I had this awful dream last night, or this morning, that you told me you didn't love me, you loved someone else. You were my lover and my trainer; you were training me to be a gymnast. You were trying to get me to do a release move, something very high in the air, and I was just swinging so high in the air above water, and I couldn't let go. You got angry. I told you I was too scared, it was too high, I couldn't let go. You disappeared into the bowels of the ship and when you came back you said so many mean things to me, that I was weak and you had never loved me and what we had together was fleeting and meaningless. You said that you had found a woman who was brave and real to love. She was there too, and though I don't remember what she looked like, I remember her cruelty. It felt like when I was a child and people used to make fun of me for being a little bit chubby, or wearing pants that didn't flare quite enough at the ankles, or having bangs that stairstepped down my little forehead.
I wake up crying and the sun hits my face and I slowly realize it was only a dream. I think of my high school philosophy teacher, who said dreams were more a reality than our waking hours. Dreams, like all the times I built you in my bed, bringing a pillow close to my face and remembering when your blue eyes glowed back at me as we fucked. I try my hardest to remember, to re-create their explosive sheen from so, so long ago; I graze my lips across the surface of the pillow and remember how you kissed me, the breath that lingered between our mouths. I think that’s when it happened, when we exchanged those pieces of ourselves, whatever this thing is that makes me invent you time and time again, that haunts and thrills me. My gymnastics coach once took my 10-year-old pointed foot in his hand and looked at me and told me I would be in the Olympics some day. He was wrong; I never made it to the Olympics. Instead I got real sick and spent a summer in the hospital and missed a vacation with roller coasters and, much later, thanked God for keeping me alive.
I close my eyes and pull the pillow even tighter to me. I don't mourn the back handsprings or cartwheel beams or my Olympic dreams, but I do still thank God for life. I have no reason to love you, except that I have every reason not to, and of all the dreams I've had of you, this was but one. The open road reveals itself to me, and I drive on.