Just after the new year, I received an e-mail from a friend of mine from college. He got married and moved to Portland about 10 years ago. Every year I think about going out there for a visit, but something always comes up. This time, when he e-mailed me the timing was perfect. I was on the verge of breaking up with the Boy and feeling the need to get in touch with my single self.
As it turns out, my friend was also newly single. He and his wife decided to file for divorce after ten years of marriage and seventeen years together as a couple. He didn't go into details as to why. He only said that it was mutual and they had grown apart.
For the last few months, I have had a feeling that something in my life is about to change. I wondered if this trip to Portland would be a turning point for me. After finally making a clean break with the Boy, I am certainly due for a fresh start.
I decided to schedule my trip to Portland for Memorial Day weekend. I figured work would be slow due to the holiday and I could stretch my PTO since I already had that Monday off. I started looking at options for tickets, but every time I went to book the flight it didn't quite feel right.
There was no rush to purchase the ticket, so I tried to e-mail my friend to ask him about what flight times might work best and where I should stay. Although I have not seen him in over 10 years, we were always extremely comfortable together. I thought that he might invite me to stay at his place instead of a hotel.
After about two weeks, I finally heard back from my friend. Although he seemed excited to talk to me, I could also sense a hesitation in his voice. We chatted about flight plans and how they might fit around his work schedule. Then he gave me some ideas about things we could do when I was there. Finally, I asked him if I should get a hotel room or just crash at his place.
"Well, I was thinking you could just stay at my apartment," he began. "I actually started dating someone a few months ago."
I sort of tuned out so I didn't catch all of the details about her, but she definitely sounded blonde. He went on to explain that after his divorce, he joined Match.com and went on a few dates. Then he decided to search for people in his neighborhood and her profile came up.
"Anyway, she lives about 7 blocks away so I can just stay at her place while you're here," he explained. "I am pretty much over there all the time anyway."
I had two initial reactions to his news. First, it is completely unfair that he could log into Match.com and meet someone special before the ink is even dry on his divorce papers. And second, that chick stole my vacation! Why couldn't the universe have waited just a few more months to bring the two of them together?
Although I wasn't going into the trip expecting romance, I certainly anticipated that there could be some harmless flirtation. My friend admittedly had a crush on me in college, and while the physical attraction wasn't there, our intellectual chemistry was quite alluring. Now, thanks to her I will be feeling like the third wheel the entire weekend.
After I hung up with my friend, I felt utterly disillusioned. I could not believe that this trip, which I was so excited about, had turned into something completely different than I expected. Then I remembered a dream I had a few weeks earlier.
I have been keeping a dream journal since the beginning of the year. I've always had very colorful and vivid dreams. And I read somewhere that dreams may be able to provide us with answers that we can't seem to recognize in our waking life. So I started to write down the dreams I remember, along with an interpretation of what I think the dream is trying to tell me.
In the dream, I was visiting my friend in Portland. We were alone in a room and he kissed me. Before I had a chance to talk to him about what the kiss meant, we had to leave to meet his friends for dinner. When we got to the car, his friends were waiting for us. I had to sit in the back seat with two perky blonde girls, while another one sat in the front seat with my friend. When we got to the restaurant, I wanted to sit next to my friend but he told me that he was saving that seat for someone else. Eventually I got frustrated and left.
After I had that dream, I wrote in my journal: Maybe this dream is telling me that my trip to Portland may not be what I am looking for.
When I was looking through my journal, I came across another dream I had about my friend from college, which I had completely forgotten about. This dream took place in January, when I was just starting to contemplate taking the trip.
In the dream, my friend from college was getting married. I was trying to find him because I needed to talk to him before the wedding. There was a guy walking in the parking lot wearing a tuxedo. He looked exactly like my friend from the back, but when he turned around it wasn't him. Then I went into a building to try and find the wedding, but I woke up before I got to talk to my friend.
After that dream, I had written in my journal: I think the divorce has opened up this ticking clock in my mind. What if I go to Portland in the spring and by then he is dating someone else? The wedding represents the need for me to resolve my feelings for him.
So now I am completely torn about whether to take this trip. I have already promised my friend that I am coming, but it is less than a month away and I still haven't booked the ticket.
I really wanted this trip to be a turning point for me. But there is a difference between what you want to happen and what you actually believe is going to happen.
The power of my subconscious is clearly very strong. And eventually it will lead me to whatever or whoever I am supposed to find. I'm just not going to find it in Portland.