A Light Shining Backwards

I had this recurring nightmare, when I was younger, in which the proportions of everything were all distorted. Nothing exactly happened in these nightmares, but for some reason they were the worst kind. A small room would suddenly expand to limitless proportions. A book which had been a short reach away was suddenly all the way across a room the size of a football field. A large piece of furniture would receed and shrink to the size of a thimble. In every room I was the only person around; the entire world around me was shifting, and I was alone and feeling like I was going insane. They were the kind of dreams that, even at the age of fourteen, made me want to wake up my mother, so that someone could comfort me, so that someone could witness with me the world returning to its normal proportions.

A ten-minute conversation on Friday night has suddenly thrown my entire life into disarray. Things are not what I thought they were. A ten minute conversation that flipped on a light; a light that is shining backwards over a year’s worth of conversations and e-mails and emotions, and I can’t seem to move from this spot. I’m rooted with my head looking back over my shoulder, examining the shadows and contours of this newly-lit trail. I’m not sure what is real and what isn’t. 24 hours after that conversation I was sure that everything was an illusion, but now, after three days, I can see that it is far more ambiguous. There really is love in there, if only I can pull it apart from the surrounding mess. I will be okay, he will be okay. Whether or not there will still be an “us”, remains to be seen. If so it will require of me more patience and understanding than I thought myself capable of.

Yesterday the Ex dropped off the dog. He was going to watch him for a few days during the space monkey’s visit, and so I had to tell him, like I’ve had to tell all my friends, that he didn’t come. “Honestly,” I told him, “I feel like this is payback for all the shitty things I did to you when we were together.”

“No. You were a great boyfriend.”

“No, I wasn’t.”

“Yes, you were. You brought me here to San Francisco. You adopted Louie…”

He was forgetting all the times I had cheated on him, all the drunken arguments and the depressions.

“You’re a great guy,” he said. “Is this guy really all that special? Aren’t there any…locals you could date?”

Yes, he really is all that special, in spite of everything. I did so many things when I was drinking and doing meth, things which people have had to forgive. Who would I be to deny that forgiveness to someone else?

Friday night, after the ten-minute conversation, I wanted an escape . I hadn’t wanted a drink that badly since my mother died, and in some ways I wanted it even more. My mother’s death was nobody’s fault. But this pain, this was somebody’s fault. I wanted to blot everything out, I wanted to never trust another man for the rest of my life. But I didn’t drink, I didn’t snort crystal. Instead, after eight months of monogamy/celibacy, I went back to the chat rooms. At least I can get laid, I thought. Two guys said hello, but I just didn’t have it in me. I couldn’t even reply. The thought of anonymous sex, of a one-night stand, made me nauseous. I’ve never really been built that way. I just went to bed, and dreamed all night of a new world with constantly shifting proportions.

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