“Dreams are impartial, spontaneous products of the unconscious psyche, outside the control of the will. They are pure nature; they show us the unvarnished, natural truth, and are therefore fitted, as nothing else is, to give us back an attitude that accords with our basic human nature when our consciousness has strayed too far from its foundations and run into an impasse.”
— Carl Jung (1875-1961)
Once, on a Tuesday in May, you wrote a song. The song was about me. I listened to it on YouTube with my door locked while you sat in another room, waiting. In the song was a lyric where you said that you missed me. When you knocked on my door and asked to talk, I refused to let you in, shouting that the last thing I wanted to do was to see you again.
Months later, on a Friday in August, you made a film. I clicked on a hyperlink to arrive at clips of animals roaming in the wild. Scared of watching something that came from your mind, I moved my cursor around on the play bar, jumping back and forth in a way that erased all meaning the film could have. I saw a series of hand-drawn animations; I heard the deep timbre of your voice. I saw, in a split-second shot, a still of my cat, which made me return to the start of the film because I wanted to decipher the whole thing. And then I realized the film was about me. About us. I let the video play and heard you say something like she was perfect.
On a Saturday in October, you were in the room as another boy told me he loved me. I could not stop thinking about the fact that you were there, listening to every word. As I told the boy I could not love him back, I relished in the knowledge that you knew that I could be loved. And that I deserved to be loved, even if it wasn’t by you.
Then, on a Wednesday in December, we were at some kind of party. You came to me, asking if I had any candy to spare. Upon hearing your simple request, the room turned silent and everyone stopped to see what I would do. In that moment, I detested you. But I also told you to cup your palms in the shape of a bowl. You did. I placed, in the curve of your hands, all the chocolate that I had. I watched you walk away. I did not feel emptied.
Then there are the events I didn’t bother to explain in depth the morning after they happened. The one where I saw your name in the paper and cried. The one where I boarded a train without you and instantly wished I hadn’t. The one where I lived in a house with four locks on the front door, all of which I’d lock before I went to bed. The one where, thinking of you, I got up from that same bed and walked to the same front door, where I undid the locks one by one by one by one. Hoping you would come by. And thinking you probably wouldn’t.
You never did. As the months passed, we became two strangers who would only ever meet in dreams. I knew nothing about who you’d become since that first dream about the song, a song you’d never written, but a song I heard nevertheless in an alternate world where I was asleep, where we were allowed to become the people I wished we could be. Or the people we once were. I was at a point where I could no longer tell the difference. Or maybe the difference no longer mattered. I used my dream diary to let me fill, with words, a kind of emptiness easier to bear than the one you’d left behind.
I learned, from sleepless nights spent on the internet, that we dream in order to remember. Which means that we also dream in order to forget. Dreaming is our body’s way of choosing what to keep and what to expel, but I can’t tell which of the two my body is trying to do with you.
Last week, we met in my city, halfway across the world. You were living there, for some reason, and you invited me to visit your apartment. We talked the entire time on our way to the bus stop. By then, we hadn’t spoken for months. It was winter and it felt good to stand beside your warmth. As the bus was arriving, you turned around and hugged me. You didn’t have to explain why. I wrapped my arms around your familiar body, clasping my cold hands at the small of your back. It was time for us to board the bus. But I was happy where I was. I didn’t want to let go, but I did, because I woke up.
I wrote about it in my dream diary.