Anyway, I'm sitting around the set doing something on my laptop and Michael stops by. We're just shooting the breeze, when he casually says:
Michael: Hey, do you know Angelu?Because, of course, Michael Phelps and I are such good buds, that he knows where I went to college.
Michael: Angelu. She says she knows you.
mjh: I don't remember knowing anyone named Angelu. Who is she?
Michael: She works in the art department. She went to the same college as you.
Michael: Anyway, she says she dated you.This news sent me into a tailspin. In college (in the real world) I dated Annemarie. We dated for 5 years. She was the first woman that I dated seriously for any amount of time. She was the first woman that I loved. And it was love - meaning that it wasn't just about me. It was about her well-being. But, unfortunately, it wasn't 100% selfless. And my selfishness resulted in my doing some dumb things. Really dumb things! Despite this, she stayed with me throughout college.
mjh: Is Angelu a nickname? Because I dated an art major in college named Annemarie.
Michael: Yeah, yeah, that's her. That's Angelu.
But when college was over, I had thoughts of marriage. She did not share these thoughts. In fact, she made it abundantly clear that it wasn't going to happen. I never officially proposed, but I broached the subject with her once. She said that she didn't know who she was. That she'd spent all of her life living in the shadow of her parents, only to come to college and meet me. Then she'd spent all of that time, seeing herself as a part of me. She didn't know who she was completely independent of anyone. And that's what she needed to go find out.
So I let go. It remains among the most difficult things I've ever done in my life.
I went off to get a job. She went off to grad school. We would call each other and chat from time to time. During one phone call she told me that she was seeing someone, and it was pretty serious. Up until that point, I had this thought in my head that I could swoop back in after she'd "found herself" and try to start over. But apparently she'd found herself and found someone else at the same time. I was devastated. Eventually, she told me that she was going to marry this guy. A few weeks after that, I made one more phone call to her. I told her that I would not be calling back, and I asked her not to call me.
A few years on from that, I realized that had I avoided the dumb things, the end might have turned out differently. And since that point, there has been exactly one thing that I wish that I could say to her. I want nothing more than to apologize, and ask her forgiveness. I want to tell her that even I realized how dumb I was, and that she was right to leave.
I tried to contact her once through a mutual friend. But Annemarie didn't want to talk to me. And ever since then, I've left it alone. I've never tried again to contact her, but I've always sort of hoped that I'd bump into her somewhere. Which is more likely than you'd think. When we left college, she went to one part of the country and I to a different part. I have since moved again to someplace new. Yet ironically, she lives only about an hour away from me. I only know this because during a few pathetic moments, I searched for her on the internet and found her. There were a few years there where she lived less then 30 minutes from me.
So back to the dream.
I stood up and walked away from Michael Phelps to go look for her. And I found her. She was sitting in a row of chairs in some back part of the set, chatting with a woman and bouncing a baby on her knee. I knew immediately that it was her child. Because that's the way that it works in dreams. She didn't see me, so I walked up to her and touched her arm. She turned to look at me.
This was my big moment. I could finally say to her what I've wanted to say for 16 years. But I didn't. I smiled and waved politely, and kept on walking. This is when I woke up.
I may never get to apologize to her. So here it is. Annemarie, if you ever read this, I'm sorry. I behaved atrociously. I hope you can forgive me. I fear, reading this, you may think that I haven't gotten over you. I have. I have a beautiful family and I'm happy. But I have this regret. That I hurt you. And for that, I am sorry. I hope, someday, to get your forgiveness.