Sunday, July 24, 2016

Double Time

A dear friend came back to see me the other night and he brought along a twin brother I didn’t know he had.

I had this dream about Ben, my former next-door neighbor’s darling little boy, who could make me the happiest man alive just by smiling.

Ben was four years old when I left Senator Street in 2011 and I still miss him. He was such a sweet little kid, always curious and always so open and friendly.

He’d see me walking down the block after work and he’d come charging toward me, shouting “Wo-burrt!

It broke my heart when I moved to Shore Road, but we'd sold our family’s house and it was high time that I moved the hell on.

I saw Ben once a short time later while walking down Fifth Avenue, and then he and his family moved away from the block and I don’t know where he is now.

But that didn’t stop him—or my memory of him—from visiting my subconscious late one night last week. However, in an apparent case of double your pleasure, there were two of them this time.

Yes, there were two Bens sitting next to me at a table in some crowded cafeteria. I have no idea where this was or what we were all doing there, and I didn’t care because I was just so happy to see my little guy(s).

He—or they—had a birthday coming up and I told the first Ben that I was going to get him a present. Then I reached behind him, rubbed Ben II on the head and said, “I’m getting you a present, too, buddy.”

Inwardly, though, I began to panic because I’d forgotten to get them gifts and I had no idea what to buy or where to buy them. I woke up a few minutes later and I confess I was rather sad to see that Ben really wasn’t with me.

Two For One

Why did I dream about Ben after all this time? Like any good detective, I reviewed my thoughts in the days preceding this dream in search of clues.

I recalled that just prior to seeing Ben I had gone through one of my self-inflicted funks about not having children.

It’s a familiar theme in my mind and I tend to play it like an old record. There are times when I really long to hold a child in my arms, watch him or her grow into an adult, and see this person develop before my eyes.

And then reality sets it as I recall the struggles I had with my physical and emotional health back in my child-producing years, and the difficulties I had finding my place in this world that still haven't quite gone away.

I always tell myself that it was probably better that I didn’t have kids, but clearly there’s a part of me that just flat out doesn’t believe that.

So why were there two Bens? I suspect they represented my schizoid views on having a kid—the joy on one side and the fear and anxiety on the other.

Fred the Shrink noted that I was also Ben, as we play all the parts in our dreams, and that I was looking for some fatherly affection. That certainly makes sense.

I can only imagine how Ben has changed in the last five years, how big he’s gotten and what he’s up to. I’m sure I’ve faded from his memory and, as painful as that is to admit, I also believe that it’s for the best.

As my sister-in-law pointed out to me when I first moved off the block, Ben already has a family that loves him. It’s my task to find someone who isn’t being love, she said, and open my heart to him or her.

It was great “seeing” the Ben twins the other night. God bless, thank you for making my world so much better, and please do take care. Grow up happy and successful.

And, as for the new object of my affection wherever they may be, please hold on. I’m moving as fast as I can.


Ron said...

Oh Rob, I got tears in my eyes as I read this; especially the last two paragraphs.

As soon as I started reading this post and you mentioned, Ben, I immediately recalled who he was because of your previous post. OMG...I can't believe it's been FOUR years?!? And I also remembered how much that post touched my heart.

You know, I have also thought about what it would be like to have a child because I adore kids. But after thinking about it deeply, I realize that I make a better uncle than a father because you have to have a great deal of patience to raise a child. Also, I'm rather selfish with my time, so I don't think that I would be able to give a child the time and care they need.

Thanks so much for sharing about your dream, buddy! And I bet Ben thinks of you too; recalling how much you touched HIS life.

Have a faaaaaabulous week!

Rob K said...

Hey, Ron, thanks so much!

I agree with everything you said about children: I'm better off as an uncle than as a father. The truth hurts, but the Bible tells us is will also make us free.

Having a child is a 24-hour job, something I think a lot of people don't realize until it's too late. You can't return a child to the store like some defective product. He or she is yours! So it's probably better for all parties concerned if I stay on the sidelines.

I appreciate how you shared your thoughts and you kind description of Ben--I can only hope he's thinking of me!

Take care, buddy, and have a great week!

Bijoux said...

A touching piece, Rob. I like the conclusions you came to about the dream.

I think we all wonder about the what ifs . . . I often wonder where my career would have led me, had I not had children. I like to think I would have had some success, no matter what I chose to do.

Rob K said...

Thank you, Bijoux. And I know you'd be a success no matter what chose to do with your life! :)

Walaka of Earth 2 said...

One of your best pieces, Rob, on a number of levels.

Rob K said...

Walter, you're too kind! Thank you!

CrystalChick said...

Post like THIS are what I miss when I don't come around for awhile. Your writing is wonderful and I enjoy reading your thoughts on things. I guess it's natural for some without children to wonder what having them would be like. I have friends who don't have children of their own, but they enjoy their friends and family's.

Rob K said...

Thanks, Mary, I'm trying to be more positive about this and just accept how things have turned out. And I've got my beautiful nieces!