Every night I have the same dream. You’re not with me in the dream. I dream I’m Odysseus– you know, the ancient Greek guy who spent years trying to come home from the war. All he had to do was sail from point A to B, but he kept getting tangled up with all kinds of vengeful monsters and gods. He lost his whole crew in a shipwreck, and was stranded on a desert island with a sex-starved goddess.
Anyway, in this dream I’m sitting alone on a white sand beach, looking out at the turquoise sea (you’d think it would be wine-dark, but it’s definitely turquoise, or whatever you call the blue-green water of the tropics). Behind me the dune grass is moving gently in the breeze, and farther back there are rolling, grassy hills, spotted here and there with bushy trees. There are cattle and sheep idling on the slopes, but my focus is mostly toward the water– the small waves that rise and fall on the beach, the swooping sea birds, the endless expanse of ocean.
Apart from my legendary cunning, I’m known among the Achaeans for my keen eyesight– for hours on end I gaze outward, searching for white sails rising over the horizon. Or any color sails, or an oared vessel with no mast, or a leaky canoe. But I never see a ship or boat of any kind, just the ever-moving sea, and the ever-still azure sky. I know I’ll sit here the whole day. Nymphs will come and serve me lamb or sirloin for lunch, with some nice cheeses, some exotic fruit and a skin of delicious wine with hints of blackberry and petrol. I’ll eat enough to keep from starving, but it might as well be tasteless to me.
At night I’ll lie with Calypso, whose beauty and grace are unmatched. I’ll feel her throb and cry against my body, and I will play my part. Yet I feel no passion, no ecstasy or joy. I don’t want fancy food, or the love of a goddess, or a day at the beach. I want a ship to come take me away. I want to go home.
I wake up helpless, lost, afraid. There’s an ache deep inside that seeks to pull me down like a sinking ship, to drown me as my men were drowned.
Then I remember that I’m not Odysseus after all. I realize I’m in my own house, lying in my own bed. Then I see you sleeping beside me. I see that it was hot in the night– your damp hair clings to your face, and the blankets are twisted and askew. You’re smiling in your dream. I study your limbs. I watch the rising and falling of your chest. I cling to your breath, and stay afloat another day.