21 October 2014

The Dream of Claire

I was up all night.

Never mind why. Never mind what I was doing. That's not what this post is about. (Although it could be...)

Somewhere around 8 a.m. it was clear I would not make it to my noon meeting. My eyes felt like sandpaper. Every yawn triggered head to toe, uncontrollable, almost convulsive, trembling. From a purely physical point of view, it was time to go to bed.

But I was also craving coffee. (That's kind of a physical event, too, isn't it? But there's so much more going on when I want coffee the way I wanted coffee this morning...)

The pot was already programmed to start brewing at 8:45 a. A full discussion of the extreme pleasure and delight this feature of the coffeepot brings me deserves its own post. Let it suffice for the current narrative to confess that my affection for the machine and its automatic processes necessitated a whispered apology as I disengaged the "Auto" function and hit the "On" button ahead of time.

I had my coffee, turned off the phones, changed into pajamas and went to bed.

I lay there tired but no longer sleepy for what seemed like forever, eyes closed, resisting the panic that insomniacs know so well -- that "I'm not sleeping, I'm not sleeping, oh my god! I'm not sleeping, should I get up, no, no, any minute now I'm gonna get sleepy again...." wailing in the head; telling myself "It's okay, precious. Lying down with eyes closed also counts as rest. It's alright."

My sense of smell was in overdrive:  the pillowcase smelled like my hair conditioner and the unscented laundry detergent I use and "feathers" (I can't explain). I could smell furnace and Renuzit and the loaf of bread I baked Saturday in the room. My hand curled beneath my cheek smelled like tobacco and soap and pencil lead.

There was an unidentifiable, indescribable scent in the mix, too.  Something that triggered a "false" memory of a large, well-furnished room with low ceilings, bathed in a gentle, marbled
gold-and-umber light and soft burgundy-colored music. I have no memory of ever having actually been in such a room.

In the end, I fell asleep and dreamed of Claire. The daughter from the HBO series "Six Feet Under." After a few minutes of Google searching, I still can't find a photo of her that conveys how she looked in my dream. In the dream, as in her life story as portrayed so unforgettably by the actor Lauren Ambrose, her face reflected the fluid stream of her thoughts and feelings. A hundred different expressions in the span of five minutes....

In the dream I struggled to hide the intense sexual attraction-verging-on-love I felt toward her. But she knew. I could hear it in her voice and see it in her eyes. She knew how I felt.

She wanted me to know it was okay to feel what I felt and to think what I was thinking. She wanted me to know that sexual attraction is magical, spiritual, to be celebrated. It's among the most complex and noble of human capacities. It is Us at our most eloquent and energetic best.

The free and unaffected expression and fulfillment of sexual attraction is perfect freedom.

In the dream we joined our bodies and hearts and minds. We laughed and whispered and cried and looked at each other and explored and confessed and rested.

It was a beautiful dream. And I woke up full of longing for the best of times I've had with women lovers. I have always spurned the application of labels to people so it's never been easy to identify as "bisexual." It is an incomplete naming of my sexual orientation. It says something, but not everything.

Beautiful lovers have many things in common whatever their gender or sexual orientation:  generosity of spirit and creativity to name but two. And yet, perhaps as we are products of a world that demands a hard-and-fast decision about who we are sexually, and as sexuality has been extensively (over)analyzed, there are some marked differences between male lovers and female lovers and transgender lovers that present with some predictability.

My current longing, however, has less to do with psychology and gender-style than with the way a woman's body is "put together." Good sex is good sex and an egg is an egg is an egg but there are important differences between scrambled and poached, between fried and hard-boiled.

Claire was a beautiful lover in the dream. She was, as a former woman lover once called it, "thorough." I felt whole and satisfied and generous and humble and comfortable in my body when I woke up ...and I still do.