The other day at work I was installing AC units into windows. Most of the people in the building are well over the age where they should be lifting heavy objects. There was a total of 17 and when I was done, I felt as old as they are. Installing a window air conditioner isn’t hard. When there are 17 of them it becomes a monotonous task, similar to factory work or planting flowers, very large boxy flowers that blow out dehydrated stale air. That night when I went to bed, I dreamed I was installing AC units in windows.
A dream about repetition is a terrible thing. Doing the same thing over and over can make you crazy. I’m sure I’m not the only one this happens to. When I was a teenager, I would often dream about the shoe store I worked at. In the dreams I would be stacking and stacking piles of boxed shoes, much like I had done in the previous day.
There’s nothing bad about these dreams. I used to think that dreaming like this meant you were unhappy or that you needed a change. Really it’s just your mind trying to process the shit you did all day. Brains are weird, our subconscious is even more weird. When you can see the imagery of exchange between nerve cells and brain waves, it makes you wonder why some people do drugs. You can get the same effect by completing the same task over and over and then going to bed.
When I was first with my wife, I would dream about her almost nightly. We were both teenagers and my mind was never far from her. There would be days I could fall asleep in class and swear she was sitting at the desk next to mine.
High school is far gone and our relationship has grown exponentially since then. I’m forever thankful that we’ve managed to escape the high school hole some couples stay in. The ones where they were so happily married at 18 and then fucking miserable by 30.
Some of the only times I dream about Alaina now is when she’s not in the bed next to me. This doesn’t happen often but when it does, it throws off my entire mind and body. This used to worry me. I would be thinking about my dreams sipping my coffee and wonder why I haven’t had a dream about her lately. I thought maybe it meant I didn’t love her enough or that our relationship wasn’t as good as it could be. Clearly, I think too much.
I don’t remember the last time I dreamed of my ankles. Sure, I’ve had dreams about running or walking. I can’t think of a dream where my ankles were the protagonist though. This is what happens when you spend 30 years attached to something. Often they are so much a part of you that you don’t think of them the same way you would think of, say a pair of shoes. You know your ankles are there, you also know they’re part of a larger system.
Alaina is an ankle. Or at least an appendage. One that feels like its part of a larger system that’s always been apart of my body. And truly, that what she is, a part of me. Seeing that on a page makes it look like we’re very co-dependent. Yes, I could live without her just like I could live without an ankle. The life I would have without her wouldn’t be nearly as amazing as having full range of motion with my feet.
Other couples have told us that they’re jealous of our relationship, that they wish they could find some one that makes them as fulfilled as Alaina and I make each other feel. In one regard, that makes me feel good. In another, its total fucking bullshit. I’m slightly flattered that from the outside you can’t see the work that has gone into our relationship. The people with the best relationships that I know have that in common; they work at it. There is no one I would rather work with, in any aspect or anything, than Alaina.
Life with my wife is anything but monotonous. Our relationship isn’t one that’s forged in a smelt or pasted together from a magazine. Our marriage is one that’s built, tested and maintained on friendship and love.
What makes your relationships feel fulfilling? I’d love to know.