Sometimes my medication gives me very intense, lucid dreams. Last night, my high school love visited me for the first time in years. We talked for hours, just catching up on our lives. When I woke up, I realized how much I missed her, and had some interesting insights on my current life (as dreams are wont to do). I remembered the days in which I was tortured that she was married to someone else, not because I was in love with her still, but because being an ex caused certain……… issues.
They aren’t married anymore, haven’t been for a long time. But I drew so many correlations between her ex-wife and mine that it was illuminating to an amazing and frightening degree. Her ex-wife ran hot and cold with me, because in some instances, she handled the closeness between Meag and me, and sometimes she didn’t. Does that sound familiar in any way to some of you long-term readers? The hot was just as intense as the cold. I want to talk about the hot first.
It all started with Tim Horton’s, as many Canadian stories do. Here is an excerpt from an entry I wrote about an anniversary with Kathleen. The setup is that we were staying at an inn in Vermont, and it wasn’t far to Ottawa from there:
I’d forgotten that Quebec is the only province in Canada where they don’t have to put signs in both French and English. The entire menu is in French. Not only do I not know what a TimBit is, I don’t know how to ask for one. I am standing there in a puddle of self pity. ALL I WANT IS A DONUT AND SOME COFFEE AND NOW I’M IN A FUCKING FOREIGN COUNTRY AND I CAN’T READ!
I go up to the counter. I ask for a TimBit and a large coffee in English. The woman points to the menu overhead. You can’t get one TimBit. The quantities and prices are scattered as if put there by someone with a killer hangover. I point to the one I want. I pay. It’s like ten dollars. I don’t care.
My order comes up, and all I see is this HUGE BOX. I have ordered ENOUGH FUCKING TIMBITS TO FEED THE ENTIRE CANADIAN ARMY, AND ALL THEIR SQUIRRELS.
We’re walking out of the restaurant, and I’m going to kill Meagan. All she had to say was, “it’s kind of like a donut hole, eh.” So I call her up. And she’s laughing hysterically. “Oh man,” she says. “I never should have done that to ya in Quebec.”
Years later, Deah hatched a plan.
She wanted me to come to the house without Meag knowing, and knock on the door with a box of TimBits. It was brilliant, especially because their daughter is named Tym, so they’re not TimBits anymore. They’re TymBits. So, Deah shows up at the airport with the box, and we drive straight back to the house. Deah stands back, and there are butterflies in my stomach as I knock on the door.
The look on her face was priceless… so full of love and absolute shock that I’m glad there’s not a picture. That look was just for me. She grabbed me and hugged me for what seemed like an hour. It wasn’t, of course, but in my memory it stays that way. Deah is smiling like the cat that swallowed the canary, because she’s managed to pull this off. It was #winning in massive proportions. We had a great time just BEING. We didn’t do anything, and that’s when Meag introduced me to The Joel Plasket Emergency, because “our song” became Nowhere with You:
Our thing was Starbucks, so we went for a coffee and sat there just as we did when we were 18. It was our “date place” in Sugar Land, there being few places for 18-year-olds to party in our quiet suburb. Her poison was a hazelnut latte, and mine was raspberry because I liked getting a “pink drink.” She told me that she was sorry we missed truly being partners, because she thought it was something we’d probably have done well. It was a compliment I’d been waiting to hear for a very long time, because we were secure in our places in life. It wasn’t a flirt, just a recognition that the way things went down was full of regret for both of us. She thought that she’d treated me so poorly that she didn’t even have a right to ask. My inner rage went to eleven internally, because I didn’t know what I would have said, but she’d taken away my choice. Then, rage melted away as I realized that we were exactly where we needed to be at that time in our lives, and to be angry about it was pointless. We’d made our choices, the right ones… at least then, anyway.
At other times, Deah treated the intimacy between Meag and me as a threat, when I really, really wasn’t. All I wanted was to be a part of Meagan’s life in a real way, and it wasn’t that far to Ottawa from DC, so I could really be present in a way that I couldn’t when we’d only see each other sporadically. At the time, her parents were living in Sugar Land, so visits home were always a path back to me and letting the ghosts of our past rise as we went by our old high school and “our” Starbucks (which, incidentally, isn’t there anymore… and don’t think I’m not sad about that fact). I remember clearly the time when we had to run an errand, and she leaned over and said, “want to be 18 again?” I said, “hell, yeah.” She rolled down all the windows, opened the sun roof, and turned up the stereo as we raced down Palm Royale.
I can understand Deah’s hot and cold in a whole new way, because it was not dissimilar to the way Dana treated Argo. She was never a threat, but Dana treated her that way, anyway. I think that was the point of the dream- to get me to understand in a way that I couldn’t until this morning. I am so thankful to whatever brought on the dream, but I would like to believe it was my God place, the one that whispers to me in pieces of wisdom that I, in the words of Mary, “ponder in my heart.”
It is also comforting that years after the conversation we had in the past, we are still in the places we need to be to grow in the right direction. Maybe one day we’ll have another moment in which we can just be 18 again, the ghosts rising from our past…