29 July 2008

Ghost Town

Last night I had a dream that, when I woke up, I could've sworn I had before. In it, I walked down a street--I don't know where it was; it looked like it could've been in any number of places I've known. Anyway, this street led to a bridge, or at least a bridge was in sight. Which was strange, because it was transparent, almost to the point of being invisible. Yet it was as clear as the light of that day: fair, but not excellent: not gray and overcast, but not bright and refulgent, either. And there were no shadows.

I realized why--at least, according to the logic (if you will) of that dream--this was so: All of the houses along that street were shadows. Not literally, but they could just as well have been: No light glowed or blazed from inside any of them. In fact, there didn't seem to be anybody--at least nobody I knew, or knew of-- in any of them. That was strange because the houses all seemed to be in rather good shape, if not fancy. Yet they weren't austere: They didn't appear to ever have been elegant enough for that.

So were these houses abandoned? Soon to be abandoned? Should I go inside one of them, I asked myself. Someone heard me, or my thoughts: I'm not sure I voiced them. Anyway, a woman--who appeared to be constructed of vertical lines even though she was shorter than me--appeared, the way people just seem to come out of nowhere when you walk down a street. I just knew I'd seen her somewhere before--at least in the world of that dream.

Anyway, this woman, who was probably a few years older than me, said this: "You don't need any of those places now. Don't let them leave you."

Now, one of the reasons why I don't normally spend a lot of time thinking about my dreams--those few I remember--is that I can drive myself crazy by asking myself, "What the hell does that mean?"

As for the dream--I had the same one, more or less, years ago--long before my gender transition: long before lots of things. And the woman in that dream--yes, she was in it. But I could swear I've seen her in my waking life. I don't remember thinking that after I had the dream the first time.

As best as I can tell, that woman is the one I saw that day in St. Jean de Maurienne: the woman who, although we never spoke and our eyes never met, caused me to realize that I couldn't take another step in this world as a man.

But wait: The first time I had the dream was about ten years before I saw that woman. And, I'm assuming, she's French--or, more precisely, Savoyard. Maybe she speaks English. But unaccented, the way she spoke in the dream?

I assure you that I have taken no mind-altering drugs, and drunk no alcohol, in more than twenty years!

I don't know, or at least remember, what might have brought on the dream the first time, or to what in my life it might have been connected. I vaguely remember writing a really bad poem about it. But as to what it might have been "about"--you've got me.

On the other hand, it makes some kind of sense that I had the dream last night. After all, for the past few years, I have had to leave some things behind me, including lifestyles and careers other people wanted for me, and the lives of other people I tried to live, which included all sorts of thoughts, emotions and wishes that weren't my own. Yes, there has been loss; I am sure there is more to come: Otherwise, how could change ever happen?

And what did I abandon, or at least lose? A life with Tammy: We had been planning on that before the transition; or more exactly, I was going along with what she was planning. And two friends and one brother cut off contact with me. I was expecting to lose relationships with somebody, but not those friends or that brother.

Those were relations I had in an otherwise fairly solitary life. I've left that behind, too--mostly by choice. I finally admitted to myself that sort of life wasn't so enlightening or rewarding: Maybe for some other kind of person, it might be--but not me.

Yes, I have made new friends, and relationships with other people who've been in my life have changed in gratifying ways. And I'm about to start a new job as a faculty member at the college. Most important, I am actually starting to enjoy being with myself, which is the reason I enjoy other people.

But I did indeed abandon the possiblity of ever becoming--well, whatever it was I would've become if I'd spent the rest of my life with Tammy or some other person who wanted the kind of relationship he or she, or someone he or she knew, had with someone else, whether of the same or another gender. And whatever I might've become if I'd contunued to pedal everywhere, for hours on hours every day, and went to the gym before or after. And what I might be now if I'd continued to take long trips in faraway places, alone. And remained skinny.

Oh well. Then there is the ghost town, like the one (metaphorically) I saw yesterday at the college when I went to talk to the department chair about my new job and schedule. Almost everyone else gone, including the ones I'd love to see again as well as the ones I wouln't miss. Another year passed; another season winding down; yet another year--my last, in what I don't know--to come. And, perhaps, to be abandoned one day. After all, isn't that what we do when we move on and leave any part of our lives behind us? When we look back, all we can see is a ghost town.

No comments: