The on-line dictionary says haunt means to visit often. I am, therefore, haunted by the frequent dream appearances of a late friend. Two separate dreams very early this morning, leaving me with the same disorientation and let-down that resulted from previous - and recent - encounters. We were friends; in the months before his death we didn't see each other but talked for hours on the phone. In life, I would not have guessed that he would turn up so often or leave me in grief every time, with each awakening feeling as thought he continues to die again and again.
There must be comfort I can't know in a faith that says death reunites us with all whom we have lost. What makes this a mystery within a mystery - for what are dreams, if not fragments of the unknown, tossed up by our own unknowable sleeping minds - is the intensity of the loss, repeated. Why him, why now, why?
In junior high school I had - and carried with my binder and textbooks - a copy of Freud's volume on the interpretation of dreams. I forget whether I bought it or found it in our home library. I just know as I hurried along the halls it perched on my right hip, top of the pile. What imagined version of myself I was trying to project is something I can guess at but not truly know; I think I was trying for smartypants soothsayer. Perhaps Freud makes sense to some 14-year-olds but his was a code I couldn't crack. If there was something accessible, I probably disagreed with it.
I used to receive catalogs from new-age-slanted book clubs. There were always the manuals, with symbol-heavy illustrated covers, on interpreting our own dreams. In keeping with my there-is-very-little-that-is-one-size-fits-all philosophy, I found it difficult to accept that what a fish meant in your dream meant the same in mine.
So I am prepared to take all that I don't know about dreams and put it in a shoebox under the bed, while I take whatever I do know about Jack, about myself, and see if I can find more overlappings and parallel lines. In fiction, there is always a reason for the haunting; visited and visitor are not random and unconnected. I admit to noticing what might be considered signs, but only of good, never ill. If I find a coin on the sidewalk, it reminds me there is abundance, that a gift may come from anywhere. Sooner or later, I imagine I'll know the reasons for Jack's house calls. It is far too late to try and make sense of Freud.