such an idea after years of nearly nonexistent communication; I just accepted it at face value, because I was so happy at the prospect of seeing him again.
I went outside with my phone for some reason to continue the conversation. I didn’t walk too far away, just down the sidewalk a bit before returning home. I got the feeling like my father wasn’t home and my mother was in the shower or something, so I could have a little time outside without anyone worrying about where I had gone. I came back in the house and heard something from the “downstairs” room, and I paused our conversation because I wasn’t sure what the noise was. A few seconds later, though, my cat, Chance, was revealed to be the source of the noise. I told my friend that much as Chance came back “upstairs,” flopping on his back for a belly rub. I told my friend about my kitten being so cute, and I think that made him chuckle.
I can’t remember much of what I was doing physically for the rest of the dream, aside from talking to my friend on the phone. We were talking about everyday stuff, shooting the breeze like we hadn’t done in such a long time. As I become more awake, I forget what exactly we talked about, but I can generalize it as conversation that might strike others at boring. However, this was anything but boring for me. I was willing to listen to anything he had to say, because I had spent years hoping to hear his voice or interact with him in some way. He could tell me what was on his grocery list, and I’d be enraptured.
At one point, I realized I was talking aloud, outside the dream. My half-sleeping/half-awake mind concluded that I was doing that because I was still talking to my friend, but in the real world and not just a dream. You wouldn’t believe how happy that made me feel while it lasted. Even when I started to fully wake up, I was replying to my friend, eve though now I can’t remember what those exact replies entailed. At one point, though, my eyes opened and saw my alarm clock, and one of my spoken aloud replied tapered off into a smile. I still felt so happy, and closed my eyes…only to realize I wasn’t hearing my friend’s voice anymore. I tried opening and closing my eyes again to see if I could reestablish the connection, only to understand that the whole thing had been a dream. To test the hypothesis, I spoke the following words aloud: “This is just a dream, isn’t it?”
And just like that, the illusion was shattered. The happiness tapered off, and eventually I gave up on trying to fall asleep again.
Looking back on it, there were several signs that this was a dream.
- It was around evening when the dream started, and I was in plainclothes. It’s so obviously morning right now, and I’m in pajamas.
- The misspelling of my friend’s name. There is no way his name would be so oddly spelled all the sudden. What’s worse is, he isn’t even a contact in my phone, so even if he did call, only his number would have showed up on the screen.
- When I went to walk outside, it was not my neighborhood. It was similar to another friend’s neighborhood here in town, but this wasn’t the sidewalk in front of my house. Plus, it wouldn’t be safe to walk in front of my house after a certain hour, especially when the sun was setting.
- I started to not hear my friend prompt me or reply. Sometimes this can happen in real life, mostly when it comes to recalling a conversation. I’ve had this happen because it had been so wonderful, that the experience had been rolled into a Big Ball of Awesome that I couldn’t–or didn’t want to–dissect.
- We stopped calling Chance a kitten a while ago, and she’s a little bigger in real life than in my dream.
Most obviously, though, I was never holding a phone to begin with. I was snug in my bed, unconsciously intent on sleeping through the morning as I have been since the morning after my last final exam this Spring semester.
What sucks is that I still feel the remnants of that happy feeling that I had when I thought I was talking to my friend. It didn’t happen, and there were so many indicators that it was all in my head, so why do I still feel like I just ended a wonderful conversation? It’s that feeling of being revitalized, a fresh kind of energy I usually feel when I’m about to embark on a new venture or take a trip. It’s a uniquely person-oriented feeling, though, so I haven’t fallen back on being excited about having a clean room. Was it nice to at least imagine we had reestablished contact? Yes…but only for a moment.
You may have had this happen to you, too, so I may be preaching to the choir here. However, I’ve had this happen too many times to be fair anymore. I have had friends, close friends, whom I thought I’d be able to keep in touch with for years and years. It’s often been the case where we’ve been so close, we’ve referred to each other in a way more reminiscent of siblings than non-blood-related friends. Then for some reason, the contact has ceased. Life takes us all in different directions than we originally anticipate, and sometimes I feel like these people have moved on because the part of their lives that included me is over. I’m a memory, if that. Meanwhile, I’m sitting here thrilled that my brain tricked me into thinking this particular friend and I had reconnected. I’ve tried to contact this and other similar people before, but our lives are much different from when our friendship began. People meet people and move away. People get jobs and find love. People get married and start a whole new chapter in their life. The present takes precedence, and I know that moving on is inevitable, but my inner child is still sitting huddled up in a corner on the verge of tears, wondering why they don’t want me in their lives.
I know that on this blog, my goal is to try ending everything on a positive note. I mean, it isn’t just called “Stumbling,” but “Stumbling and Standing.” Maybe I can say that I can still hold on to the wonderful memories I had with the friend from my dream and the friends like him. However, all that ends up doing is making me wish I could have that in real life, too, and that doesn’t translate too well into reality. These people have moved on in their lives, so maybe I can make peace with the fact that chapters end so others can begin. There is still that part of me that feels left behind, which I acknowledge is a childish–and perhaps selfish–thing. I could give advice as to how one might be able to rekindle the connections they value, even if they feel the connections may be lost to the passage of time…but then I’d just be a hypocrite. I’m not the Queen of Keeping in Contact, either. My mere desire for reestablished connection doesn’t translate to action, I realize that. This could be because I’m scared that I–a previous chapter, to continue the metaphor–would not fit into the setting of their current chapters. Worse yet, I could fit a small niche in current chapters, but lose it somehow in future chapters. Then, I’d be right where I started, but worse for wear.
I suppose my ultimate message would be that it’s not worthwhile to hold on to things from the past as you’re moving toward your future. It sounds callous to say even as I’m typing it up, especially since I’m talking about people and not objects. However, holding on can hold you back, especially if the effort is (or feels) one-sided. So, I guess…don’t be hesitant to move on in a situation like this. If you’ve given it an honest go and wonderful memories aren’t enough, giving yourself permission to also move on is a kindness to yourself. In the long run, it just won’t do to hold on to something from your past in the hopes that it will somehow happen in the future. By doing this, you hold yourself back, and you might just get more pain out of the deal than any happiness could heal.
…or, I could just be talking and not making sense, or not giving the right advice. Since I’m still struggling with this, I don’t have a non-biased perspective on this kind of situation. I guess the one outcome I can hope for is that someone has read this and realized they aren’t alone. When we’re in our own heads, such feelings can start to feel so unique that they become negative. We think we’re horrible people for having them, and fear the judgment of others. If that person is you, this is proof you’re not alone. Someone else feels this, and although that someone doesn’t know all the details of your specific situation, that someone has felt something similar.