Because He Asked me To

In the dream, I said yes to the man who asked me to marry him. I had just signed my divorce papers, and somehow this man appeared. I did not know him well or find him attractive or have much to say to him. But he asked me to marry him, and somehow I felt more responsible to his desire than my own. Minutes later (dreams are so efficient), we were married. The dream me was marveling in that I’d gotten married, knowing how excruciating it is to get un-married, and knowing that such an outcome was inevitable. I started agonizing about what my friends and family would say. I was already trying to imagine my way out.

I woke up thrilled and relieved to be just the flabby, exhausted and unmarried me of real-life, with no suitors knocking down my door and a giant container of tapioca pudding in the refrigerator. As I stood in the shower, spacing out as I do in the shampoo and conditioner ritual, it occurred to me that this dream self is the person I was before and during my marriage. If men asked me out, I said yes and tried to be happy about it. Which led me to a husband who said and did all kinds of things I worked very hard to be happy about. Strangely, the factor of my happiness as a leading influencer in what I did and whose company I kept was missing from the equation. Or, more accurately, my happiness was somehow secondary to pleasing men; if they were pleased, then I was allowed my own subverted version of pleasure.

As the hot water of my waking life poured down my body, I could feel my feet planted solidly beneath me. The woman who had once moved like a leaf on the winds of the desire of men was now as blurred and strange as a dream. Divorced Sage knew the difference between yes and no, between desire and accommodation.

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