Morning. Against the warble of magpies and the call of the currajongs another day emerges, still cool but there’s heat ahead. You can feel it in the way the sap sighs in the trees. The ground dusty and dry through long days of heat.
At one point in my dreams that skip away as fast as running water down a plug hole, I stand at an ancient laundry trough shoving dirty clothes into a primitive washing machine desperate to reduce the pile beside me.
My wealthy friend leans against the tub nearby, and I sense her contempt for my pitiable ways. Washerwoman and nothing more. Elsewhere in my dream I was the wealthy one who offered to lend money to a friend with whom I worked. She told me she could not manage a bill that had come in unexpectedly. She had no one to help other than her father who was past it.
In my dream I selected a woman who lives around the corner. Why her? She of the bottled red hair that sits on her head like a red beret. We talk dogs whenever we walk past one another. Her warmth and friendliness towards all who pass, the more remarkable for her dog who seems subdued.
Angus, who has taken the place of another dog who died years ago and whom the woman in my dream preferred.
Dreams of money and mess and people. Alongside the red caterpillars of dermatitis that crawl up my arms as though they are flowers in bloom.
I do not know what gets into me these days. Fear of Covid. Fear of failure. Fear of death. The muddy cold of winter days or the searing heat of summer.
The weather is a dictator. It decides on how you might feel from one moment to the next. And it is capricious.
Paul’s friend, Roman, had thin reddish hair and his right eye was milky white from disuse. He hung about on the edges, a man of limited confidence but friendly enough towards me, while enthralled with Paul. His off sider at the races. He went with us once on a picnic along with a group of my friends, who were polite towards him and Paul’s other racing cronies, but the two groups never gelled.
We went one day to Anakie. In search of deer. Paul was experimenting with hunting the only wildlife you could hunt in the bushland of Victoria, deer gone feral. I disliked the idea of a bloodied corpse once the bullet had been dispensed but tagged along with Roman for the companionship and chance to be close to Paul for a day.
Who was I then? A twenty-year-old child-woman with no mind of her own. No plans to speak of, other than to finish her university degree if luck would have it and to spend the rest of her life in his company.
Babies one day maybe, but short of accidentally falling pregnant which had not happened, this young woman knew very little about herself other than that she dislikes raw onion.
She still does.