[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.”

“Bad dream?”

“Not awful.”

“What was I doing?”

“We were squabbling.”

“What about?”

“Nothing much. What’s for breakfast?”

A dream like real life! Could this be at last the end of Norma?

12 thoughts on “WRITING SHORT: 18/50

  1. Rita Stewart

    What’s fascinating about former long relationships is how they are always part of the newer one. M. often talks about his ex, and she has been integrated into our relationship, and so has my late husband, These “formers” are a real part of
    who we are. It doesn’t really matter whether they were good or awful partners–but they are woven into us, and make for some fascinating dreams and interesting pillow talk!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My husband had 2 priors. The first one was a doozy. They had children together so she doesn’t really ever go away. He doesn’t dream about her (or at least doesn’t tell me) but sometimes he will entertain me with incredible stories. He never talks about #2. No kids, no memory.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norma may have been the mother of two of Bill’s children, but his oldest child was born during his first marriage, yet he never dreams of that wife (although he has many, mostly good, memories of her. So I’m not sure your rule is the rule, Kate — except perhaps in the Crimmins family.

      Liked by 1 person

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