I have been known to stick myself in a spot that is not where I should be and to hang on as if it were the only thing afloat in the middle of a giant sea.
I fled to one such place long ago and it took me in. I grabbed with all my might, holding my breath for unfathomable time against the rush of up and down breakers. It was an anchor, that place, tied to solid ground deep six below the ripples and waves. I clung because I was tired and treading so faintly that my eyes were half-full of stinging salt water.
I suppose I loved that place more than I loved myself at the time.
I dreamed of it again last night. I was snorkeling in blue water and came upon something. I cleared my mask and looked again. Through the fog of deeper water back-lit by hindsight, I could make out that what I was seeing was the place I loved.
I swam closer as it shimmered and faded, shimmered and faded, shimmered and faded. Up close, I could see that the books on the shelves were not mine. I could see nothing other than packages of Ramen noodles in a pantry which I had kept fully-stocked. The beautiful but heavy dresser I had struggled to move into place was now filled with clothes that would fit someone else. Curious Christmas stockings I would never have bought hung on the mantle and on the island in the kitchen was a half-empty glass of wine.
It was all so murky that I pulled again at my mask.
And then it was gone.
I awoke, short of breath and with a firm grip on the blanket.
I turned over and in the light of the moon I began to think about places I have loved. My grandmother’s house, the house my boys grew up in that sat high on the hill above the river and the house of my dreams with the view of the meadow.
I felt my breath slowly ease and let go of my grip and slept.
And in the dream that came next I was on solid ground and the view was very clear.