I woke up sweating, trembling a bit even. I had just had one of those dreams about the past, but one that was distorted and made me feel even more lost that what I was back in school. I turned around and realized, relieved, that Paul was there. For a moment, I had thought I was all alone and had to calm myself down by myself, which was difficult because I would always go back to what had made me feel so uneasy instead of calming myself down. But with him there, his warmth and even his smell, the task would be much easier. I just moved closer to him and he moved, putting his arm around me without waking up. With only that, I was able to fall asleep again and, this time, I didn’t have any horrible dreams. It was all blank, just like I preferred it.
Some hours later, we were having something for breakfast and he asked me about my dream. He said he had heard me wake up but that he had been so tired he had fallen asleep again very fast. I told him nothing and I don’t really understand why. Not only were we closer than ever now, he was one of those people that make you feel good just by being there. But somehow, I decided not to say anything, only that I did not remember anything about the dream, which was I lie. I don’t think he bought that but that didn’t matter. I knew he wasn’t going to start asking more and more questions. That wasn’t he’s style. We just kept eating and said nothing more about my dream or anything related to that.
Instead, he told me that he really wanted me to go to his next performance in a bar not very far away from my place. Paul was a musician and played the bass in a band. It wasn’t a rock band but I don’t know that much about music so every time someone asks me about what he did, I would say he’s a rocker or that he plays the bass, which makes me sound horribly ignorant. But weirdly enough, he has always liked me to say things like that. I think that’s why we got along so well since the first time we talk to each other. He perceived me as crazy and I felt the same vibe from him. The night we met we kissed and had sex, which made me think I would never see him again. I was so wrong.
Karma has a way of doing things, or maybe it’s meant to be or whatever… Anyway, the thing was that I saw him everywhere. Every time I went for a beer with my friends, he would be playing with his band there or in the next pub or something. We would run into each other and it was very uncomfortable until he told me that he had being wanting to get my number but couldn’t find me online. I laughed at that remark, possibly because I thought that was something very nice to do and I just gave him my number and from then on we have being close to on e another, without labeling our current situation. He’s not my boyfriend or anything like that. We just spend time together.
Anyway, I kept the dream to myself. At work, it kept haunting me. Different to other dreams, I remembered everything about this one. The faces, what people said, everything that happened. It was difficult to get away from it and I decided to confront it and just tell someone. So I went to my best friend and told her everything. But her reaction was not what I was expecting. She told me to explain to her what made me uneasy from the dream because she didn’t understand what it was. I explained to her that the dream dealt with many of my high school classmates and the fact that I had pissed my pants out of fear once when I was like nine or ten. She ten became very serious and told me that probably it was something I had never faced and now it had decided to come back.
But I didn’t want that to come back. I had worked for many years and with no rest, in order to make myself into someone less sensitive to mockery and laughter and such. Back then, people were very cruel and had treated me in a wrong way and my solution had been to become someone tough, lonely and very sarcastic. It worked beautifully because, although people still talked about me behind my back, I decided I didn’t care and they just wouldn’t say a word. When I graduated, I thought that would be a big shell to pull off my back, but it wasn’t. I realized I needed again, because I had begun dating and I had entered the gay world, which is more complex and awful than people realized.
I just didn’t want to dream about it again. Yes, I had decided not to confront it and maybe that was why things happened but why confront that and how? Yes, I had being laughed at but who cares? Who hasn’t? I refuse to say I was bullied because that feels wrong, it feels wrong to say it because there was never something as harsh as that… I don’t know. That following night, Paul didn’t come to my house because he had worked to do in his. I realized I had to spend my night alone and that made me think for hours and hours before I went to sleep. With Paul, he had sex and then we fell asleep but without him it was difficult.
The following day, something happened that made me feel that something didn’t want me to forget about those damn times in school. I was in the grocery store, more like a supermarket, checking for jams and just turned my head and so one of the jocks from high school. Of course, he wasn’t a jock anymore, he looked a bit bigger, much more stupid that ever before, but it was him and I could hear his laughter like in the dream. That distraction was worth a jar of strawberry jam that I mistakenly put in the air instead of the shelf. I was so ashamed with the lady that had to come cleaning and with every single member of the staff of that supermarket. I just paid for the smashed jam and left almost running.
I got home fast and just stayed there for the rest of the day. I asked for some Chinese food and tried to distract myself with a movie but I had already seen it and I just felt like crying, which I ultimately did. I was sobbing like mad all alone on my sofa and the only thing I could think off was about calling Paul, so I did. I sounded pretty congested when I talked to him and he noticed it right away. I asked him if he could come home for a bit but he told me he was still finishing his work and had so much more to do. He asked me to tell him what was going on over the phone but I just hung up on him because I was disappointed. I had wanted to pull my heart out for him and apparently work was much more important so I called my best friend instead.
When she arrived, I paid for her taxi because it was late and she did not live close by. As soon as we entered my apartment, I began crying again and just told her everything, how bad it felt that I had to hide my feeling just because some stupid fucking kids had been mean to me for doing something that was normal and for being afraid. They didn’t understand that I felt intimidated by them because they were all friends and I was the new kid that no one wanted to talk to because it felt as if had brought the plague to the school. I didn’t wanted to be popular or anything, I just wanted to fit in and they just gave me the fucking finger.
And it had been like that for years and year afterwards. People always thinking I had nothing to say or nothing to share and they just put me aside. In college, it was so much better but then it was guys, because I had to like them and felt like shit because the gay fucking world is shallow and they only care if you looked good and I just had a low self-esteem and that didn’t help at all. No boyfriends in several years and the only guy I had met that met something had just refused to come to my home and spent some time with me, when I had been the one to go to his fucking concerts and support him every single time. I was disappointed, hurt and confused by it all.
My friend took my hand and told me that what I was doing was necessary, to vent all my frustration out and realize what was really bothering. And that was that I felt I needed more than what I have been given. She thought that I had tried so hard to be away from people not to get hurt, that now my need for a human touch was greater that it could have been before and the person that I felt something for was just not there. We were nothing. Not that I needed a boyfriend but I needed commitment more than a name. And, apparently, Paul wasn’t the one to give me that. Besides, we were not “exclusive” and I knew there was at least another guy around. And now that I cared for him so much, it bothered me.
She stayed the night and we watched movies and ate ice cream. Luckily it was a Thursday, so I could get to work late and my friend had her day off. We talk about her life too, her boyfriend and her crazy mother and I realized that she was one of the things I had always wanted from life: a true friend. I just needed to be a better one myself and realize what was else I needed and wanted for myself, because no one else would do it for me.