Michelle announces, “I had the weirdest dream last night.” I finally take a sip of my coffee now lukewarm; it tastes like dread. The dread I immediately feel whenever anyone is about to tell me about their dream. It’s always like a commercial for some new car or perfume, advertising something they think I might be interested in buying but which I never am. And as my interest inevitably wanes, the details get increasingly emphatic in a desperate attempt at coherence, as if the product they’re selling is being marked down. I appreciate just how integral actual plots are to real lives when someone is relating their dream. Unless you sign up Tom Hiddleston to frolic under a waterfall in the dream, I’m generally not interested.
Michelle has recently gotten back together with her ex-fiancée, though she no longer sports the engagement ring. Her ex had an affair with another woman bizarrely also named Michelle who subsequently became pregnant. “Expecting,” is what Michelle says when she talks about it, because she can’t bear to say pregnant. The word is too bulgy and uncomfortable for her; too pregnant, I suppose, with impossibilities.
The other Michelle eventually kicked the ex-fiancée out, and then my Michelle took him back in. “It’s complicated,” she’d said at the time, like a judge deliberating a tough case. “You know?” And, having gone through a rough breakup myself, I did.