the one you walked away from

Wednesday night… or was it Thursday morning?  Anyway one of those evenings I had a dream about one of my ex’s.  The strange thing was it wasn’t one of my normal heart-pounding body-racing wake up stunned and shocked nightmare dreams I usually have of my ex’s Small-Town and Brunswick.  No… it was a ‘normal’ dream, as normal as dreams may come and ever since then I haven’t been able to get him out of my mind.

In my dream I was walking up these stairs – a kind of hybrid, if you can imagine, from the movie versions of “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Beauty and the Beast” in this gorgeous gold long ball-gown.  My hair was curly and my purse was fabulous, except my shoes were hurting and so were my legs from an evening of Kung Fu.  No surprise to me, as there have been many days/nights when walking was hard the day or 2 (or 3) after a hard workout, and I’ve never let aches or pain prevent me from attending an event where I can get all gussied up!  Anyway I was trying to walk up the stairs for some reason – remember I am dreaming – when all of a sudden I see my ex… let’s call him Duke.   He was dressed in a suit and had been watching me struggle up the stairs.

Our eyes met as I grabbed the railing with my right hand and my dress with my left.  Since we had not spoken in almost 8 and a half years I thought nothing of it; the last time we saw each other was during my single summer in a hallway that was a tight squeeze – as soon as we made eye contact he gave a small smile and quickened his pace.   Anyway I should say that I am accustomed to seeing him around; he remains good friends with my brother Greg, so again I thought nothing of it.

Maybe because I looked smokin’ hot, but that’s neither here nor there.

The next thing I know Duke is coming towards me.  I stop mid-step and look up to see him holding out his arm and gently saying “Here; let me help you.”  I remember looking up at him as he slipped his arm around my waist and guided me up the stairs, smiling the way he used to whenever he was walking next to me.  I said “thank you” and the next thing I knew we were chatting and laughing as we walked hip to hip – him supporting almost all of my body weight and me trusting him to do so – up these winding red stairs.

Only afterwards, when we were almost at the top did my rational mind swoop in.  I remember in my dream turing around and looking him square in the face after thinking to myself “wait a minute; what the fuck?” and with his arms still around me – I wake up.

(Edit: I dreamed that dream again Friday night\Saturday morning… )

A little Hx – if you must – before I continue.  Duke and I dated briefly… maybe 3-4 months… in the summer between grade 10 and 11 in high school.  Duke was best friends with a girl I had a brief and odd friendship with, and our romance budded from a drama play that said odd girl-friend and I were doing for our final project.  Duke and I had 1 class together – English – and although not the most attractive person I’ve met and dated, there was something about him that drew me.  He was (and still is) very intelligent and talented and although we had a brief courtship, he was one of the most thoughtful boyfriends I’ve ever had.  Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why I was so hurt when he ended things over the phone, claiming that we ‘were not on the same page’… whatever that means coming from a 16 year old.

Now at 23 I can understand; his group of friends were vastly different from mine.  I was still 15, and although people in my grades were dating, kissing, making out and giving oral sex; I wasn’t ready for that.  Being brought up in a strict Catholic family I was told that if I ever started to have sex I would first and foremost have to tell my mother because ‘that’s the way things are’.  SO imagine poor little me – dating a good friend of my brother in a tiny school where everybody’s business is your business, hearing that it’s perfectly natural to do all these things when I still had a curfew and had to have Greg accompany on my ‘dates’ if they were after 6:00 pm… Even now just the thought is enough to put me in a light state of panic.

Not to say that I spent the rest of my summer and school year yearning for him back; oh no.  Hell hath no fury like Carrie scorned.  After switching out of my English class (when we discovered that we were in the same section with only 12 other students separating us from each other) to avoid, Duke asked if we could quickly talk after school in the courtyard outside. It was a warm sunny day and we stood outside in our uniforms in an awkward silence – the silence between two very young people not knowing where to go or what to do.

Duke said that he had “made a mistake”.  I think that meant “I want you back” – but at the time, and still to a point now – I didn’t know where I was going and what I wanted to do.  I wanted to return to my old high school of 1500 students, not 435… where there was diversity and life… where I wasn’t the token brown girl (I’m olive, thank you very much!).  I was still angry because he gave no good reason at the time; it was just that’s it, that’s all.  So I said “yeah… you did.”

And I walked away and never looked back.

