I had a very disturbing dream last night after a dissatisfying day at work. If anyone out there in Reader Land is a Licensed and Insured Dream Interpreter, your comments explaining the significance of said dream would be most welcome.

[The work background is nothing extraordinary: work sucks, should I stay or should I go, day-dreaming about relocating (both the missus and I) and finding jobs elsewhere…]

So, in this dream Carol and I were not husband and wife, more like boyfriend/girlfriend (I was the boyfriend) of long-standing, something like 20 years together. (In waking life, we’re coming up on Anniversary No. 33 this summer.) For reasons unknown, Carol decided we needed to break up. It came as quite a shock to me. There were various scenes of me in our “house” (we currently live in an apartment and do have the lake house up in Maine, but the dream house’s layout wasn’t familiar at all), arguing against the breakup. At some point I had moved out into a rather decrepit studio apartment on my own: peeling paint, third-hand furnishings, and I could just imagine the elevated train rumbling past the kitchen window. (Brief aside — when we moved to Boston, nine years ago, I came up first while we sold the house back in SC and for six months I lived alone in a studio with second-hand furnishings, right next to the Mass Pike and across from the commuter rail station. I would be awakened every morning no later than 5:15 A.M. by road noise and clanging trains.)

Between scenes back at the house with Carol, I was encouraged by some of my co-workers (real-life and current) that I was going to be O.K. and others would find me attractive (-enough). No one spoke ill of Carol, they just seemed to accept the situation for what it was and thought I should move on with my life. But I wanted to be with Carol and kept returning to try and hash things out with her.

During one visit that again turned out badly, I was ushered out the front door by our maid, a woman of color who was rather short and squat. (We’ve never had a maid or housekeeper and I don’t know why skin color or height came into it.) The maid seemed none too fond of me. Carol was willing to speak with me during this and other interludes but couldn’t be swayed from her decision.

At some point, it became known that she had a new boyfriend. However, it wasn’t clear whether he was the reason for the split or someone who came along after she’d decided to part company with me. In the last scene I can remember, I had once more returned to the house to present my case (again, emphatically/angrily) and became predictably frustrated by Carol’s calm but insistent rejection. I started to storm out of the house, but Carol came after me and wanted to continue the conversation. We stood outside on the porch and I began to restate my position. At some point, I turned and looked away while speaking and when I turned back toward Carol she was leaning in to an open window, passionately kissing the new boyfriend. I was now even more incensed that she’d stopped listening to me in order to make out with this interloper. He was tall, maybe 6 foot or 6′ 1″, slender build, wavy hair and wore wire-rimmed glasses. (If you saw my high school graduation picture, I had similar hair and glasses back then, and was much thinner than I am these days, but I was and remain a mere 5′ 9″. I tell people to imagine Napoleon Dynamite, without the squint.) I walked away screaming at Carol, with my anger compounded by her even-more-hurtful decision to start making out with the other dude in the middle of our “discussion”.

This was one of those dreams that seemed to take hours to experience but I’m sure was over in mere minutes if not seconds. It woke me up around 5:45 in the morning, much earlier than normal, and I was so upset that I decided to get out of bed and watch the early news vs. lie around any longer feeling so distraught. I made coffee and breakfast for myself (and a cup for Carol, in a travel mug — I really am an exemplary husband) and then it was time to get ready for work.

Carol got up at her regular time, so I didn’t see her until I was coming out of the shower. She stayed in the bathroom as I described the dream. When I said she’d been kissing the new boyfriend, she smiled and asked, “What did he look like?” I described him as above, and she attempted to reassure me — “I am not seeing a tall, slender man with wavy hair and glasses.” I parsed that reply for a few moments and then asked her what the man she was seeing looked like. This was her opportunity to reply that he looked just like ME… (ahem, awkward pause, cough).

I imagine I dream as often (or not) as is the norm. I’m not one for strong recollection of most dreams; don’t keep a dream journal and have rarely had a recurring dream that repeated over multiple nights. But every once in a while I have a whopper like this one, and that’s usually indicative of several nights of “memorable” dreams to come. If I have any more I hope I’ll be taller and convince Carol to take me back. Or at least live in a nicer and quieter bachelor apartment. Well, a fella can dream — can’t he?