Friday, October 15, 2010

a dream and a determination

I just woke up from a bad dream. Or I guess you could call it a middle-aged-married-woman-with-three-kids version of a nightmare.

In this dream I was driving in an unfamilliar area out in the countryside looking for the house of friends. My husband was there waiting for me and we were meeting for dinner. I remembered his directions, "If you drive into the historic part of downtown, you've gone too far." (Never mind that winding country roads never lead to historic parts of downtown. Our mind's acceptance of dream unreality is a strange phenomenon.)

Sure enough, I approach the historic district with it's four story homes, six feet tall shuttered windows, wrapping front porches adorned with strands of tiny white lights. It's a restaurant district.
I become lost in this downtown area and try to wind my way out when I spot my husband's car. Strange, what is he doing here?

I park my car and wander into the restaurant in search of my errant husband. I find myself
standing on a 2nd story balcony, looking down just in time to see my husband who looks nothing like my current husband but like an amalgamation of my former boyfriend and the actor Edward Norton.

Yes, I have the hots for Edward Norton.

I see husband Norton dart across the landing below, smiling over his shoulder in a flirtatious manner, reaching for the hand of an equally firtatious blonde 20 years my junior and 60 pounds my lighter. Think Naomi Watts. And yes, I am a brunette who carries a natural resentment toward all blondes for all the fun I imagine them having.

Also pertinent, my relationship with the former boyfriend partially starring in my dream ended when he began a real life flirtation with a skinny-ass blonde to whom he introduced me nonchalantly one night as he was bartending and I instantly knew something was up. But that's a digression I will resist at the moment. The point is, there's meaningful emotional memory here and I'm staring at it from my balcony perch in a deja vu of disbelief.

The dream goes on to my finding Norton and Naomi in an even more compromising attitude, on a couch in some back room of the restaurant, with me confronting him/them (because Naomi will not take a hint and leave my dream) only to have him/them give me the equivalent of a shoulder shrug, as if to say, "So?"

And there's hardly a more crushing feeling than to have your shocked, broken hearted, cheated on indignation shrugged off as if it's no more of a biggie, than say, finding a small parking lot ding in the rear of your eight-year-old car.

And then the dream winds it's way to a point where I run away with plans to ignore him, in the vein of, I'll show him! But then I remind myself that this is exactly what husband Norton and Naomi would want. So I turn around and desperately hunt them down. I confront husband Norton a second time, a third time with my tears and my hysteria and my How Could You's, my How Could You Do This to Me? To Us? To US?!? only to find him, once again, looking at me quizzically, as if to say, What is your problem?

And to hear him ask what did I expect, after all I was a sour puss, was no fun, was a downer, was boring, never smiled. (The not smiling thing? Something I have heard all my life.) The only thing he didn't say was, And you're fat. But he didn't need to.

And then I see me turning away, finally. Defeated. Devestated. Resigned.

So this is how it's going to be. Divorced and alone at 50. Overweight, out of shape, and out of a steady sex partner and second income.

My head drops, I walk out into the misty night rain, skulking back to my car, heart heavy. I pass a single friend of mine from graduate school who is enjoying a girls night out, and say, "Don't be surprised if I start joining you." She looks at me with an uncomprehending expression but I don't stop to explain.

I wake up with the same sinking feeling I had many years ago, thinking, No man is trustworthy. No man cherishes the longterm intimacy and attachment that comes with years of companionship. No man can resist the younger, thinner, shapelier temptress.

And then I really wake up. I locate myself in my bedroom, under my sheets and my wedding ring quilt, listening to NPR's Steve Innskeep tell us Liberace's Museum is Closing Its Glittery Gates.

I then hear the comforting sounds of Sam getting our kids ready for school. I hear him shouting at our daughter, Don't tell ME to calm down. I tell YOU to calm down! And her usual refrain, Dad! You are SO MEAN!

I stumble out of bed and walk my bleary-eyed self into the kitchen. I nod my head sleepily as Sam tells me his version of the yelling.

