I have a few recurring dreams. Most of them take place at my alma mater. I’m taking classes again. I’m in a play, it’s opening night and I don’t know my lines or my blocking. It’s concert night for my acapella group and I don’t the lyrics, the choreography, or what to wear. Some of them just take place on campus but don’t have anything to do with school. I’m reunited with my childhood best friend and get to meet her two little girls.
I’m not surprised by any of these dreams. Especially the performance ones; they are common for former theater kids, according to my mom. And they all have to do with regret in some way.
Then there’s this one dream that makes me curious. It’s not a situation or a place though- it’s a person, someone I don’t think I’ve ever actually met, and he comes to me wherever I am.
I’ve come to know him as Ben, although I don’t know that he ever introduced himself as such. I can think of several reasons he is tentatively “Ben”, but we’ll cut through a lengthy backstory and I’ll just say that I’m a fan of the name. (I like the name Benji more, so I don’t know completely what that’s about.)
Ben tends to enter a dream in progress. There’s a carousel on the senior quad and his nutria pulls up to my oversized sardine (it’s a dream so the animals we’re riding are delightfully absurd). He asks me a couple questions, we do some chit-chat. Then he asks me if I’m ready for him. And I tell him, “no.”
Then he leaves me with these words, more or less, “I’ll be waiting for you.”
Now, I know it’s a dream, therefore a product of my mind. Yet, I have a hard time being black or white on this one, playing either the realist or the romantic.
Should I let myself believe that Ben is indicative of a real person waiting out there for me in waking life? Should I let myself believe in true love and serendipity and magic and romance?
Or is this all brain chemicals and loneliness and desperation?
In my customary noncommittal way, I think it’s somewhere in between. I’m going to meet someone at some point and in its way, I could say that they are Ben without saying they were prophesized by a dream, a “dream come true” if you will.
But, no, no one is going to approach me at any point and say “Hi, I’m Ben. You know me from your dreams that I have been visiting like some defunct, eunuch incubus and I’ve been waiting for you, like a big ol’ creep.”
Basically I’m a work in progress and at some point am going to cross paths with a person that is self-same ready for me and, in a way, my Ben.