What a sad dream, and yet I didn’t believe any of it was actually happening.
I was somewhere public, with people from the past, and was so despondent that I could not stop crying. The more I cried, the less anyone noticed me or my pain, which left me crying all the harder.
I saw people getting ready for a big social event, including a boy I’d known in college. He was a quadriplegic now, but even years later he could not be bothered with me.
Another boy I had known had come along in the back of a pickup truck. He scarcely knew me then or remembers me now, but in the dream I understood from him, without words or even looks, that I was to get in. Wordlessly, my high school girlfriends made him promise that he would return me in time for the big party. One of them began to fuss over me, dabbing my mouth, face, and even privates with perfume, because I supposedly had the date of my life for the party, but I knew better than to hope, and I drove her off.
The truck ended up on Amsdell Road. The boy, facing me without looking at or even seeming to notice me, was singing in a bland, flat tone into something that resembled a WWII army field telephone. Briefly I wondered if it might be a portable karaoke machine. I didn’t recognize anything he sang and could not follow the words.
Although he ignored me, I had a sense that he was waiting me out, that I was supposed to tell him why I was so heartbroken. I couldn’t, nor could I tell myself.
I spotted a clump of trees along the left side of the road, a sight that made my heart hurt. On the right side someone was putting out copper goods so densely that the road had become almost too narrow to be passable. Ugliness was all around, and I cried again at the ruin of one of the few pretty roads that had been left.
The boy continued to observe me without looking and to wait. I thought that maybe I should explain the perfume and the overzealous friends, and that I expected nothing like that. I didn’t.
I wondered if he was ever going to bring me back. Even as he sang almost tunelessly and continued to ignore me, I almost didn’t want him to. I thought he might be taking me to a far better place, as ugly as the journey might seem.