That Ringing

“You know we’re never getting back together again, right?” she asked, just to make sure he knew.

He was dreaming again. They were sitting on the couch. It was the same couch they always sat on when they were talking or doing what they thought meant meaningful conversation when they used to talk. The same couch that was too cushiony and bouncy that it was actually hard to sit or sleep on yet never seemed to stop him from sitting on for hours at a time, watching reruns of the same TV shows he’d already watched before.

“Yeah, I know. But I already know I’m dreaming, so this doesn’t really matter.” He wasn’t sad. It was more just a statement of fact. He wanted her to know that he knew he was dreaming.

“So why are we here again, together, in this dream?”

“Probably because I still wish I could see you, even though I think that I don’t when I’m awake. But I still go to bed thinking about you sometimes and this time was probably one of those times even if I don’t remember doing it. You know, we never really got along. We had some things in common, but I don’t think you ever really liked me.”

“You never really knew me. Is that what you came here to talk about? You want to go over more things you’ve already beaten to death? I liked you. I loved you. We loved each other, right? But you still left. Nothing that happened or happens after that ends has anything to do with you.”

“I know. But I still miss you. And I wake up after these dreams wanting to call you, but I don’t. I deleted your number from my phone but I still remember it anyway. And I start to think that just maybe when we’re here in these stupid dreams together that maybe you’re having the same stupid dream and it’s like we’re having the same stupid real conversation that we’d both remember when we both wake up. That’s stupid, right?”

“It is stupid,” she said. “I think you’re a lot more sentimental and nostalgic than me. You don’t move on. You hold grudges. You bring up the past and you always end up living in it. It’s not healthy.”

“You were a Vulcan, you know? Everything is logical or some systemic process with you. It was like dating a robot. You never really formed opinions on anything. You were just a wealth of information. It was hard to tell what you actually thought about anything.”

“It was like dating a child with you,” she laughed. “You threw tantrums like a toddler. You made me feel terrible a bunch of times for just being me. You made me feel like I was worthless. But other times you made me feel really special, you know? And it sounds like that’s a great thing, but it’s not. I could never tell. It wasn’t a healthy relationship.”

“I wish we could start over,” he said in his dream.

“But we can’t,” she replied in his dream. “That’s not how time works. People keep moving. Time keeps going. Most people don’t get stuck. You do. Like Billy Pilgrim.”

“You made me feel stupid,” he said. “You admired everyone else who wasn’t me right in front of me. You were impressed by all of the people who were the opposite of me. But other times you made me feel like a superhero. Like I could do anything in the world that I wanted to. But you kept all of those feelings when I left. I don’t feel like a superhero anymore.”

“Because you live in the past. Like, I honestly don’t care about you. And right now, I promise you that I’m not dreaming, at least not about you. I’m really not. I haven’t dreamed about you in I Don’t Know How Long. For all you know, I’m sleeping right next to someone who is better looking than you and probably has tattoos. Like the opposite of the tattoos you don’t have. But this is just you thinking in a dream. This is not me talking. I probably listen to music he likes now. Occasionally I listen to stuff we used to like, me and you. But I don’t associate them with you anymore. It’s the Vulcan in me. I don’t have anything that reminds me of you anymore. I still have the things, but you aren’t attached to them in anyway. Or maybe I’m not sleeping next to anyone. The point is, you shouldn’t care either way. And I don’t even know what a Vulcan is. You remember that I never really liked Star Trek, right?”

“That’s kind of sad if you only remember information and things and not the memories that make them special.”

“I don’t give a shit what you think is sad or not anymore. I don’t have to and I never did. I was so stupid back then. I did so much for you and you just left anyway. Things were going so well, or I thought they were. But they really weren’t, wouldn’t you agree?”

“Yeah. I just wish things were different between us,” he said waking up.

“That ringing, it never stops, does it?”

Of course it was his alarm clock. What else would it be?

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