A Midwinter Night’s Dream

I meet this wild girl at a strange event, outdoors and indoors, it keeps changing like a chameleon. At first it’s just a place where people are gathered, like a town square in Italy, with café tables open day and night till late. It’s all well-mannered and sedate.

Then I find myself drawn into a church. The congregation is sparse, a few nuns and some respectably-dressed men and women standing and chatting quietly. I think the service has finished and  they’re the only ones left. I stay in for the atmosphere: prim and stark, yet embracing, makes me feel I belong.

There I notice a skinny restless girl. I say girl but she looks around 25. Could be much less. You get a sense that she’s already lived too much, been through too much in her life. I feel her eyes on me. She approaches after a while, looking into the distance to avoid eye contact.

Inevitably we end up recognizing one another’s presence. Now I can see her more closely, she looks nervous. Her nails are bitten down to the quick. Suddenly I guess why she’s here. She’s afraid of someone. She’s seeking sanctuary  in this church, but it’s about to close.

Later, in a fully-awake state, I see her as some confused woman, like Janis Joplin, as conveyed by Bette Midler in The Rose. I’m open to her presence, ready to assist in any way I can: but a little apprehensive. She’s ready to confide in me, says she’s been doing drugs and self-harm—shows me scars on her left wrist. Now she’s confessed, she looks straight in my eyes, trustingly like a dog. I say I don’t know how I can help. Then out of he blue she says “Would you sleep with me? You’d be an expert at your age. I feel safe with you . . . ”

With a jolt I realize that I must still look like an old man. Thought I’d been a disembodied observer.

“. . . I would very much like to sleep with you.”

“Well, that would be lovely. You are a most attractive person.” I mean it sincerely. Physically she doesn’t look that way at all: a troubled soul, she does not shine, I don’t feel any welcome for such intimacy. Yet there is something special about her, I can’t define it, which makes me able to say that without hesitation.

“But we don’t know each other yet.”

“Yes but I can see straight away you are a good and kind man. So I trust you, put my body and soul at your disposal. And it’ll just be the once. I have to leave early tomorrow . . .”

I raise my eyebrows questioningly.

“. . . I have to escape from somebody.”

“I’ll be honest with you Yes I do want to sleep with you. There’s something about you, a loveliness that’s ready to emerge and take flight, like a pretty butterfly, but . . .”

“But what?”

. . . I’d like you to meet my wife. Come, we live just round the corner.”

“Won’t she hate me when she finds out what you just said?”

“She’ll be shocked. She’s very prim and proper.”

At which point I awaken, Should I tell my wife?

(I’ve told her I’ve had an interesting dream and am going to send it to you. She made no comment. She’s never curious about my writing, but if she asked I’d tell her. We have no secrets from one another.)

PS. I read it to her this morning. She laughed.

PPS. See also Ghetu’s stories. Many of them resemble the above in structure.


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