The One that Got Away

I had a dream about the one that got away this morning. It was bittersweet, to say the least. It’s almost evening now and I’m still haunted by the dream. It’s like a huge, nagging weight that I’ve been carrying around with me all day. Do we all have that one person that slipped through our fingers or is it just me? I haven’t given him much thought in years. I saw him on the Ithaca Commons about a year and a half ago and we glanced at each other as I passed by. I looked back and he was still looking. Other than that encounter it’s literally been almost ten years since we’ve spoken or seen one another. It’s strange because we both live in the same small town. Can people attracted to each other also repel each other to the point that they never end up in the same place at the same time? Anyways…the pain has gone away and he hardly comes to mind. Sure, I Google him when nostalgia gets the best of me but that’s once every few years.

For educational purposes, I’ll provide you with some juicy tidbits so you can learn from my massive mistake. Michael was dating a friend of my co-worker. All of us used to go out to the bars and hangout. We were a big, messed-up family that enjoyed drinking. Think co-ed Sex in the City except we all hated each other. Basically, drinking was the only thing all of us had in common. Michael, however, was a silver lining in that dark time for me. Sure, he would hang out with us at the bars but he had his life together, not like the rest of us. He was (and is) successful, healthy, smart, creative, attractive, supportive, and compassionate. Needless to say, he was WAY too good for me, especially at that time. Well, he broke up with his girlfriend and our loyalties were split. Do we hang out with his ex-girlfriend or hang out with him? Several of us took the mature route and did both. And after a while, it became clear that I had a chance with Michael. I enjoyed his company so much and he was really good for me. However, my co-worker who was friends with his ex began giving everyone a hard time that was still hanging out with Michael. So I basically chose a peaceful work life over him. I was stupid. He has never forgiven me and I don’t blame him. Now, the dreaded “what ifs” haunt me.

Michael is married now and I’m sure they are very happy. I’m not sure it’s possible to be unhappy with him. So where does this freakin dream come from? Is it from left-field or is there a purpose? I haven’t thought about him in years so why now? Well, perhaps it has something to do with my current situation. Last week I was given an ultimatum by my supervisor. I have until tomorrow to chose whether to stay or leave my current job. As of July 1st, they will give me a raise (it’s not much but enough to get my own apartment and then just barely scrape by) if I stay. Or I could take the leap and pursue potential happiness. The details of that path are yet to be decided. The only thing I know is that I don’t find my current job fulfilling at all. But that job is the only secure thing in this equation. So maybe this dream is a sign? I chose my job over Michael and I chose wrong. Do I chose my job over my potential happiness again? So maybe there is something to this idea of dreams having some sort of message or maybe it’s all just coincidence. I’m not sure.

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