by Travis Flatt
The decision to live in separate cities was death for us.
Why didn't you come with me? The fact that this was never even discussed foretold everything. Foolish to think that three somnambulant years was a foundation strong enough to withstand the winds of solitude.
Do you feel this way, or are you too busy with work? Sometimes I think of you as a robot.
In my disorganized, jumbled way, I probably believed that chasing a dream would keep me elevated above earthly needs. Strike that. I never considered temporal needs.
Wednesday and Friday mornings, I crawl out of bed and drive to a pay parking lot. Once there, I walk six blocks to a small and unequipped classroom for a small and unequipped program run by disenfranchised, mercenary instructors who teach by rote, disinterested, and, just like their students, dream of moving on to bigger, better things.
Otherwise, I spend my weeks in bed, chasing the women of my dreams.
Take this Monday: I dreamt of the one I knew in Narnia–a production of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe–with whom I spent three or four weeks in steamed-up cars groping and pawing with the fervor of teenagers, though I was not a teenager by any means, and felt love in a way I've never felt with you. Never. Not for a second. Not even on our wedding day.
But these women meet me in the first dream, between one AM and six, and when I wake up, I'm desperate to dive back in after them.
Take this Tuesday: I met the one with whom I left most acting classes–this was back in undergrad–and usually stopped for lunch and gossip, bad-mouthing the other students in our program. Truth be told, for whatever reason, I never thought of her like that at the time. Upon consideration, I knew she was attractive, but our friendship was only platonic and comforting. But in my dreams, it's far more than platonic, trust me. When I wake up in my cozy sheets, fighting the urge to urinate because I know if I get up, I'll sober and crash too deeply into reality to return to bed and chase her. Instead, I stay in bed and drift until bodily functions force me out.
Take this Thursday: Another one, one I’d forgotten until the dream, one whom I crushed on in middle school, but I know as an adult now from studying her on Facebook and would much rather know than you.
On Saturday, I make my awkward weekly call home, and we speak for twenty minutes, though the call is silent primarily with intermittent, forced laughter, "uhs," and platitudes.
I miss the dog more than you. When I visit home, it is to see him.
I sleep too much. I jog in the park on weekends because exercise alleviates depression. It doesn't help. Classes would help if I thought they were going anywhere, but I'm confident the chance of this school landing me an agent, career, or anything like that is negligible. I feel bamboozled (by this school). Also, I'm surrounded by beautiful young women, which certainly doesn't help. I lie when I call home or write social media messages and brag about how I'm doing here. I'm far from flourishing. The happiest I feel is when I dream and chase the women from my past.
I wrote the girl from Narnia an email. She hasn't responded, though I didn't expect her to. Only the risk and stupidity of the thing prompted me to send it. Likewise, I'm considering calling the classmate from undergrad, seeing where exactly she is now, and making up some excuse to visit her. Of course, she'll see through that, but I don't give a damn.
I'd tell you some of this if I weren't a coward. Over the phone, of course.
And you’d say, “Okay, Matt.”
Are you having dreams like mine, and do you ever act on them?
God, I hope so. That would make things so much easier.
Travis Flatt (he/him) is a secondary teacher living in Middle Tennessee. He is epileptic but only some of his writing is about disabilities. His work appears in Drunk Monkeys, Bridge Eight, Roi Faineant, Across the Margin, and other publications.