Waking up, the faces transpose, and I realize that the woman next to me was not the woman in front of me, that the war I was fighting in my dream is not a war I wake to, here, in the cold chill of January.
That the women have changed is not shocking, five years on the horizon since that spring of anger and frustration, of sacrifice and mutual destruction. Yet, sitting in bed, warm but breathing steam out into the room, the cat tucked next to my legs beneath the layers of covers, my stomach roils, turns, tightens in step with my spine. The tingle of anticipation, discomfort, anxiety is like no other, instantly clarifying.
It’s been a long time since I woke like this, countries back, on tatami some lonely month, the dawn just breaking over Saitama. It’s been a long time since I went to work, tried to focus, with these emotions sitting in my stomach, just beneath the coating of daily need.
It’s been a long time since I woke up unable to get my head clear of problems that have long been solved. I guess that’s why I’m smarting, why I wince in the morning, and step in the shower with a hangover I didn’t create the night before.
People change, they age, they learn lessons built on sharp edges and self-entrapment. Yet the words of a fight carried out in dream, in a situation that never happened, in a world that doesn’t exist, are so tight and so true, the tension close enough that my body wakes still holding it. We do grow, and have changed, and continents have left their impacts etched on my skin for all to see, crevasses, creases, lingering flickers of confidence. Doubly disturbing then, to have it reduced to old emotions, have them wake me with their fury, have me hate them just as much as I once did and, like I once did, have no solution to their ills.
This body that I inhabit was built up over years, contains things I wish it did not, remembers moments I have forgotten, perhaps because I shouldn’t have.