September 5, 2005

Great Expectations

About a week before I left camp, I had this crazy dream about a guy and a marriage and a fight and a baseball game. It was a typical dream for me--full of minute details and vivid scenes. However, it was one of those dreams that was so vivid and detailed that it had convinced my brain that it was reality. It wasn't a happy dream, so I woke up with a chest tight with emotions and pain. It literally took me a full minute or two to realize that it had just been a dream. I sighed with relief, and as my chest relaxed and my anger abated, I fell back asleep.

I hate that feeling, when it feels like someone has placed a bowling ball, or perhaps a small elephant, on your chest and you have that dry, gut-wrenching sobbing effect going on. I can only remember one other dream that woke me up feeling that way and it happened when I was having those nightmares about my friend dying last fall. It's a horrible way to wake up, that's for sure.

I was thinking about the baseball dream last night, as I sat on my bed trying to recover from another full day of being Aunt Tori. (My sister and her kids are still here, our own personal Katrina refugees.)
In the light of day and rationality, the dream made for a great story. But it was a very telling one for me. Because despite the ridiculous nature of the dream, of a guy having to get married because of a contract and an apathy to fight it, what was most real about the whole thing was my reaction to it. I was literally devastated by the idea that I'd lost the guy in the dream--hence the emotions I woke up with. Later on, I was proud of myself and a little scared by the idea that I had allowed myself to get attached enough to this guy that a stupid dream had had such an effect on me. Despite the sad nature of the dream, I was willing to take it all as a good sign.

I was so wrong.

Last week, just about the time that I had finally relaxed into this friendship with the guy and was having fun thinking about the possibilities it held, it abruptly came to an end. Just like that. One night we were talking, sharing those stupid embarrassing stories of mistakes made and lessons learned, and then 36 hrs later, I got a phone call. I guess I knew it was coming, because before he even said what it was that he had called to tell me, I had already started crying.
Talk about a shock to the system. Not only was the guy saying goodbye, I was CRYING! ON THE PHONE!! Oh, the horror.

And honestly, while I made him explain it all at least twice, I'm still a little confused about what happened exactly. I've tried to guess what was going on with him that caused him to want to bail so badly--maybe I scared him off by being honest about my expectations for dating, maybe the long distance thing was too much, maybe he really just didn't think through any of the changes that were going to happen when school started, maybe the age difference mattered, maybe he'd fooled me with his maturity all summer, maybe he had learned something about me that he didn't like, maybe he thought it would be easier to date Moody girls, maybe, maybe, maybe. Truth is, I may never understand what went through his head that week, especially since he decided that our friendship ended last Saturday night and I haven't heard a peep from him since.

For an entire week, every time my phone rang, I thought it was going to be him. Every email that showed up in my inbox disappointed me because it wasn't from him. I am pathetic, I know. But I've finally stopped expecting him to change his mind. I told him he couldn't change his mind as I sat there on my bed doing my best to just hold my shit together long enough to get through that conversation without crying or yelling. I know I shouldn't have made him promise that, but it was simply a knee-jerk reaction from ghosts from my past. And I know he wouldn't go against what he promised me, but my heart still held on a little while longer than my brain.

It's just...after all that we went through that last month...I just always thought it was going to be me and my baggage that screwed this up. And we'd gone through so much and I'd been winning all my battles against my fear and my past...I just never thought to worry that it would be his battles that held us back. I had finally started to relax and I was getting ready to enjoy this friendship and it's future. The fun was finally coming. I know that maybe I have it all backwards, that the fun and excitement should be what the beginning is all about. But I had to get through some stuff first before I could let the fun happen. Maybe that's my problem. I held back for too long. I don't know.

It has not been a fun week and a half. With so many things in my life not going the way they should, this friendship had been such a bright spot for me. And when it ended, I was so sad. Hurricane Katrina happened and dumped most of my Mississippi family on my doorstep, so that has been a big distraction. But it's not been enough to totally overshadow my melancholy.

Multiple times through the course of conversations that last month, we both assured one another that no matter what we were going to be thankful for whatever we got out of this. That we would be fine no matter the outcome. And I know that is true. I am thankful for so many things that happened and for the experience. And I am going to be fine, I know.
But for now...this still sucks. The disappointment is tough.

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