Saturday, June 23, 2012

This morning in my dream I travel on a tram with several members of my immediate family. They get up to leave the tram at the right stop and I intend to follow but am caught up trying to gather together all my belongings and a few of theirs as well.

             Before I know it the tram has taken off again with me left behind inside. I think to get off at the next stop and to race back to my family but it takes me so long to gather my belongings that at least another five stops pass before I can gather myself together enough to get off.

           I had taken off my shoes in the tram but now I cannot find them.  Instead I find my daughter’s sandals.  I also find her hand bag along with my own.  And there are items of clothing which I imagine belong to another of my daughters and other bits and pieces on the tram floor that I cannot bear to leave behind.

           When I finally get off the tram it stops at the intersection of Bourke and Cotham Roads, which is a surprise to me.  I had thought we were travelling along Swan Street.  This is perhaps why my family had changed trams earlier to avoid being taken out to Balwyn. I will need to change direction and get a tram travelling to Camberwell.

           At this particular intersection buses change over to trams.  I can see a bus coming towards me but again I have trouble gathering together my belongings.  They seem to be increasing in volume every time I try to gather them up.  More and more stuff.  Children’s toys now, things my grandchildren might enjoy, Lego and a child sized kitchen cabinet, an inflatable children’s pool, one that will be wonderful when the weather heats up.  I cannot bear to leave it behind.  I try to stuff it into one of the bags I am now using to consolidate my stuff.

           I recognise I will need to leave some of the larger stuff behind. I cannot possibly carry it all by myself.  A woman comes over to help me to gather my things together.  She turns to stop the first bus which has morphed into a tram but I am so slow at gathering my gear that again the tram takes off.

           I wake up with hot feet and a concern that I will never be able to get home again unless I abandon everything.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

A report comes out in the newspaper and includes all the doctorates passed this year at La Trobe university, mine among them.  I want to read what’s written about my thesis but cannot find the full text, only snatches of it before someone else grabs hold of the newspaper. 

It looks like someone has devoted more words than usual to my particular work, though from the little that I can read it’s not clear whether the comments are positive or negative.  And then I am out shopping with my baby, in search of Christmas candles. 

I put my baby down onto the shop floor unaware of what I am doing and am horrified later to find her squeezed among the shoppers’ feet.  Later I hold her against me with no hands spare, as I try to negotiate with the shop keeper about what I might buy, what belongs to me, and a pair of gloves, which she believes I have shoplifted. 

I am sure I came in with my own gloves, but in the shopping scuffle I may have mislaid them and wound up with another pair from the shop.  To me, it’s a fair trade, though I am not sure the shop keeper agrees. 

I am at the university with the baby in an elevator in search of my supervisor who also has a baby.  We have trouble getting to the intended floor.  Up and down, up and down from the one hundred and first floor to the third and back again. 

At one stage we compare babies.  My supervisor’s is a boy. Mine’s a girl.  I have a sense that she is better able to care for her baby. But I cling to mine nevertheless.  At one point I notice my baby chewing on something.  I wrench it from her mouth.  It’s a lemon pip.  It’s hard to understand the appeal of a lemon pip, my supervisor says, but I reckon, to a baby who has experienced so little by way of taste it must be full of flavour.

Monday, June 4, 2012

His birthday Thursday marked the day, 16 years ago, I returned to Minnesota from my domestic travels abroad. On Wednesday I dreamed that coffee grounds had spilled on my Buffet. I used my fingertips to wipe the grounds off the black wood. There was another clarinet, a silver one, that belonged to a man not in the room, that was clean of debris. Bob Dylan came to collect me. He was a guest at a hotel. I agreed to follow him; then instead of going to his room, we went to the mirror together. There were green vines growing from pots and copper incense burners and beige and purple sheers billowing like kites. I took on his expressions in the mirror—he stood close behind me and we watched as my face became a kin of his.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

I drove past a pair of high heeled shoes abandoned in the middle of the road somewhere near the Monash University in Caulfield.  I wanted to go back and see what condition they were in and whether they might suit one of my daughters, but I kept getting further away.

Then half asleep in the early morning I was with my husband who had promised to give a friend of one of our daughters a lift to work, but our car was no longer available and so we set off on foot.

We took a route that was familiar to us, one we had travelled often many years before but not recently.  It involved a short cut through several properties and I worried the whole time that we would get caught; that we would upset the people who lived in these houses; or that we would be thought of as burglars.

All these things happened as we raced through corridors of unknown houses on the pretext that they were apartment dwelling corridors and communal spaces, only to discover they came to an end in some stranger’s kitchen.

At one point as we were leaving someone’s back yard I could see the occupants of the attached house in the distance.  They started to chase us. We ignored them and ran off up the street.

Someone else further up the street pulled out of a driveway in his hotted up hoon car and tried to stop us. With Herculean strength I managed to push his slow moving car to one side so that we could all get past and in the process I tipped it over to one side. The driver was trapped inside of his peeled back soft top.  He only needed to unbuckle his seat belt to free himself.

‘You shouldn’t have done that,’ my husband said.  ‘You’ll only infuriate him more.’

Then I imagined someone else coming out to hose us as punishment, rather like the Dutch hosed down the German collaborators after the Second World War.