“The unexamined life is not worth living.
                                                                    - Socrates

Posted by Billie on Jun 30, 2018

Because it's not awkward to email your ex's father's childhood best friend somewhat out of the blue describing a Saturday morning dream you had about him or anything... *wide eyes*

 

Dear ----,

 

I just woke up to a dream where I spent a lot of time with you... it’s fading but I’ll try to recall it as best I can.

 

I was visiting somewhere, a city I don’t recognize, but I felt like we were in Europe. It also kind of felt like Sydney, but only because it seemed like you lived there... (Your wife & daughter) were somewhere else so it was just you & I walking around this city in the evening, chatting intermittently - a winter evening. It wasn’t late, but it was dark & chilly because of the season. Not freezing, just a definite coolness. 

 

With each stop we made there was an introduction & a discussion with that person - it seemed casual enough that we would stumble upon these people & places, yet the entire time it felt like you were teaching me something very specific, slowly & quietly, very poignantly dictating our walk by leading to the certain places we would go.

 

For one of them, when we came to a massive, fancy building, it was like an apartment building, assisted living & outpatient hospital all in one place, where I met a disabled young man. We enjoyed his company a little until we said our goodbyes & you took me to one of the building’s downstairs lobbies where a kind of gift shop/farmer’s market was done thoughtfully & beautifully inside, & you showed me the products others were selling in his behalf.

 

There were beautiful things in there - glass balloons, regular looking but eco-friendly balloons, artisan-type things, not to mention healthy ingredients for making food. You told me you were hoping that young man would be able to support himself soon by this business because currently (my ex’s father) was paying for his needs, & you were paying (your best friend) back. Of course, you didn’t make it clear why you took this role, or why he did, or why anyone cared beyond the whole Catholic charity-guilt angle, but my emotional intelligence felt there was something else to it, a deeper bond or responsibility, or something. 

 

Then you walked me over through the darkness to a little triangular park between streets, covered in old trees & dim lights, with stone tables & benches, built-in chess boards & all the rest of an affluent, safe city, where there were balloons from the market assembled. I recognized them, pointing them out to you saying that the market idea seemed to be working & the disabled young man should be fine because here they are out in the world - someone has bought them & put them over here for someone, but you didn’t say anything. Then I looked closer at the random, darker complexioned couple with dark hair, sitting at a stone table, wrapped in coats… & next to them, chatting casually with them, was (my ex).

 

When I recognized him, I didn’t know what to do, this was obviously what you were leading me to that evening, & all the stops along the way were like you trying to (in that very subjects-of-the-crown kind of way) passively tell me something. But I didn’t know what you were trying to tell me, maybe I just hadn’t processed it all yet while in the dream, & maybe I still haven’t processed what it means now as I write this... but what haven't you told me that you want to, ----?

 

You wouldn’t say anything in the dream - you wouldn’t explain what was going on, & (my ex) wouldn’t say anything, & I don’t know if you or he knew the couple or if they just happened to be there, but they didn’t say anything... everyone just stopped talking & was stoic & quiet. Ha - story of my blurry, spoiled, confusing, painful, bad-communication-filled, passive-aggressive Australian life... anyway.

 

There were little, thoughtful gifts scattered among the balloons & I made out my name, put it together that these were for me, especially because my birthday was approaching - surely in southern Europe then, with a January chill. When he could see I figured that out, (my ex) stood up - still, he didn’t say anything & neither did you, but I felt like this was his apology to me. These gifts weren’t like the show-off gifts he used to give me when we were together - things he would buy me because he thought he was supposed to, because advertisements say they’re what girls want - no, no... these were very intentional, inexpensive, & very thoughtful things I wanted so that I could support the causes behind them & stories of artisans I would believe in.

 

I looked at you & reached my hands to your cheeks & said, “Thank you.” Tears welled in my eyes the same way they are now as I type this out. I kept repeating it to you, “Thank you, thank you.” I was thanking you for all the time you’d spent with me that evening, for all the things you were teaching me by taking me to those places & introducing me to those people... & for bringing me here, to this quiet little neighborhood park.

 

(My ex) just stood & waited for me, silently. It felt like he had organized these sweet, thoughtful little gifts for my birthday to show me that he figured out a lot about who he is, what he’s been missing since I left, & mainly that he was sorry for torturing me during our relationship in Australia & torturing me even more so since I moved back to Los Angeles... & you had helped him get me there, & to put the gifts in context before I got to them, & to him.

 

And then I woke up.

 

I don’t know what any of this means, ----, but it was clear & vivid & went on for what felt like ages... I hope you know what the past 18 months of torture has included for my family & myself, but I know there’s a big chance you don’t. I haven’t seen you or even spoken to you in a very long time, not since I sat on your new apartment floor because I was too scared I would stain your sofa with my period if I sat on the fabric, hahaha... that was the day I got the cover shot for my book.

 

I did get end up getting engaged to that American guy who was setting up our evening in Sydney to propose instead of coming to your new apartment, & then I called off our wedding last summer. Definitely a story for another day.

 

Anyway, I miss you all, I miss so many parts of my Australian life. This is really not at all what I thought my story would look like - I’m an optimistic, honest, good person. I never imagined uglinesses like this would mutate & grow in my life, but I also refuse to let myself be taken advantage of any more than I already have.

 

Thank you for whatever it is that you’re trying to communicate to me, or will in the future - I just wish you’d do it more clearly, more American & more directly. I hope this finds (your family) very well. I feel the best thing too, is to wish (his family) well, even as they’ve tortured me - be it on purpose, or as it began, unwittingly, & even if consciously I don’t want to... I know that spiritually I do.

 

With much love & gratitude,

Billie