Wednesday, October 17, 2007

longing

It seems to me that the wanting of something can become an entity all its own - that even when we no longer desire a certain object, a hoped-for-outcome, a special person - that the yearning itself lives and breathes still.

As a schoolgirl of fourteen, I had a silly crush on a dark-haired boy in my music class. He seemed to be universally liked, he was handsome, he was friendly yet somehow maintained a slight reserve. I was angular, pale and had a tendency to blush. I had plenty of friends, but wasn't wildly popular. I was desperate to be noticed, hoping fervently to be adored.

The boy was nice enough to me, but never showed any interest beyond friendship. I don't blame him in the least - I was so insecure, so hopelessly romantic, so doey. I think back to how I gazed at the boy adoringly, and it induces waves of nausea.

After a couple of years of being politely dismissed, I stopped the gazing. I still thought the boy was a decent guy, I still thought he was cute, but I didn't pine for him any more. I developed some self-esteem, and I realised there were other boys who actually did think I was attractive. I dated a couple of guys. The boy was just another school pal. One day I saw him on campus at my university. He had grown a beard, and I teasingly told him he looked like a terrorist. There was nothing left of my past hankerings for the boy.

And yet....... at least once a year, I dream about this boy. I dream that I am young and fresh-faced and a single girl. I dream that we are talking. Sometimes I dream that the boy says he wants to be with me; mostly I dream he tells me he feels nothing for me. I am overjoyed, or wretched with sadness. I wake from the dreams and shake my head in disbelief. I haven't seen this boy, now a man, in years. I rarely think of him in my waking hours. I am married to a man who I respect, admire and love passionately. It seems ridiculous that my mind would return to this 'boy' who is of so little consequence in my life. I can only surmise that my dreams of the boy recur because he represents my first experience with longing. The boy means nothing, but the yearning he invoked goes on and on.

In just over a week, I'll be attending my school reunion. The 'boy' will most likely be attending. I am somewhat ambivalent about the possibility of his presence. After all, I spent the final two years of high school being underwhelmed by him. But I cannot deny a degree of curiosity. I wonder what he'll act like, look like, be like.

Mostly I wonder if seeing this relic from my past will flush away these dreams of inadequacy and rejection, and the rarer dreams of mutual puppy love. It's a waste of brain space to dwell on this rubbish - even if it is during sleep!

Maybe the dreams will disappear like so many strands of old spiderweb. But maybe they won't. Maybe my secret heart will keep on longing aimlessly - like the long-ago girl who wished for love but believed herself unworthy of it.

19 comments:

Redneck Mommy said...

My crush was Greg. He was tall, athletic and red headed. He was smart and funny and kind to me always.

He just was never interested. I pined over him for two years...until I developed a sense of myself.

Still, I'd love to see him at a reunion and reintroduce myself as a grown up. Only, if to see, if he lived up to my imagination.

manababies said...

The interesting thing is that this did come full circle since you did get over him and you even had some friendly conversation with him when you were older. So that just makes the dreams seem all the more intriguing. Hmm!

TUFFENUF said...

I think that we never forget our first love & the way we felt. I often wonder the purpose of dreams, and what causes us to have dreams of something long ago like your dream. Maybe the unresolved issues are subjects of our dreams. I don't remember ever dreaming about, for example, the birth of my son. Good luck at your reunion, it might just cause some more dreams!

Susan said...

UH OH... I foresee trouble ahead. Fatty better keep a close eye on you.

This guy will take one look at you and kick himself for not latching onto you years ago. You, all toned from all that exercise and tanned from vacation, and a doctor no less! He will say, 'what was I thinking?'

Don't do it, jelly, it is not worth it! Don't go out behind the building or under the bleachers or sneak away in his car. Remember - you have little children!

meggie said...

How curious you still dream about him. I hope the reunion goes well, & dispels the dreams. I have never been to a school reunion in my life, but my brother attended. His wife was shocked when a girl/woman told them she had loved my brother so much -unbeknownst to him- that she had named her eldest son after him!

jellyhead said...

Susan, don't fret!! I can promise you there will be nothing sordid going on at the reunion. I doubt I'll even be tempted. But even if for some reason I was - I know how lucky I am to have Fatty. I'm not going to do anything silly!

freefalling said...

