Last week, my friend accidentally locked her keys and her purse inside her house. I helped her break in by adopting the familiar cheerleader forward knee bend pose. She put her foot on my thigh and 1-2-3 she was inside the window.
When I was younger, I remember climbing out my bedroom window after an argument with my mom. I wrote her an “I’m running away from home” note, left it on my pillow, took the screen off the window, packed my purple bag with Orville, my stuffed sailor dog, a few pairs of underwear, and all of my allowance. I took the 86 bus down Rocky River Drive to the end of the line. Then I went back home. My mom was surprised when I knocked on the door because she thought I was still in my room.
Perhaps, reminiscing about my childhood brought on the dream. The dream where every man I’ve ever loved appeared. My first-grade puppy love crush on John. (Yes, I remember his name and his sandy blonde hair.) The boy I went steady with from fourth to sixth grade. (We held hands for every couple’s skate.) The teenage boy I took to my sophomore dance (I puked in his bushes after he kissed me.) The skater boy my mom caught me kissing while I waited for her to pick me up after work. (He broke up with me because I wouldn’t sleep with him.) The beautiful, vibrant young man who became a hopeless drug addict. (I also fell in love with his best friend. He was in the dream, too.) And the man who broke my heart so deeply, I never thought I would love again.
These are just a few of the highlights. But one by one, they walked through my dream like that bad rom-com movie starring Matthew McConaughey based on A Christmas Carol. As each one of them approached, I fell back to the age I was when we knew each other. All of the self consciousness, the anxiety, and the desire to be loved, still present in my heart. The only difference was my perspective. The watcher-me stood outside of time, aware of why they had come into my life, why they had left, how I had grown and where I had locked up my heart in a safety deposit box.
When I woke up I realized it’s the most valueless thing to lock your heart away for a rainy day because when it comes to love, it’s always raining. All of the value is in the being-ness not in the being-not. When you withhold love from the people that you care about in your life, you’re denying yourself love.
Would I love all of them again? In my Ebenezer Scrooge dream, I did. They are part of the story of my life, just as I am now a part of their story. The love I experienced for them was directly related to how much I loved myself. But, I’m not going to Scrooge myself anymore. I’m going to shout “I love you, Everyone!” from the upstairs balcony, run inside before the mosquitos attack, and find a big turkey of a guy to call my own. (I take that back, I’ve already dated a bunch of turkeys, now I’m looking for a hawk with a really good sense of humor.)