Last night, I dreamed I had coffee with Cheryl Strayed in a city that had a river walk and a great bookstore/coffee shop with lots of wrought iron and windows. I gave Cheryl – here, in this haunted afterglow of morning, I feel I can call her Cheryl – my card, and she said she was going to walk around a while but wanted to know if I wanted to get dinner later.
When she asked me this, I was standing below her on an iron stairway that bent back on itself. I looked up, saw her leather boots, and tried to act nonchalant as I said, “That sounds great.”
As I watched her walk away across a terraced brick parking lot walkway, I turned somehow to be back in the bookstore and ran into Brent of The Fabulous Beekman Boys. He was dapper and dashing in his long, dark peacoat, and it took me a while to recognize him, not because I don’t adore him and Josh but because in a dream no one is, of course, who they are. Still, my heart quickened. Here was someone I wanted to know. . . so we walked the city for hours and finally sat outside a pub and drank hard cider out of cans until he kissed me on the cheek* and I realized I needed to get home. I had been gone for hours, and P would be wondering where I was.
I am absolutely giddy – energized, excited, enthused, whatever other “e” word indicates this sort of euphoric (there it is!) place in which I sit – almost 3 hours after waking. I can’t really explain why except to say that I love writers. I love farmers. I love people who are brave and do countercultural things. I love people who are successful at those things. People like Cheryl Strayed and Brent Ridge.
And I love when they love me, even in dreams.
So maybe all this is to say that having people you admire is one of the great joys of life . . . to look up to someone, to see their path as one on which you might lay a few steps, to experience a time when your hair is amazing and you get a dinner invite and a kiss on the cheek from people who do great things. . . that even in the swimmy imagination of dreams, those gifts can linger long and true. And make you wake up wanting to drink a hard cider and read Wild again.
*When I woke, I realized that this kind of wet cheek kiss had been delivered by Meander, which made me feel better about Brent, who I imagined would be a much neater kisser.