Friday, 3 December 2010

Yellow Silk

I got trapped at work. Did I tell you? I told the internet, in social networking land. I got there for half two, Tuesday, and left at twelve noon on Thursday. I slept on a mattress in the (brand new) stock cupboard, which was actually very comfortable, and it wasn't just me, Rosie did it too and she left later than me.

I fell into a snowdrift in my eagerness to flag the bus down. Didn't have time to acknowledge tittering passers-by. The driver was nonplussed. I sat on top deck on my own (I'm pretty sure I heard a bloke say "She's not used to getting buses", though he didn't look human enough to be using wit) and rang the people I wanted to talk to, that I hadn't been able to before. There's not much network signal can get through a 1970's egg-box.

It was amazing to get home. I was tired but we walked the dogs, walked to Towsure for wellies, walked to the shop for food and then walked to Blockbuster, just because I hadn't been outside in all that time, other than to stomp in snow for about two minutes before it lost its novelty and became something else. So I did lots of stomping last night, and hitting disguised kerbs and saying 'oops' a lot. I made good use of my woolly tights and big woolly jumper, two pairs of gloves, newfound freedom. And of Richard. He showed me some BJJ moves and I resisted the urge to tickle or bite my way out of the many variations of 'the clamp' that he is learning. One is even triangular.

The most exciting thing that happened to me while I was snowtrapped was a dream I had early Thursday morning. First, some background. My friend Martin is a sea fisherman, not by trade but because he's a bit anti-social, likes shiny waders and the cold. Ha ha. (Sorry, Marty.) A while ago, was telling me he's been fishing with a bloke that wants him to go abseiling off a cliff to catch some ... I don't know, some extreme cliff fish. I was egging him on. He hates heights. I told him I wanted to come too, to take photographs of him, which he thought was mean, but I meant to offer a souvenir of the time he conquered fear and fish in one fell swoop. Anyway. I shall begin.

We were in Sheffield centre, looking at the wheel. In real life, the Sheffield Wheel is no more, having been dismantled to make way for a huge Christmas tree. In my dream, they'd replaced it with another wheel. It was huge. I have butterflies in my stomach, thinking of it again. It was so big, I couldn't see the bottom of it - it was hanging off the edge of the world. It had no carriages, as such. It was made of immense cylindrical spokes, with huge joists, and it was a bluish gold, but more gold than blue. I was looking at it as myself, meaning I couldn't see myself in the dream, I was just seeing the scene, with my own eyes. I don't know how else to describe it other than this made it truly real; my response was the same as it is now, remembering. I couldn't look at it for too long. It was too big. I couldn't handle it. I kept hiding my face in my hands, my heart was pounding, but I wasn't scared. Utterly overwhelmed, and excited and amazed, but not frightened. It was slowly rotating. I could feel my heart. I'm surprised I didn't wake up. As this is taking place, Martin is stood to my left, I'm saying, "I can't look," then taking my hands away again and again, only to bury my face in them after seconds. "No, I can't." It hurt like looking at the sun, but in my chest. It was sublime.

The next section, I'm stood, looking down at my legs, and a rush of thoughts come at once - the main one being, 'We're still wearing harnesses.' It's difficult to describe, but it sweeps me up: knowing what comes next, disbelief, disconnectedness and excitement. Then a swathe of yellow silk floats down over us with rings punched into it, like tarpaulin. The rings are attached, one either side of my hips, and we sweep into the air. I could feel myself float for miles, and swing in a massive arc towards some ridiculous, made-up, shirtless circus performers who catch the tops of my feet lightly with a wire. At one point, I thought it was going to slip, but it didn't. I relaxed, it stayed, they controlled the entire show, and people applauded below. I screamed, at one point, but it was like a parachute jump: No-one below would hear. The entire time, I was aware of Martin beside me, amused, observing, like he did this all the time and the whole set-up was entirely for my benefit. He was in a blue boiler suit. The entire time. Yellow and blue, and I remember vividly thinking, I don't know what I'm doing, but I'm just going to keep pointing my feet - and seeing them, pointed, my legs perfectly straight, as if I was pushing myself through the air by doing so, building momentum.

We came down, and I tried to jump into the air again, and got nowhere. I squealed, nearly fell over. He laughed at me. I asked if his friends, all blokes in the audience, had been taking pictures. We were so high, they'd not show us anyway, but I was hoping he'd say no so we could go back up. I woke up then, elated. At half four in the morning I got up to tell Rosie, who was doing part of the waking night. It doesn't matter how I tell it, I can't explain the feeling. In a way, it's nice - nobody else can have it, or comment on it, or put pictures of it on the internet.

Though it was this photograph, posted on the very same net of inters, that prompted me to write.

I've dreamed of the wheel before. The last end-of-the-world dream I had, it flew off into the sky with screaming passengers in its carriages. I had that one right before we went on holiday. It was another out-of-this-world dream, intense and enjoyable and visually breath-stopping. Cloud columns were shooting into the air. I was in Billingham for that one. Makes sense that it would all start at Huntsman Tioxide, I suppose. I tend to dream of sky and metal structures when I'm elated, or need to be. I dream of cellars and tiny holes that I must crawl through, when I'm worried. In those dreams, I never sleep long enough to make a decision: stay where I am, or attempt the squeeze, and risk getting trapped. I'm always aware of death in the tight spaces. Never, in the sky.