Our back yard has become a resort, a holiday complex complete with artificially constructed hills, ponds and the occasional piece of play equipment. Our house itself is also part of the holiday resort. We are inside the kitchen looking out into the garden when my husband notices that the left over pizza from the evening before is now covered in weevils, white squishy bugs. I have seen the type before but never in such quantities. They magnify before our eyes and large groups of them hang together in fist-sized balls teeming with life.
My daughters stand around disgusted and somehow, as usual, it falls to me to tidy them up. I take a washcloth and begin to wipe them away and into a large rubbish bin bag into which I have already thrown the remaining pizza. The bag moves under my hands. Even I find the job disgusting especially as everywhere I look these maggoty bugs seem to be proliferating even as I try to remove them.
I find a pair of rubber gloves under the sink with the intention of being less timid in my clean up. If I do not have to feel the bugs directly on my skin I will be able to pick up hunks of them and throw them into the garbage bag.
I have not completed the job when we all go outside for some unspoken reason. Members of my family are scattered throughout the garden when I look towards the side entrance gate and notice a man who is naked.
Who is he? What is he doing here? I want to direct my husband’s attention to this stranger, when the man clutching his trousers around his belly walks into the centre of the garden where someone has set an old doorless car that is now used as a cubby. Inside the cubby house I can see there is another man and a woman, both of them naked. The first man comes along and helps the woman to dress. The men dress themselves. No one speaks to them, but we are all aware of their presence. The three then walk out together and as they are leaving I notice one of the men hold hands with the other man and I realise both that they are gay and that one of the men is my brother-in-law.
‘I didn’t know your brother was gay?’ I say to my husband.
‘Nor did I’. As so often happens to conversations in dreams this one ends here.
We are back inside the house in a bedroom, which I now share with some of my children and a couple of elderly women from South Africa. The women are genteel, ladies of wealth, ladies from a bygone era, who find it hard to be part of this world. They lie on top of their beds trying to rest but I am conscious that we, my children and I, might be making too much noise.
I try to draw the blinds but one of them sticks and the elderly woman whose window is nearest the sticking blind shows me a trick to dislodge it. She insists we not try to be so silent.
We are on the downhill run to dinner. I find myself fossicking through a large props cupboard that belongs to my children’s school. It is filled with remnants of performances from years ago and I find myself reminiscing over certain items. I understand that I can keep things from this cupboard and try to sort out what is of value and what not.
I include as many of my children as will participate in sorting through, including my youngest, a boy, a toddler who sits on the top rung of the cupboard, pinned in against my body to stop him from falling. When he is ready to get down I call out to a young man passing by to take him from me. I am perched on top of a ladder and it is an effort to pass the heavy toddler over to this tall young man, but we succeed and I am pleased to see this man and his girlfriend take an interest in my son. Babies and small children always manage to bring strangers together.
I open a small tin of what I think to be beads and trinkets. M looks over my shoulder. She stands there with her husband, both of whom I have not seen for twenty years.
‘They look as though they’re alive,’ M says of the trinkets inside my tin.
I see these trinkets as sparkling insects in the colours of a Christmas beetle, a shining luminescence of colours, blues, green and gold. I am relieved when I realise the trinkets are not in fact alive. They are painted seeds from some berry tree and held together in a row with twine.
I wonder then whether all the weevils from this morning’s pizza have dispersed. If not, I still have cleaning to do.