cruel dream

There she was, sitting down on the floor, her back to the tiled swimming pool wall.  You said hello and began chatting, clumsily half crouching / half leaning to her level.  Why didn’t you just sit down?  She was doing well in her work, it seemed, doing impressive things.  You remembered you still had those shared interests, she’d been to different places you yourself would like to visit, often hiked the mountains nearby, like you’d like to.  You didn’t speak about this and weren’t sure how things were between her and her boyfriend / husband.  She was down here in the hotel swimming pool on her own, looking a little sad?  Had something happened between them?  Not that you’d ever dare try to elbow in or anything, being generally averse to the indignity of competition, as well as always suspecting that better candidates than you exist for everything.  Where had that Scottish twang in her accent come from?  She was from Cornwall.

Speaking to her brought it back:  the warmth of feeling, the painful sense that she might have been it; you shared so much, she was still damned cute, you had hurt so much and for so long when you parted, nobody has even come close since.  ‘Since’ has been a long time.

On Facebook she initially sent a friend request a few years back, which you falteringly accepted.  After a while quietly unfriended her because you didn’t like seeing and feeling those things.  Then a few months ago you sent another request to re-friend.  Odd behaviour.  An idea that any new friend is an audience expanded if you’re trying to subtly pimp business interests, combined with new unsubscribe settings that mean you can immediately opt out of someone’s inanities if they prove too idiotic, combined with curiosity and nostalgia, combined with whisky; all shaken into a nervous cocktail that made you tap the Add As Friend button.  You were still interested to know where she was up to – married yet, kids?  Just moved in, in turned out.  The photo albums hadn’t changed much.  Perhaps a few more looking beamingly happy and couply on mountaintops.  No messages were exchanged upon re-friending, as they had been upon initial friending.  Not a frequent user, you presumed by her activity, possibly wrongly.  She merely accepted the request.

You’ve heard tale, or maybe fable, of weak old men who once upon a time missed a boat, who didn’t struggle as much as they should have to stay afloat, and subsequently paddled off elsewhere, living out their lives on an island of dim regret.

Water came trickling in around the poolside and began to rise, over the edges of your slippers and socks.  Why were you wearing slippers and socks?  You couldn’t detect its source, the pool didn’t appear to be overflowing.  She was apparently unfussed, sitting in her bathing suit.  But it unsettled you and you sought higher ground, pleased at the meeting, heartened almost, yet also knowing it had meant nothing.  You wondered where your friends were and what you’d be getting up to that day, cycling the cobbled roads and coastlines of that island.  Later on you’d have a spat with a friend whose behaviour you deeply question, all the while faintly knowing that this is all just another nonsensical, cruel dream.  One which will leave remnant fug when you eventually wake up.

*

Wistful residue which results from dreaming about females is easier when the female subject is entirely fictional.

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