It’s a mini-heartbreak, a petit mal heartbreak. I’m trying to separate myself from the internal world in which I’ve been grandiosely living, happily catching butterflies in a field alongside the woman with whom I’m fucking meant to be. Goddammit.
But who am I kidding? Even my fantasies betray me. I wouldn’t be caught dead in a field of butterflies. It’s far more romantic to imagine Dream Girl and I enjoying a nice cup of coffee.
On the wing of a biplane four thousand feet in the air.
But my mind betrays me because it knows. Where do you think the term “metacognitive” comes from? My mind knows that the fantastical mini-films it projects — whether they’re set in a butterfly field, in the clouds, or on a mountaintop in the motherfuckin’ Alps — it knows they are all constructed of 100% pure imaginative lunacy.
Separating myself from Fantasy World and Dream Girl is absolutely imperative. Because I could live there with her forever. Stake my claim. Really dig my damn heels into the ground. Build us a nice little house with a large walk-in closet for all of her ridiculous shoes. Used to be that when the shame of my imagination was too strong to bear, I’d wash a couple amphetamines down with a big bottle of Night Train. (Hey, it’s Baltimore, ok?)
Now I’m almost a year clean and a year sober from substances. But from my Fantasy World and Dream Girl addiction? Oh hell no. For example: back in February, this gal at Whole Foods brushed up against me in the produce department. She was about my age, that being somewhere between 19 and 46. She had beautiful blue eyes and red ropey hair that matched her scarf and wool socks. Black leggings. A little pout. She brushed up against me and apologized. Like any normal human being, my response was, “Oh, that’s ok.” But was it an accident? I thought, I should ask her to marry me and find out.
And, goddammit, there I was again: leaping in a fucking butterfly field with this red-headed, bescarfed Dream Girl.
The Fantasy World and Dream Girl separation process is incredibly harsh, particularly when it involves a person from the Real World who has no clue she’s been your muse for, like, 59 days. I wish the separation process worked more like an “on/off” switch. But it doesn’t. Not at all. It’s rather similar to what one experiences when separating herself from drugs and alcohol.
Day one: tears, sweat, depression, shakes. Back-to-back episodes of trash-television shows from Investigation Discovery. Lots of non-narcotic sleep aids and painkillers.
Days two through five: pretty much the same, though less intense. Bathroom breaks are also less dizzying.
Then comes post-acute withdrawal syndrome: word loss, strange dreams, and, of course, the imminent replacement Fantasy World and Dream Girl. The latter symptom happens without warning. For me in particular, I’m left crudely concocting a slapdash Fantasy World and a sexually-latent Dream Girl (think Pat from “It’s Pat”) in an effort to turn away from my old ones, like bad habits, and never look back!
I vow never to relapse. I am done with Old Fantasy World and Bygone Dream Girl.
This lasts for a while. Life is nice. Quiet. Mundane. Until a new Dream Girl comes along and — bam! — I’m back in my head, in the motherfuckin’ butterfly field, dosin’ it up. Not giving a damn. Making the same mistake again. And again. And again. Mini-heartbreak after mini-heartbreak. And, like I said, goddammit, that’s what I’m experiencing right now — the separation process.
My head hurts.