and distrust my happy new day-to-day life, there is an evening like last Friday night, when Jam Guy and I went to eat a late dinner at one of our favorite bistros, where we sat at the same seats at the bar that we always do, and perused the menu and considered the specials before ordering medium-rare burgers and fries and beers like we do every time. After ordering, we started to ask the bartender for a side of mayo and a bottle of tabasco, to dip our fries in like we always do, remembering it and speaking at the same time, both stopping, waiting for the other to speak, starting to speak at the same time again. Then, feeling happy and close to each other because we have this habit together, we each leaned in to the other for a cuddle and thereby managed to bang our heads together. Ears ringing, I laughed and laughed and Jam Guy smiled and shook his head.
The night before that dinner I had had a dream that Jam Guy and I were walking hand-in-hand in a strange town. We decided to take a short cut through an alley, and were suddenly accosted by a man wearing nothing but a loincloth and a terrifying, oversized mask. We knew that the man had to be disturbed if only because no one who was not disturbed would feel comfortable putting such a frightening face over their own face, and Jam Guy, sounding like a terrified person trying to sound calm, said "I think we should run." I looked at the mask and we ran, and the man in the mask ran after us, and completely panicked, I screamed. I could feel that Jam Guy was terrified also, and that we were each more frightened because of the fright of the other. We ran as fast as we could, chased by this inscrutable, laughing monster, but we never stopped holding hands.
And the night before that I dreamed that Jam Guy and I were in a hotel room, surrounded by motion-sensor-triggered rifles that would fire if we tried to leave. We had to come up with $300,000 to turn over to some kind of mob--I don't know why--and we had twenty-four hours to do it and couldn't leave the room in the meantime. We figured out ways around the rifles and schemed and schemed together. It was him and me against some humongous violent conglomerate.
Saturday night I dreamed that Jam Guy was drafted into the military; we had bickered and he had gone to the recruiters to spite me, but had never intended to go through with it. Once there, though, he couldn't get out of it; he was in a production line of men getting drafted; he stepped up to a desk and when he came out of it they had put chalky foundation all over his face. They were doing that to all of the men; they were making them all look the same, erasing their identities. I was terrified; I ran up to him and begged him to forget it all and come home, and an officer pulled me away and told me not to talk to him, that there was a draft on and they were taking every able-bodied man whether they supported the war or not. They weren't drafting women, but were taking them on a volunteer basis. Jam Guy in his progressively-less-recognizable face drifted away from me down the production line, and I immediately volunteered for the military so that I could stay with him. They told me I would lose my name, my past, and everything about me that identifies me as me. I knew that if I could be with Jam Guy I would be with someone who knows who I really am, so all that mattered was that I registered in time to be shipped off to Lord-knows-where on the same ship as the one that shipped him.
Three nights in a row I had dreams that were all about Jam Guy and me facing down unbearable circumstances by staying together. This is us, up against it: up against the anxiety of being new homeowners in a time when people are losing their homes and our government throws money at an industry that only pretends to help those people, up against the angry voices that rail in my head and tell me what I do and do not deserve, up against small things like the neighbors that don't like our new fence and big things like money and time and history and career. This is us, one pair of tiny fish swimming in the current of the stunning and beautiful improbabilities of geography and circumstance that drew us, inevitably but just barely, together. This is us facing how close we each came to being without the other, and finding evidence therein that the universe must conspire in our favor, and so in all the chaos and precariousness, we must be, we are, just safe enough in our own small path, which is to say, infinitely safe, indefinitely here.