I guess you could say it all started with a dream I had. But it goes further back in time than that. That being said, we’ll start there.
In this dream there was a fire in a house. Houses in some small town somewhere had started on fire. They were holding together though…
Then I heard a voice clearly say, “You’re going to end up just like your grandmother.” They seemed very concerned. Then I woke up a little bit. Tossed and turned.
Later as I fell back to sleep I dreamt the most lucid dream I’ve ever had, I think. So real it made waking life seem either bizarrely, but beautifully slow or like a dusty dream of its own. And that feeling of waking life being more dreamlike than that dream has never left me.
In the dream I made love. I was held. I saw tremendous beauty. It was hot. But only in this gorgeous, pristine way… And I was staying in some villa on the Mediterranean. Near the water. There’s more, but it’s too personal.
Then I woke up.
I saw a man’s face hovering over me. He held me. I felt him. He was physically there. And I had the sense we were meant to be together. And in my youth I assumed way too optimistically that I’d meet him in my life. Marry him. Fall in love. Was he English? No. But he seemed almost English? No?
I let it linger in the back of my mind. It felt too real. Too Heavenly. Too…real not to “believe it” at least partially. And it felt, as I was waking, as if I was being told that I’d see him someday.
…See him someday? Like he was already dead?! …Hmm. Well… That seemed neither fair nor otherwise believable. Why? Because people would tell me that. Back in the late 1990’s/early 2000’s nobody openly would have taken such a dream seriously. Not my dream anyway. I would have been laughed at if they were being honest, contemptuously scorned with horrific condescension more likely. Derision. Eye-rolls. “Who does she think she is?!?!”
So…out of respect for everyone’s supposed superiority I shut down the thought that it might be a dead person. That was also totally “unbiblical” too…supposedly. We could wave flags, pray in tongues, foretell the future, predict the End Times and “war against the supernatural” in church and in prayer meetings but…*shrug* we couldn’t be visited by real ghosts in our sleep. Certainly not make love to them in our sleep!!! *huge gasp* No!! …Because “fighting against principalities” with “praise music” and (literal) flags and plastic swords (again literally) was sooo much…safer? So much more…Christian?
I was an unusually beautiful young woman. And I was sitting on the shelf. Passing each day untouched. Miserable. …And then I had that dream.
I’d had one horrific, extremely memorable dream before that. In that dream I was dying of a drug overdose. Or was I dying from cigarettes? An overdose of cigarettes? Either way…it terrified me. And I used to drive by cigarette ads and they’d literally scare me. Truly. It was awful.
But that dream wasn’t as lucid… It was traumatic but not as lucid. …And yet I felt totally overwhelmed. How had I ever used drugs, much less gone insane using them? I felt guilty for something I had no memory of ever doing. I knew I hadn’t. But it felt like I had. And so the 1970’s and early 1980’s became…Hellish. And I wondered why… I might have even been high in the dream when “I” overdosed. It was terrifying. “Should we tell her she’s dying? Does she know?!” some woman said about me to another woman in that dream as I was obviously dying of a drug overdose but I didn’t know it? And actually, I did and didn’t care… But I’d never used drugs?! How did I suddenly have this…problem?!
Anyway…then…years later…I had that wonderful dream. And it felt very real.
But who was that man? In the wonderful dream.
…Years later, when I was 27 or so I bumped into F. Scott Fitzgerald’s statue and apologized because I thought it was real. I thought he was just a man. An offended man too. With friends who were laughing at me for literally walking right into him.
Then my son and I almost died during childbirth. But I felt urged to pray. So I did. And we lived…
…Then exhausted, thyroid failing, I felt the need to watch “The Great Gatsby.” Actually I “heard” someone urge me to. So I did. That condo might have been haunted…
I watched the film and became fascinated by F. Scott Fitzgerald and it gave me hope. Indescribably so. It was almost as if he was saving my life from the grave. And on his birthday one year I realized that he bore a striking resemblance to the man I’d dreamt about. I thought for years it was him. Especially given the setting of the dream.