This is seriously, beautifully written.
All those feelings from adolescence came flooding back.
I think your dreams are beautiful!
It is NOT a waste of brain space.
It's so human and reminds me of other cultures concept of time ie: not linear, like we think of it, but like a spider's web (see, you used that analogy yourself!).
It's part of you, same as the marks on your body.
If I was really smart, I could somehow work Proust's Remembrance of Things Past into my comment, sadly I'm not that clever.

Motherkitty said...

Might those dreams be a subconscious yearning not for this "boy" but for your lost youth?

When you finally do see him at the reunion, he will probably be fat, a failure, half-bald, loud-mouthed, divorced (can't keep a woman), have bad breath, and sport dandruff all over his shoulders. If he's none of these things, that's okay because you still have THE prize -- Fatty and the father of your two lovely children.

I attended my 30-year reunion and had a great time meeting everybody I wasn't friends with in high school pretend they were glad to see me. Decided then and there not to attend any more.

Have fun at your reunion.

Puss-in-Boots said...

I met up with someone from 40 years ago. He was athletic, slim with lovely wavy hair then.

Forty years later he was overweight (like me) with no hair (unlike me) and he bore no resemblence to my youthful dream.

How cruelly realistic life is.

Kerri said...

I can remember similar feelings and similar dreams. It's one of life's mysteries...the way the mind dredges up slices of life [in dreams] that we might not have thought about in years.. or didn't even realize we remembered!
Curious things dreams.....
Perhaps it's the strength of the adolescent feelings that pulls the memory back from the faraway reaches of the mind.
I hope the reunion turns out to be fun :)

Sandy said...

I'm glad someone else has dreams like these besides me. Unfortunately for me I will never see this person again except in my dreams. (I think I was supposed to say, "fortunately for me.") hehehe

Like Motherkitty said, maybe he'll be fat and very undesirable so that your dreams will stop once you've gone to the reunion.

Reunions being reunions, Jimmy goes to his every year for the past 50+ years. He was crowned King of his senior prom and the prom queen gets prettier with each passing year. Aarrgh. She must work out too or has liposuction & face lifts because she doesn't seem to have aged as much as everyone else.

Remiman said...

Jelly,
There's an old saying, I'm sure you've heard, "you can't go back."
It will be fun to see, reminisce if you will, but then was then and now is now. I think it's human nature to wonder, what if, don't you?
rel

Alice said...

Dreams are such strange events. For many, many years I regularly dreamed that I would take a long plane trip to meet people who had some connection to us, but had never met. About the only thing that varied in the dream was the actual plane - sometimes it was very modern and other times it was very primitive. Apart from that, it was always a long trip to meet unknown people. In 1993 we flew to England and met my English relatives for the first time.

I have never had that dream since.

Heidi said...

Interesting what class reunions will do to your brain and the memories that pop up. Mostly I find it all kind of annoying and I just want to move on...

(So... I look for the humor in seeing how people have changed over the years!)

And the dream stuff can be puzzling... I have dreams with my ex in them that just leave me with jaw dropped wide open in wonderment... WHY?!?! Silly...

shellyC said...

How funny Jelly - I am off to a school reunion in a few weeks too! Though I don't have dreams about this boy - I am interested to see what he turned out like.
What I have found funny is to try and imagine where my husband would have been 'placed' in the social groupings, had he attended my school. And if we would have fancied each other??

Of course he would have fancied me like crazy!!!!!

John Cowart said...

How bitter-sweet is remembered longing; you express it so well.

Reminds me of that line of poetry:
Of all the sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, "It might have been".

I could go on and on about longing... You've got me thinking... maybe I'll write my own blog about it soon

Mimi said...

Hi Jelly, I've missed your blog, I haven't really been blogging or reading much. Interesting post! I think the boy in the dream probably represents something completely different, something you are unable to deal with in your conscious mind so your unconscious mind is trying to work it out. The unconscious is our free therapist, it helps to deal with the stuff we find a bit hard to deal with otherwise. What that is I have no idea though.

Mimi

Val said...

May the reunion put this all to rest, that you realise it is just symbolic for something quite apart from an individual and that you will be troubled by this dream no longer.

Oh, and have fun at the reunion!

Sandy said...

Well how was your school reunion? You'll have to tell us all about it.