… in the traditional sense of dreams being, you know, ‘dreamy.’
He was sick. Really sick and sick in ways that people around him didn’t know, couldn’t know. And even if they had known, would have been able to know, they would have chosen ignorance over reality. I know this. Ignorance is so much easier sometimes than the realities we create and endure.
People are always confusing ignorance and stupidity, which is a shame. They are very different concepts, most notably in the element of choice.
I am not stupid. But I was ignorant about some things and then there was the dream, and after that you can never go back and then ignorance doesn’t seem so bad because it is a comfortable place back there that you can never inhabit again. Everyone around me believed they were neither ignorant nor stupid which somehow equated to enlightenment in their mathematics of personality. The derivative of this was that I was subject to a lot of “helpful” problem solving which was both misguided and inappropriate. But I see now it was not their fault, it was no ones fault, it was just the different ways people chose to see the situation, what I am now calling the dream.
And so it began on a balmy night in the subtropics. Something tugging at me to sit and talk, to stay. Something equally powerful telling to go, to run. I liked the struggle and so I stayed. Up until dawn. Fuzzy connections from which I made meaning so they would be… meaningful. In some ways it was so sweet and in some ways it was so artificial. I thought it was just how all of the great love affairs through history must have started. So full of possibility it becomes tangible. Coarse and human and strong and, in the end, tired. So we slept.
There would be nothing easy. There were stories and coincidences (or were they? Is there ever a coincidence?) There were similarities and hopes and shared disappointments and it was all punctuated with a previously disclosed departure. If there was only a week, what a week it would be. And it was. And I left.
But it takes only a breath, a glance, to tickle your soul and ignite that spark that is hope for the dream that you may have been dreaming for a day, a month, years… a lifetime. Finding the perfect stranger who is not so strange and is everything that no one else was and sees that in you as well. You do not let go. You hold fast. That is ignorance. And it is bliss.
It took very little time to see that he was sick. And the specifics of the sickness do not matter, they vary only by cause, but the effects remain constant. It was a sickness of the kind that is understood only by those who suffer. Everyone around thinks they suffer too. But again, that is ignorance. Choosing to suffer is entirely different than being afflicted.
Choices choices choices choices choices. Everyday we make them based on…?
There were ebbs and flows in his disease and I chose to allow my suffering to increase. And I stayed the course. I said I was hopeful. I was strong. People who thought they knew said I was weak. I was confused. I was wrong. I was being wronged. I was a victim. That might have been the worst: victim. We make our choices. And people watch and they all know better. But if you are not ignorant and you are not stupid you are not, by definition, enlightened. They knew what was going on, didn’t I? I wondered how everyone knew what was going on with me but I had no idea what was going on with them. Was I being honest or stupid? Can you ever really know? I tried to talk to the people I thought would listen.
No one listens when they already know.
‘Wake up.’ They said.
‘He did this, don’t you know.’ They demanded.
‘You are… changing.’ They accused.
And I did. Wake up. And he did. Do that. And I am. Changing. But only my changes upset those enlightened ones. They are not bothered by the injustices of the world, or the broken souls that surround us, or the people, like him, who are trying and working everyday to survive.
As the dream continued in that vague and disconnected way that dreams do it became clear that his sickness was getting worse and was in turn encouraging my suffering. Nothing was linear or logical and often times if I squeezed my eyes tightly I could return to an earlier scene and feel the energy from our connection like and electric – addictive – charge. I held on because it was nice, those last few minutes before the morning tucks your dreams away.
But the morning always comes. And in the cool, sharp light of a bright spring morning the waking came like ice water on sun baked legs.
‘You are sick.’ I said. ‘I cannot save you. I do not want to save you. I want to love you, and I do. But that is all I can do.’
‘It is not enough.’ He said.
And I never saw nor heard from him ever again.
Dedicated to Erica Lee in London.