All at once I feel better. I smile. And am determined to smile more often.


Sandra said...

Yes, but for a few minutes, you were Ed Norton-lookalike's wife. I would have kicked Naomi in the woohoo and moved into the vacated spot...just for a few minutes, just so you could have said that you were once married to a guy that looked a lot like Ed Norton!
I kid! I kid! Reality is better, not to mention, your hubby gets up with the kids! How much better than that could it get!

Jason, as himself said...

It's remarkable how much dreams can influence our emotions for days to come.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Don't you hate dreams like that--I always feel pissed at my husband for the whole day.

yogurt said...

sandra -- true, true, true. For one night I was Edward Norton's wife and I should have kicked Naomi's a$$.

I'll have to do my own therapy homework and re-write the dream with a better ending. A steamier ending, shall we say?

And yes, hubby gets up with kids -- life is gooooood.

Jason -- yes, some of them just speak to me.

Jenn -- oh, all the time. or I should say, less lately. this time at least I just felt kinda depressed and shaken.

Anonymous said...

Nice post! It reminds me one day I had a similar dream and as I was waking up feeling really angry at my boyfriend, I actually kicked him and then I started crying. Amazing, how dreams can make us feel.

Jenn @ Youknow...that Blog? said...

How does one shrink a shrink?

In my mind you have always been a brilliantly smart, statuesque brunette (because blondes may have more fun, but being resented eventually takes it's toll... and besides, we're smarter) with a quick wit and a knowing smile. That you don't smile constantly simply means you're particular and don't grin vapidly for no reason. (sorry to the masses of intelligent blondes out there - but this comment ain't for you!) I bet when you do smile a genuine smile, it's like the sun comes out for the people around you.

It's all good. Sam's a lucky guy!

Jennifer said...

Have you been watching The Painted Veil? (I love that movie, but now I'm kind of afraid to watch it.) :)

I love Edward Norton though I suspect he doesn't love me back. Obviously, you've got dibs, so I'll just wait my turn. And between the two of us, we can take down that blonde.

Dr. Deb said...

Think about what is going on in your awake life that mirrors the themes of this dream. BTW, I have dreams like this but varies among George Clooney, Ewan McGregor and Al Roker. Yes, Al Roker. I find him incredible funny and charming.

yogurt said...

repsych - in future you need to kick him and then just be righteous about it. no tears. tends to be more effective in getting your point across.

Jenn -- I am statuesque in my mind. Does that work?

Jennifer -- I was not even thinking of Painted Veil when I conjured up Edward and Naomi. Must have been in my unconscious somewhere. I loved that movie, too.

Dr. Deb -- I've been talking at length with someone who is going through this and was thinking on it a lot before going to bed. Fortunately not much mirrors my own life, except maybe the part about getting lost a lot.

lee said...

Ed Norton?

I like what you decided to take away from this dream. I'm going to smile at my husband more too.

Wendi said...

I thought you'd just watched Painted Veil, too.

And from what I remember from my Hollywood days, Ed isn't a very nice guy so you're better off with the hubby.

Mary said...

Hmmm....close to the bone for me..

But worth reading for the ending.


ella said...

Did it hang with you all day/ (The dream?) Or were you able to let it go??
Sometimes, I have such vivid dreams, I'm actually embarrassed all day...

The Girl Next Door said...

Wow I thought I was the only one who "woke up" from the dream but was still really dreaming. Ugh and waking up sad is a yucky way to start the day. Except then you have the awesome Daddy getting the kids off to school. I had to get divorced for him to do that!!

Rachel Cotterill said...

There's no way blondes have more fun. I get to have all the fun AND don't get hit with blonde jokes ;)

Fantastic Forrest said...

I wouldn't worry so much about the blondeness and the weight, but I think the smiling is a great step to make sure your relationship is strong. As many couples fall apart around me and my husband, I see warning signs months beforehand if they aren't talking and listening and joking with each other. Laughter is a great aphrodisiac. And it makes smiling that much easier!