[Come summer heat, much of my blogging momentum melts away. Hence an experiment until Labor Day: fifty minimalist posts about whatever.]
Bill often dreams about his second wife. Let’s call her Norma. He says they’re nightmares. In all our time together, he’s never dreamed about Marie Claire, his Swiss first wife. Bill and Norma were married for eighteen years. It’s been twenty-four years since they divorced. For the last fourteen of those twenty-four years he’s been with me. But it’s always Norma I hear about in the morning.
“What terrible thing did she do in the dream?” I ask for the umpteenth time. He never remembers. He does remember plenty about what she “did” in the marriage, beginning six weeks into it when she smashed a valuable objet d’art on the floor that had been a wedding present from his sister. I’ve heard it all, always knowing Norma’s account of their eighteen years would differ, and sometimes imagining her version, despite not knowing Norma herself.
I used to think the Norma of Bill’s dreams might be a metaphor for me. We do have our squabbles. (Although I don’t resolve them by smashing valuable gifts on the floor. Not that it’s relevant, but his sister never gave us a gift to smash, probably because we never married. It wasn’t because she didn’t like me, although she didn’t. She didn’t like Norma either.)
Bill assures me dream-Norma isn’t me. He’s a psychiatrist; he should know. But I take nothing on trust. “So will you get Norma out of our bed!” It’s supposed to be funny, although not entirely. I really am sick and tired of Norma.
This morning when we woke up, he had a new announcement: “I dreamed about you last night,”
“Really me? Not Norma?”
“Oh, yes. You, Nina.”
“What was I doing?”
“We were squabbling.”
“Nothing much. What’s for breakfast?”
A dream like real life! Could this be at last the end of Norma?