A few nights ago, I saw Freddie in a dream. That isn’t his real name, but I’ll call him Freddie (the Freeloader). In this dream, I went into a hotel room/one-bedroom apartment. It was simultaneously both. I had traveled to wherever this was to do a reading promoting a book I’d published. I was happy, excited, feeling good about my life. Next thing I know, Freddie comes waltzing in through the front door. A woman was with him. (In real life, a couple years after he was out of my life, I heard he got married. But the woman in this dream is not the woman he married. I have no idea who this woman was in my dream.) He entered in a whirlwind, an arrogant clown with a smirk on his face, as if he were drunk. (As I saw him many times in the several months that he was in my life. It might’ve been a year, but I really don’t remember.) But he wasn’t drunk. “This is my new girlfriend,” he says to me. I was annoyed that he’d come crashing into my space. He also was in town to promote a book. I left the apartment/room, and later Freddie and his girlfriend left, so I returned to get my things that I’d left behind. Then he returns and asks what am I doing there, says it’s his place. ” I was here first,” I tell him, gathering my things. Next thing I know, he calls the police and tells them I’m stalking him and stealing from him. When the police arrive, I tell them that I was there first and he intruded into my space, but that I was letting him take it and simply came in to get my things. They believe me, and then they realize Freddie is the one who seems suspicious. The girlfriend suddenly realizes that he has misrepresented himself. She thanks me for showing her what kind of a guy he really is. As the police turn their attention toward him, I wake up.
As I begin to awaken, I have a feeling of vindication. Once I’m fully awake, I am surprised and curious: why does Freddie suddenly show up in a dream twenty-five years later?
The first several months after he was out of my life, Freddie haunted me in dreams. In these dreams, he would suddenly show up. I’d quickly run away. He’d chase after me. He’d be left standing there looking sad and confused as I put distance between us. In one of these dreams, I jump up in the air and fly away. He reaches up and just narrowly misses grabbing me by a foot. A therapist back then told me it was the healthy side of me that was trying to leave him behind. In real life, he wasn’t chasing after me or looking for me. We simply went our separate ways. But I was left feeling broken and unglued. These feelings confused me because in reality I didn’t want him back in my life. He’d been a disruption. He was an arrogant, lying, freeloading asshole. I was relieved this manipulative, selfish, lying jerk was gone. Yet, I still felt hurt and abandoned. This made no sense to me. Why do I feel like this if I’m glad he’s gone? I don’t love him. Do I? Why do I feel tortured? I don’t want him back in my life. Is this love?
Freddie always said, “We’re just friends hanging out,” or, “We’re just hanging around.” In other words, we were not going together, not a couple, not dating, we were “just friends”. Well, I was his friend, but he wasn’t mine: with friends like him, I didn’t need enemies. Indeed, he was hanging around, hanging out: he hung out at my place, hung around for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, he hung around until I bought him more beer. He came and went as he pleased. I didn’t want to be possessive or selfish; I wanted to be cool. I was a fool. A week after he was finally gone for good, I got a telephone bill with over a hundred bucks in long distance charges that he’d made. (This was before cell phones, when a hundred bucks was a fat phone bill.)
For him, it’d been an opportunity; I was his chump. For me, a crazy, foolish sort of love. I defended him when anyone said anything negative about him. I wanted to protect his feelings. What a chump.
I was glad when he was gone. Yet, I still felt betrayed and abandoned. I didn’t want him in my life ever again; I had no doubt about that. So, why did I did I feel this turmoil? It was crazy. It made no sense to me. I suspect sometimes “crazy love”, when it just makes no sense, has to do with unresolved psychological issues.
My brother-in-law, a retired chemistry and math teacher, once told me he’d read that “love is mental illness”. I thought that was hilarious. I laughed. “Sure,” I said, “I can believe that.” My sister didn’t think it was funny. She prefers a more romantic, sentimental explanation. Who wouldn’t? But I have a dark sense of humor, so how could I not be amused by such a theory as that? 😀 Love is mental illness–aaahahahahaha!
I harnessed the energy of my nonsensical feelings and wrote love poems–love poems dressed in black. The poems are seriously dark, but not darkly serious–my dark sense of humor kicks in. If some people don’t get that, then they need to lighten up. In the mid-nineties, I read in a café in San Jose. I don’t remember the name of the café. Mary, who organized the reading, had heard me read at Café International in the Lower Haight here in The City. She chose the theme “Night of Intensity” for this reading, and she thought my poetry would be “perfect” for this theme. As I read, one gal was busting up. She laughed and laughed and laughed. This pleased me. But after the reading, another gal came up to me, and she said, “That was depressing.” I laughed. “You think so?” I said. “Yeah,” she answered. I just cracked up. “O.K.,” I said. I wasn’t concerned about it. If she didn’t get it, she didn’t get it. If she didn’t like it, she didn’t like it. I read or hear other people’s poetry that I don’t get or I don’t like. That’s just the way it goes.
A post-grad student at Cal, Jeff, once told me they read a poem in class with the line, “Love is a nail in the brain.” Wow! What a great line! I wish I had written it. I wish I remembered who wrote it. But I don’t.
This poem is in the manuscript I want to publish:
Since you left town,
in my brain
Black is the color
Black is the color
you leave me.
Black is all
I hold this heartache
like a bouquet
of withered roses.
into my bed,
and locked me
in his arms.
I felt his breath
in my ear.
you lost an eye.
I dream and dream
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