Tuesday, November 29, 2016
I am thankful for the desk separating me from the mob of anxious case managers, each motivated by their own caseload of frustrated clients, and each wanting something from me. They are each armed with a list of cases which need to be reviewed for settlement, walked through for settlement, or are set for a hearing in the next week. I am reminded of my Friday nights behind the bar, patrons clamoring to get their order filled. Except, I can't solve these problems now in front of me with a long pour.
"One at a time. Walk-throughs first. Who has a walk-through for this week." They each raise their hand.
My head feels heavy, my neck inadequate to carry it, as I turn to look out of the window just as a delivery truck passes by. At the wheel I see Sean, squinting behind his wire-rimmed glasses, wearing the gray windbreaker that. . .
This isn't right. That grey windbreaker is stuffed in a box, where it has been preserved since he died, which is stored away in my closet. His glasses are in the box too - Two of the handful of keepsakes I saved from his apartment. His parents would have given me more, but they were the ones who had lost a son, so I didn't ask for much.
I observe the van pulling into a garage, where the door closes behind him.
My focus returns to the crowd of co-workers standing before me. Of course, this isn't right either. Although sometimes the effect is the same, I am never mobbed by the case managers who do in fact each have a slew of cases, each with work that needs to be done on them.
"We have to go," one of them says, completely out of turn. But I know, I have to go, I have to get out of this office, I have to find that van. So, I follow her lead and we all leave the office.
In the parking lot she herds us all into a bus. I turn in my seat to look at the garage door rising, the delivery truck exiting, a new driver at the wheel. Behind him I can see Sean, but Sean doesn't see me. The delivery truck has a new banner covering the sides. The driver is observing his surroundings in a way that is at once experienced but anxious.
Sean is in trouble. They have him and won't let him go, for some reason. He needs help.
I don't know what to do. The bus is moving, and I don't know where we're going. I look at the road ahead and turn to see that the truck is also turning, as we continue straight. I begin to run to the front of the bus when everyone else on board also begins to exit. We step off the bus at the entrance to an underground tunnel, where we are shuttled to another stop. Upon leaving the shuttle and the underground tunnel, I find myself in a bustling plaza. I scour the area, the shops and kiosks all around me, the people buzzing by, seeking out the grey wind breaker, the glasses, that face that haunts me still, nearly 12 years later. . .
Delilah's chatter weaves in and out of the scene as I toddle the lines of consciousness. I hear Marcos - "I'm going to start breakfast." Slowly I begin to realize that Delilah's voice is coming from the monitor on my nightstand. I am lying on my back, a particularly difficult position for me to wake from. I am still half asleep, still searching for Sean, willing my eyes to find him or in the alternative, for my body to wake itself from this dream. Finally, consciousness wins. My eyes snap open. I am awake.
I lay still for a minute. I didn't even get to talk to him. I didn't get to ask him not to go. He always goes, every time, but at least I get a chance to tell him that he should stay.
It's been three nights since the dream, but I still fill the emptiness of the missed opportunity. Three words pleaded in a dream, "Please don't go," are weighted with the things that never had the chance to be heard: "I want you to stay. If you go, so many people will miss you. I'll miss you. I'll spend years feeling guilty for your death. I will be tortured by the unanswered questions, the lack of resolution between us. Twelve years down the road, I'll still miss the best friend I had in you, the man that tore down the walls that sexual assault built around me and showed me that I am beautiful not in spite of my flaws, but because of them. I will think of you every day. Please. Let's see this through. Let's have a normal break-up and discover, a year from now, that we are better off as friends. Don't end it like this. Please don't go."
Sean hasn't been in my dreams for at least two years. Before that, he showed up about once or twice a year, and before that, two or three times a year. The format is always generally the same: I know that his time will be short, but he doesn't. I know that when he walks away from me, he won't be coming back. Since he hasn't been in my dreams, I've imagined what I think the dreams in recent years would have looked like, and written them here, in my blog, following the format that has presented itself for years. When Sean showed up in my dreams again three nights ago with these new twists, I didn't know what to think. I only knew that I had to write it down.