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Reflections on a Dream
The dream was in a massive hall, packed with people bustling around. Some wandered aimlessly. Others called names, nervously shouldering through the masses of people. I knew no one. The people had no relation. Some were tall, others short, others fat or thin, a million shades of skin and hair and eyes. It was remarkable how alone I felt, placed amid this potpourri.
I found myself one of the aimless wanderers, not quite knowing who I was looking for, but certain I was looking for something. It’s a feeling I usually get when I walk into a room and forget why I’m there, or what I came to get. My eyebrows furrowed. What was I doing here? Maybe some part of me knew it was a dream, but the rest didn’t care.
That was when I saw him.
I was certain it was a dream then, because I became sure of several things at once with no particular reason for knowing them, which happens far more often in dreams than in real-life halls full of mish-mashed people. One thing I was sure of was that this was the same boy I knew in waking life as my ex-boyfriend. Another thing I knew was that in this dream, as far as we were concerned, that hadn’t happened yet. We were thirteen. The idea of love thrilled us, when it should have filled us with trepidation and anxiety.
“Are you looking for someone?” he asked.
“I think so. Are you?” I replied.
“Yeah. I think. But I’ll help you find him.”
It was not until much later, after my dream had ended and several days had passed, that I realized the boy had said “him.” How did he know?
My not-yet-ex-boyfriend grabbed my hand, and we wove through the crowd in aimless patterns of spirals and zigzags. Occasionally I caught a face I vaguely remembered, but not well enough to put a name on- the girl from my kindergarten class, my cousin’s friend I’d met exactly twice.
Then we saw her.
She was a girl with hair like mine, but longer, full and shining. She wasn’t any of my boyfriend’s many admirers. I had never seen her before. Green eyes, a sweet face. She was a bit plain, but pretty.
Something changed in the boy beside me. His grip on my hand slackened until he finally dropped my arm. It swung and bounced dully off my side. His eyes were for none but her. She turned then, maybe hearing my sharp gasp as he let me go.
The same daze took her over. Her arms automatically extended, and they ran to each other, perfectly fitting together. Obviously, this had meant to be. This was who he had been looking for.
I melted back into the crowd. No one seemed to notice the tears on my face. From then on, I searched alone.
When I woke up, the gray hall and its thousand occupants faded into the uniform shade of nearly-black in the minutes before the alarm clock on my bedside goes off. What didn’t fade was the feeling of searching, of unfulfillment and waiting.
According to Greek mythology, Zeus created humans with four arms and four legs, four eyes, two noses, two mouths, and four hands and feet. Fearing their power, he split them in two, leaving them to forever search for their other half.
I still don’t know who I was looking for.