Skip to main content

Of Matts and Ashleys, Churches in New England, and Other Doppelgangers

The dream recurs on at least a semi-monthly basis, always a mixture of familiarity with alarming disorientation.

From the very first time the dream occurred, I felt at home within the small New England church. And, for whatever reason, I immediately understood where I was. Starting in an abrupt stupor, I was immediately seated roughly two-thirds from the altar, in about the tenth pew toward the back. The rustic church was made mostly of wood, some of it stained, other parts (such as the beams and rafters) painted a gleaming white. There was stone, too. You could tell it was before a service was to begin. People were milling about, generally making their way into the structure.

Somehow, I knew the location, but not why I suddenly found myself there. This caused some considerable consternation, as you might imagine it would. The church looked to be like what I imagine those centuries-old old Protestant churches are like in New England, hence the sense of knowing where I was, or at least where my brain thought I should be. There was no explanation for why I was there, however, and that put me on edge. I am a Midwestern boy, through and through. I do not belong in an old New England church, sitting in the pews awaiting service.

In the different iterations of the dream, various people come and go, never the same from dream-to-dream. The one constant is my husband, Ashley. He is always sitting by my side when the dream begins. And yet... this is not my Ashley. I can sense it in my bones. He looks, talks and acts like my spouse, but it is not him. He means well, but deep down I know that my husband -- my life -- is waiting for me a thousand miles away in Illinois. In the previous dreams (about two or three in total), I have broken into a cold sweat, made my excuses to Ashley as he nodded in concern, and left the church. Once outside, I would look around, deciding how best to return home: car? bus? train? plane?

There, the dream would end, literally fading to black as I walked away from the church, down a gently sloping hill as multi-colored autumnal leaves gently swayed by me after dropping from their tress. Of course my brain would place a New England church scene during autumn, it's only logical. At any rate, that is how the dream ran its course every time. I felt bad for leaving fake-Ashley behind without an explanation, but part of me wondered if, somehow, things would sync-up once I'd made it home to Illinois. Had I been split somehow? Were there really two of me? Would my safe return to Champaign allow for another me to appear back in New England, allowing fake-Ashley to be with his own version of Matt?

These questions bothered me as the dream occurred again last night. This led to, for the first time, an attempt to explain to fake-Ashley what was going on. Another first? Donald Trump was attending the service. He entered the church with his entourage as he shook hands with the congregation. I wanted to be out of there as soon as possible, so I leaned over to Ashley, asked him to come outside with me, and we exited the building. Conveniently, there was a wooden bench underneath an old tree just a few few feet down the hill, and that is where we sat while I conveyed the situation.

It is difficult to explain, but while I knew that the person sitting next to me was not the real Ashley -- or at least not my Ashley -- I nevertheless trusted him implicitly. The words, much as I have laid them down here in this post, came flowing out of my mouth to him. He sat and listened, his brow furrowed and, finally, when the story was done, his eyes widened and he said, "Well, it's all very strange, but I think you need to do what you feel like you have to do. I love you and will be here waiting for you. Or for my Matt. I hope he, or you, comes back to me."

With that, we hugged, stood up, and I made my exit. The dream faded to black. I still don't know how I planned to make my way back to Illinois. But it was in this dream that, for perhaps the first time, that mattered less to me than knowing that Ashley would be ok. That someone -- either my displaced self or a New England replica of me -- would be coming home to him soon. I know it's just a dream, a hazy unreality within the neurons and synapses of my own brain, but then that is ultimately where everything about us resides, including our love for others.

Perhaps, in the next dream, both Matts will find their way home.


Popular posts from this blog


Ok, we're now three-fourths of the way through this year's calendar, so I thought I'd rank the thirty-eight 2017 movies I've seen so far.

Here they are....

1. A Quiet Passion
2. Baby Driver
3. Dunkirk
4. Get Out
5. Kedi
6. A Ghost Story
7. Wonder Woman
8. Columbus
9. Brad's Status
10. Marjorie Prime
11. Maudie
12. Logan
13. Spider-Man: Homecoming
14. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
15. Brigsby Bear
16. Atomic Blonde
17. The Big Sick
18. Split
19. Kong: Skull Island
20. It
21. Wind River
22. A Cure for Wellness
23. The Hitman's Bodyguard
24. Norman
25. Kingsman: The Golden Circle
26. Logan Lucky
27. Alien Covenant
28. Ghost In the Shell
29. War for the Planet of the Apes
30. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
31. Life
32. Annabelle: Creation
33. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
34. My Cousin Rachel
35. Baywatch
36. The Bye Bye Man
37. mother!
38. It Comes at Night

It will be interesting to see what the last three months of the year brin…

If You Could Read My Mind

Dance clubs are a funny thing. They contain within their walls a life force and vibrancy sometimes unmatched anywhere else. When dusk settles and the lights come on, people will flood the dance floors to gyrate to music with hypnotic beats and songs about love, lust and fun at the disco. At gay bars, this sort of scenario usually increases ten-fold. It isn't for everyone, but for many it is a respite from the harsh realities of the real word. It is a place that isn't just a structure, but a sanctuary where folks -- minorities in their own communities -- can take shelter and unwind with abandon, at least for a few nighttime hours.
As someone who benefited greatly from such an aforementioned gay dance club, you can imagine my dismay at news of the closing of Chester Street Bar. In business for over three decades, gay-owned and operated, there was a time when C-Street (as it was known by most) was the only haven for those in the LGBT community, near and far, to enjoy themselves …


"Step out from the mask you stand behind Fearful lost and blind Time to take the time The pressure’s on you Hide away, hide away No tomorrow, just today"
- Brilliant, Ultravox
Today was National Coming Out Day, so of course it gives some pause for reflection on my own coming out story. It was in April 1993, my junior year of high school (go Chargers!). In the six years of writing this blog, I have alluded to how I came out, but never really delved into the intricacies of how it came about. What better day to do so than today?
My first (small) indications of homosexuality manifested in grade school. While in first grade, I thought a fifth grader looked cute. In fifth grade, I would stare, longingly, at a boy in class, until he caught me looking at him. There were some infatuations with boys in middle school, and a first sexual experience during freshman year of high school. Everything up to that point had been, for the most part, based in the physical realm. I liked the way certain…