Windmill at Volendam, Holland, Wedding Anniversary May 2012
I woke in the night after a dream, went downstairs to jot it down in the great leatherbound book from Margaret in Canada; then went back to bed and slept again. On awakening once more in the morning, I jotted down another dream. I tried to polish up the drafts into something coherent, but it didn’t work. So here they are, almost verbatim.
April 2nd 2017 (Sunday)
Dream of K’s & V’s own child. Her third, my fifth, making seven in all. Add our four grandchildren so far, that would make eleven.
Before falling asleep, we’d talked late about our absent mothers, unknown fathers, scattered families, separated siblings. And now her mother’s desire to knit things together: focusing on K’s upcoming birthday and our anniversary, two days apart. She wants to come, and if possible organize! Where had our mothers been when we needed them?
And then we’d talked about our own children, our previous fractured marriages, & in my case particularly, the unassuageable guilt—though I did my feeble best, destroyed my adulthood in misspent self-sacrifice.
Yet we’ve separately produced six children, each flourishing and a credit to their own selves, who have so far produced three children of their own, equally flourishing, if not more so. And I fully expect in our lifetimes to see several great-grandchildren.
The only thing K & haven’t done is produced a child together! Destiny joined us too late. Something wondrous was forged without being sealed by further issue. Not that we feel the lack. We’ve paid our dues, as she likes to say. Enough with small children!
Even in my dream our child was a fiction, nothing more than a fancy, something to tell strangers, mischievously. The dream went no further than this. The child still had no age, sex or name. So for literary purposes I declare her female and call her Alacrity. It’s in-joke between us, as when I say I’ll do a nominated task with alacrity, on the principle that names, especially girls’, may be drawn from abstract nouns like Prudence, Felicity, Verity, Grace.
So this phantom daughter Alacrity, made real and lasting only in these written words, is born from what feels like a perfected island in this imperfect world; something embodied, symbolized and alive in the daily routines of this ageing couple in a little house whose arrangements have reached an acme not further improvable. And I imagine sending out from here tiny rays of perfection into all corners of the world. (finished at 5.30am)
Two young men, about twenty like me, stand together, tall and slim. They are my best friends from whom I have been estranged. I approach them with diffidence to suggest we join up for lunch. Maybe a bite of something, I add, for it is their company I desire—I’m not sure of the hunger. As it turns out I need not be concerned, for I find myself still welcome, after a long interval.
“It’s been a while,” says one.
“Yes,” I say, “I’ve got rid of that poison in me. Now I can be good company again.”
I’m referring to some alienated twistedness in my personality which I’ve now overcome. So it is very gratifying, to make this reconnection.
But then, as we still stand talking, I feel the presence of a little person behind me, a boy who grasps me by the legs, a very young boy. I feel his anxious possessiveness. He pulls me back to an earlier time.
“What’s the matter?” I ask, conscious of something like jealousy on his part, that I’m turning my back on him.
He says he wants my help. Some girl is trying to kiss him! He needs protection. I awaken. I don’t bother wondering what it could mean. Enough to just record it.