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.