I hate when this happens and it used to once or twice a year. I woke up about 45 minutes ago from a dream about the ex.
I lay there for about 15 minutes trying to put it out of my mind but also trying to figure out what the hell that was about...
I dreamt I was with my son travelling somewhere; Fox was about ten, we were travelling by car and having a wonderful time. Crusty was with us but he was being pleasant, fun to be with the way he very rarely could be.
Everything was blurry around the edges and looking back now as I sit here in the very early minutes of a Scottish dawn I realise that part of the dream was, well, dreamlike. Or like a misty memory of something that never happened enough to really be a memory. That part of the dream didn't have the crystal clear clarity most of my dreams have but instead was soft focus, the colours seemed to have no defined edges but were bathed in a sort of buttery yellow light.
But then Fox was gone and the edges sharpened...it was night (I sensed around 8:30pm or a little later) and I was headed somewhere on foot to meet the real Crusty-the Crusty who seemed to have a supernatural ability to drain all the 'happy' colours of Life from everything around him. The ground under foot was that grey-black mud and gravel mix you find on the industrial side of town, hard packed so the going was easy enough. I came up on a garage and there was Crusty shutting down his tool box as though he had been expecting me and was packing it in for the night.
We chatted unpleasantly-and now that I think about the bitterness with which we 'communicated' in the dream that woke me up I realise how so like our usual conversations when forced to be together for some reason all the 18 years we were together and no-one else was around to see how much we loathed one another deep down inside, how angry we both were, and how very much we blamed the other for all the unhappiness.
In the dream he was going to drop me off at a transport point and I remember looking at him at one point thinking how typically careless of my welfare he was because in the dream, he'd been the one to cause me to be there with him for some terribly important (to him) reason that I for some reason couldn't say no to yet had caused me great expense (I remember being concerned for how I was going to get home because travelling to meet him had nearly emptied my purse) and he clearly didn't care that he'd inconvenienced me, and plainly wasn't at all concerned for how I was going to get home.
At this point in the dream I was sitting in his car (a nicely restored 70s Olds something that somehow smelled mouldy and felt 'not quite right') watching him play in the parking lot with Baer and thinking how truly unfair it really was for him to blame me for all the misery HE caused all of us.
And then thinking how despicably unfair it was that Baer seemed so damn happy to be with that bastard when Baer was MY dog. Yet here was MY dog wriggling with happiness at being with Crusty...
And then I was sitting in the car with Steve B who was telling me how Crusty had suffered when we broke up, he seemed to be chiding me for hurting Crusty so badly. I sat there sullenly thinking how typical that one was too, considering everything Steve B had put his family through back in the day.
But then Steve said 'You won't know about this, but he hit his head,' and I interrupted to say 'I heard' sarcasm thick in my voice as I remembered the way Crusty used to cut me out of the loop when he'd be hurt at work, remembering the time when he'd been terribly injured at work and was taken to hospital but didn't call, didn't send anyone to bring me to the hospital, just showed up hours later at the house with terrible injuries.
In a split second flash I had a memory of a real event in this bizarre dream I was having; I saw myself looking, appalled at the damage I was seeing on the ER xrays, the emergency room mash-up 'repair' of Crusty's leg, the 'home care' sheet the ER sent with him noting the two weeks hence appointment with a second class orthopaedist whose car park stayed empty. I knew I needed to get him to a real doctor because he was in danger of losing his leg.
FLASH and we were sitting in the Human Resources office and I was being very clear with the HR drone that either they made a sooner appointment with a first class orthopaedist, or I would-waving the clearest xray and at one point looking the woman in the eye and telling her if my husband lost his leg I would hold her personally responsible. She got us an immediate appointment with one of the best orthopaedists working in Dothan at the time.
FLASH and I was driving us to the doctor's offices-Crusty's leg swelling up around the ER bandage and turning a much worse shade of purply-blue a scant 18 hours since the accident.
FLASH and I saw us sitting in the orthopaedist's exam room looking at two sets of xrays-one from the ER and one the orthopaedist had done within ten seconds of having his first of many looks at Crusty's clearly dying leg. Hearing the doctor saying I'd been spot-on about the extent of the injury and telling Crusty he was pretty sure he could save his leg but wasn't at all sure about his toes.
But in the end he saved leg and toes and Crusty recovered without so much as a limp. And never once thanked me for being the one who insisted he get proper and immediate treatment.
