Friday, January 13, 2006

Face to Face with Me

I woke up yesterday morning and had no idea where I was. In reality, I was in a Chicago suburb hotel room bed, but when I opened my eyes and sat up it took me a good minute or so to figure it all out. When I did, I instantly realized that I’d been having the strangest dream I’ve ever had, ever.

When I woke up, I’d just been talking to myself. Literally, me. Except it was me at 18. In my dream I went back to my hometown to escape an arranged marriage to an African tribesman. (That may sound like the strange part, but that part of the dream didn’t surprise me, since I’d read about a woman who married an African tribesman in a magazine on the plane trip to Chicago). Once I got to my hometown, though, it was my hometown as it was almost 12 years ago. I walked into an auditorium where there was a post-high school graduation program going on…I sat down in the front row for some reason, and instead of watching what was happening on the stage, I turned my body around in the chair and looked over the audience to find myself.

The auditorium was full of people, but I found myself (my 18 year-old self) immediately. I was sitting next to my mother, and my girlfriends from high school were sitting behind me. I watched for quite a while. I watched how I interacted with everyone, and I spent quite a bit of time getting a “read” from myself from the different facial expressions and types of laughter I was projecting.

As I sat there and watched me, I thought about the types of things I would tell myself, when I finally approached her. How could I talk to her without scaring her? What could I say, or more importantly, what should I not say so that when I returned back to 2006 my life would not be altered in any way? I decided I shouldn’t say much.

So I walked up to the back of the auditorium and took the seat in front of her. She’d been sitting there giggling with her friends and talking about leaving for college and getting out of town as soon as she could. For some reason, my mother sitting next to me (or her) didn’t even notice when I sat down. The younger me did, and was almost speechless. I tried to explain how I got there, but even I didn’t know. The girlfriends commented about how “neat” and strange it was that I was there, then they left us to our conversation.

The strange thing is, all I could do was look at her at first. I reached up and touched her face and told her what beautiful skin she had...Explained to her how important it was to take care of it. She asked me how old I was, I told her almost 30...Then I immediately let her know that I was recently married to a wonderful man. I didn’t tell her how Todd and I met, or what his name was...I couldn’t have her going out and joining every mission trip to Mexico or lying in bed at night wondering if the “Todd” she met that day was “the” Todd. After all, I know that she is obsessive-compulsive.

She had a hard time looking at me. Not because she thought I’d (she’d) grown into some mammoth ugly person, but because it made her extremely nervous. I couldn’t stop staring at her, though. “So THIS is what it will look like when I lose ten pounds…” is what I was thinking to myself. And, “Thank God I never colored my hair. It looks as healthy as it did back then!” But as I sat with her I just died because of all the things I wanted to tell her NOT to do. All of my regrets...I couldn’t tell her that Dad was gone. I couldn’t tell her about the guys she REALLY, REALLY needed to stay away from. I couldn’t tell her about good or bad job decisions, or that she shouldn’t waste that semester of nursing pre-requisite classes because she’d eventually graduate with a degree in Political Science. I couldn’t tell her that her heart was going to break, break, break to pieces and that it would be her own fault. I couldn’t tell her not to date and live with that one guy, because his addictions and issues would make her suffer, even into her very happy marriage.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the dream. Why did I have it? Is it because I turn 30 in just a couple short months, and that while I’ve been telling everyone that 30 doesn’t bother me, I’ve been subconsciously examining my life for the past couple of months? Why was it so real? I’ve had those “real” dreams...But this was different. My world felt like it was turned upside down when I woke up and all I wanted to do was fall back asleep and keep the dream going.

But I didn’t. I tossed and turned and got up before the alarm, before the wake up call. I soaked in the bathtub for a little while in silence, with my thoughts. I was glad for the dream. And all I can think of now is, what is the 40 year-old Lauri wanting to tell me?

Monday, January 09, 2006

Little Things

I remembered one of the things, very early in my relationship with Todd, that made me fall in love with him. You know how it's never one big thing, it's just a bunch of little things that all flutter up together into one big, nice love thing.

He picks up his trash at the movie theater...Sometimes even other people's trash as he's leaving the aisle.