I am travelling with my family through the English countryside at night. We travel by car, crowded inside, each one squashed against the other. My younger sister joins us. She looks more weather beaten than I remember. She is an adult now in my dream and has entered into a new relationship, she tells us.
We stop to buy supplies but most of the shops are closed. The only places we can visit are small scungy cafes. They smell of cigarette smoke and the fat from deep fried fish and chips.
At one stage my sister and I leave the others to make a trip by train. I had intended to read a book on this trip but the countryside is too interesting, as are the people who occupy the stations we pass through. Everywhere it seems there are large groups of uniformed police men and women, not so much on patrol as on training courses. There is a holiday atmosphere everywhere and my sister and I relax into our journey.
I am asleep and awake at the same time in my dream, the sort of drowsy awakeness that leaves my body flaccid but my mind alert. Somehow the music from the radio station Triple JJJ rattles through my head like an earworm and the DJ drones on about the hottest one hundred. The names of the bands intrigue me. One is called ‘Nebbermine’, the others contain plays on words that I find delightful and clever.
Not only do the musicians play thumping and excellent music to my mind, they are clever and witty as well. I feel my stomach sag onto the cushion and I think to hold it in. As I do so my insides ache. I wonder whether the reason our stomachs hang out after we have eaten big meals is so that the extra size does not interfere with our digestive system, does not impact on other organs.
I slip off into another round of fitful sleep and notice the signs of the station that is our destination.
‘We’ve missed our stop, ‘ I tell my sister, who jerks up in her seat.
‘We’ll have to get off at the next station and go back.’
‘No,’ I say to her. ‘Let’s do the round again. Let’s stay asleep now.’
My sister is hesitant but she agrees. We have a ticket that allows unlimited travel for the week. We will be covered whether inspectors come on board or not. But now I cannot settle down. My sleep has been too interrupted with the talking and I wake up.