Last week I had a dream about a boy that I went to high school with. There was really no reason for me to dream about him. We didn’t spend time together in high school, we had some of the same classes but we didn’t study together, we were not friends, we did not go to the prom together, I’m pretty sure we didn’t even go with the same group of people. I hadn’t seen him since I graduated from high school, in 1985, if you can imagine such prehistory, I’m not on any high school listserver, he is completely off my radar, and yet, there it was. Or there he was. In my dream.
For no apparent reason.
And to make this post even less intriguing, it wasn’t even one of those dreams. You know those dreams where you wake up, smoke a cigarette and go straight to Confession, Judaism be damned, because you are a married woman after all.
In my dream he was there, a part of my life, not the focus, an extra, nothing dramatic. We didn’t talk in my dream but nor were we poignantly not talking.
But what startled me is that I know I’d dreamed about him before—a few years ago, in fact. I remember thinking what the hell? All day after that dream, and then Googling his name to see if maybe I had developed some psychic abilities and maybe he was dead or something. Fortunately for him, he was Google-fine, and I forgot about it. Until now.
Who knows what dreams mean, if anything, and chances are I’ll never know why every few years Billy shows up in mine. But I do know that after I woke up, the remnants of the dream stayed with me for days and I couldn’t help but think of being 17.
Of trying to remember what it felt like. And it’s startling to me because I can see myself at that age, but only from the outside. I know that I had a strong internal monologue; I remember there were things that I feared and enjoyed, friends I loved, boys I adored, secrets I lived. But those are now memories and I no longer feel them.
Is that what happens? Is this what becoming an adult is about, in part? Do we walk around with just shadows of our own childhoods, those memories replaced with the every daysness of our children’s lives?
Because I can certainly live with that. But it’s nice to be reminded about being a teenager again. Dreamy, even.
One year ago ...
- I Owe You an Apology - 2011