What Happened When I Got a Full Night's Sleep
Last night, I had a full night's sleep...and a crazy dream.
Most nights, I didn't get more than six and a half hours because more often than I'd have liked, I rode out the day till, say, 11 pm, but still needed to get up at 5:30 am for work, or 5 or 5:15 on the days I swam. Most nights, I felt like I hadn't had time to dream, at least not any memorable ones.
A woman, who is not Pat, and who is not the girlfriend I lived with in Chicago 20 years ago, is luring me to be with her. She is blond and a stranger -- no one I've ever met...and then she morphs into the classically-beautiful cello player I dated, among many other women, pre-Pat.
(The cello player was gorgeous, and lovely, but ultimately, we lacked enough in common and it ended within a few months. For example, I couldn't even play a musical instrument at an amateur level and preferred disco to classical music.
At our peak, she invited me home to her mom's in Des Moines for a weekend. She took me to the Jewish cemetery there, and to the synagogue, and we snapped pictures, but for her, it was just a tour; we were equally exotic to each other, and exoticism didn't make for staying power.)
Back to the Dream
In the dream, I am still with my former girlfriend of 20 years ago, and I am concerned that she cannot find out about my emotional, if not yet physical, adultery. I must hide the gorgeous garment that the blond cello player has bought me. The gift of the Indian outfit has made me feel prized and seems, in parallel, a sexy and romantic gesture; at all costs, my girlfriend cannot find out that the cello player has given me the gift.
In the next scene, my girlfriend and I reunite in a hotel room, or an apartment, or wherever we are -- I don't recognize it -- and she morphs into Pat, and I'm panicked.
And then she morphs back into herself (because I cannot imagine Pat betraying me this way) and holds up a shopping bag. She pulls out a gorgeous outfit, saying that another woman (to whom I know she is attracted) has bought it for her.
She has no compunctions about the presumed betrayal while I'm torn up by my actions. I wake up; it is unresolved.
Desire These Days
Last night, before going to sleep, I told Pat that I needed some new clothes for work.
"Let's just go to Richards ," she said.
"OK, maybe during our vacation [in May, since this one's local]."
Prior to this pre-sleep conversation, we had been at Shabbat services, and there was a profusion of attractive women there, including our ever-lovely assistant rabbi and rabbinical intern...and maybe, I also had a touch of spring fever.
Funny how, 20 years after feeling like a Proto-Shane, my sleep-fantasies focused on a gift of clothing as the height of racy behavior. It was true that I did develop a bit of a fetish for nice clothes over the years, as I earned more money, and yet, felt a bit wistful that it had come to this.
At services last night, the openly-gay, Israeli deputy ambassador to Poland, Yossi Avni-Levy, spoke. I was inspired because in addition to being a diplomat, he wrote award-winning stories and novels drawn from his life. If he could write so openly while serving in a governmental leadership position, then certainly, I wanted to believe that I had license to keep writing this blog as openly as I did.
As I looked for clues on how I dreamt the dream I did last night -- beyond all the press lately for our area politicians' behavior -- I thought about Richards, the women at synagogue and then finally the last image I had after kiddush: Ambassador Avni-Levy was swarmed by male congregants. He was talking to the first one in the line, standing close to him and gesticulating, practically touching the guy's broad chest with every gesture, and standing with one leg extended in front of the other, toward the guy.
"Sexual orientation is fascinating," I said aloud to Pat, softly and jealously, looking in their direction. The guys' active sexuality was so visible...at least that of the ones, who were in line, waiting their turn to talk to the handsome, fit diplomat.
When I read the interview he gave to the Polish journalist, linked to from the first occurrence of his name above, I lost my jealousy and recovered my empathy. He spoke of being lonely, of wanting to love and be loved, of wanting to feel like he had a real home, rather than loved ones "...in every port."
For me these days, desire -- more often than not -- is about:
- Wanting Pat to live forever, and always to prize me
- Hoping for recognition that I'm making a positive difference at work and in school
- Wishing for enough money to be more generous philanthropically and to add more art and further luxuries to our lives
- Leaving a lasting, positive legacy
- Being moved by beautiful women I see, but no longer so continuously...if I'm truthful.
The last item made me a bit sad to admit, but actually, it was a relief not to battle that sort of desire as constantly as I did in my twenties....Well, I didn't battle it then; I fell to it nearly every time...but it got exhausting after awhile and made me lonelier.
Nowadays, it was more fun to write about that sort of desire than to act on it.