My Brain is Trying to Set Me Up

When I stumbled downstairs after my dog this morning, I found Dad in the dining room staring bemusedly at his feet. Nina and a friend were squealing in the living room over the aforementioned dog, who was two hours overdue for a trip outside and has a notoriously weak bladder. I called for her to head for the back door and she streaked past us.

“Oh,” Dad said. “It was her. Something touched my legs but by the time I looked down it was gone.”

Grinning weakly, I collapsed against his shoulder and muttered a good morning while I rubbed my eyes.

“Did you dog keep you up last night?”

“No.” I heaved a sigh. “Apparently my subconscious is trying to set me up with Keith.”

Dad pulled back. “What?”

I repeated myself, immediately regretting it, because not only my subconscious has been playing matchmaker with this particular character.

Dad barked a laugh. “Did you see his face, then?”

See, I have this reputation (yes, lovingly cultivated by myself). I don’t remember when it started, and I’ve lost count of how many times it’s happened, but my brain likes to throw wedding dreams at me. A couple of times they’ve been about other people’s weddings, but usually they’re mine.

And in every one of mine, the groom has no face.

“Not exactly,” I answered Dad. “But there were other signs that pointed to it. Also, you’re the king of a small European kingdom.”

Usually these wedding dreams are vague and chaotic, but not so with last night’s. And I can’t for the life of me think of what brought it on, since the movie I watched right before bed was The Road to El Dorado. Judging by the style, my subconscious was also reminiscing about Princess Diaries 2.

I was princess and heir to said small kingdom (though I’m not sure it was European). I also had at least one younger brother. The only scene I remember was the ceremony itself, where I stood in a very large sunlit room before a huge crowd of people (I’m guessing most of the occupants of my small kingdom), dressed in a huge gold-ish ballgown. (I switched to jeans and a peasant-style shirt halfway through.)

At the beginning, I wasn’t actually preparing to marry Keith. There was some other dude. Apparently Keith and I had a falling out, because I kept trying to make eye contact with him and he wouldn’t look at me.

(Side note: This is the only true-to-life detail of the dream. The real Keith ((and yes, I had to come up with an alter-ego for him, which I’m sure I’ll regret)) attends my church and hardly ever makes eye contact with myself or Jo, let alone shakes our hands.)

So I’m just making my way up the altar steps when plans change and I am now given the choice, before this large crowd, between marrying Mystery Man and…I’m not sure what else. Refusing him in front of everyone and possibly skipping right to my coronation, I think. I make some sort of joke about not being worried if people didn’t approve of my choice because they were more than welcome to force me to abdicate should they think it was the wrong one.

Add that to the list of reasons I’m not in politics.

The whole time I’ve having an inner war because I don’t actually want to take either of the options in front of me. This is where I really start trying to catch Keith’s attention. Then, magically transported back to the bottom of the altar steps, I collapse in tears until he comes to console me.

Then we get married.

Well, as close as I usually get. I think I’ve ever gotten to the reception once in all of these dreams, and I’m past a dozen of them.

I think my subconscious is reacting to my “21 and Single” post about the way I suspect my parents would (and no, I still haven’t shown that post to either of them). Even though I’ve said over and over in the last couple of months that I’m happy where I am and I’m just going to keep moving forward, complete with forming a 5-Year Plan with decidedly no romantic relationships involved, my brain is in denial.

And it chooses this guy, of all people, to try and set me up with. (This is the second time in a week he’s been a feature in my dreams, though the last time we were all just ogling a new swimming pool in the middle of a drought.)

Now there is just cause for this. Keith first showed up at our church about a year ago, maybe a little less. Like all eligible young men who appear without a fiancee on their arm, he was much talked-of for a few weeks. In Mom’s eyes, he was pretty much perfect: decently good-looking, well-mannered (apart from his apparent introversion), and in possession of a quality career. Of course, he’s also roughly ten years older than me.

That didn’t stop any of my family from trying to set me up. I can still picture us all on the beach during one of our hikes, me making cracks about the lack of decent single men in our church and Eli mentioning Keith, at which point I swore him off.

Have I ever mentioned how much I like Pride and Prejudice? Because my subconscious started drawing parallels between that book and my life. No joke. Jo helped. We were watching the Keira Knightley version of the movie and Messrs. Darcy and Bingley appeared and Jo mentioned how much another single guy in our church is like Mr. Bingley. I jumped in with, “And Keith is Mr. Darcy!”

She took to the idea immediately, though somehow she avoided becoming Jane for our bit of pretend. I was still Elizabeth.

My mind hasn’t let this go. Now it’s dying for me to get over my pride and Keith to show his true feelings and us to live happily ever after (because there is nearly 10 years’ difference in age between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, too).

And my family thinks my repeated rejection of any such notions is just me being silly and that I’m actually harboring a secret affection for a man who has never said a word more to me than, “Hello”.

Maybe with enough dogged determination and silence I can force everyone to move on, including my brain.

I’ll keep you posted.

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