Adventures of the charmingly odd

Day Dreams

Today is August 12th, 2018. It’s a Sunday. Steve and I woke before 8am and quickly dressed to go to our favorite breakfast spot, The Buttered Biscuit. It’s currently prime tourist season here on the Jersey Shore, and we have to get to the Biscuit before the “weekend locals” come flooding in.

A parking spot right out front. Two empty seats at the counter, our preferred place to sit. A western omelet for me, the eggs Benedict for him, coffee for both always. We return back to our home in Asbury Park, NJ by 10am. I tidy up the living room and kitchen a bit. Steve comes over to me wearing his motorcycle jacket, holding his helmet in hand. He kisses me goodbye and then, without fail, says a goodbye to each of our two pups. I mentally send warning signs to Steve’s father, Ric, and one of Ric’s father’s best friends, a gentleman named Ward. These men passed away well before their time. It’s because of them that Steve has a love for riding. I remind Ward of the deal we made, when I touched his hand for the last time before he was buried beneath the ground.

If Ward and Ric had to leave, cheating Steve of the time he deserved to have with them – then Ric and Ward would have to watch over him. “I swear to god you two,” I think. “You left him too soon and it was unfair but you will make it right by looking out for him and making sure nobody hurts him while out riding that motorcycle.”

An hour or so later Steve comes back in one piece, grinning and smelling of my favorite mixture of earth and exhaust. I kiss him, but then pause. He sets his helmet on the counter behind him and I take his face in my hands to kiss him deeper. Soon my cherry dress is discarded to the kitchen floor with other various items of clothing.

Sunday afternoons. Lazy in bed. My hair smells like coffee, and Steve is lightly sleeping next to me.

Five years ago I would day dream of days like this: a day of quiet, fiercely loyal love. When I was living in Manhattan in a shit relationship and trapped in a dreadful situation I didn’t know how to get out of – I would day dream.

I would lay in bed, curled up in the fetal position, and make a deal with future me. I imagined that I had made a pact with the me who was older, far away, and living an effortlessly happy life. That this older me told the Universe, “I will give up one day here and give it to 23 year old me. I will switch places with her, to let her escape for a bit, and to let her know of the happiness that awaits her.”

I imagined that one day I wouldn’t wake up in my New York City apartment with an abusive ex boyfriend, but in a bedroom in a home foreign to me. A plush bed with sunlight pouring through the curtains. Two dressers, one for me and one for him. I would get out of bed, walk down the stairs, and find a handsome man sitting at the kitchen table drinking coffee and reading the paper. When he saw me, his face would light up with genuine excitement.

He’d get up, kiss me, and pour me a cup of coffee. I would have a slight look of lostness about me and then he would know: today was the day.

“You don’t know where you are, do you?” He would ask.

“…No.”

He’d set the coffee down on the counter and take my hand.

“It is 2018, five years from where you are now. The you I know is 28 and you are living with me, this is our home. You don’t know me, but I love you.”

We sit down and he explains that 2018 Zoë had told him long ago about the pact she had made, and that one day I wouldn’t recognize him for 24 hours and that his job would be to take care of me and reassure me that my life would be so much better than where I was now.

“But can I ask you,” he would say. “If she safe? The Zoë I know? Will today be very…bad for her?”

I’d think for a moment.

“No. Today is a Wednesday, I’d be working at the cat hospital from 7am to 7pm right now. She’ll go for a walk after work I assume; the bookstore is open until 11pm. If she remembers what it’s like, she’ll be at work before he wakes up and will get home after he’s already asleep.”

This stranger would sigh out of relief.

“You will get through this,” this stranger of my future would assure me. “That life will all be over soon and I’m right around the corner, I promise.” He gestures to the rest of the house. “This is yours, I am yours. Just hang on for a little while longer.”

I know I’d be crying. But he smiles and says, “I’ll call out of work, I’ll text your boss that you’re sick. And let’s go have a really, really good day.”

It’s corny and sentimental and ridiculous. However, this scenario would play in my head countless times and I knew it by heart. Today, this quiet Sunday, was one of those perfect days I’d day dream about with someone who loved me, and whom I loved in return.

And if it was magically possible, the me of today would give anything to give 23 year me a day in my shoes.

I write this because, if you are currently in a bad place in your life – be it a bad relationship, a bout of depression, or just a truly fucking awful point in your life – you will get through this. There’s a whole different lifetime awaiting you and it’s closer than you think. Hang in there.

And until you get there, its okay to pretend. ❤️