I had a strange dream last night.

I dreamt that I was just about to watch the Game of Thrones season premier when I was cornered out of nowhere by my previous semi-serious boyfriend. He walked in on me while I was changing into my pajamas and then he started hugging and kissing me (which was not very consensual) and he said to me, “I’m so sorry that I never got the opportunity to tell you that I love you.” My dream self was filled to the brim with pity for him. I didn’t want him back. I didn’t want to hurt him. I was just stunned to see him go through such a desperate attempt to ‘win me back’. I didn’t know what to say, so I told him I had to go. I left, and thought long and hard about what to say to him. It broke my heart to have to break someone’s heart, even someone I didn’t love. As all these difficult and painful thoughts ran through my dream self’s mind, I suddenly realized I had abandoned him without saying anything. When I went to find him again he was gone. Someone told me he had gone to the bar to “drink Patron” (my dreams are really weirdly specific sometimes).

That significant other in real life is someone I never ‘closed a door’ with; we just eventually realized (mutually, I’m assuming) that we weren’t right for each other and gave up the facade of spending time together out of some obligation we both felt — maybe because how we met felt fateful; maybe because we had both given so much personal and deeply intimate information to one another. I’m not sure why, but either way it ran its course.

Sometimes life events without closure manifest themselves meanly and deeply in a dream-like state. Something feels undone, unfinished, and it eats away at your subconscious, not necessarily because you care about it, but it’s still there -that nigly little detail in the back of your mind, that thing on the grocery list that you completely forgot about until REM reminded you.

I don’t hurt for my exes anymore. What I hurt for is the worry that I’ve hurt them somehow – that I’ve ghosted the way people have ghosted on me and left them heartbroken so it stings. I’m not an egotist, really. It’s just that I never get that sense of otherness in relationships. I always assume that nobody loves or loved me as much as I love, or loved, them in return. It’s a reminder that sometimes the most painful thing in the world is the potential to hurt someone else, even if – or, especially if – you don’t love them.

I didn’t love him; I never did. I was trepidacious about entering into something resembling a relationship with someone I hardly knew and didn’t have the luxury of spending time with, enough to know how compatible they were. Then there was the incident where he made me walk home by myself late at night from East Van to West Van. And the time when he blew off having tea with me at my apartment because he was too busy practicing guitar; and how he only ever wanted to spend time with me when he wanted me to see him play music. The world was uncertain and frustrating to be with him (was I ever even ‘with’ him)? And as such, I got over him. I moved on. I let go of the potential we had at the beginning. I didn’t care anymore, because he cared so little for me. But nonetheless, I should have sat him down and told him how I was feeling. I should have made it very clear. I should have been braver than I was.

The dream meant nothing. But it served as a reminder that it’s the failures we regret more than the could’ve-beens.

 

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