Friday, January 15, 2010

My youngest and richest brother has loaned me his car. I can drive it though I find it difficult to control. It is a huge four-wheel drive monster elevated well above the rest of the cars on the road. In order to get inside I need to hoist myself in through the sunroof. Once inside, after I switch on the ignition I am aware that I drive almost by remote control. I do not know how otherwise to drive this car. I manage to take it places. I go to the shops. I stop at a market stall. I sit opposite a couple of women, one of whom I recognise from my school days.

‘Are you Anna T?’ I ask.

‘Yes,’ she says amazed that I recognise her. After we chat about life at my old school she remembers my name. I talk to another woman on my other side at the table who is dressed in the pale blue uniform of her daughter’s school. This school is different from my old school. This school uniform belongs to the student who attends the prestigious Saint Catherine’s girls school in South Yarra. The woman who must be in her fifties looks odd in her daughter’s uniform.

‘I’m planning to raffle it at auction as a fund raiser,’ she says.

The market hall is filled with shoppers many of whom this woman seems to know. Someone suggests she takes offers for the dress here and now before the auction begins.

‘Any bids?’ the woman calls out and another calls back, ‘Thirty five dollars’.

I wonder will they extend the bidding here and is it fair? I could raise it a dollar but the thought comes to me as I find myself walking up the school path of my old school that I do not need any more clutter in my life. What would I do with such a thing? I would probably fold it away in some dark cupboard somewhere and look at it only when I move house or spring clean.

I make a telephone call to my younger sister. I want to know whether it is okay for me to talk to her on Christmas day. For some reason I need to line up the call otherwise it will not happen. I plead with her to let me ring but my sister is silent on the other end of the line. I can hear her breathing but she will not agree or disagree. I am frantic at the silence.

I find myself back in my brother’s car trying to get home. I meet a woman who warns me that she too once owned such a car and in the event of a crash it was positively dangerous. There was no way of controlling it.

I take a tram to get to a meeting in the middle of the city. I have trouble finding the right tram. Eventually I am at the meeting and the offer goes out for someone to participate on a project related to my thesis topic. Somehow it has a Halloween quality as if the project will involve ghosts. I tell the group that I would like to be part of such an experiment but I do not say it forcefully enough. Another woman beside me, an older woman says that she will be the experimental subject and the group organiser chooses her. It does not do to be timid I think, as I watch the woman retreat out through the back of the room. She is off on an adventure but were I to participate in such an adventure I realise it might be overwhelming. It might drive me mad. Still I feel jealous of the woman who has the guts to speak out loudly and as a consequence gets her way.

I wake up.

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