Last night I dreamed I was cleaning out my lounge room, which was cluttered with rubbish. At the same time I was trying to make lunch for friends. The sink was also cluttered with unwashed dishes and bits of half eaten food. I started to strip off the cushion covers from the couch. The cushions, a blue denim material, were stained, had collected crumbs in the corners and were full of dust. There was a whoosh of mess every time I shook one out much like the character in Peanuts who exudes dust particles and debris everywhere he walks. Pigpen is his name.
I am living in a pigpen and much as I try to clean it up I am overwhelmed by the amount of mess and the sense that I will never get to the end of it. Added to this I am to baby-sit my sister’s two small children, Costa and Bryony. I do not know any children with such names in reality but the Costa in my dream is the older of the two, around two and a half years, and Bryony is just one. Costa in my dream looks like my real grandson, Leo and in the dream his mother who arrives is not my sister, but my daughter and Costa is reluctant to part with his mother.
She takes time to take her leave, all the time reassuring her son that she will be back soon. He cries when she goes at last, but only momentarily. His sister, Bryony, seems not to exist in my dream during the leave taking but she reappears as I am taking Costa for a walk down some valley where I know there are a series of children’s entertainments in place.
Costa is delighted and runs from one stall to the other, whereas Bryony stays close to me. I have to carry her most of the time, she is only just now learning to walk. One stallholder calls us over to see her display of toys, which are mechanised. This does not impress me because I know that Costa will want one and, were I to buy one for him, I am sure he would be disappointed. These are not toys with which to play. These are not toys to handle. These are toys that you can only watch again and again as they go through their routine – nursery rhyme characters such as Bo Peep and Pinocchio, going through their paces.
Costa is enthralled until all the toys’ batteries run dry and they stop. He is annoyed with me because I have suggested we must move on. Somehow in response he falls into a long tub of water at one side of the stallholder’s lot. I am annoyed with the stallholder woman because she has caused Costa to get into a rage and now his clothes are wet through. The woman tells me that there is a second hand clothes shop for children not far off where I can find dry clothes for Costa. We traipse off in the direction of a huge barn like structure, which has a maze of rooms inside, each filled with racks of clothes for children, boys and girls, from infancy through to early adolescence.
Once inside one of the workers tells us that we can choose any clothes we like for free because today is a special day when they are treating children who suffer from cancer. Costa is delighted and runs off to try to find an outfit. Bryony is looking for clothes, too, and I try to help her to select a good outfit that will replace the dirty one she is wearing. I run off for a minute to make contact outside with my sister whom I gather has booked a taxi.
Once outside I see there has been a muddle with the taxis and it takes some time to sort out which taxi we will take to get all of us home. I have not yet found my sister who is due to return at any minute. Then I realise that I have abandoned the two children and I rush back inside to try to find them. It is getting dark and I have trouble getting back inside the building because a security guard has blocked my way. He lets me in when I tell him that I have still two children, my sister’s small children locked inside. I call out their names from one room to the next. I am hysterical now, beside myself with horrible forebodings of what might happen to those two beloved children.
I find Costa first. He has grown weary with all the fun of selecting clothes and he is slumped in a corner. Bryony is not far away from him. She is distressed but pleased to see me and I pick her up and take Costa by the hand to lead them out of the building. We get to the exit and I can see my sister across a moat waiting for us. She is now hysterical herself because somehow she has heard that her children are missing. I did not want her to know this before they were found but at least she can see them now, and she can see they are okay.
We try to cross the moat and must do so by walking through a deep gully that forms a damned section in the middle. We have to wait for passing traffic. Costa gets through okay but Bryony trips and hits her head. Her mother, my sister, stands in the distance and watches her fall. There is nothing she can do. She has to settle for me taking Bryony into my arms to comfort her; both she and Bryony must settle for that. I wake up before mother and daughter are reunited.