Thursday, 14 May 2009

What goes on at night...

The night before last, it was a lizard, outside a window on the sill. The window was below ground, with a trench all around and soil reaching up past the top of it, the grass just showing at the surface. The lizard was on his way off to the surface again. Half-formed, with no skin pigment. Like a tiny axolotl, pink with blue and yellow tones.

Last night, I had a baby. I went to sleep expecting and woke up with a baby wrapped up next to me. I couldn't remember the birth. He was born on Alfie's birthday and wanting to tell Shelley as soon as I saw her. It wasn't his real one, I realised this morning - October 13th. That was because, in my dream, when I'd woken up, it was today, the 14th, and he'd been born in the night. October, I'm not so sure about. I do like October, and it is the start of the new year on some calendars, which makes more sense to me than the 'traditional' new year... that's just postulation. I've left it too long now, I think, but I remember I walked around a shopping centre, in my jeans, thinking about my age, holding the child, thinking about how this was the end of my old life. Feeling sad, grieving for that girl. It was too soon. But loving the baby. He was mostly asleep. I wondered when Richard would appear. I thought, it wouldn't matter whether he was there or not, this was such a huge change, it was impossible to communicate. I was alone with this baby. My family were there, around, my mum particularly, who told me the birth had been rough. I remember moving cautiously, feeling very little soreness, checking out my stretch marks (three small ones on the right, more on the left), trying to remember having a swollen belly. Thinking maybe it was premature, though he didn't look it. I laughed at the thought of my birth being so traumatic. I'd blanked it out, like I was Wolverine. I imagined myself tied to the hospital bed, metal claws exposed. I think I was waking up at this point. One other thing... there were strange nappies, split at the front. George (Richard's dad) had no problem with them, made them look ingenious in fact, we discussed what a good design it was. I couldn't get them on when I was alone. They seemed huge, they didn't split in the right place, I couldn't figure out where the legs went. Someone else had to do it. 

Every time this happens, I'm grateful when I wake up. It's preventative (there's that word again). When you think it's real, you feel how you would feel. The only difference with these things is the suspension of waking reality. It makes it easier to explore the things you daren't think about during the day in case you convince yourself, wrongly, that you want something, and make a mistake... People assume, understandably but incorrectly, that this is as a sign of being broody. Really, I'm being allowed to do something for a while without the genuine consequences that arise. Other people don't really matter in a dream. The whole thing focused on the immediate experience, literally waking up and discovering I was a mother. Holding the baby, being able to feel sad. It's better than the in-laws saying, not yet, but perhaps one day. Whether or not you agree, that's nobody else's decision. Maybe it's not even your own.

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