I wander down long and steep driveways, initially in the company of one or two others whom I know well, but over time I lose contact with them and I walk on alone.
At the far end of the sports ovals, the ground has been excavated and there are steep cliffs and stairs that lead down to the open sports field below. Activities are about to begin and I am still not dressed in my uniform. Some one has piled all the regulation sports uniforms from all the girls into the middle of a large table and we are told to wear any items from this pile that fit. There is no point trying to locate our own uniform as it would take too long.
I have trouble removing my t-shirt and I worry that I have no bra. Other girls around laugh good-naturedly at the sight of my bare breasts but I am on the edge of feeling humiliated. It is hard to get my clothes on and off. They are too small for me, and too tight. Eventually I manage to change into the white sports t-shirt and navy shorts of our uniform and I run out onto the field.
There are hundreds of schoolgirls everywhere and no one seems to be organising any events. In one open field there is a circus tent filled with play equipment, the sort you might find at a fair. Some girls have attached themselves to these machines and they bounce along the ground, up and down under the tent’s inner dome on stilts or suspended on pulleys.
It does not seem like a competition. They are having too much fun. Everyone seems to operate independently and there is no one to judge or take notes. It looks like a free for all. In the end a siren goes off and the girls abandon their harnesses and leggings and move on to the next oval.
I wonder whether I will be expected to compete. No one has told me in which relays or events to take part and I imagine, given how lost I feel that I might spend the entire sports day avoiding any activity. I am not alone here. In fact it seems to me there are no sports activities taking place whatsoever. Just a crowd of schoolgirls wandering around in groups, pairs or singles, and all looking disorganised at best, at worst lost. Like in a scene from a Harry Potter movie, we move in strange unknown worlds.
Dream 26 September 2010
The knowledge came to me slowly in my dream. My daughter had been accused of murder. It could not be true, I thought. How could my gentle first born be accused of such an act?
To make matters worse, my informant, a man I recognised from my previous workplace, told me that it was the second time my daughter had murdered someone.
‘You might call it manslaughter,’ he said. ‘I don’t. She pushed a person to the point he fell, hit his head and died. In my book that’s murder. She should be gaoled for it.’
My daughter in gaol. The thought horrified me. What of her infant son? Waking was a relief. To know it was only a dream, but then I fell into another in which a couple of loutish boys had managed to get into my back garden.
I had seen them earlier on the street and worried that they might throw sticks at my dog. By the time I reached the side gate, which we keep locked to stop the dog from getting out onto the street, I could tell that the boys had already been inside. The gate was askew hanging off its hinges. I tried to right it at the same time as I held onto the dog by his collar to stop him from running out.
The boys must have heard me. I could see them on the street in front and soon they were half way up my driveway. I was not fast enough to bolt the gate. They were inside my back yard again and into my kitchen in no time and with them came two others, an unkempt old man and a middle-aged woman.
The four ran amok in my house, overturning chairs, stealing food from the fridge. They trashed the place and I could only watch helpless as my children stood around terrified.
I grabbed my mobile phone from the bench and dialled 000. I dialled these numbers by instinct.
‘Where are you and what’s the trouble?’ a voice said over the phone. I gave my address.
‘Some hooligans are trashing my house.’
I yelled across the room to the four invaders that I had called the police. In minutes we could hear the sound of sirens.
By the time the police had arrived, the two boys, the man and the woman had settled down. Now they behaved as polite visitors and fooled the police into believing that I was the troublemaker, not they. I had called the police out on a false alarm.
The four intruders righted chairs. They cleared the benches. They spoke politely such that the police had trouble distinguishing who was in the right and who in the wrong. I woke up.