That Thing We Call Love

It’s a funny thing, that thing we call love. 

It comes and goes in your life. When you find love, you feel like a bird spreading its wings and soaring over the earth. You are buoyant. Everything seems magical.

And when love goes sour, you are crushed. Heartbroken. Bereft. Inconsolable. The bright light that shone down on you so brightly and with such intensity flickers and then fades.

I had a weird dream last night. As you know, I’m sort of fascinated by dreams. 

In the dream, one of my former loves, my last love, told me he didn’t love me anymore. That wasn’t really how it happened. But in my dream, it was. 

I find it interesting that you can feel so deeply in a dream. I mean, how can dreams have feelings? 

In the dream, I felt like I’d had the wind knocked out of me. I kept saying, “But don’t you remember this, or that?” Of course these were memories from a time when love was moving smoothly down the tracks.

In response, he looked at me like he didn’t know me. Which is worse, far worse, than hate. 

I watched as love walked away. Taking my hopes and dreams with it.  

The memories attached to that person, the love that once swelled in my heart, and what essentially tied me to him for life, was forever tainted. 

In my dreams, sometimes I feel that once-upon-a-time love. I feel so deeply that often it jolts me awake. I lie in the dark, trying to get my bearings on where I am in time. 

And slowly I realize that that was before, and this is now. That that time in my life is over. Not forgotten. Just over.

I remember, many years ago, picking him up at an airport. I can still recall the acute feeling of anticipation I had, for I knew we would now be together forever. Or so I thought. 

I remember I saw his face in the crowd, and my heart about burst with such an intense love that I wanted to cry. I was filled with such hope, and it was not yet measured or meted out. It was still filled to the brim with possibility.

And I also remember, as the months and then years passed, things changed. My feelings for him became sharp edges where he had chipped away at my devotion for him. 

And every time there was a new hurt, the filled balloon that was my deepest feelings for him lost air. Little by little. Until it finally collapsed altogether. 

For no matter who you are, how rich you may be, how important a person you are, love still affects you the way it affects everyone else.

We do strange things in the name of love, don’t we?

We are a light, for the duration of that love, lit from within. We are hope tied to a bright balloon that either deflates, or is lost in the wind. Taking us to places we’ve never been.

Like the saying goes: “It’s better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.”


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  1. Why is it that so many dreams leave us sad or angry or frightened? Is it that we just don't remember the good ones? I've had dreams that I've had to turn on the light, force myself to stay awake after simply because I'm afraid I'll have it again if I go back to sleep. I wish I remembered more of the good ones, instead of just quick bits.

    Do you think we ever process through old regrets and losses and fears so that our dreams are all just good ones? I wonder if the very elderly still have nightmares? I hope not.

  2. I remember the first time I smelled something in a dream. It was a steaming cup of coffee and freshly cooked bacon! I was so disappointed when I woke up! I dream every night, sometimes I wake up feeling like I've already worked an 8 hour shift! Most of the times I remember whay I've dreamed. Have done this all my life, my hubby rarely dreams, but our son has inherited my vivid dreaming and remembers most of his. I love the rare night when I don't dream at all. I've woken up so mad I could spit nails at my husband for what he did in a dream! Actually takes several hours to get over it, so it is amazing all the things we can experience in our unconsiousness!

  3. It's profoundly and greatly sad that we at this age are left and unloved by the men we invested years in. To watch them leave our lives in complete devastation financially and emotionally without a thought any longer to our well being seems one of life's greatest cruelties after investing so many years in loving them. I no longer dream of them nor do I care or even think of them.. But they left my heart forever unable to feel love or trust except for my animals. I do not believe that love is necessarily needed for a happy life and my rebuilt happy life is proof.

  4. Brenda, it is totally amazing how deeply we feel all sorts of feelings or emotions during dreams. I have felt love, anger, hurt, fright, confusion, happiness, and sadness during dreams. Sometimes I think more so than in reality. I do not dream that often..but it seems when I do..I dream profoundly. Hope this makes sense.

  5. I seem to have weird dreams sometimes…and talk. Hubby says I am usually doing something teaching related. Sometimes I remember sometimes not. Apparently once I was at the chalk board trying to get someone to understand something. Being a French teacher…I was doing that a lot. ha! Fortunately no nightmares! Sheila

  6. Your writing is beautiful as always. About that last quote: I once threw that one at my father when I was leaving my first husband at the age of 20, and he said, "Just the uttering of some stupid romantic fool." At the time I thought , "What an insensitive clod." Now I think he was probably right.

  7. "In the dream, one of my former loves, my last love, told me he didn't love me anymore. That wasn't really how it happened. But in my dream, it was. "
    "In response, he looked at me like he didn't know me."

    Brenda, that's the dream I had for years in every relationship except for the one I'm in now. The only difference is he was usually making out with someone else. That's so weird!

    I don't know what it is that makes us dream this, but I know how awful it is and I'm sorry.


  8. If this is about dreams I have a doozy for you. I was being followed by a man. He was a tall big wide man and he had that awful dutch boy haircut, remember from the dutchboy paint? Yes, that bad. He was following me and wouldn't leave me alone putting his hands on me. I would feel like I was going to throw up because he smelled so bad. I would get away from him and then he would come looking for me. I could smell him before I saw him so I would start running. I had gotten away once again and I was talking with people about how bad he smelled. I had never smelled someone smell so horrible. They agreed and speculated that he was using something to make himself smell like that. Then I woke up and the house smelled just like the man after me only it was the chicken I had put in the crockpot! I have a strange sense of smell. Sometimes I can't smell at all and sometimes I smell like a pregnant woman where everything is intensified and completely off.

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