Monday, January 19, 2009

There is so much more to this dream than I remember. I am at dinner with a group of terrorists during a ceasefire. I sit at a table with the foreigners. Even their plates are set at an angle; differently from the way we set ours. One of the terrorists’ children is playing up and her father threatens her with immolation. I cannot believe he will do it or that others might sit and watch.

Then I am standing in the bathroom of my general practitioner, Judith Heale, offering to help her to fix the crack that has developed in her bathroom wall above the shower line. I offer to get a ladder for her, one of those short ladders that people use in libraries to fetch books that are out of reach. I offer to hold it steady for her. Judith hesitates about using this ladder. She tries to reach from the floor at her normal height. She does not want my help. She looks over at the group of terrorists eating their meal and I can tell that she is critical of them.

Now I am involved in a fight with a woman who has been violent towards herself and others. She will not stop killing people or threatening to get herself killed. She has a gun and will use it indiscriminately on anyone. She is tough. I manage to get the gun from her. I try to empty it of bullets, firing off to the side, but whenever I do, the bullets do not come out properly. They plop out from the barrel like jellybeans from a lolly dispenser.

One of the woman’s enemies comes by and they begin a physical fight. This time she is a goner, I think. Her enemy has a knife. By now there is only one bullet left. I hold it in my hand. The gun and bullet are now separate. Then the woman grabs the gun back from me. She keeps calling over to me to give her the bullet but someone else nearby manages to get the gun from her and he throws it down the stairs.

It is as if the gun were indestructible. An old man and a boy are now preparing to dynamite it. They have retrieved the gun from the foot of the stairs. They have lit a wick and are about to throw away the gun attached to the burning wick before it explodes. I imagine the gun will explode just as the woman is meeting her end. I still hold the bullet in my hand. I want both of them, gun and bullet, to disappear altogether.

The woman continues fighting her opponent, screaming like a banshee. They tussle. Occasionally she gets the upper hand and I think that she might stab him, but then he overcomes her again. Now a group of men, all of them the woman’s enemies, prepare a small fire. The coals are glowing red, and she finally concedes defeat. She lies down at the fire and rests her head on top of the glowing coals. Then she puts her blue coat over her face and rests motionless. I watch and wait for her to dissolve.

I still hold onto the bullet. The wick attached to the gun has fizzled out, but still seems to be smouldering. I wonder will the gun explode as she dies. I cannot bear to watch her. She lifts her head from the flames. She is still alive, but nearly gone. I can feel the bullet in my hand. I wake up and think of the words ‘the heart shaped bullet’, the title of a book by Catherine Flett, about the death of the author’s relationship with a man she once loved.

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