"Yeah, he got really burned by some girl once. In college, I guess. So now he's pretty cautious about women in general."
"That's so stupid," I start to say, and then stop. Because.
In the dream I had last night
, I was at a company picnic--maybe a baseball game--that was sponsored by the bank M works for. I was there with a girl in my acting class who is a former model, and who has all of the personality quirks and carelessness of someone who has been paid only because she's beautiful.
She was holding my hand, walking around the bleachers with me when suddenly M arrived with a new girlfriend.
I was Trying Not To Look. So, of course, I was looking.
What I saw came like images from one of those photo booths in train stations. First frame: His arm around her shoulders. Second frame: Her head in his lap. Third frame: Fourth frame.
He was surrounded by his work colleagues, some of whom I'd met, some of whom he would never introduce me to. All these men in suits, and M and this woman in the midst of them lounging on one another in a way that was simultaneously affectionate and cold (a dream thing, I guess).
After awhile, I felt I had to go over. We had seen each other, and there were people who I had known when we dated...
...so I put on my most congenial smile (think Southern hostess at the top of her game)...
...and went over.
M didn't say anything at first. The man next to him--a suit-clad business man who is probably just someone who I saw once on the subway or something--did all of the talking initially.
M always said I was charming, and I wanted so much to prove that while talking to this stranger. But every joke I made, every smile I flashed, just met disdain and disapproval.
Meanwhile, M just sat back, watching. His face was so clear in my dream, which was painful, because I don't really remember what he looks like in real life. I don't have any pictures, and my memories (thankfully) have faded to leave just impressions of a certain way he had of smiling or turning his head--but the images aren't clear, really. Just tracing paper and peripheral vision.
In my dream, though, every detail was laser-precise. The sharp, definite lines of his cheeks and his forehead, all the planes and angles that I thought had been pushed underneath and away, came up to the surface now like shark fins. It had been such a long time since I'd seen his face.
started talking then.
She was plain and wearing a long skirt--which he loves. She was obviously on the attack. Right away she launched into a story about how they'd met. She'd gone to Harvard Law School and Yale Medical School. Both. (That sure says something about my subconcious.) They'd met in a parking lot or something--she made him tell the story, which he did, speaking now for the first time. How he'd driven by her and turned around, taken by something about her.
He spoke to me as though I weren't even there. Literally. Almost the way a blind person would look, with their gaze ever so slightly misdirected and out of focus. It was like he barely remembered me; I was a woman he'd passed once in an elevator, or stood in line with at a store.
Meanwhile, he was so clear
to me. And I tried very hard to listen and to smile, but I felt so overwhelmed. I felt love for him, but also so much sadness. And then this tremendous ANGER.
She interrupted him suddenly and turned to me.
My anger--this overwhelming weight of it--was practically breaking out of me now.
She started to ask me all of these questions about my background and my life, making it so clear that I was foolish to her. All the while she exchanged glances with the other strange businessman while M--silent again--just watched.
I stood up then, sick of the pretense, and starting screaming. God. Screaming and crying and so much horrible anger. To all three of them: How dare you ask me that. You just want to know so that you can decide that you're better than me. How dare you.
How dare you.
How dare you.
I could write it a thousand times and it would never be enough.
What It All Means
That clearly I have bizarre inferiority complex about Ivy League Universities.
That, though I am moving forward, I cannot ignore the fact that I am a different person now. In many ways. Some good.