I started dating Corporate almost a year later Duke and I first started seeing each other.   Duke never really came into my mind until after Corporate and I ended our first relationship and my string of men came and went.  When my brother and I chatted in the airport in August of my single summer, I told him that I didn’t hate Duke the way I used to – that he could talk to me if he wanted to.  I was angry with him because of a statement made as a joke to my brother about a make out session he and his friend stumbled upon between Corporate and I (oh how scandalous!) – however when Greg retorted that I was the last girl he dated karma more than made up for that misdeed. Hell, I even though about giving Duke a second chance because a LOT can change over the years, and that encounter in the hallway insurged no hatred from yours truly;only curiousity.   But Corporate came back and won my affection and until this dream I had never looked back.

I know that there are some exs out there that you want to know how they are doing; some that you don’t want to know at all; and some that you would rather forget.   But what about the ones that you got away from?  I mean – it’s like one of those ‘chose your own adventure’ books we used to read in the 4th grade, except I can’t skip to the end to see which choice turned out to be the best one for the life of my character.For the past few days I couldn’t help but wonder how different my life would be if I had said “yes” to Duke those many years ago.  I mean… who knows if we’d still even be together?  He was never really confident with girls despite his cocky demeanour and many talents.

As it turned out now, Duke went off to the States for university and is now living in Toronto.  I am still in Ottawa, soon to be a nurse and soon to follow another path yet unknown.  Would Duke have left for school or stayed locally?  Would I have stayed for school?  Would I even be in nursing?  Would I have met all the people I’ve met?  Would I have all the friends I have now from high school had I not left?  Would Duke and Greg still be great friends?

Shit… all this from a 10 minute REM dream.  I just hope this dream – like others I’ve had of exs – doesn’t come to fruition.  I don’t need another shock and I have 100$ to my name right now.  Probably wouldn’t be a good idea right now. 


~ by Carrie on February 8, 2008.

31 Responses to “the one you walked away from”

  1. Ha ha. Well thats a good sign. He is a good friend of mine and not a bad person. And that’s hilarious – also hilarious that you’re so obsessed with phantom.

  2. Hey! How’s the schedule? We should get together sometime soon! Sorry to hear about your dream…

  3. I hate dreams like that, they kick up so many strange old feelings – but the questions they raise are good. I think the main thing is that if you’re happy now, no matter what questions you ask, it was for the best because it brought you to where you are now. It may be an over simplified way of looking at it but if you’re doing what you love I would be glad that you didn’t get thrown off of that path.

  4. @ Greg ~ Thanks dude; but wtf are you doing on my blog?!!?

    @ Breanna ~ How’s coffee on Friday?

  5. @ Kyla ~ It’s true: I really like where I am and doing what I am doing right now. But it raises other questions too… like… if I walked TO something greater by walking AWAY from something… I don’t know dude; I’ve been up for too long. But thanks for stoppin by 🙂

  6. Does your brother read your blog? Holy shit.

    Interesting dream. Much more coherent than most of my dreams. So..sounds like you’ve been thinking about the “what if” but that you don’t want to know because you don’t have the money to go to Toronto. Are there other reasons that you wouldn’t pursue anything?

  7. “Sometimes I think about what might have been…” (I listen to way too much music sometimes)

    Isn’t life just grand. Perhaps it would be good to see him again simply so that you know where he is and where you are in your life – and you are both happy.

    One of my dearest friends is a “what if” kind of guy. A relationship between us probably would have worked well, but that isn’t what happened. It is kind of nice to be able to look at someone, know them, know that yes, that might have worked, but there are reasons it didn’t. We are both happy with where we are and remain incredibly good friends.

  8. @ psychgrad ~ hi! thanks for stopping by! Yeah, he sometimes googles me (and my dad) when he’s bored or procrastinating… and he was the first person I told about my dream! It’s all good; we have a good relationship.

    It’s not that I don’t have the $$ to go to Toronto… well not right now. I work so it wouldn’t be a problem. I am with someone else and I love him very much. I am thinking about the ‘what if’, but at the same time I am reminded that;

    “I had a dream last night”
    “And so did I”
    “Well what was yours?”
    “That dreamers often lie”

  9. @ Exception ~ Music is amazing… In fact I iisten to my ipod before I go to bed each night. Its all good!

    That might be a good idea… I mean, it would be awkward if I just asked my brother (even though he reads my blog) how he is… I don’t know. It raises so many questions but at the end of the day I am happy where I am in my life and happy with the knowledge that I am going in the right direction.

  10. @ Exception ~ just to show that I too listen to too much music: “nothing is forgotten/only left behind”… SO true. Music makes the people – come together.

  11. I read / heard somewhere that your dreams are a way for your subconscious to tell you things. I think because your dream was a fairly positive dream about one of your ex’s, that if that ex came back into your life, you and he would probably give it another try.

