The dream faded as I woke up, like they always do, but the pain remained lodged in my gut. Rock solid and more real than the blankets around me, the pain remained.
When people normally speak of bad dreams, they are really talking about anxieties, manifested. They may have dreamt of being chased or of being attacked and these truly are bad dreams. I, however, dream about fuck-ups I never made but that I could have. I do not mean the standing in front of the class naked dream, I mean the “she killed herself and it’s my fault” dream, or the “why didn’t you do anything to save her” dream.
Those anxieties. I’ve heard anxiety described as the monster that lives in your head. I think that is a fairly apt description, with the addendum, and he likes to sucker punch you.
In the dream, a girl that I have known for a long, long time, and to whom I have not always done the right thing, or even what I said I would, but who has always let me back in, decided she could not take me back anymore. No matter how I pleaded, no matter how I tried, or what kind of bargins I made, she could not forgive me anymore. The dream ended with the cinematic flourish that so many of mine have – a close up of the girl’s face, in tears, a fade to black and silence.
Then I woke up and the pain was real.
So I stumbled into my day. Shower, shave, breakfast, work. Lunch, reports, class. Swim, class, home. And still my stomach has been hurting. A few minutes ago, my old friend the Fat Man showed up to point out the obvious. This dream and subsequent stomache-ache are just the results of my forgetting White Day. The Japanese reciprical holiday that correspondes to Valentine’s day.
Forgetting it would not be that big a deal. It certainly is not one to my wife, who does not really care about the holiday. But, to me, or, more acurately, the Fat Man (he’s the only monster in my head, it’s just that he’s huge with a split cult of personality), it is a direct reflection of one of my biggest fears. That I may not be being a good husband. That I may be wasting chances I did not even know I had. That this kind of continued behaviour could lose me the one thing that matters most. That it would all be my fault.
That is what I have to avoid. That is what I have to change.
My stomach feels better already.