In my dream I visit old friends who live nearby in a ramshackle house that they have partially renovated in places and in other parts left alone. I have not seen these friends for some time and their children who were babies when last I saw them have grown into young girls, preschoolers now. The older of the two prattles on about the title of a book her mother had been reading and I am impressed by her ability to articulate long and complex words. She seems almost-genius like in her knowledge.
There are other friends visiting this house friends who are obviously in regular contact with the owners, and I am conscious of feeling left out. Someone is cooking duck on an outdoor barbeque. I chat to the male half of the couple, M, about how things are for him and speculate on whether my husband might join us later. M's wife I know disapproves of him.
Then M’s wife comes along.
‘Your children are amazing,’ I say and their mother preens. M nods approvingly and looks over at his daughters . ‘They are like peas in a pod,' he says. 'One ribbon is too long for the two of them.'
My own daughter, now a toddler, trails after M’s girls. I follow them down a long laneway. We pass rabbits in hutches, rabbits that look wild and rangy. The grass here is high and the fields cluttered with junk, old tools, furniture an bits of cars. In places I notice there are maggots feeding on the dead flesh of animals long gone.
I turn the corner into the house and go into the old nursery. M’s wife has kept it exactly as it was when her babies were born. I comment on this to M who comes to wave me goodbye. 'I have kept our nursery the same,' I say, and wake to the alarm.
I dreamed of a baby born to a couple who did not love one another even at the point of his conception. I was responsible for looking after this baby along with several others. We took it in turns to hold him. At one stage I brought the baby over to see an old friend, M. The baby wore a dark sailor’s cap on his head which made him look older than he was.
M asked me about this baby, from where he had come and what I was doing taking care of him. As she spoke I noticed for the first time that her front tooth was rotten through. It had the grey colour of death.
‘You must stop being so generous with your money,’ M said. ‘If you’re not you’ll wind up with nothing left for your old age.’
M then asked the whereabouts of the baby’s mother. She had gone on holidays to the beach, I said. The father was elsewhere.
I took the baby to change his nappy. By now she had morphed into a female. She was asleep but needed a change. I knew because she stank. When I took off the Pilcher her nappy almost exploded and I worried for the red and burned skin on her bottom. She had been left in a dirty nappy for hours.