15 sept 2020

so basically, the other night i had a dream wherein i died on the day i turned 20. this premise is actually not all that different from my waking life, as i did in fact almost die in a river around that time (although that was slightly before my 20th birthday). the key difference, however, is that in the dream i immediately awoke from my death in an alternate universe. now i've read about a third of the book about acceptance and commitment therapy that my counselor gave me last year, so i am pretty good at being comfortable with the inevitable - "i" including my dream self. so, i engaged the usual mechanical procedures to acquaint myself with this new universe, starting with a mental list on what had changed from the previous universe: in this universe, covid did not exist. in this universe, i hadn't changed my major to english yet. in this universe, my family had planned to have dinner tonight at a restaurant which was simultaneously an impossibly large public restroom. all manageable changes. if i must continue living here, it shouldn't be that difficult.

at the restroom-restaurant, however, i was surpised to uncover another, deeper memory from my previous life. my dad had picked me up from school one evening and surprised me with tickets to a concert - lights, my childhood favorite singer. we had already seen her three times together; it was a deeply special ceremony which could only be experienced together. this gift was a monument. in the car, under the starless blanket of the dream-night, we drove to the concert and i felt so much warmth; the same wordless warmth i had felt in a million other late night car rides with him.

remembering this scene, though, i was struck with a sudden terrible weight. this moment never happened. there were many similar moments, but this specific one was gone. my now-dad would have no idea what i was talking about if i were to mention it to him. and then i realized how much more i had lost in dying. so many relationships, so many memories, so many possible future selves - now all impostors masquerading through a pseudo-life. i do not want this anymore. the restroom-restaurant becomes so loud with chatter and water and the nauseating yellow of the fluorescent lights deepens. suddenly i'm hollow. i'm a walking corpse with pink cheeks. i'm an interdimensional traveler against my will. some man takes a piss next to me while a party of middle-class women cackles over wine glasses. i can never die and i can never live again.