But then that lack of gratitude typified our relationship. He always forgot my birthday, Christmas, etc. When my hurt and disappointment would become obvious he'd look at me and say 'It's the thought that counts' and I'd bitterly retort 'Yes. Exactly'
And then I woke up fully awake and mentally gasping; I lay in the last bits of dark thinking 'WTF was that all about, and dammit, why was my dog acting as though I wasn't even there?!
Paul has a head cold and was finally sleeping soundly without gasping for air, first good sleep he's had in a couple of days and I didn't want to disturb him. I got out of bed and sat on the window seat thinking about that weird dream.
It was snowing when I got up and came to the window, then as I watched it turned to a 'wintery mix'. The snow started to sparkle again and so I knew the temperature has dropped even lower than it was last night. The dark became the grey of a Scottish winter day for all it is a mere week from April, there will be no sunlight again today as the UK is locked deep into a cold spell so profound it caught nearly everyone by surprise. It's as though we've all been shoved into the deep freeze section of the fridge-freezer, people are dying, out there in the cold and in their houses, I thought, remembering the news I'd looked at before going to bed last night.
And then it hit me and I had to write it down here on the blog I've got so awful about maintaining (more on why in another post, there is a reason).
Baer died 16 Feb 2001. And I really hadn't heard about any head injury Crusty had at work after our particularly acrimonious divorce. Too, Crusty's younger sister had totaled that Olds in '78 swerving to avoid a dog in the road. Then I remembered hearing Steve B had been killed in some typically sordid Steve B sort of misadventure but had never been able to confirm it.
So who knows, is Crusty dead? it wouldn't be the first time I've had a weird dream about someone and later found out they'd died right about the same time I had the weird dream.
But the worst part of this bad dream that woke me up at 0517am Scotland time?
In the dream that sorry son-of-a-bitch never once asked after Fox.
Looking back on the dream, he acted as though Fox never existed; he acted as though he'd been emotionally detached from everything really-the vibe I got from Crusty in the dream was that he was angry towards me for something he couldn't quite put his finger on, and to be honest, that attitude of blaming me for his mistakes would be typical of Crusty.
In real life there were times he'd be so disengaged from Fox and me that I would lose it and scream at him that I felt so much like a single mother I wished he would give me a divorce so I could get on with my life raising Fox without the burden of Crusty making things so bloody miserable. I used to beg him-either be a husband and a father or let us go. At which point he would become scary-he would point a literal or verbal gun at Fox's head, or mine saying he'd kill us if I tried to leave.
The verbal pointed guns were worse than the actual few times he pointed the .41 at my head. He threatened to take Fox away from me and give his mother custody. My ex-mother-in-law was a total bitch (and I can say that because I knew her), her main thrill in life was to belittle her in-laws so badly there were several of us who refused to be around her. Hell, even her own brother refused to be around her until my ex-father-in-law's funeral in '08. (Google your ex sometime, you'd be amazed at what comes up. I did it in 2009 and found out my ex-fil died, and that Crusty got an SBA loan after Hurricane Ivan took out his Gulf Breeze house. Knowing about the loan made me so angry I've never been tempted to Google Crusty again) I knew the reason Crusty made that threat, I even called him on it a few times:
'You don't give a damn about Fox, you're just saying that because you know I'll do anything to protect him from that soul-crushing hag! You don't love us, why WHY won't you let us go?!'
I had this 18 years long fantasy that I finally got him to go for a paternity test. I could visualise us in the doctor's office getting the results, the dumbfounded look on his face when he was told the cold-hard-truth that he'd been treating his own son like shoe-scrapings...I clearly saw my fist connecting with his glass jaw and the shock on his parent's faces when he dropped and I told them all to go to hell when they said how things would be different now that they knew Fox was really 'one of theirs'...Gah, what a horrid lot they all were.
Tomorrow Fox will be 31. My beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful boy.
If that was the ghost of Crusty in my dream this morning, he hasn't changed and went into Death the same self-centered bastard he was in Life. Why did he even bother to show up in my dream, was it to show me that he got my dog and found his car? Dammit, if that was the ghost of Crusty, couldn't he have finally learned something, couldn't he have shown up to say 'Please tell Fox I'm sorry I was such a stupid rat-shit bastard'?
