Last night I had another dream about your sister.
The dream is always the same. I meet her for coffee. I order a Chai Latte and offer to buy her anything she wants. Hot chocolate? Pumpkin muffin? She glares at me and stiffly takes a seat at a round table by a square window. She orders nothing. The barista looks sympathetic as she hands me my drink. In the dream, the drink is so hot I nearly burn my hand.
As I pull out my chair, I make sure my silver cross and chain is easily noticeable. Mom bought me the necklace in one of her many attempts to force spirituality upon me. (God is the ultimate boyfriend, after all. He never disappoints.) Your sister is deeply religious and would probably get along better with my mother than with me; yet if acting like I’m a Believer will help her to like me, then fine. At this point in the dream—and in true life—I am willing to try anything for her acceptance.
This is the time in the dream where your sister makes it known she dislikes me. No surprise there. Under her breath she informs me that I will never earn her approval. Thus, you will never be free to love me, much less move us on to the next level in our overly dramatic relationship. Your sister smiles a smug smile as she says this; she is so proud of her hold over you. Sometimes, she even helps herself to a sip of my latte.
But this is my fantasy, not hers. Soon it is my turn to yell. This is my favorite moment, this is the reason I dream, and I know my real self is smiling, grinning a wide, Cheshire Cat grin into my pillow. It is so freeing, this yelling, this screaming at your sister. My soul soars as high as my voice—louder even. The sympathetic barista gives me a thumbs up and the few patrons scattered about eating scones hear my side of the story and agree with me: your sister is a bitch.
Here, in the comfortable security of my dream, I can say and do what I never say and never do. In the waking world I nod sympathetically when you tell me I can’t come in when I drop you off at your apartment—Sister would freak out. I claim I understand when on a Saturday date night you can’t stay out late because you are going to Church with Sister the next morning and you worry what she’ll think if you sleep over. I have known you for three years and you have flaked on me a total of seven times on her account, once for each of the major sins.
Family first, you always say. I am starting to see you will never let me join this family.
After I expel a good amount of empowering and invigorating shrieking, your sister holds up one well-manicured hand and speaks. Calmly, she informs me that you certainly do not have to listen to her. You could tell her to buzz off. You could live your life, without her.
We both know you won’t. As I stare down at my drink I wonder who I hate more— her, or you.
Your sister speaks the truth. She speaks the truth and then she sighs. She stands up and walks out of the coffee shop. When I look up from my latte, neither the barista nor the single remaining patron will meet my eyes.
This is about the time I wake up.