Long ago, he had made his first appearance. I hadn't known it at the time, but he was to be one of my most beloved acquaintances. Had I known, I like to think I'd have had the good sense to thank him for his trouble of saving me from oblivion, but I was too young at the time. Or perhaps it was not my youth but rather the fact that I am not adept at lucid dreaming. For this man I cherish so was not a man I met in the waking world. No, he came to me in sleep.
It was a party in a white plantation house that brought us together. I was not paying attention to him at that time, but I knew he was nearby. He took a few forms. One moment, he was a fish. The next, a great blue heron. After danger came to me he made his last form known to me.
The party's host was smiling broadly, proud and excited. I thought it to be for the party he was holding. But after I saw it tear through his chest, I realized his real excitement was for the black hole that would consume us all. I don't know what happened to anyone else at the party. They were gone. But I was still in danger of being dragged into the black hole in the host's chest. He still smiled, happy to be providing the black hole with a host. Then, he stepped in. He, the one who had taken on the forms of both a predator and prey animals, came forth and took me away. He flew over the moor surrounding the plantation house. I didn't look at him myself. I saw us both flying. His white wings spread wide, purple suit of armor shining bright in the sunlight, long, blonde hair streaming as the wind blew through it. I knew his name. His name was Gabriel.
Gabriel and I landed in a valley. It was lush and beautiful, with shafts of sunlight streaming from the sky from no discernible clouds. He made sure I was safe, then I woke. I never forgot him. His kindness to me, his protection. I felt he was my guardian angel. I never believed this in a religious sense, though. I knew no religion could do justice to the comfort I had been brought in my very own dream. I immediately drew a picture of him as best I could. The armor had been in somewhat of an anime style, if you will. It curved smoothly along his body, following its own unique abstract curves. His long hair was loose, not held back in any ties of any sort.
Eventually, my home life grew more and more stressful. My parents finally started to drift apart, and I hoped now and then that I would get to see Gabriel again. I prayed for it, even, when times were harsh. But no matter how I remembered him, no matter how I hoped, he didn't come back.
It wasn't until after I turned twenty years old that I again dreamt of a winged man who looked out for me. This time, however, the winged man was in a demon's form. A demon named Illidan. That was the form I recognized, but it was not the same character. I knew it was Gabriel. But could I even call him that? In the dream, he and I flew about, searching for trouble to stomp it out. There was evil hidden in the houses below inside the fireplaces, and we had to stop it. We handily took care of several trouble spots. But even more, he flew with me in his arms. He let me glide below him, holding me up by my upper arms. It was glorious.
When I woke, I felt nothing but love in my heart. I could do nothing for that day but pine for him. My heart full of love quickly shattered as I realized the problem: I was in love with someone I would never be able to meet by choice. Perhaps I would never meet him again at all. The thought depressed me, but it also brought me clarity. This was why I had never felt very attached to any other men in my life. Even Dereck, the man I'd married in good faith, hadn't meant as much to me as I found my angel now did.
But who was he really? I had been sure of his name at first, but when I met him again in my second dream, I felt there was no name attached to him. I still think of him as Gabriel, of course, but to take on such a monstrous form was startling to know it was the same man. I wondered about this for a while. Perhaps I hadn't seen anything different of him. After all, he was still kind. He still cared for me in my sleep. He took me in his arms, and we flew. I felt even more companionship now, since we had been a team.
Today I was at the mall. As usual, I wanted to stop by the Earth Magic store. I really can't resist going in there when I see it, so it wasn't an unusual trip. I was there with Josh, my boyfriend. We were looking at the various statuettes at the back of the store, and I saw one in metal of an armor-clad angel raising a sword to strike down a demon under his foot. I stared at the statuette for a while. It wasn't quite him. He was certainly impassive enough to pass for Gabriel, but it wasn't him. I saw another statuette on another shelf. This was a statuette of a shirtless, winged man holding a human girl in his arms. Her face was set gently on his shoulder. I took a picture of it, but can't stand to look at it. He was a blonde angel with white wings. His hair was long. The girl looked as though she wasn't clinging to him, nor about to kiss him. The girl looked as though she simply needed his shoulder for comfort.
I've been at a loss for what to think of this man of my dreams for a while now. I've thought about it. Perhaps he's Hypnos, the god of sleep himself, insuring I get good rest when he's got time. Or maybe he is just my own guardian. Or a guardian of many, making the rounds to me only at certain times. Anyone rational and smart would say that this is just a dream, and it's interesting that it's recurred at all. I would be better off believing it, but I can't. You could say that it's just a sense of ego that some humans have more of than others. An ego that says "I know what I saw" when questioned and suggested other possibilities. In this case, I fear I will go this route. I feel too deeply that this dream man wasn't a part of me. I knew his name, this is true. But I didn't know him. I wondered if he'd ever come back. He struck me that deeply. I've met other people in my dreams before, but I never remembered any of them. Just him.
If only it were so simple to just dream whatever I wanted. If I had any hand in it, though, I'd know it was faked by my own imagination. It wouldn't feel as good. Again, my ego. I want to believe, even if it hurts.
I have to wonder, though. It feels as though I ought to have known him even before the first dream. There was an earlier dream I had that consisted of myself on the ground, holding to a sitting German shepherd while people crowded around. When the people would try getting close, all of them shadows, the dog would keep them away. The whole dream, I heard "Look What You've Done" by Jet playing. It was strange. But it was comforting. I felt safe with that dog.
Maybe it's just the feeling of safety that clings to me. Maybe that's why I remember these dreams and not others. My other repeating dreams are only repeating in terms of theme: I leave one place and arrive somewhere else. I do have a history of trying to avoid the lot in life I seem to have in terms of home and family.
All I hope is that he'll be there when I need him again. Though I want him now, I know that if it's not the right time, he won't be here. I can wait, though. I've all the patience in the waking world to devote to him.