Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree of Separation.

I am learning about life and the way things could be through dreams. I am experiencing more of life in the Dream- time than I knew  could be possible and amazed to find how comfortable I am with the possibilities I see there. Yes, I’m learning about reality from dreams and dreaming the life I could have.

The Long-Awaited Honest-to-God Secret to Being Happy

These might seem to be bizarre dreams to me, this relationship  I  find  in  the  Dreamtime,  but  when  I  confess  my dreams to friends about typical “couple stuff,” they tell me it’s normal. Only…it’s very  different from what I’ve had. And…I like it.

These dreams have a lot of movement and energy. Usually, we’re on a journey or speeding along in his car or walking fast. Always going somewhere, on the move, ever forward. But they’ve  changed.  The  focus  has  shifted  over  the  past  four months. I’m no longer just along for the ride, with someone else driving. I’m driving now and very independent, though I enjoy the company of the man who joins me in these dreams. Or at least, when he’s present, I enjoy him. And when he’s not, I have plenty else to do. I like this.

He’s  changed,  too.  The  man  who  appears  in  my dreams—really more a sense of a man than a definitive physical appearance—is no longer, as in previous dreams of late summer, forgetting his tickets to the game or misplacing his mail or getting  sidetracked by patrolmen with radar guns. He’s getting his act together, too.

In this latest dream, he is along for the ride with me. I invited him. We are going on a trip. A business trip, I think. Not a vacation, unless  it  is a learning vacation. We are heading to some kind of conference. Maybe that’s because I have conferences coming up in St. Augustine,  Daytona, and Atlanta, and I’ve decided to skip New Orleans and haven’t  decided about Phoenix. So maybe it’s one of those trips that I’ve invited him along on. In any case, it’s a blend of travel and enlightenment and the pleasure of each other’s company.

When we discuss the invitation, I get a vision of the two of us on  an airplane, sitting close, wrapped up in each other emotionally  and  intellectually,  but  physically,  there’s  nothing overtly sexual. In the vision  within the vision of what I think will be, we’re seated close together and there’s an undercurrent of the sexual in our subtle movements but even then, I doubt he’ll accept my invitation.

He surprises me by showing up at the airport. Just in time. His bags are packed and ready. He’s bought his own ticket. Given that the invitation was mine, I would have bought it for him, but he’s responsible  and generous and takes care of his own wallet and his own baggage. He  doesn’t need my money and he doesn’t need me to carry his baggage for him.

We sit together on the plane in a different set of seats than I’d  imagined and there are more people around than I’d thought there would be. So many people that I know we’ll have no great show of physical affection and no time alone here. But we are together and enjoying each other’s company and sitting together and obviously together as a couple.  Even though we aren’t holding hands or overt, we are together. Whether anyone else notices or not, we both feel it.

He is like a shining light next to me, and other passengers see our energy together and change seats just to sit closer and talk with us. He’s doing this big social thing, interacting on a somewhat superficial and  very friendly but not disingenuous level with all these people around us,  chatting matter-of-factly about the nine invitations he’d received to New Year’s Eve par- ties and which one was the third invitation—a mutual acquaintance of one of the other passengers. He never says if he at- tended any parties or reveals where he was, and I am simply listening and watching the people react to him and enjoying it.

Am I expected to speak up? I am briefly tempted to wade in and force myself into the conversation with my opinions, but they aren’t necessary so I just watch and it’s okay that I don’t compete with the five or six other people talking to him all at once. And I don’t compete with him  for their attention either. I simply enjoy him, enjoy the moment, and let  him be, and he lets me be. We’re still very much a couple, but I let him do the aggressive socializing and small talk that I don’t care for and that take so much energy—something he seems to have an abundance of.

At some point later, we arrive at our hotel suite or wherever is our destination. It must have taken us a long time to get here because I’m tired and take a nap. The suite is huge. There’s a line of windows looking  out  over water but I don’t stop to look out…more looking around inside  the place and looking

at…him. And smiling. I like being with this man. But still, liking him doesn’t dictate my schedule. If I want to retreat into sleep alone, I am allowed and accepted for it. The acceptance of my independence is pleasantly surprising. Independence is not synonymous with “you’re allowed to earn an income, too.”

When I wake in the bed in this realm of the Dreamtime, I don’t see him anywhere in the suite. I assume he’s left. Why is that? Returned home. Running errands. Working. Visiting. Do- ing his own thing. Gone. And that’s okay, I realize. I have my own thing to do. I’m not even sad, which I find a little strange, given how much I like being with him. But why did I automatically assume he was gone? Do I automatically assume I  don’t deserve a guy who’ll stay or that maybe one doesn’t exist?

What happens next in the dream alarms me. I don’t dream this sort of thing. I’d be mortified.

I assume I’m alone, and I feel the need after my nap to take  care  of  my,  um,  personal business. Yes,  this  is  what  my mother’s kinder, gentler Southern generation might call defecation. Though there is much going on many different levels in this dream, the euphemism is  important. Fully awake, I stroll through the suite and through the many  rooms of this huge suite and to the bathroom. There I do something highly unusual for me, even when alone: I go into the toilet and leave the door wide open.

While I am—pardon the euphemism but it’s pertinent to the  symbolism here—tending to my personal business in the toilet…or maybe  more appropriately, I’m taking care of my shit…a movement catches my eye.  He didn’t go anywhere. He didn’t really leave. I’d thought he was gone and I’d continued to do my own thing. I continue to take care of my own  needs  while he begins to pace happily around the space we share, talking about something he’s seen on the History Channel and a science documentary and quantum theory and a new band we both like.

I see a flurry of energy out of the corner of my eye and realize that he has been working on his own stuff, napping, and working some  more  while I’ve been resting. He didn’t require me by his side and had enough to stay busy without infringing on my own goals. But he didn’t  want to interrupt either, so when he needed to rest, he rested in a nearby room…not by my side but very present in my life. And always close by if I needed him.

And at that moment while I’m on the toilet, he comes walking in, chattering away about all kinds of interesting stuff. I have a brief moment of panic because I haven’t closed the door and then I realize…it’s okay. With him, it’s all okay. There’s intimacy  and  closeness  and  comfort  at  a  root level  between  us. There are no secrets, no closing off, just openness and acceptance.

People come to the suite while I am still taking care of my own  needs, and I close the door and slip away from their prying eyes. He redirects them, entertains them, and handles the situation for me until I can rejoin him. He is supportive and loving without informing me that he is.

There’s a  sense  of  ease  and  deep  acceptance  in  this dream. There’s independence and taking care of our own goals and needs and  supporting each other. There’s allowing each other to be who and what we are.

And while I never thought dreaming about being interrupted in the bathroom would be romantic or quite lovely, the dream conjures up a life of acceptance and love. The most surprising thing is my own reaction to the good and the trivial and where they intersect. I’m being shown how good life could be so that maybe I’ll be able to believe such love and acceptance and support really do exist.


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