I had a dream that he came back. I ran into him in the lobby of a movie theater where I was with another group of people. When I saw him, I didn’t know if he was single or married or ever thought about me at all. But, he put his arm around me and held my hand as though he had never left. He kissed my cheek as though we were supposed to have met there. I fell right back into him as we perused movie treats together.
Then, he noticed my baggage. Literally. I was wearing a backpack, a cross-body bag, and I had a roller suitcase. I was planning to take all of this in to see the movie with me. The rules of leaving baggage unattended at airports had been permanently branded onto my frontal lobe, so it never occurred to me not to bring them in.
He said, “You’re not going to bring all of that in with you, are you?” “Yeah,” I replied. “It’s no big deal. I can hold the bags in my lap and put the roller suitcase under the seat in front of me” (it was a dream, after all). He said he couldn’t believe I was going to do that. He turned around and walked away with no explanation. No chance for me to understand or to compromise or do anything to make it better. Nothing. He walked toward a hook where he had hung his own bags.
One of the guys in the group of friends I was with, a guy who looked a lot like a younger version of him, ran up to his bag and kicked it.
The wound had opened. I’d lost him all over again. But, this time it was different. The rejection didn’t feel as sharp as it did the first time. It was more like the dull ache of self loathing and frustration I felt for letting myself believe that someone I loved could actually love me back, especially with all the shit I always carry.
I woke up and wrote it all down. It would have ended there, but when I remembered the guy running up and kicking his bag, it felt like someone was sticking up for me, as if to say, “Screw him and his unattended baggage. You’re fine the way you are . . . backpack, roller-suitcase and all.”