We are reminiscing about the car he is about to sell. There is an aura of peace about us, as though we are very old and all that passed between us is so much water under the bridge, but we don't appear old. We appear as we did one afternoon at Mt. Bonnel. My hair was a curly mess of wild red. His was a tousled mess of sandy. My lucid self was shocked because my dream self felt no hatred towards him. It was as though at some point during my experience with him, I split into pieces and there was this shard left that only remembered the good in him.
"We did a lot in that car." He said.
And I agreed, though we didn't, really. The places I remember going were beautiful or interesting places, but there was almost always tension, and I was almost never unselfconscious. He rattled off a list of places he remembered going with me, and though I didn't have the same list (we never went to Niagara Falls, for example, though he seemed to remember it very fondly) I nodded and smiled.
We were standing about three feet from one another. He had one arm down and crossed over his torso, and the other crossed over his chest, that hand gripping his forearm. He had one foot on the driveway and one up on the concrete stoop. I was aware of being several different selves holding other selves in check. The only self allowed to act was the one that was nodding and smiling, staying very still.
"I'm so, so sorry." He said.
The character-self standing there wondered if he was sorry he was selling the car.
"Oh, the car doesn't really matter, does it? I'm not sorry." I heard her say. The lucid self let out a short, staccato laugh - sardonic - because she knew what he was saying he was sorry for. She wanted to burst in on the scene and demand an accounting, an inventory. What, exactly, are you sorry for?
Sorry I exposed you?
Sorry I didn't keep my mouth shut?
Sorry I wasn't meek and mild and more like you with breasts?
Sorry I had the guts to travel all that way?
Sorry you let me?
Sorry you were too cowardly to be straight with me from the beginning?
Sorry you were mean to my son? Sorry you were mean to me?
Sorry for what, exactly?
Some dreaming self reigned her in as well, and those questions remained unasked, though I woke up with them on my tongue, but with no one to ask, and no real desire to ask them.
I wondered for a while after I poured up my first coffee if there was still some part of me that yearned after an apology, a reconciliation of souls, a chance to be friends. I think there is, but it is the ingÃ©nue in me, the young and not-so-good at self-protection that wants that. I take pride in leaving all my lovers with love. I am friends with most of them. Not close friends, in some cases, and best friends, in other cases, but there's only one I care to hear from who shuns me, and only one I actually feel any residual anger toward and have run off with lashings out and loud declarative statements about what I really think of him.
The me that is sitting here typing wants nothing to do with him, and he wouldn't even be a dust mote on my radar except that he's involved with someone I care about enough to want to keep in touch. But, if the dream is any indicator, there are selves within me who would prefer to play the shy girl, the sweet girl, buying whatever bullshit he dishes if it means the peace will be kept.
"Sure, we went to Niagara falls. Uh huh. Yup. And it was so much fun, too!"
That self doesn't prefer the lie because she's evil. She prefers the lie because it seems safer to lie. It seems safer to never disagree, to never say what she's displeased with. She would rather live a half-life with squelched curiosity and a vapid smile than rock the proverbial boat.
It's a good thing that self belongs to me, that I claim her and have her in my sight, because if I let her rule me, I'd be lost to any kind of real life. I'd be incapable of creating a life in which I could say to myself "How do I like my eggs? What do I want right now? Where do I want to go?"
I'm reading Clarissa Pinkola Estes again. Her rendition of Bluebeard is swimming around in my various levels of consciousness with a vengeance with his gruff insistence that I not use the tiniest key to open the secret door. I'm not there anymore, in Bluebeard's castle, all wide-eyed and innocent, stubbornly ignoring my elder sisters and their cautions.Cross posted at feithline(dot)com