I don’t dream as much as I did when I was younger; I’ve read that has something to do with getting less sleep than I used to. And for my entire adult life, my dreams have also been somewhat frustratingly G-rated. The closest I came to a sexy dream within the past year was about going on a date to a bookstore with the actor Stephen Fry, where we shared a couple of discreet and chaste smooches. (Chaste as it was, if you know anything about Stephen Fry, you know why this left me with all sorts of questions about myself when I woke up.)
So that’s why it was all the more surprising when I had borderline erotic dreams about not just one, but two old boyfriends last night. Neither one got into full-on sex, but things still got far enough to be novel for my dream life; first one, in which a guy I was recently dating casually ran into me unexpectedly, we got to talking, and one thing led to another and there was a bit of lip-locking before we stopped. And then immediately after that – it was unclear, the way dreams are, whether this was the same dream or no – I ran into another old boyfriend, someone I dated much more seriously and who is now married. Him, I followed back to his apartment and we got rather a bit further (although I’m going to draw a veil over just how far, thanks).
It was novel enough that I wondered about that this morning. What was it about these old ghosts? I hadn’t been missing either one especially much recently, I hadn’t been especially lusty recently either.
Well, except maybe in one case I kind of had.
That “recent” casual date was very recent – in fact, within a couple months. We got on very well, and enjoyed each other’s company greatly; but he lives too far away, and his life is in too much of a state of upheaval, for things to really catch fire with us. Still, we tried to stay in contact as much as we could – until a couple weeks ago I noticed that I’d been the one doing more to stay in touch than he did, and still hadn’t heard from him in a couple months. I tried calling him one last time, got his voice mail yet again, and left him a message saying the ball was in his court from now on, and otherwise, take care. Effectively, unless he ever calls me again, it was a breakup.
But a breakup over the phone after two months’ silence still feels a bit hollow. That’s actually what broke the kissing in the dream – a sudden stop, and a sad look at each other before one last embrace and then taking our leave of each other. And I realized – the only parts of each other that said goodbye were each others’ recorded voices. I never got to see his face or touch him one last time.
Maybe, then, the dream was because my body wanted to have its chance to say goodbye to his.
As for my other dream – that guy was a much more serious relationship and a much bigger breakup, and it’s much further in the past – about eight years now. In fact, at some point in the dream I asked myself whether he and I should even be making out like that (until another part of my brain said to shut up this is just a dream just go with it). We haven’t spoken in years, I think maybe this summer I saw something on LinkedIn about him, he doesn’t even live in New York any more.
However – even though he’s married now, I dreamed him back into his old Brooklyn apartment, saddled him with a really obnoxious roommate and dreamed he had a really tacky 80’s hair-band mullet haircut. So that was probably just petty revenge.