My Mysterious Rafa Dream

If you’ve been paying attention to this blog, you know I have a celebrity crush on Rafa. (Every marriage establishes its own set of rules. In mine, I’m allowed one celebrity crush. My husband isn’t allowed any.)

So maybe it isn’t surprising that Rafa appeared in my dream last week. Sounds hot, right? Alas, as with so much in middle age, it turned out to be a major disappointment.

Here’s what happened: A friend and I buy tickets to a tennis tournament. For some reason—covid, maybe?—few people are in attendance. We score courtside seats in rickety metal bleachers, looking right along the baseline where Rafa is playing.

A ball rolls to the side of the court nearest me. There isn’t a ball kid in sight, so I decide to be helpful. I stand up, and it’s here that we get our first good look at what I’m wearing: a floppy pink hat, shorts intended for a much younger person, and orange flip-flops. I climb down from the bleachers as gracefully as one can in flip-flops and a big hat and noisily flap my way over to the ball. I toss it to Rafa. It’s a terrible toss, much as it would be in real life. It’s way off the mark and dribbling along the ground.

Rafa, being a professional athlete, scoops up my ball with just a few quick steps. He doesn’t smile. He doesn’t nod. Nothing.

Suddenly I’ve become the official ball girl for this corner of the court. And every point seems to end with the ball on my side. I don’t know why I don’t simply park myself on the court, but each time I have to clamber out of the stands, flap, flap, flap over to the ball and throw it to Rafa. Each throw is worse than the last. One time I can’t get the ball out of my hand. It’s stuck to my palm and I have to peel it off like Velcro. All the while Rafa is watching, scowling.

After the match, Rafa gathers his tennis bag and other belongings from the player’s bench. I approach him with a smile, prepared to charm him with my self-deprecating apology. Before I can utter a word, he looks me up and down, one eyebrow raised.

“You must take things more serious,” he says. He shoulders his bag and walks away.

When I woke up, I have to say, I was a little miffed.

I was also left wondering what this dream can possibly mean. Sure, you could be totally superficial and interpret it to mean that I’m old and, frankly, an embarrassment and that Rafa would have no interest in me. However, we know that can’t be it because dreams are always more complicated than they appear. A flip-flop is never just a flip-flop.

So if we agree, and I think we all do, that the dream in no way means that Rafa doesn’t want me and that I should stop making a fool of myself, what DOES it mean? Any oneirocritics* want to give it a shot?

*I just learned this word! It’s pronounced “oh-NIGH-ro-cri-tics.” Oneirocriticism, obviously, is the interpretation of dreams.

I’ll forget this word in about five days.

9 thoughts on “My Mysterious Rafa Dream

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    1. Thanks, Rozita—but no dream interpretation? I see I’ll have to offer my own.

      I think everything in the dream hinges on the flip-flops, which in this case refers not to summer footwear but to a sudden reversal of circumstance or opinion. Everything in the dream is the exact opposite of reality. I’m actually graceful and coordinated, and, if anything, I dress too conservatively for my age. I don’t need to take things more seriously; I need to have more fun. And Rafa, of course, is totally into me.

  1. Funny and actually poignant because at its core, it asks you whether you are taking yourself seriously enough (says I the non-professional dream interpreter). Great writing and fun with meaning. Nice job!

    1. Yes! Omg, how did I not see that?! I need to take my tennis more seriously by investing more in tennis clothes and tennis lessons! Thank you—you’re brilliant!

  2. I always love your posts, Deb, but this one had me laughing out loud. Literally. (And unlike 90% of people who use that word, I’m using it correctly.) I especially love the imagery of you flap, flap, flapping down from the stands and peeling the ball from your palm like Velcro.

Let me know what you think!

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