Dream of: 05 July 1996 "I'm Leaving For A While"

I was sitting in front of my computer, looking at the screen. I was connected to the Internet and had called up the newsgroup alt.dreams. On the screen was a column of titles of various messages which people had posted on the newsgroup. My attention was immediately drawn to one entry entitled "I'm Leaving For A While." The title was set in quotation marks, which was the normal method of indicating the entry would be a dream and not a message or letter. But as soon as I saw the title, I automatically knew the entry wouldn't be a dream, but a message. I also knew who had sent the message: Donna.

Even before I put my cursor on the title and clicked so I could see what the entry said, I thought I already knew, and a series of thoughts flashed through my mind.

Donna and I were in a group in which we were exchanging dreams. The purpose of the group was to write a book consisting of dreams which members of the group had about each other. I felt Donna was an important member of the group; but I also had some concerns about whether she would be able to sustain her interest in the group. Although her contributions to the group had been impressive, I felt that with time she might become, or had already become, somewhat disillusioned, and that she might feel as if her needs weren't being met.

It was those very needs which made me feel somewhat ambivalent at the prospect that Donna would be leaving the group. It had begun to seem to me that Donna's reasons for being in the group were somewhat misplaced. Whereas I felt as if the focus of the group should be on the writing of the book, I had begun to perceive Donna's reasons as being focused more upon personal relationships. In that regard, it had begun to seem to me that Donna wanted and needed me to focus on her more as a person than on the book.

I felt somewhat guilty about this because I had either been unwilling or unable to focus on Donna this way. Since I didn't like the pressure of feeling I should focus on Donna, and I didn't like the guilt which I felt from not focusing, it was somewhat of a relief to think Donna would be leaving.

Yet even so, I didn't want Donna to leave the group, and I thought I could persuade her to stay. This sort of thing had happened once before; a member of the group had decided to leave, and I had been able to persuade the member to stay. I thought I could do the same thing again now with Donna, but I didn't relish the role which I had assumed as the person who held the group together, and I was uncertain I wanted to make the effort. Besides, it seemed Donna should be able to make the decision herself of whether to stay or leave without my having to intervene.

Perhaps Donna wasn't actually leaving the group at all; perhaps she was just taking a break. I imagined her as spending much time out in the woods, and I thought perhaps she was going on a camping trip for a week or so and she wouldn't have access to a computer. I myself had recently taken such a trip and before I had left I had simply sent all the members of the group a terse message saying I would be gone for a while. It was possible that Donna hadn't approved of the perfunctory nature of my message, and that this was her way of retaliating by sending the same kind of message back to me. I had perceived in her this tendency to retaliate for some wrong or imagined wrong which she had suffered.

At any rate, I hoped she was just taking a short break. After all, the title to her entry had said "For A While," which would indicate she would be back.

I began to imagine her packing up to leave. Although I couldn't see her face, I saw her packing things into the trunk of the car. Actually from what I could see, it did look as if she were just packing for a short trip, and as if she weren't leaving permanently.

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