At age 13 I’d never had a boyfriend. Although I’d liked a few guys, I never knew how it felt to be committed to someone. But one night that year (1997) I had a dream. In that dream I had a boyfriend and we were happy and the whole school knew we were together. We would eat lunch together and ride our bikes to our houses after school (I don’t know how to ride a bike). I marveled at how nice it felt to know that I belonged to someone (I never knew who the guy was; I didn’t recognize his face), and that all the other girls were keeping their hands off him because they knew he had a girlfriend, and all the guys also respected what I had with him and didn’t ask me out. And whenever, say, we’d hold hands, or he would put an arm over my shoulder it didn’t feel like I was about to get in trouble for it. It just felt natural.
I woke up a changed girl, because that dream gave me all the feelings that I hadn’t known I was missing because I never had them. It was like being admitted into an exclusive club that had stringent joining requirements, but you didn’t have to go through the screening process because you knew a special password.
At age 17 I’d never been kissed. That year (2001), on a late-night homeward bus ride (I already forgot where I was coming from and what I did previously) I had another dream, just a very short dream. I was a wife and my husband and I were about to start our day; he was wearing a suit and was about to leave for work. He gave me a light kiss on the lips before walking out the door. It wasn’t any deep, long, mind-blowing anatomically complicated kiss. I just felt the little pressure when his lips touched mine. But it registered on my mind, this is what two people who love each other do. They touch lips. At that moment when my husband in my dream (I never knew who the man was; I didn’t recognize his face) was leaving for work so he wasn’t kissing me as prelude for sex or to make up for an argument or to try to talk me into doing him a favor. We touched lips because it was a simple yet profound gesture symbolizing something that’s also simple yet profound. It was a kiss that affirmed, everything is all right in this house. That sense of security you have because your spouse is there, loving you, and he’s not going anywhere, he’s just going to the office but you know he is coming back, that kind of thing. What that kiss represented was so solid you could hold it in your hands.
I woke up a changed woman, because that dream made me understand something I wasn’t even wondering about to begin with. It was like being entrusted with a secret, one that honored anyone who knew it just because they knew it, and you didn’t even know what you did to deserve that honor.
I recalled these things tonight because tonight, on my way to the Chinese restaurant to have dinner with my family, I realized that I was feeling the exact same feelings I felt during those two dreams. Amazing feeling! And that whole time I was thinking of you.