Do you ever dream about falling in love? An instant text-book case of looking into a stranger’s eyes and knowing this is it, the true once-in-a-lifetime, head-over-heels L.O.V.E.? You hold each other tight for as long as the shifting dream world will allow, believing that now life can only be good. But one alarm clock, boom of thunder, or shout in the street later and your one true love is gone forever.
I have a dream like this every few weeks, and waking leaves me with a horrendous sense of loss and hazy memories of a brief but blissful moment. This feeling, of both perfect joy and terminal emptiness, floats with me for several days while I quietly mourn the absence of someone who never existed. Not long ago I suffered four of these transient heartbreaks in the space of two weeks, leaving me constantly wallowing in contented melancholy.
While I like to imagine these dreams of utter togetherness mean I’m a deeply sensitive, caring and unique individual, it’s exactly the kind of thing that will turn up in a Douglas Coupland novel. While my illusions of being uniquely sensitive will be shattered, the fact this is a common condition means many of the people you met today, and many of those you’ll meet tomorrow, are mourning their vanished loves.