Last night I dreamed I was in Italy sitting around a table with a group of Australian friends, all of whom we had met by chance in the streets of Italy or at the beach.
‘You can almost guarantee running into someone you know,’ I heard one woman say to her companion.
‘It’s ridiculous to travel so far away and there they are, all your friends. May as well not leave home at all.’
I sat opposite old friends, Dianna and Roger. I had not seen them for years. In the dream they appeared just as they were when I knew them best over twenty years ago. Roger was still darkhaired and sprightly, Dianna, a couple of years older, still trim and fit. Dianna was nursing their daughter, who is now in her mid twenties, but in my dream Ingrid was still a small child of less than two. Dianna was stroking her cheek. There were other old friends and acquaintances, mostly those we had met through our years of contact with Chris and Suzie.
Earlier at another dinner in my dream Chris and Suzie and their two children were sitting at a table with Suzy’s elderly father. I knew that Suzie needed to help her father regularly to the toilet.
I was not happy to be there. They seemed such a wowserish family. Here we were in Italy and they were not even drinking wine with their meal. They were all on water, which is uncharacteristic of Chris.
Their daughter poured Bill and I a glass of wine from a Chianti bottle. Even though I was grateful for the wine I was annoyed that she had not at least asked whether we preferred wine or water. I did not like her making the choice for me.
I had with me a gold embossed Easter egg that opened up into some sort of container. In it I had stored my partial denture and some play dough from among Leo’s toys. Suzie took it from me curious about the shape of the egg. Her father then took it from her and before I knew it he had opened the egg and its contents went missing. I was furious. How could I sit at this table a front tooth missing and still have conversation? I wanted to leave.
We queued up for food at a huge bain-marie and again Chris and Suzie’s daughter poured Bill and I another glass of wine, while the others stayed on the water. Then Bill and I were roaming through the streets of Italy. Somehow Bill had managed to take his leave, even before the main course had been served and although I was glad to be away from them, I felt guilty to have not stayed at least till the end of the meal.