The Forgotten

Last night I dreamt that I had forgotten something. Perhaps because last evening, I got together with a good friend, someone whose company I always enjoy, but we always drink just a little too much. I wasn’t reeling (I think) and I remembered to do all the things I had to do before going to bed, like taking a pill and packing my bag for Chi Gong this morning – although when I woke up, I had forgotten that I had done it, and was surprised to find that I had.

But the one thing I forgot to do was to text her to tell her that I had made it home safely, not eaten by tigers or lying in a ditch somewhere (although I don’t think there are any ditches in the 8 blocks between the bar where we paid waaaaaay too much for the ambiance, and my home). So perhaps that’s why I dreamt that I had forgotten something. Because I had.

My dreams have this interesting approach to transition. I’ll be in the middle of, say, fleeing from dinosaurs, when suddenly someone will appear or I’ll suddenly remember, Oh, I have to catch a bus. And then I’m on the bus, hurtling through the streets of London, dinosaurs forgotten, and the dream shifts to why I’m on a bus or why I’m in London, or what I’m supposed to be doing next. Sometimes, I’ll even be aware of it while it’s happening and say to someone nearby, “Hm, a few minutes ago I was fighting alien dinosaurs and now I’m on a bus. Don’t you think that’s odd?” And they’ll shrug. That’s the way life is, they seem to say, one minute you’re fighting alien dinosaurs, the next you’re on a bus. Just go with it.

And that’s what happened in this dream. In scene one, I was busy at work, doing things, shelving books, doing store visits with district managers. Then I was on my way to get something and ended up at a church. My whole family was there, my sisters and cousins were in the ugliest bridesmaids dresses – clearly some bride had taken leave of her senses: full length taffeta gowns in the wrong shade of magenta (is there a right shade, really?) with a kind of swoosh of material from one shoulder to the opposite hip in exactly the wrong shade of green. No one looked good in them and I laughed when I saw them.

God, you look awful, I said. Why did you let her do this to you?

You’d better get dressed, they said. You’re late.

Oh no, no way. I wear my own clothes to weddings, I reminded them. Whose wedding is this anyway?

I peeked in the door and saw the groom by the altar. I had no idea who he was (he looked a little like the main actor in Yesterday).

I don’t know why I’m here, I said. I don’t know these people. Did Mom make us come here? I always hate when she makes me go to celebrations for people I don’t know.

So I left.

Then the dream shifted, and I was meeting the groom for the first time in a bar, a quiet, daytime, outdoors bar, and he was sitting by himself at table. We were the only ones in there and he looked sad and lonely. I wandered over and introduced myself and he looked at me as if I were crazy.

I said, Hey, I’m not trying to pick you up or anything, you just look like you could use a friend. I’m a good listener.

And he said, with great pain, I was supposed to get married today. But my fiancée got sick.

I’m sorry to hear that, I replied. Was it something serious?

We can’t tell, he said, after a pause. She seems to have lost her memory.

Lost her memory?

Yes. Not entirely. She remembers everything else about her life, but she has forgotten everything about me. She has even forgotten meeting me, she has forgotten falling in love, she has forgotten that we were getting married today. It is as if I am a stranger to her.

It totally sucked because he seemed like a nice guy and I already liked him. She seemed like a fruitcake – what kind of excuse is that, you forgot to get married? [Side note: I used to have a refrigerator magnet with a woman whose mother was asking, “But what do I say when they ask why you didn’t get married?” and she blithely tosses over her shoulder, “Tell ‘em I forgot.”]

Gradually it came over me, the abstract floating above the scene watching it from outside me, that I was that bride. I had forgotten him, I had broken his heart, I had forgotten our relationship, our wedding, everything about him. Everything else in my life was crystal clear, but I had forgotten the person I loved.

Then I fell in love with him all over again.

And then I woke up and knew I had forgotten to text my friend.

And wondered what else I had forgotten.

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