I was in an impoverished neighborhood with my sister and I arrived at an apartment complex. I was returning something to ________, and somehow I gained access to his apartment (in the dream I recall thinking about how it was weird to be here when I hadn’t thought about or seen him in years). I was grateful he wasn’t there.
It was a spacious apartment but quite messy and I couldn’t find a key to lock up. I figured while I was looking I may as well clean, so I found trash bags and picked up all the trash, took care of dishes and quickly organized the bedrooms. The kitchen was like stepping back in time to his old apartment but the rest of the place was really quite nice. It was clear the kids were older, less present. It also seemed that he had someone else in his life, a partner. There were thoughtful touches in the home but no pictures.
I grabbed the filled trash bags to throw them out but I couldn’t shut the door behind me, so I left the door open. From the dumpster I saw people heading into his place and panicked, thinking how mad he would be! I sprinted back and as I ran into the kitchen I ran full speed into a person.
He was a tall black man, dressed well but very serious. It was like running into a wall. I apologized but he didn’t respond. On either side of him was a shorter white man wearing striped coveralls and a white mask that covered their faces. One was _________.
He lifted his mask up. ”What are you doing? Why was my door open?”
“Oh, hey… sorry. Yeah, I was just dropping that thing off. I wasn’t sure how to lock up so I straightened up while I was looking for a key.”
Suddenly he seemed nicer, kinder. “We were just getting ready to go.” He laughed and smiled, “What the deal with your hair?”
Apparently in my dream, I had some subtle rainbow highlights under my hair. Most people didn’t even notice them. “Oh! Right. I was just trying a little something new. __________ thought it was nice.”
At the mention of another mans name, it was like a shadow fell over him. Suddenly he was a million miles away. “Uh-huh, that’s nice. Well, we gotta go so…” and he gestured me toward the door. Meanwhile, this huge party seemed to be kicking off and people were arriving.
”Sure, yeah. Well, it was nice seeing you. Enjoy your evening.” I leave and as I walk to a car my heart begins to slow down. I realize my heart must have been racing that whole time.
I get to the car where my sister is waiting and I have an email from him. He wrote me to tell me he didn’t care about my hair and he doesn’t care about my boyfriend or what I’m doing with my life. The next thing I know, we’re suddenly face to face again. “________ isn’t my boyfriend.”
”Oh, really?” Suddenly the shadow is gone and he softens again, but there’s an edge to his tone. He could wield words like weapons, and I saw a little bit of delight enter his eyes as he spoke: “I really only wrote you because I was concerned about that hair. With other people it’s a sign of instability, that they aren’t okay. A cry for help.”
My heart drops a little. I had hoped he’d be different, that things would have changed. That he might have learned to be kind. I don’t say a word to him as I get in the car and drive away.