Hi all. Below is a short segment of one of my essays from the book I am finally piecing together. I really love this, and love the way it captures my relationship so well.
You sleep beside him now, every night, his comfortable mattress and hefty supplies of weed entrancing you into a rest you haven’t experienced since you were a child, when you could effortlessly nod off during the drives home from your grandmother’s house, somehow finding REM peace amidst the ice-covered road bumps and the metallic sounds of your father’s rusty red pick-up truck stalling and re-stalling, hiccupping and shifting. Yes, you sleep beside him now, tucked into the wall side of the bed, gravy duvet over your naked body (which you can’t even feel existing in your deep sleep until his arms reach for you and remind you that you exist), your head positioned always just a few inches below his, perfectly perched to allow mid-morning kisses. And yet still you wake some mornings tired from dreams that don’t seem to end- on those mornings it feels as if you’ve run a marathon trying to prove yourself to yourself.
The dream? You’re not entirely confident you can retell it. You’re not even entirely sure if it’s a recurring dream or slightly different variations of the same semi-hazy theme. And throughout each iteration, you battle your subconscious, race it to the finish line attempting to prove your worth (is this another exercise in imposter syndrome?); because you know that outside of this subconscious hellhole of doubt he is lying beside you, his big hands waiting to grab your hips in only an hour or so, his mouth probably slightly agape, front teeth sticking out in that way that makes your chest vibrate with an embarrassingly sentimental amount of affection. These are facts, you try to reason with your subconscious- he hasn’t gone anywhere. You are in his bed right now. But your subconscious always runs faster than you and it turns its head and laughs spirals of doubt into your conscious mind. Sometimes there are other people in the dream, asking you how dating is going; sometimes you’re looking at your phone, utterly fascinated, frustrated that when you create a text message you cannot find his name in your phone. You say his name, type his name- you’ve woken yourself up before with the loud S at the end of his name, enunciated clearly as if perfecting the pronunciation could somehow prove your worth, could somehow evaporate the condensation of doubt that finds its way into your dreams (the same fog that sadly and undeniably permeates everything- the pause before you step into that UCLA elevator, half-believing someone will tell you that the M.Ed after your name was only temporary; the close-eyed exhale after you park your car onto crowded LA streets, drivers honking as if they too know you’re faking it).
There’s something beautiful, though, in the way you protest the doubt- the way you know, consciously, that the man with the S at the end of his name is still beside you and will remain beside you. You wonder if that’s ever been the case- if you’ve ever trusted enough to sleep peacefully beside someone, if you’ve ever been able to drift into such a deep, pleasant, rejuvenating trance as you do most nights in bed with him. Yes, there’s something quite important in the fact that your conscious mind is the one fighting on behalf of reality, on behalf of a love you no longer feel like an imposter in.
You sweat through those dreams, those Freudian arguments, those synapsis of the brain that seem to only take place now in your sleep. You sweat and you run and you ferociously say his name. You can feel yourself fighting to wake up, to open your eyes and see him there, to cup his face into your palms and feel the reality of him, to smile with righteousness and with a confidence you have perhaps never experienced before, a bliss the color of the Pacific, a love accented by the sound of an S.