There we were, the ex-husband and I. We were in a small chapel. People were milling about. There was nowhere to sit, and so we sat by each other. He slipped me some kind of note or paperwork. He panicked for a moment, thinking the papers he had given to his partner were the ones he'd meant for me. He wanted us to get back together, and it was still a secret. He had his wife and his children to think of, but we'd been sneaking around, he and I, meeting for lunch and for sex. I had my own guilt to deal with. I was going to have to break the news to the man who loves me. Tell him that I might be getting back together with my ex-husband.
And then I woke up, thank god. Feeling guilty and weird that I'd dreamed such a thing. That's what I get for watching Bergman's "Scenes from a Marriage"home alone.
I first saw the movie in the mid-70s not long after moving to L.A. I saw it with my ex-husband--who was just my boyfriend then. In my memory it was all shot in close-up in a white room, the lights blaring into the faces of the husband and wife, their tight smiles dissolving into loathing. I didn't care for it much back then. I had no idea, I suppose, how people who appeared so happy on the surface, could be swirling in so much subterranean turmoil. It was utterly fascinating this time around. I had to turn it off for a bit after the scene where Marianne calls her friend to tell him that Johann has left her. He already knows--had known for quite a while that Johann was planning it. My own humiliation came back to me, so palpable and present, that I got up from my chair and stood in the bathroom doorway wondering if in a second I'd be kneeling on the tile in front of the toilet. But I was okay. It was good to be reminded, in a way, of my debilitating un-doing. To contrast then with now. To see where the path began and where my feet are planted now.
As for Marianne and Johann and their dark night in a dark house where they lay in bed cheating on their present spouses, that's not a house I ever want to inhabit. That house burned down, and nothing will rise from its ashes.