Day After Sam Rockwell and I Went Fishing
Day After Sam Rockwell and I went fishing, was the day I fell out
of love with Eric.
more precisely, the day after I had a dream that the actor
Sam Rockwell and I went fishing, and Sam Rockwell declared my affections
for Eric misguided, was the day I fell out of love with Eric.
was a boyfriend I had in college who was -- in stark contrast to
me -- exceedingly sweet and normal, came from a good family, and
had a consistently sunny disposition. And for almost two years he
was also just the evidence I needed to prove that I too was sweet
and normal; that I did not have precisely the sort of family that
guarantees romantic catastrophe; and precisely the sort of disposition
that makes it physically impossible to burn a CD that isn't a soundtrack
when sweet and normal Eric suggested we consider forever -- surely
the final and definitive victory -- I optimistically agreed.
one night soon after, I went to sleep and had a dream that Sam Rockwell
and I went fishing.
are on Lake Sagamore, the humid and lonely lake in New York's Hudson
River Valley where my grandfather took me fishing every summer throughout
my childhood. It's the kind of lake that is so quiet you can always
hear that buzzing sound, and the water always looks like black glass
and, in the dream, I am sitting in my grandfather's cobwebbed aluminum
rowboat, with the splintery oars, and the white fish sandwiches
my grandmother always packed for us, wrapped in what always looked
like very old waxed paper. I am using the cherished black and gold
rod and reel my grandpa gave me for my ninth birthday and my favorite
lure -- a yellow flat fish with red and black spots, which once
enticed a small mouth bass the length of my torso.
In the memory, my grandfather fishes at the stern of the boat; the
hours of silence broken only by his standard midday sermon about
how there is no God and there is no such thing as happiness.
the dream, Sam Rockwell sits at the stern; his voice a constant
breach of the silence with a relentless sermon about
how there is no man to save me from myself and there is no such
thing as marrying up and out of your own skin.
next morning as I sat across from Eric, watching him spread cream
cheese more sparingly than I spread butter, I knew my optimism from
the day before was irretrievably gone. And I knew that if I did
not heed the truth that Sam Rockwell's words had awakened, that
I would marry Eric. And I knew that if I married Eric, he would
end up not so sweet and not so normal, and I would end up in the
suburbs of Boston assembling tiki bar stools in the basement family-slash-rec
room of my split level ranch house only to realize, when startled
by a stranger in pegged acid wash jeans, that I am in fact, assembling
tiki bar stools in the basement family-slash-rec room of a split
level ranch house one block west, or north, or south of mine because
I am always walking into the wrong house because they are all the
same, and my sense of direction and will to live are being leeched
from my brain by lawn pesticides and monotony.
I did not know as I sat across from Eric that morning was that because
of that one dream -- a dream I would never actually have again --
I would continue to fall out of love over breakfast again and again
and again, for more than a decade. Because at some point in more
relationships than I am comfortable discussing, there comes a night
that while lingering in that watery place between consciousness
and sleep, I have an impulse to picture Sam Rockwell sermonizing
from the stern of that rowboat, which I try desperately to resist,
and always fail, because trying not to picture something requires
a something not to picture. And the day after I surrender to this
image, I fall out of love over breakfast.
although I would and will always remain grateful for
the initial detour Mr. Rockwell inspired, at some point after turning
thirty I started to wonder if my subconscious wasn't, perhaps, overdoing
things a bit with the dream voodoo, because there are likely a number
of good reasons for me to remain single and childless, but I don't
think Sam Rockwell is one of them.
PAGE 1 2
version for easy reading
material is copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission|