Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Loose Ends

I'm in a bit of a dark mood today. Trying to pull myself out of it, but so far I'm still kinda glum. Partly it's the now-familiar post-testing comedown. I was so edgy and amped up for this last test that I knew I was going to have a bit of a gray fog for a day or two after, but this one is a bit different.

I had this really vivid dream this morning. In it, I was initially at a Tang Soo Do tournament of some sort. It was odd, as there didn't seem to be any actual competing going on -- it was more of a social function. I remember sitting and eating with Master's Nunan and Riley, speaking briefly with Kwan Jhang Nim and meeting several fellow martial artists who I've never actually met face-to-face. This is hardly an unusual dream, really -- over the past few months my Tang Soo Do friends and family have been taking a more prominent place in my dream-life.

But then it got kind of weird. In the dream, my son Trevor was misbehaving and I told him to stop. Just as I did this, some guy at the table (who looked like a guy who recently started training at our dojang, but who wasn't "him" in the dream, you know?) told me that I should slap him in the head if he acts up. And I distinctly recall how angry this made me feel, and in the dream I came up out of my seat and got three inches from his face and stared him the eye and said "If you ever try to tell me how to raise my kids again, I swear to God I will kick your ass from here to the street and back again." The guy backed down, and then I got up and walked away from the table and suddenly, in the way dreams do, the location changed.

I was now on a sort of patio that was perched atop the stump of an enormous tree, at least 30 feet wide. And my old friend Mike McCrea was there, sitting at a table and he we sat down to have a drink. Now, I haven't seen or talked to Mike is almost 20 years. We were very close in high school, and he was probably the first "best friend" I ever had who was a guy, the first guy who I was close enough to hug and say "I love you" to without worrying whether that looked and sounded "gay" or not. At 17 that was a big deal -- the whole "what if someone thinks I'm gay?" idiocy that teenage boys go through, and so many of them never really outgrow as men. Now it seems so damn stupid.

Anyway, somewhere along the way -- either due to distance (he was in WA, I was in NY) or simply to the divergent paths our lives took -- we lost touch. I remember the last time I spoke to him -- it was just a week or so prior to the beginning of the Desert Storm back in Bush I's reign, and about 6-8 months after the last time I'd seen him, at his wedding in Tacoma (I was one of his groom's men). He called kind of out of nowhere and, after we chatted for a while, he intimated that he would probably be out of touch for a while, and that he couldn't really say why. He was a West Point graduate and an officer with the Army, so I have no doubt that he wound up going over there.

After that, we never spoke again. I doubt anything "bad" happened to him -- I think I would have heard had he been wounded or killed. Instead, I figure he just got busy with his life, and being on opposite sides of the country made things complicated. Newlywed, probably sent overseas, and very on-track for a successful career once he returned. And I was never very good at keeping in touch in those days, way too wrapped up in my own college-aged crap to write letters or pick up telephones.

So we just ... never spoke again.

I really regret that, now. I've tried to track him down, tentatively, via the internet, but really haven't ever found anything. I'm not sure that I'd get back in touch if I found him -- it's been far too long, and it would be very, very awkward.

But I hate loose ends.

So, anyway, in the dream we just chatted, and talked about old times. The details of that part are fuzzy, but it was nice. Warm. And it seemed so real, and I remember thinking in the dream that this was a good thing, that it was nice to be back in touch with someone I'd lost touch with so long ago, to finally tie up this loose end in a positive way. And then, Mike said he was going to have to go, and we had to climb down, over the railing of the patio, as there was no staircase. And in the dream I remember very specifically that I lowered myself with one arm, and that I was proud to be strong enough to do that without a problem.

And then we were walking along, and I knew that this was going to be the part of the dream where we talked about why we had lost touch. What was it? Was it something I'd said? Were we just too different, he in the military and so focused and together while I was deep in my college slacker phase? Or had we just gone on different roads? And I was so happy that I was finally going to know this, and we were going to get to see what strange and interesting turns our lives had each taken over the past couple of decades. And we were just chatting, heading toward our cars, making a few jokes, edging up to the big questions....

And then, my alarm went off. And as I woke up, my brain started sorting the details of the dream and my conscious mind explained to me, quickly and succinctly, that none of what I'd imagined had happened and that it was just another dream. And I felt the most distinct sense of disappointment, followed by sadness, as it became clear to my waking self that none of that had really happened. And then I got angry, because I really felt like if I'd just slept a few more minutes it would have all been made clear.

So, as a result I've been walking around with something of a dark cloud over my head ever since. Went to the gym this morning to work through it a bit -- I usually skip on Tuesdays because I attend an early class at the dojang so I can train with Christine, but given how close the holidays are getting and how much vacation time I have left I figure I can shave an hour of my work day here and there if I want. Hammered my way through Pyang Ahn Sa Dan and got the movements committed to memory so that I can begin working to polish it up for a competition at the end of the month. And while I felt better after working out, I'm still walking around with this vague sense of loss, weighing on me like a small stone in my chest.

Mood: Kinda down
Now Playing: Patty Griffin, "A Kiss in Time"

No comments: