Paranoia — a love story

Posted on 2013 January 28


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Since she returned from inside, I’m feeling much better. I think.

She and I have been meeting like this, every weekend, for about two years now. She’ll cook dinner, then we move outside to her patio, where we drink wine and chat, enjoying the late-afternoon sun as it filters through the trees of her backyard, the yellow-green illumination enchanting the foliage. Finally, as darkness overtakes the landscape, we go back inside, where we make love.

I’ve thought of “moving it to the next level”, as they say. But it works perfectly, this weekly encounter, and I don’t dare fiddle with it. Always we chat about our week — she with her various business and charitable activities, I with my writing and pro bono legal work — and then she listens, endlessly patient, as I bloviate about politics and current events. Somehow she never raises an argument or disagrees with me; she just listens.

One day I had a dream about her. At our next get-together I told her about it. “I dreamed you were my therapist, and I was strapped to a simulator, with powerful drugs pumped into me, so that I was merely imagining that I’m having this life of mine, including my relationship with you. You had volunteered to enter the fantasy with me, posing as my lover, to further the therapeutic value of the simulator.”

Her eyes grew bright as she listened; finally she said what she always says about my dreams: “You certainly have vivid ones, don’t you.”

I said, “But there’s more! In the dream, it turns out that the reason I’ve been feeling depressed about my future — the reason I’m having trouble embarking on the next phase of my life, the next career, and so forth — is not because I’m uncertain, but because the simulator can’t anticipate what I might choose to do, so it prevents me from making big changes. I’m in the dumps because you guys can’t figure out how to write the code that lets me move forward! It’s too risky, not for me, but for your simulator and your research. So I tell your people to loosen the reins — to take a chance — or I can’t make progress.”

She laughed. “That’s a wild dream.” She got up, bent down and kissed me, and said, “I’ll be right back. I have to pee.”

While I waited, I thought about the dream. And suddenly it occurred to me that I really could do anything I wanted in my life! I could dare to … I dunno … climb Everest or run for office or start a company … or simply finish that book I’ve been struggling with. Why not? What was I waiting for?

The evening was fast approaching. Soon we’d be pulling off each other’s clothes. Things were good. I felt energized, almost giddy.¬†Talking about the dream seemed to have freed me up.

She returned from inside, sat down, and smiled. “There! That’s better.”

Something in her manner felt odd.

Then it hit me.

Slowly, carefully, I said, “Yes. It is better.”