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Dreams, Limbo, and Peter Gabriel

I’ve been dreaming lately of things forgotten: appointments, objects both precious and not, past wounds and treasures.

These months are a strange limbo. Some days, I wake up aching with love for San Francisco, stifling the dull panic of leaving. Other days, I can nearly feel the sun on my shoulders and the ocean breeze of my future life, and I want to get in the car and leave everything behind. I’m torn between wishing the days to fly by and longing to freeze time. I try to quell my growing annoyance at things I’ve forced myself to ignore for nine years — the smells of city living, the endless droning of car alarms at all hours, the jostle of too-close humanity on the bus. I want to look back with only love, and I want to look forward with only excitement. I want to remember everything, but remember it fondly. I want to forget to forget to forget the anxiety of moving ahead and the irritations of standing still.

A few weeks ago, we took a spontaneous drive out to one of our favorite coastal spots. I took the Horse Whisperer there on one of our earliest dates; he brought me back to propose; we’ve had so many pivotal moments in this one place. In our early days together, it was just a ruin with a parking lot and a set of ragtag stairs. Over the years, philanthropists renewed their interest in the spot, and it’s been primped and face-lifted. Much of the wildness is gone. And every time, there are more and more people. I miss going there to be alone, together, with him.

The drive out was hectic. Traffic was bad, and drivers and pedestrians were ignoring laws and common courtesy. Pulling into the parking lot, it appeared that the entire world had the same idea to visit. We spent ten minutes circling, waiting for someone to leave. Finally, we got out of the car and made our way to a low wall overlooking the coast. It was nearly sunset, and the throng was beginning to gather, sitting in a long row along the wall. I wasn’t in my finest form. This was my memory of my place! How dare all these people swarm it! The sun crept down toward the water, and then, there was music playing. It was far away, but getting closer. A guy appeared, strumming a ukelele. He sat on the wall with the rest of us, just playing the same chords over and over, and as the sky lit up in color, he began to sing Peter Gabriel’s In Your Eyes. The low hum of conversation continued around him, but his voice carried just slightly over it all.

The sun slipped below the water, and he strummed his final chorus, got up, and walked away. There was no fanfare, no acknowledgement of what had happened. And I had the strangest feeling that we’d started saying goodbye. I realized that I was ok with that.

I’ve been dreaming of things forgotten, both good and bad. I’m archiving things to remember, storing a bank of them for when I’m old and telling stories to my grandchildren. And soon, it will be time to finish the final chords and walk on to the next thing. There are more stories waiting out there to become a part of me. And I can’t wait.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • elizabeth February 10, 2014 at 11:32 am

    i am right there with you with wanting to stall time and speed it up. it’s a tricksy thing, I think, to go from something you love to something you’re really excited to start loving. every time i’ve ever left a job or moved (not that i’ve ever moved very far), i felt that same frustration you’ve described – trying to stop being so annoyed by things. i wasn’t always successful, but the annoyance also didn’t stop me from being fully sentimental about what i’d left once i’d actually, you know, left it. it must have been a strange sort of magical to hear that song at that precise moment, too. 🙂

  • Quinn March 23, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    This, my friend, was beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

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