My online pal Mike was the owner of a store devoted to the art of foot fetishes. My friend Emily and I went to visit him. As we walked in, a woman was at the counter demanding a certain brand of socks that she found particularly arousing.
All I remember about Mike was that he was lying on a couch when Em and I came in. He wanted the store to have a very relaxed atmosphere so that people wouldn't feel uncomfortable about their strange sexual habits. Mike greeted us warmly and told us that if we wanted to hear some of the country music he had recorded recently, we should go to Georgia Square Mall that morning, because they would be playing a radio station called WCMJ.
Em and I left the store. I'm not sure what happened to her en route to the mall, but I know that when I parked my car outside one of the department stores, I was alone. It was rainy, and I was well aware that I was skipping my morning classes to go to the mall. And it's not a nice mall either -- in my dreamworld or in real life. I walked into the department store and immersed myself in the lovely early 80s decor for a while as I strained to hear the music playing quietly over the speaker system. It sounded like instrumental elevator music. After a while, I gave up on hearing Mike's compositions and left the mall.
Somewhere along the way, my ex-boyfriend Chris popped up, as he has been doing so very often in my recent dreams. We haven't spoken in over two months at this point, yet in the dream he seemed genuinely happy to see me. It was understood that we were friends, and that he was only in Georgia for a short visit.
We went to a showing of The Graduate in a huge movie theater. Chris had never seen it before. We sat on opposite sides of the theater, yet we kept looking over at each other and grinning. Just before the movie started, a large group came up to the row on which I was sitting. They all wanted to sit together, and I took this as an opportunity to go sit by Chris.
When I sat down beside him, he put his arm around me. And then he leaned over and started kissing me. These are just friendly kisses, right? I thought to myself. He was kissing me quickly at first, but then he seemed to want to kiss more deeply. I humored him for a minute, but then pulled away.
He and I started having a conversation while the movie was showing. A kid sitting next to us told us to shut up.
After the movie, Chris and I went to Kroger. We apparently had a tradition of eating Doritos together. It was 2:30 in the morning, so the store wasn't exactly packed. We chose a bag of the new "Nacho Cheesier" Doritos and prepared to go check out.
However, two things stopped us. First, I saw a narrow, dark hallway that I somehow knew would lead to Mike's foot fetish shop. I considered taking Chris down there so Mike could be introduced to him, but I eventually decided against it.
After that, I realized I needed to use the bathroom.
"I'll meet you back out here," Chris said as he entered the men's room and I entered the women's room.
The bathroom was more crowded than the grocery store itself. None of the stalls were free, so I started waiting in line. Behind a guy. Also, people were taking showers, and water was spraying everywhere. As I stood in line, I became soaked very quickly.
The guy in front of me was quite the redneck: he had a ponytail and an unkempt mustache, and he was shirtless. He started hitting on me.
I made some offhand comment about my skin being pale, and the guy said, "You look fine to me, little lady."
And then I said, "My boyfriend's waiting for me out front."
"Aw, get rid of your boyfriend, baby," the redneck said. "You got me now."
I knew Chris wasn't my boyfriend, and the fact that I'd referred to him as such bothered me. Also, the redneck was freaking me out, so I quietly stepped out of line. There was a line of sinks across one part of the bathroom, and I started to wonder if people ever used them for toilets. I actually considered using one, but I didn't want to get undressed in front of everyone. Especially the redneck guy.
I turned around and saw Chris in the doorway of the bathroom. He was running around and doing forward and backward flips in the air. Strangely, this seemed more like the real Chris, the Chris I had known so well, than any other image of him in my recent dreams. He was happy and silly and unconcerned with what other people would think of him.
I rejoined Chris without bothering to use the bathroom.
In the next part of the dream, I seemed to have taken Chris to school with me, although it wasn't college. It was middle school -- my middle school from 1991 to 1994. I was walking outside the building, the same route I used to walk with my friends after the gifted classes we took in the portable buildings. Chris and I weren't walking together; I couldn't decide whether I should hang back to walk with him, or continue walking ahead as I was doing. We were in a large group of students. When we reached the back door of the school, three boys who waited at my bus stop in the seventh grade started playfully fighting with one another. I rolled my eyes and broke through them to get into the school, but Chris stood behind them waiting for them to move so that he could get by.
I stood inside the school and waited for him. We kept grinning at each other, just as we had done in the movie theater. Neither of us said anything.
In the hallway, I encountered Betty, a girl I knew in middle school and recently met up with again in my college Creative Writing class.
"Is this Chris's last night here?" she said.
"Yep," I replied.
"Ooh la la," Betty said. "What do you think's going to happen?"
"Nothing," I said. "He dumped me in November."
And nothing was, in fact, precisely what happened. That night, Chris and I went back to the grocery store to buy more Doritos (he paused at a display of Busch beer for a moment, looking somewhat longingly at the twelve-packs, but I made it clear we weren't buying any alcohol), and the next day he went home.