Was I talking to his ghost? Maybe. Maybe not. I thought I might have imagined or actually talked to ghosts before, but this seemed so much more real. Life changing.
Then I started digging around and when we moved to Seattle…it all went off a cliff.
My Instagram account started feeling negative. Haters were more vocal. More hateful. And my marriage felt doomed. My life felt doomed. I longed for the Midwest. For the sun. Literally.
When we moved back I was falling apart. Terrified.
I love Seattle. But I do best living here… I might do well in the UK too. Maybe New York City. Possibly no where else.
But it wasn’t Scott in my dream. And when I reread stories I’d written before (in college) I saw names, stories and ideas that rang as being true from the lives of people who I’d never heard of or heard that much of until years and years later. …I wrote about Joe and Pat Wilson’s love…and trips taken by the Kennedy family to Europe…but of course they weren’t my stories. And it wasn’t Scott I dreamt of.
…I think it was Joe Jr. in one part of the dream… And until I lived in Seattle I’d never seen certain photos of him. He did look a little bit like Scott. …But I’d never have thought it was at all likely that he would appear to me in a dream. Joe?! …Me?! Lowly, mildly pretty me? Me?! …Yeah right. *eye-roll*
But I was that pretty. Actually, I was extremely beautiful according to one man who told me that shamefully once in my late teens/early 20’s… And of course hearing malignant hatred and vicious lies from narcissistic people my whole life I focused on the shame he was feeling not the point he was making and belittled the point to try to protect myself from his shame… …And anyway, the ironic thing is…beauty wouldn’t have even necessarily mattered that much to Joe anyway. I think as much as he loved beauty in women he found a woman having the right personality and a higher than average intelligence more essential. And while I think he might have enjoyed my mind…and cherished my sweetness too…I doubt he would have preferred me over other women. Not really. Trusted me to a point. Appreciated me to a point. But not…eternally loved me. I think he would have felt emasculated by me. And I’m not a masculine woman. At all. I would find emasculating him painful for me as well. …But regardless, I think he would have felt silly and childish and…like a petty little girl at times. Pampered and crass and bourgeois. Not at all flattered. …And in order to take me down a notch he’d likely have tried to make me feel unfeminine and plain. Stupid at times. Weak even. Silly. Lied to me… Lied about…Pat Wilson. Lied to me about how much he genuinely loved her. Made her out to be inferior to us to gaslight me. Made her out to be a big, ugly nobody. Gaslit more. And yet…in reality…he probably gave his heart to her.
…There would have been Katharine Hepburn too, I bet. She held a torch for him a little, very quietly, I think. She was his absolute ideal in many ways, I think… And I think even if he loved me I would have stopped caring eventually. Stopped respecting him. Stopped respecting his whole family as much. Fallen in love with someone else. Wanted to move on and wish him the best. …And he would have…what? Cried? Pouted? Tried to kill me? Ran off to Pat Wilson to comfort him? Hurt Katharine Hepburn in the process? Pouted some more? Made his daddy fix it all for him? But other dads fix things too… Other people have real feelings too.
Don’t worry Joe! I’m just a homosexual, ugly, mannish, queer, stupid, and deceitful nobody from nowhere with an adorable little Norwegian farm family?! Right?! Right?! (Note sarcasm, please) I’m just an uptight nun? I’m just a nerd? I’m just a martyr? …And that dream was enough happiness for an entire lifetime? Because it was you? And you can sleep around in Purgatory and ruin someone’s life by being possessive and abusive and God won’t care? Because you’re God? (Again, note sarcasm) Wait! Oh! I’m angry. I bet if Athalia got angry on her blog she’d secretly want to be fucked. *wink* “Shrews” beg for it in weird ways…
Who else was in that dream? Other men. And now…as I felt urged by Scott and a writer I knew in college named Brian Duffield (we were friends) to write…I’m finishing my novel. And…I have them to thank for it in part. And…others. And God…of course.
But…will I ever stop hearing from them now? Should they not be demons? No. No. I doubt it.