I dreamed about my dead husband last night.
This probably doesn't seem very weird but I haven't heard from him in more than a year, and I'm sure it's a (true, old-fashioned, pre-blogging) meme. In recent weeks I've read of 1, 2, 3 instances in my immediate blogging circle plus one other spectral appearance.
I was back at HippieCollege, as I often am in dreams. For once I did not have an unfinished paper or a mid-term for a class I’d forgotten to attend ever. A man walked by who looked exactly like Gavin when he was well, perhaps age 50, perhaps earlier. I called out his name knowing it wasn’t him. When Mr. Fresh and I went to reunion this past May, he commented that although he only ran into one person from his time there, all of the “types” were present. He felt like he knew them, their names would be on the tip of his tongue, but no, different long-haired ultimate-playing biologist or superhot-supercrazy city girl. So I felt that this was a Gavin-type, not him.
To my great surprise this thin, bald man looked straight at me with his perfect real smile and said hello. I am not sure he recognized me. He wasn’t treating me like anything special, just being happy in his way.
I squinted, looking carefully for vampire teeth* or stray worms in humus falling out somewhere. Only a slightly sweaty -- living -- neck above his clean, almost threadbare gray-pink Calvin Klein t-shirt. I was not really happy to see him, except that he’s generally a nice guy. A minute more and I knew I'd start thinking “I don’t want to go back!” and feel angry, or confused, or betrayed, but I still didn’t believe it was him.
To make sure it was not a ghost, not a zombie, I wanted to see his torso -- to check his scars. First (open heart, titanium valve) surgery? Second (nephrectomy)? Third (spine, never quite healed after radiation, severe and probably still icky)? (I’m not counting the defibrillators and their replacements and battery changes. Those almost show at the neckline of the t-shirt.) I’m not sure I got as far as asking, or pulling up his shirt.
I woke up thinking how odd it was I could date him like a tree. It was night in my room, and he’d been gone almost three years. Time had truly passed. We had 300+ people at the memorial service. I speak about him all the time as someone who’s gone. Not long ago I attended my 25th HippieCollege reunion. Short Stack is looking forward to kindergarten soon.
Mr. Fresh’s legs were warm and powerful and I pushed against them as I fell back down, content.
*In real life, Gavin had pretty long canines, which would have been ferocious on someone else. On him, you’d see them when he smiled, but the rest of his face would be lit up with a pure and honest joy. As he got sicker and smiled less often, I’d see them and remember the eyeteeth were really his skull showing thru.
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