Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Rude Awakening

I woke up yesterday morning to the sound of my clock radio playing Ludacris at 5:40, groggy as usual but feeling unusually euphoric for a Monday morning. As my dream came slowly back to me, my euphoria transformed into sadness and disillusionment: I dreamed that, several weeks into the round-the-world trip that my ex-boyfriend, La Moustache, left me to undertake, he called to tell me it was a huge mistake and begged me to take him back. And I was thrilled.

Usually when couples break up after several happy years together they miss each other. They have other emotions too, of course – anger, bitterness, relief – but there is some level of missing someone who you once loved and who was an important part of your life. Not so in my breakup, at least from my point of view. I was too furious with Moustache to miss him, and in any case, our last weeks together – while he prepared his Land Cruiser for the drive around the world and I moped around and frequently demanded “How could you?” of him – were so miserable that it was a relief to finally be out of each others' presence. If he ever felt a moment of nostalgia for me he did not give me any indication of it, and I can honestly say that the scenario that occurred in my dream never once crossed my conscious mind before. I did hope for some level of atonement for his abandonment of me at what was already the lowest point in my life, but I never hoped that he would give up on his mission and return to the life we shared.

Recently my neighbor, the Cat Lady, and I were discussing the Brazilian, and she presented a hypothesis: “Maybe some of your disappointment about the Brazilian is actually misplaced sadness about the end of your relationship with La Moustache,” she suggested. I nodded politely, but inside I poo-pooed her idea: I had done my mourning, and it was over and done with.

My dream called all of that into question. My disappointment when I woke up that it hadn't been real made me experience the loss all over again, even as I was furious with my subconscious self for wanting him to come back. I even burst into tears in my car on the way home from work. And I wondered: What would I have done if it really had happened? Even if I hadn't taken him back, would I have been tempted to?

Really, of course, what I most wanted when we broke up was for him to be the person I thought he was: the funny, caring man who I used to cuddle with on the couch as we watched movies, who adored our pet lovebird and who I was always excited to see when he came home from work in the evenings. And the hard part is that that IS who he is, at least in part. He didn't spend our three years together playing a role. But he is also the other part, the part I didn't see until things started to go badly between us: the person who selfishly told me he still loved me and wanted to be with me and hoped I would wait for him to travel around the world. The person who tried to convince me that it's normal for a couple to spend some time apart before getting married and starting a family. The person who thoughtlessly wrote in an article that was published all over the world that he had to choose between using his savings to buy a house with me or to travel the world, and he chose the latter. People are complicated, and are rarely the simplistic villains or heroes we sometimes paint them as.

Still, I like to think that I wouldn't have taken him back if my dream had actually come to pass. I probably would have been tempted to. But even if he does have some redeeming qualities, he is certainly NOT a quality life partner. Far from it.

1 comment:

  1. In your dream, after he begged to get you back, did I come and knock him senseless?