Dream of: 21 October 1996 "Chest Wounds"

I had suffered some injuries – scrapes and abrasions – to the front of my chest. Only one cut required attention – a vertical gash on the aureole of my right breast, just above the nipple. A doctor had examined me, cleaned my wounds, and stitched the gash with two or three stitches of black string. At the time I had wondered how much the stitches would cost. I thought there was probably a set charge for each stitch, but I wondered if there was a sliding scale depending on the financial situation of the patient. Perhaps poor people had to pay little or nothing for such services. I thought, however, since the doctor would have known I was a lawyer, as usual I would have to pay the maximum amount.

At the moment I was sitting in a room on the second story of a house, examining my stitches. I was concerned because it appeared that the stitches had only been sewn into the lower portion of my cut, and that the top half of the gash was still open. I realized if the wound healed like that, I would have a noticeable, albeit small, scar – something I didn't want.

I considered returning to the doctor to express my concern. I knew people often didn't complain to professionals, such as doctors, about perceived mistakes, preferring to defer to the professional's supposed expertise. But I knew even professionals made mistakes, and I had few qualms about returning to the doctor and having my wound re-examined.

However, I now realized I might not have to return to the doctor who had originally given me the stitches, because outside my door I thought I could hear the footsteps of another doctor – a doctor whom I knew.

I was lying on the floor so I couldn't see outside the door, but I knew just out of sight was a staircase leading down to the ground floor. I could hear footsteps coming up the stairs, and I quickly asked someone standing by the door to ask the person coming up the stairs to come in to see me. The person by the door complied with my request, and the person who had been on the stairs appeared in the doorway.

This was the person I knew: a young woman (not more than 18-19 years old) who looked exactly like the actress Claire Danes. She hesitated, as if reluctant to enter. Since I knew she was a doctor (even as young as she was), I pointed to my wound and appealed to her medical sensibilities until she relented and walked over to me. I quickly explained my concern about my wound and a possible scar, and she just as quickly advised me that I had nothing to worry about, and that my wound would heal properly.

By now she was sitting on the floor facing me. I found her extremely attractive and I was happy to have her in front of me. I wanted to use this opportunity to explain something to her.

She and I weren't strangers. We had known each other for a while, and during that time she had developed a strong crush for me. I, however, had rebuffed her, obviously injuring her in the process. This was why she had been reluctant to come in the room to see me. She was still hurting from my rejection, and she didn't want to be around me. I however didn't feel the same about her. In fact, I liked her company immensely and I found her so attractive that even now I just wanted to put my arms around her and pull her close to me. But when I reached toward her and placed a hand on each shoulder, she visibly stiffened, and although she didn't make me remove my hands from her shoulders, she obviously wouldn't move any closer to me.

I began to explain why I had rejected her. I thought the reason was much different than what she expected. It was not because I had thought I was too good for her. Au contraire: I thought she was too good for me.

To me, she seemed almost perfect. She was already a doctor. She had no faults that I could perceive. She lived an upright hard-working life, uncompromisingly attaining her goals. She was the model of a life which I could only imagine from the outside. Although she had somehow conceived some passion for me, I realized we were so different, such a union had no chance. I wasn't disciplined, not moral, not persistently dedicated to my work. In her I could see only the type of person I had never been.

Still trying to ease her pain because of my rejection, I assured her she would find a young man more like herself. I even imagined a strong blonde-haired Aryan type. I could see the two of them together in a circle of friends, the likes of which I had never had, and would never have.

The thought of the couple did set my mind to thinking, however, how it was possible to tell a lot about a person by simply looking at the person's mate. Passing through my memory, I thought back on Conn, who had been my classmate in junior high school. I had never known Conn well, or what kind of person she was. She had always seemed like the shy homely retiring type, but she had married a fellow who had been a bit the opposite of her – a good-looking outgoing fellow. It had been a big surprise to me when I had heard, those many years ago, whom she had married, but it had made me change my opinion of who Conn was.

I thought of myself and Carolina. It suddenly became clearer to me that I had given almost no thought of trying to understand who I was by trying to understand who Carolina was. My attention was mostly focused on myself, almost to the exclusion of Carolina. But I now saw that if I really wanted to understand myself, I would do well to take a closer look at Carolina, and understand who she was.

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