And why, if he's dead, didn't he go straight to Hell for what he did to Fox, WHY?! How in the bloody hell could God have possibly forgiven Crusty for what he did to the point that He permitted Crusty to come gloatingly demonstrate that in Death, Crusty got his car back, and the icing on Crusty's cake being MY dog was happy to see him, IT'S NOT FAIR! In my dream this morning, Crusty was STILL angry with me although he couldn't recall exactly why he was so angry-HOW IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT'S HOLY IS THAT RIGHT-THIS TOTAL SHIT GETS A PASS, WTF??!!
Why in the hell did that worthless POS have to show up in my dreams to show off he'd been reunited with his moldering car he mourned every day we were together-OMFG how he'd spent 18 years whingeing on about his stupid sister wrapping HIS precious car around a tree instead of a St Bernard in the road-and to show he'd been met by MY dog-the dog he cut off pet insurance for so I had to use grocery money to take to the vet in his last illness, the dog Fox and I loved so much we didn't begrudge the hunger for knowing Baer was getting medical care. That dog, MY dog, the one who died and was missed, is missed still; the dog that Gator mourned until the day he too went to the Rainbow Bridge after weeks of trying to save him from the contaminated food six years later. At least I didn't see Gator with Crusty and Baer, that helped. Some. But still.
Crusty gets a pass and doesn't even have to finally say 'I am so sorry for the way I shredded yours and Fox's lives'?! How the hell does that work?
Yeah, I can see why I needed to write this down although there isn't going to be a moment of insight here. No way to turn this around-either Crusty croaked and God in His infinite mercy proved apparently it really is infinite, or I'm afraid that's what will happen and my anger came through in my dream-I'm deeply angry at the thought that bastard isn't going to have to answer for the sheer horror of those 18 years with him and the horrific, desperate years after, and because it's so close to Fox's birthday I'm subconsciously raging again at the thought he'll get away with what he did.
Well. Wait a sec...
Considering that I firmly believe I actually have seen the real Heaven I have to say that after getting all of the above off my chest, I can see there is no way Crusty was in Heaven by the looks of what I saw in my dream-if he's really dead. After the first part of the dream when we were together as a happy family (again, 'happy family' moments were rare because Crusty had a way of draining all the happy right out of a moment), the colours in the dream were shades of black and grey with the exception of Baer's blue collar and fawn-white coat. Even the light from the street light was grey.
That's not Heaven. Maybe, just maybe, Purgatory. But definitely not Heaven. So if my dream means he's dead, he's not in Heaven. Since I don't believe there are furloughs from Hell, I'm going to have to see it as Purgatory. That would make sense of the car, the appearance of Steve B, the drained-of-colour aspect, and most of all, Crusty's lack of remorse and my sense that he was blaming me but couldn't quite pin down how this was all my fault again.
And that, I can live with. So perhaps there is going to be a bit of insight here. OK, let's see-I'm pissed but have moved to the point where if God has given him Purgatory instead of Hell, I can live with that.
If he's dead, God has forgiven him to a point-he didn't go straight to Hell which he would have if his soul was completely irredeemable; now he has a chance to spend his time in Purgatory sorting out why he's there and that, I can Live with. IF he's dead and in Purgatory, God has found a way to find forgiveness-I should too, and hey, how cool is that, God's mercy really is infinite and like the vision of Heaven He granted me the night my father died, this vision of Purgatory is gratefully received as the gift it is-a message that Crusty found forgiveness possible if he will only take it, and a message that God isn't sleeping (not impressed with that, btw, Eminenza, you should have known better that God never sleeps).
Given that if he's dead and in Purgatory, he's not making a great start of it if he is reunited with his car and MY dog and is still blaming ME for HIS problems. But he has time. Lots and lots of Time. I just hope if he gets another chance at Life and is reincarnated, that if he sees me coming on the street one day in that new chance at a Life, he crosses the road and never looks back!
Because I don't ever want to see him again, in this or any other life, dammit. And I want him to stay the hell out of my dreams in this one, too! Mine, and Fox's. Forever. His boogeyman days in my family's life are over. His soul may have been found redeemable in God's eyes, and I can learn to accept that, but I don't want to ever have to deal with Crusty again, and I damn sure don't want my son to.
For that, Crusty would have to had said to our faces: 'I'm a totally bastard for what I did to you both, I ruined your lives because I was a selfish, self-centered piece of...' and he didn't, not if he's dead.
So, no second chances to revert to type - God, please, if he's dead and one day You let him have another go at Life, keep him the hell out of mine and my son's! We deserve a break too, You know?
And no more bad dreams! Please?