Friday, July 27, 2007

In my dream this morning I am visiting Gerald Murnane. I have been out walking with him and we run into a person who asks whether we will get ‘unmarried’.

‘No,’ I said, ‘never married, not he and I.’ I can see that GM is thrown by the question as if it brings us too close. He has written me a letter about his experience of paragliding. I imagine him in the air hands outstretched, arms in front, gliding under the safety of his umbrella parachute. His buddy only inches above him. In his letter and in my imagination, GM has started to doubt his ability. He starts to doubt the safety of the wind currents. Paragliding in my dream requires a certainty of purpose. The glider must believe in what he is doing. The glider must be confident in his movements. Any jerkiness, or sudden disruption to his movements can cause him to get out of sync with the wind current on which he glides and he can fall like a stone. (I had similar thoughts landing in Melbourne yesterday night on my return from the conference. I saw the lights of Melbourne scattered below like a widespread Christmas tree and imagined as we drew nearer at what point it would be safe for the plane to lose control. I did not anticipate the landing. I had stopped looking out the window and suddenly the gut wrenching thump of the plane’s wheels on the tarmac, the fuselage trembling and the adrenaline rush to my underarms and we were safely landed.)

Meanwhile in my dream GM is up in the air trying to wrest back control of his mind from his fear. He describes this process to me in a letter and I draw parallels between that fear and his fear of our relationship, which I sense is accelerating. Soon he will want to have no more of me.

I am in his bedroom now, in my dressing gown. He has pointed out the stained glass image of the Blessed Virgin at the front door and another image etched in glass on another door further down the hall way. He lives in this house with his mother. I only visit when I am sure she is away.

GM’s mother does not approve of GM having relationships with women. This is part of his fear. The door to his bedroom opens.

‘Mother,’ GM says. A beautiful woman with dark way hair and an angelic face stands at the threshold looking in aghast at the sight of this other woman, me as I am now, sitting on the floor in my dressing gown.

‘Gerald,’ she says, ‘get her out of here’, as if to say get rid of that thing. I have become a filthy object, the sight of which is unbearable.

GM leaps from the bed, a dutiful son. ‘Yes mother, yes mother.’

Gerald’s mother is not alone. Her friend looks in over her shoulder. This friend and I exchange glances. This friend will intercede, I hope.

‘I will need to get dressed first,’ I say as I gather my clothes that are scattered around the room.

Gerald’s mother walks off to the kitchen. Her friend hovers nearby.

‘She can’t possibly be serious,’ I say to the friend. ‘Gerald’s a grown man for god’s sake. He even looks older than his mother.’ This is true. GM’s mother looks as though she is in her mid to late thirties, an attractive dark haired woman, who could herself be looking for someone. Like the actor, Gemma Craven, married to the hero Arthur in Pennies from Heaven.

I dress in the bathroom, the same bathroom as the one I used as a child in Cheltenham and Camberwell, a cross between the two. Green linoleum on the floor, a tatty plastic shower curtain with a line of water stain caressing the bottom.

I wake before I have a chance to remonstrate with GM about his subservience to this woman. She’s his mother for god’s sake. She should let him go.

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