I dreamed about Dan last night. I haven’t thought of him in years. I’m feeling weepy now as I make my breakfast. The dream felt so real.
He was married and had two small daughters, around 7 and 3. Both were with him when he and I bumped into each other. He and I hugged for a bit longer than people usually do.
His body and his hugs still felt exactly the same as they did in college. Except, this hug was more intimate. He and I used to hug all the time. This hug expressed more. This hug expressed, I haven’t seen you in twenty years and I remember how much we once meant to each other, how nice our friendship used to be.
It wasn’t until we were in our mid-20s, about 4 years after graduation, that I finally confessed to him that I was in love with him. I don’t remember if I told him that I’d been in love with him for years, had started falling in love with him shortly after we became friends, started studying together, started purposefully taking classes together.
My feelings for him were not reciprocated and I never heard from him again.
I never talked to him again.
A short while later, the opportunity arose to move from Massachusetts to California. I took it.
Last night I dreamed of him. It was good to see him. But that is all.
It’s been twenty years. I don’t still miss him. I hardly ever think of him. But in the dream, he never mentioned his wife. We played with his kids while we caught up. He touched me casually here and there, on the arm or back, not in any significant way but as if to reassure himself I was really there and we still had a connection.
At one point, he turned to me and said, “It should have been you, you know.”
I am crying while I fry eggs and write about this dream.
Perhaps his dream self was right. Perhaps it should have been me.
Somehow I doubt it.