It’s no secret that I am a raging heterosexual. My Kinsey rating is so low it should probably be a negative number. These past ten years I’ve enjoyed an extremely active dating life. Even now, deep in the throes of terminal cancer, I manage to keep busy.
But I was not always like that. Through my teens and twenties and well into my thirties, I was a romantic and sexual idiot. Socially inept, mostly annoying to women. I had absolutely zero dating or sex life in high school. In college things got a little better. It wasn’t until my late thirties that I sorted myself out well enough to be attractive and interesting to the women I was attracted to and interested in. I found my mojo.
Cancer is leaching that away from me, too.
Last night I dreamt it was gone completely. I kept meeting women and trying to flirt with them, or just pass a friendly smile, and it was like I was fifteen all over again. Whatever inner light I managed to uncover ten years ago had vanished. No one was particularly cruel to me in my dream. Rather, I encountered a mixture of disinterest and distaste.
That’s unfortunately familiar territory to me, a country I inhabited for over two decades as a teen, a young adult, and into the beginnings of middle age. To go back there even in my dreams was a very bitter feeling indeed.
The dream is of course a clumsy metaphor for my sense of loss and erosion as the cancer advances and my death draws near. It’s not even a particularly accurate metaphor, as in real life I continue to get along fine with everybody, male or female. But the dream did a terrific job of capturing my mood.
All across the spectrum of my life, I am slowing, and sinking, and eroding. This I know, I don’t need postcards from my subconscious to remind me. Sleep at least should be an escape from the nightmare I’m living in, not a door into further nightmares. Sometimes I am denied even that comfort.