June 16th, 2004


Dream about a college friend

I had a strange dream several nights ago. I was somewhere, a reunion of some sort, and I saw a guy I went to college with. Our senior year he and I were each writing an honors thesis in computer science. He and I had the same advisor and we were the only two doing AI-related stuff, so we spent tons of time together. Endless all-nighters in the computer lab, and crazy visits to Cumberland Farms, blasting Erasure on his car's tape player, loading up on sugar and caffeine.

Anyway, I had a mild crush on him during that time, but he was dating a PoliSci major with long dark hair. We were buddies though, not close, but we were casual friends and we got along well. I haven't seen him nor communicated with him since graduation in 1993.

So in the dream reunion, I was in a crowded gathering, and I saw him across the room sitting on a ledge. He saw me but didn't recognize me at first. I hurried over to greet him, and he stood up and I could see he remembered me. We hugged -- it felt warm but awkward. It had been a long time.

Then he pulled away from me and, holding my shoulders, he looked me in the eyes. "What has happened to you?", he asked me. "It seems like you've been... hurt." His voice broke a little with raw emotion and tender concern.

I stood there, feeling like an empty husk dangling from his hands, as I was flooded with 11 years worth of memories. I wondered what about my behavior might make him think that I had been broken. I felt almost drowned by the awkwardness of an embrace which touched no deeper than my skin, and I reflected on how lonely and untouchable I was, hiding deep inside of it.

I broke my eyes from his gaze, looked down, and had no answer. I leaned into him and we hugged again, one of those strange and meaningless hugs where your elbows stick out and your bodies barely connect. I felt his hands shaking as he helplessly patted my back, miles away from me.

Then I woke up.