The subconscious is a funny thing. I once read an article in a magazine, along the lines of '20 Strange Things It's Totally Normal to Do!' I'm no sub-editor, so be assured that the title was more snappy than my memory paints it.
Along with reassurances that everybody sometimes wears their pyjamas under their tracksuit bottoms to go to the shops (come on, you've done it too), the article claimed that: "It's okay to be obsessed with someone after a dream." At the time of reading, I thought that this was the most ridiculous thing I'd ever heard. But yet...
It's Thursday night and I've drifted happily off to sleep. I'm in a deep slumber and dreaming vividly. In my dreams, I meet the pop star Example. He's sweet, charming and funny. He asks me out and we quickly (as these things go in dreams) begin to build a life together. Except something's not quite right. I know in my heart of hearts that Example isn't right for me – there's someone else.
Example goes away on tour, and I sneak out of the house. I go on a date with a wonderful boy, and I know that what I'm doing isn't right. Example returns home from his tour, having bought me thoughtful gifts from all the places he's visited.
I pull him aside. "Example," I tearfully explain, "this isn't working." He's heartbroken, but helps me move out.
I wake up with a start on Friday morning. I feel so guilty. Poor Example. He was so kind. He was such a lovely boyfriend. And I broke his heart! How could I be so callous! I'm struck with an immediate need to contact him.
He's popular on Twitter, I reason. That's how I'll get in contact. I search out his Twitter handle, and try to condense the story of our relationship into 140 characters or less. It's harder than I'd imagined.
"Hi Eliot!" I begin. But maybe that's too informal? "Hey Ex-ample," I wittily counter. Except, I keep forgetting that he doesn't remember our relationship the way I do. The relationship that never happened, I remind myself.
By the time I've figured out the phrasing of the opener, I'm bogged down in the nitty gritty. There is, I slowly realise, no way to tell Example that we had a very realistic romance that stretched over several years in my dream without coming across as a complete nutter.
I leave Twitter, and check my email. A press release pops up. It's from Example's PR agency. Oh my God, I think. They know. They're worried that since I'm a journalist, it'll negatively affect Example's coverage in the press. I would never do that. I'm civilised, professional and would never want to hurt Example.
Proud of my resolve, I open the email. It's a reminder of Example's upcoming tour dates. I'm aware that the emotions I'm feeling aren't based in reality, but by gosh do they feel real.
Calm down, Ailbhe, I tell myself.
This is just a series of coincidences. You're probably still a little bit sleepy. Have a coffee. I go to the kitchen, and pop on the radio. Example's voice comes blaring out of the speakers. He's everywhere! I am surrounded by the mistakes of my past!
My phone rings. It's my editor asking if I'd review Example's next live show. "I can't," I answer, my voice wobbling. "It's too soon. But whoever you send, ask them to be gentle with him. He's a good man."