  12. @ Bhanu ~ I think it was a positive dream too… considering it wasn’t a nightmare as per usual when I dream about my exs. However… I am in a relationship right now; and to boot my academic future is just unfolding right now (grad school-more school?) that I have no idea where I am going.. hm. Maybe this dream was giving me options… oh how terrible does that make me sound!

  13. so I like this dream – the other night I memorized the words to a whole new world and part of your world. I’m having a mini disney phase (though I still have my problems with it), so I appreciate the belle dream and I never saw phantom sadly.

    I think that sometimes – it’s weird eh? Like what if we had stayed together? But then the first thing is, you likely wouldn’t still be together right now. but still, it might have altered the course of both your lives. like that sliding doors movie. it’s an interesting thought experiment.

    you might have gone to a different university – been friends with some of his friends
    even if you’d broken up, who knows, you could have remained good friends with different people altogether

    oh lord

    I can’t think anymore need coffee

  14. @ Mackenzie ~ Thanks girlfriend 🙂 love you!

  15. I think it’s natural to wonder what might have been if only … it’s a memory that’s all. It doesn’t mean you are unhappy now because there was a dream. I have found that even after a couple of years, if you do meet ex x b/g or g/f or friend, a lot of water has gone under the bridge and you are no longer the person you were … and neither are they.

    When I meet old “friends” that I haven’t seen for a long time that I am tongue tied … because we are now so different with different lives and focuses.

    dream well Carrie.

  16. @ George – I think its natural too… and I’m not angry that I had the dream… it just resurfaced questions that I never really gave much thought to … ever. And now that the thought is there… it’s hard to stop. Silly dreams!! why can’t I just dream of Christian Bale like I normally do?

  17. sometimes you just can’t forget the guys in your past – it’s weird how it happens, but I just try to look at it as something that’s helped me to grow as a person I suppose. it just seemed so true to read that as i’ve had sort of similar dreams myself!

  18. @ Princess Polly – hi! thanks for stopping by! I think it did/will help me grow as a person.

    And really? down to the Phantom of the Opera stairs?? Ballin!

  19. Wow Carrie! My dreams only involve cheese and stuff, provided I remember them at all. Yours was a helluva dream. There is only one ex I think about and we still occasionally talk. I can’t say I have ever dreamed about her though.

  20. I have ex dreams. They really bug me. Sometimes I feel guilty, almost like my husband knows. They’re usually about one ex in particular. I actually ran into that ex several years ago which was about 10 years after we broke up. Unfortunately I wasn’t hot and I don’t remember carrying a great purse. 🙂

  21. To see this dilemma played out on film you should rent “Sliding Doors” with Gwenyth paltrow. There are moments in life where I still ponder “the road not taken,” though I am thrilled with the road I am traveling. You hit it on the head, life is one big “choose your own adventure” story!

  22. @ Michael C ~ totally. Normally I dream about completely wicked things, like fighting mean girls in the UFC octagon. TRUE story. I had that dream the night after the 2nd ex dream, so now I know that all is well with my dreaming world again.

    @ simplypink ~ ME TOO; sometimes I think that Corporate knows and I feel guilty as hell; now I just have to keep my hair looking nice and my purse full of fabulous – just in case this dream (like others;not word for word) come to fruition.

  23. @ Evans ~ I’ve seen “Sliding Doors” before – it’s an amazing movie. I wonder often but at the same time I really like where I am and where I could be going… so I guess it isn’t all too bad. It just makes me wonder where (and with whom) I will end up.

  24. Dreams are crazy – I sometimes dream about guys in my past and I have been married for over ten yeras! It’s a trip and makes you think!

  25. dreams like that are awesome, aren’t they? Umm..not really. They’re actually kind of weird. You really do think about all of the “what ifs” no matter what your relationship status is. And It definitely keeps life interesting.

  26. Dreams are like smells, I find… both of them bring you back to a forgotten memory or relationship so quickly and completely.
    Oddly enough, my guy’s blogging monicker is The Duke!

  27. @ Princess Extraordinaire ~ It really IS a trip to say the least… I just wish I could stop thinking, you know?

  28. @ Tiffani ~ It does keep life interesting; reality or otherwise.

    @ Princess Pointful ~ That’s a lovely analogy.

  29. I hate when I do the what if but I do it!

  30. @ B ~ ME TOO. especially when it’s my subconscious!

  31. Most submissions to Obsession! didn’t make it, but this one did. Thanks.

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