Last night, as I fell through consciousness and floated toward dreamland, I found myself in a community. It was a collection of homes and small buildings that quickly morphed into a single, large communal dwelling. I was in one of two primary living rooms within that dwelling. There was a nameless, tall, thin, Nubian woman in the room with me. She approached me seductively, leaning in for a kiss. As she did, several other people entered the room. I gently backed away, saying, “I can’t.”
Then my eye caught a man. He was also tall and thin, his skin a smooth mocha color, his hair short. I was fascinated with his eyes. He was one of those African Americans with light color eyes that is always stunning. I asked him what color his eyes were. I could not tell if they were blue or grey or green. He said, “They’re blue.” Slowly, like a fine film camera move, my vision floated in toward one of his eyes. My view grew closer and closer until all I could see was the iris itself. It was beyond blue. It was a soft pastel rainbow that shifted and flowed. I was fascinated by it and asked, “How do you get that color?” He replied softly, “Rainbow drops.” Suddenly, but not in a shocking way, I realized he was preparing to kiss me. At that moment I heard some crying and bawling behind me. I backed away and said, “I can’t.”
I turned to see what was going on. Laying on a sofa was my last ex, Elizabeth. Sitting beside her was some other woman that I recognized as a friend of hers, but I do not know the woman in real life, the knowledge of friendship was tied strictly to the dream. The friend had a large pillow over Elizabeth’s face and upper body, almost completely concealing her. How I knew it was Elizabeth is known only by the maker of dreams. Elizabeth was crying and beating her hands against the sofa in a childlike temper tantrum. The friend was using the pillow to keep her contained as she tried to soothe her with calming words. I got up and went over to Elizabeth, the pillow still covering her face and upper body, I gently took her hand and she quieted down almost immediately, like a child that had just gotten a boo-boo kissed.
The dream swerved and I was in my private space in the distant back of the massive communal dwelling. It was time for sleep, and within my dream I dreamt. In my dream within a dream I wondered why I could not kiss the man. I realized that, while I enjoy a close connection with males, a connection that I do not have, I am not gay and I do not want that form of connection. Then within my dream’s dream I wondered why I could not kiss the woman. My inner dream revealed to me that I cannot share physical contact without certain feelings and words. My dreamed dream mulled over the idea that I can carry out the acts, but I cannot perform, I cannot enjoy without the words and feelings. I can’t.
As my dreamer’s dream focused on these questions, my dreaming dream self was awoken by a loud commotion. I sprang up and began running through halls, maneuvering toward the main living areas of the large communal maze from my place of exile in the far back corners. Bouncing off walls in a frantic dash, I finally fought my way into the living area. In the adjoining living room, more an entrance room, was Elizabeth. She put down some luggage and began to cross the floor, entering the living room I was in. I sat on the sofa, shaken and concerned, and asked, “Are you all right?” She said, “Yes.” I wailed, “Oh thank god,” and I began to weep. My tears were a mixture of joy in her safety, and sadness at my loss.
She was suddenly in front of me, sitting on the floor. As my tears flowed, I held her hand, kissing and caressing her fingers. She kept saying softly, almost weeping herself, “I am sorry. I can’t.” I said sadly, “I know.”
My real life self was startled awake. So deep and intense was the dream, I did not perceive the train as a train, it feeling more like the opening roar of the apocalypse. When my living mind finally recognized the normal event, I became aware of the dream and refreshed it in my mind, wanting to hold onto it and making a mental point that I must jot down notes when the intended beginning of my day arrived. In that mental refreshing, I drifted off again.
I was outside. The day was cloud covered and dreary. While everything was lit well enough to see, there were no shadows, that sagging grey feeling all around me. I recognized the area as a part of the university campus that I often traveled through years ago, but that recognition was twisted and dream woven. It was outside and inside. It was the campus, but also a commonly visited movie theater. It was today, but it was another day, and yet another day. It was all these things at once.
Elizabeth and I passed by each other, each walking in opposite directions. Time and time again we passed. My feelings were heavy and deep with sadness. I fought back tears. With each passing, one of us would say, “I can’t,” and the other would respond, “I know.” Each taking turn with the negative greeting, and the other taking turn with the acknowledgment.
Then we both were entering a movie theater, but it was not like any theater I have seen, as there was no screen. We both looked for a seat not knowing the other was doing the same. We took seats only to realize we were sitting near each other. Elizabeth looked at me and with great sadness said, “I can’t.” I replied equally sadly, “I know.”
Her friend from the earlier dream appeared and Elizabeth’s sorrow turned to joy as the two clasp hands. I felt her joy and was happy for her. Again Elizabeth said to me, though this time with a touch of comfort, “I can’t.” I smiled at her and said with understanding, “I know.” The three of us left the theater and entered an area that resembled the corridor of a large mall. The friend, who I knew only in the dream itself, began to lead us all to a secluded spot. There was an unspoken understanding that the three of us would unite in a blood-brother style ceremony.
I woke. The dreams connected together, their feelings and focus so crisp and sharp, reality seemed more the dream.