TV Heroines Don't Get Dumped for Gay Guys, Do They?
The dream began when my ex-boyfriend Chris and I were still together. He had come to visit me, and the two of us were in the university bookstore during a Georgia football game. The players kept going in and out, and Chris insisted on hanging around. I introduced him to this rather flaming friend of mine named Nicholas (an entirely fictional person, I might add. I don't know anyone named Nicholas), and Chris suddenly wanted to hang around him for the rest of the afternoon. Nicholas got on a computer on one side of the store, and Chris and I used one on the other side, and the two of them chatted back and forth for much of the afternoon. I tried to slip a word in here and there, but I was mostly ignored.
We tried to maintain a sense of normality after leaving the bookstore, but Chris kept asking about Nicholas, and he kept trying to find computers on which he could chat. We went to some show with my family, and Chris kept trying to show off, saying he was going to participate in a daredevil stunt at the end of the show... something that involved jumping over a pit. My family was getting bored, though, so Chris decided to abandon the stunt so that we could head back.
He and I didn’t sleep together, and he finally announced that though he still loved me as a friend, he really liked Nicholas and wanted to pursue something with him. I took this to mean that we weren’t a couple anymore, though this was hard to reconcile in my mind. I told my parents about it, and they seemed mad at Chris for pulling this kind of thing on me while he was visiting. And sometime during the week, he thought he had AIDS, though he got tested for it and it came back negative. At one point in the dream, I was in a card shop with my friend Emily, trying to pick out a
“congratulations-you-don’t-have-AIDS!” card for him. I finally selected a Peanuts card, and Emily got something sappy with Bible verses on it.
The day before Chris was supposed to leave for Rhode Island, my parents took him and me up to the mountains for a day. We made the drive, walked our luggage up to the hotel, and found our room. I remembered the hotel from another time, and I even had a general idea of how to get to our room and what the room would look like. There was a lot of junk in the room: an old exercise machine, broken wood under the beds, empty boxes in the closet. Chris and I had twin beds in one corner of the room, and my parents were sleeping in a queen-size bed in the other corner. I had no idea where my sister Tricia and our other guest were going to sleep. Tricia had invited a girl named Angela to come along (Angela was also a dream fabrication). She was foreign and beautiful and had come to America seeking a better life for herself.
Outside the hotel room, we heard her yell to us, “Come on out, everybody!” She had jumped off the balcony into the pool, and the rest of us joined her. Angela and I were wearing the same thing: matching bathing suits and sarong skirts. She had jumped in wearing her skirt, so I followed her lead. I was also wearing my usual jewelry, which I kept on as well.
While swimming, I caught sight of a People magazine with her on the cover. She had apparently been in an abusive relationship in her home country, and had been raped at age fourteen. She had decided to come to America to find a healthier relationship, and had first set on coming to Atlanta. She changed her mind upon arriving, though, and decided to settle in Athens instead.
I recognized Angela’s unfair advantage: People magazine had given her a running start in a relationship; plenty of guys would see her on the cover and want to be with her. I, on the other hand, had been dumped for a gay guy and was still stuck pretending to be on good terms with my ex-boyfriend. On a TV by the pool, I saw Angela passionately kissing an older guy. I dove under the water so I wouldn’t have to look at it, and I started doing flips under the water.
I heard my mother say, “Doesn’t Laurie remind you of Angela Chase on My So-Called Life?”
And Tricia said, “No, Angela reminds me of Angela Chase.” My parents thought this over and agreed with her. I had trouble coming to the water’s surface again; my sarong skirt was ballooning out and pulling me down. I finally came up and started taking off the skirt.
Meanwhile, Chris had morphed into someone completely opposite himself, physically as well as mentally. He was now tall and skinny instead of short and stocky, and his hair was long and curly. He looked like someone out of the 1970s. I couldn’t imagine that I had once dated him.