Claire was in my dreams last night, and all throughout her emotions seemed exhausted, like her drive or will was diminishing and she was collapsing into herself. She was bitter, depressed; it felt as though she had given up.
At one point someone guided her into a bathroom. It was as if she had a caretaker or were being escorted by someone in a prison, hospital or mental ward. As soon as she was inside, the escort was gone. I was in a tub at one end of the rather large bathroom and she was going in the shower at the other end. As she stood there before turning on the water, curtains parted maybe a quarter of the way, she just looked my way. Naked, her long hair parted down the middle and hanging down across her shoulders, she was stunningly beautiful.
I could feel her sadness, frustration, feel her collapsing inside, but the look of her, the feel of her, was so soothing, so cleansing. In retrospect I realize: it was not even a thought that she saw me naked. I was only worried how she would feel about me seeing her naked. She seemed entirely comfortable with it, though. It wasn’t even a thought.
Later, we are somewhere else, clothed. She’s sitting, so sad she is nearly catatonic, and I stand by her and we talk. I want to hug her, hold her. I remember at the end of out conversation I said, “…if you even want me anymore.”
“I do,” she said, and she seemed to mean it.
Before waking up, I tried to consider how it would work between us given the way I am, how isolationist I am, how utterly incompetent I feel with respect to the society around me. I never have felt I belong in this world and though she had always had this drive, it seems like she cannot escape this feeling that somehow she simply doesn’t fit either. I at some point think to myself that in my next life, she’s mine, that’s all there is to it. I can’t fuck this up again and let her slip away.
After I awoke and reflected in the dream over coffee and cigarettes I’m reminded of a conversation I had with my father on the phone recently. My one sister got married, her and my brother-in-law have good jobs and ambition. My other sister finished college, makes more than me, now has a boyfriend. I’m the oldest — to be 37 in November. I’m alone, in debt, work in fast food and fear everyone I live thinks me absolutely insane. I tell him I like living alone. I’ll probably never get married. Then I added that maybe when we are both a bit older Claire and I could live together, ride out the end of our lives side by side. Maybe not, but it’s something strangely natural and comforting to imagine.