reversal of fortune

In ALL, BREAKUPS & BREAKTHROUGHS by Stephanie Klein

I love when it’s cold in the morning.  I fell asleep last night with nothing but a sheet and the whirl of the overhead fan.  I awoke beneath a hill of comforter, squares of down by my face.  I had such a realistic dream about my ex-mother-in-law.  It felt like two dreams strung together, as if I’d stirred a bit between them.  First I’d found a ticket in my ex-husband’s desk drawer to a basketball sporting event.  Somehow in the dream it was left for me.  I showed up at the game, court-side seats.  I was wearing a baseball hat, with my ponytail of hair pulled through the hat loop in back.  In reality, I never wear baseball caps, just tennis visors, mostly because I have too much hair.  But in the dream, I was wearing a hat, and as I stood to rearrange it, my ex called my name from a few seats behind me.  It’s always bothersome to dream about people with whom you no longer speak–people who are still alive, you’ve heard.  He wanted to switch seats with me.  Of course he did.  He wanted the better seats.  So I agreed.  He and his friend navigated past me, and as I looked up toward where I would be sitting, I realized Rome was there.  "You’re going to have to make this right," I mumbled to my ex as he walked past me.  But he did nothing.  This is when I must have stirred in my sleep because in the next scene, I was in her kitchen, the two of us alone.  My ex was out playing golf.  She began to blink, a nervous tick of hers.  Then she got angry.  I thought it was about the book, or that I called her a crotch-rot.  She was angry, still, that I married her son, and even more that she’d had gifts made for me, with my name, that she could no longer use.  Beautiful handmade furniture, with drawers and crystal pulls.  She and I had the same taste.  "No one would appreciate this like you," she said.  And I shook my head in agreement, regretting, in just that moment, that I’d ever divorced her.  I envied her things and taste, and now that I’m decorating my own house, I cannot help but wonder what she’d have picked or suggested for our living room.  I like a lived in formal, but with kids on the way, prudent decisions should be made. 

In reality, I know there were no hopes or special gifts tucked away for me.  She was relieved when I left their lives.  And I hear now that she paints me as a whore to her country club friends.  That’s all I’ve ever heard.  It was a difficult life I lived with that family, so it’s all the more disturbing when I dream of it somehow being right.  Though at the end of the dream, my ex reappeared, and I was startled by his face.  It reminded me of just who he was, and definitely wasn’t.