Justin Skolnick lives and works in Portland.

Slumbering Self-Sabotage

Originally posted to justin.revision8.com on in Crystal Lake, Illinois

Twice now has Natalie Portman rebuffed me in dreams. First on her way to a volleyball match she disregarded my sad eyes and outstretched arms. Then inside a secluded mountaintop resort I made a case for her attention, which for a minute she granted before waving me away.

Even in dreams I can’t win. Frustrating though this is, I take comfort in the constancy of my expectations. The reality that guides my conscious thoughts persists in sleep. I am the same.

Unearthly physics let me scale hundred-foot cliffs in seconds. Furnished rooms rearrange themselves. Doors lead outside, then in, then out, and in again where I began, in a different time and climate. Sometimes a mirror reflects the shoulder-length hair of my adolescence. In a flash the people I’ve lost appear beside me whole and strong.

But my character remains unchanged. In dreams I am as tongue-tied, no braver, no less patient, and no more successful in pursuit of my desires than when awake. Natalie Portman is likely to dismiss me again, when we meet next, and maybe this is best. But still I’m sure I’ll have another chance.

Update, April 8: Last night she appeared a third time and heard me out — and smiled! We came to agree that there were better matches, but passed a pleasant span of unreal, incalculable time. Hoo boy!