Friday, September 25, 2015

The Dreams Keep Coming

The dreams about the ex-best friend, Melanie, who didn't invite me to her wedding and ultimately abruptly cut me off after sixteen years of friendship just keep coming. I understand that she is ignorant, sheltered, and flaky. But that doesn't make what she did hurt any less, even seven years after the fact. Dreams about confronting her to find out why she did it usually come once or twice per month. And these aren't the casual, vaguely-remembered dreams that most people have. My dreams are intense, vivid, and often sensory, factors that significantly contribute to the massive emotional impact that my dreams have.

I have a variety of dreams. The most common one is that I run into Melanie somewhere. I call her name, and she takes one look at me and runs. I chase after her and grab her shirt sleeve and say something like, "STOP! I just want to ask you one thing."

Another variation is that for some reason I am together with Melanie. I pace around, trying to figure out how to tactfully broach the subject. Finally, I say something like, "Melanie, I have something to ask you, and… now, this isn't easy." I take a deep breath and ask, "Why didn't you invite me to the wedding?" In every dream, Melanie gives me a different answer. Most of her explanations are absurd, but as absurd as they are, I could easily see her using them as excuses. In one dream, her father was dead, and she said that she thought it would be difficult for me to be there and not see her father. I can't remember offhand what other explanations she has given, but in many dreams instead of answering she just doesn't say anything or runs.

In another dream, I ran into her husband and asked for a straight answer. He said, "She doesn't want to talk to you." I said, "Yeah, I get that. But I'd like to know why. One of you just tell me why, and I'll never try to contact her again, no questions asked." The dream ended there.

In my most recent dream, Melanie did something that would make sense for someone more caring, but something I am sure she would never do: She broke down crying, and said, "I'm so sorry. I was wrong. I wasn't thinking. And I truly regret it." Actually, forget "I am sure she would never do it." I know she would never do it. She isn't capable of the sort of sober self-reflection that I am (and many other people are) capable of. I can see now, however, that she might have had second thoughts about our friendship long before she abruptly cut me off in 2008.

One memory that should have set off sirens in my mind when it happened was during my senior year in college in New York City (2002). Melanie (who lives in Philadelphia) and I were on the phone. She said that her boyfriend (now husband) was over. I'd never met him, and she said, "Would you like to talk to him?" I said, "Okay." Her boyfriend got on the phone with me and said, "Hi. I hear you tell repetitive jokes."

Yes. That's what Melanie's boyfriend had to say to me. Why? I see now that this was probably all that Melanie saw me as. She didn't tell her boyfriend that I was a creative person who liked to draw and write. She didn't tell him that I got her interested in animation when we were kids and that's the reason she ended up going to school for animation. No. She told him that I tell repetitive jokes. Back then it upset me, but today I see why it should have raised alarms in my mind: That was what she thought of when she thought of me, not as a creative, intelligent person. I often wonder if this was why she cut me out of her life.

The fact is, I will never know for sure why Melanie did what she did. I have a number of theories, but all of them point back to my suspicion that she was afraid I'd do something to upset her at the wedding, and instead of addressing it with me took the easy route and cut me out of her life. If this is true, then Melanie is as fair-weather and flaky as Dad had warned me about ever since we were kids (Dad sees through people's bullshit more easily than anybody I know). And it says more about her than it does about me. Nonetheless, the dreams keep happening and I just want them to stop. I need closure.

I am going to write Melanie a letter. A hand-written letter, that I will mail this weekend. I don't expect her to write back, but I need to do this. Even if this doesn't stop the dreams, it will at least make me feel I've gotten the last word in. I don't care if it makes her think I'm a creepy stalker. I just want to assert myself and make her understand what she has done.

Well, perhaps I'm giving her too much credit for thinking she's capable of understanding what she has done.

1 comment:

  1. I went through something kind of similar, although in my case I was the one who decided to cut off my relationship with my "friend," who I eventually realized was not a friend at all but just using me to take care of her kids. We'd been friends for over 10 years. I started to see that her perception of me was so low, all she could see was this meek, childish, annoying, clingy person. So it was me who decided I wanted out. But now, 4 years later, I still have very vivid dreams about her at least once a week. I often dream that we're friends again, but in my dreams I'm afraid, like I am going to be trapped... like becoming friends with her again is going to suffocate me!