Friday, 17 April 2015



Last night I dreamed of you, vividly. It was a Matroyshka dream: first, in the dream, I was walking down the street, thinking of the pleasant dream I had just had of you, of how nice it was that you were in my thoughts, and then you were there, by my side: Surprise!
    I couldn’t believe it. It was as if I had summoned you just by thinking about you. In the dream, I didn’t try to play it cool at all. I told you, again and again, that I had just been dreaming of you, and then, there you were. You laughed as if that were obvious. You told me you were back for the summer—maybe longer. I held the happiness inside me and then I let it go like a flock of pigeons, careening and caw-cawing all over us both.
    Since we had last seen each other, you had been making crocheted bears. And, also, you had become a DJ. Had you always been a DJ? I couldn’t remember. It didn’t seem unlikely. We’d listened to music together before, after all.
    I had become a riot grrl. Or rather, I’d always been a riot grrl, but I’d started playing a lot more gigs. In my bedroom were glittered hotpants of every colour. You were trying to give me fashion advice, but we kept getting distracted. I was already late for the concert, sure, but the most important thing was getting the look right. Did I look good? I did, I’m sure.
    In the dream, I didn’t try to play it cool at all. I couldn’t. I had just thought about you, and bam—you were right there! Was that all it took, all along? A dream about you, and you would be back, looking so lovely I couldn’t stop grinning?
    It was not. I woke up, and I was very far away from anyone that I knew. In someone else’s bed, in Sweden. For the first half hour after I opened my eyes, before I had coffee, I was convinced you must be in Berlin. It didn’t seem possible that the dream hadn’t worked. I had already seen, inside the dream, that it was magic. I already knew I had the spell.
    I thought about texting A. to check if you were there, but then I thought better of it. I would let it be a pleasant confirmation when I returned. Such a nice thing to come back to: You.
    It took until lunchtime for the dream to wear off fully. Gradually, I woke up. Slowly, I realised that, of course, it didn’t work like that. My intent was not magic; I couldn’t conjure you out of the air with desire.
    Still, it was so nice to wake up with you in my thoughts today. It has been too long, and that is why I am writing this to you now. To say: Hey. I miss you.
    Now I am sitting at the kitchen table in Sweden and I am not yet convinced, entirely, that I was wrong. I think: maybe you are in Berlin, right at this moment. Maybe I will get home, and walk off the train, and you will materialise by my side: Surprise!


The night was full of dreams again. Last night, in my dreams I cried. My tears were small and petty, so I kept them from falling from my lids. My tears were unjustified, but that just made them hotter. I wanted to have a book, and she had a book, and that was all.
    I couldn’t believe how much time I had wasted. She showed me a big picture book of photographs—her inspiration—and, amongst the willow trees and streams, I was standing in every one in a full length ivory gown. My hair was a violent red. She told me I was beautiful; she was being so nice I could barely stand it.
    I wanted to hate her, but I couldn’t, so I turned the cold light upon myself instead. I smiled at her, and when she wasn’t looking, I smacked myself in the face.
    So many drunk nights not writing, so many pale silver mornings not writing, so many times writing could not compete with the lure of skin. So many trains hopped and cities abandoned, so many hearts broken. So much distraction, scattered all over in the world.
    In the dream, everything seemed imperative. But then again, it was so late, it hardly mattered at all. My book hadn’t happened yet; it might as well never happen. She would always be ahead, like my brother would always be older, no matter how many years I showed up for and lived through. I swallowed; I smiled. My teeth were a harbour wall.
    When I awoke to the alarm with hot, crabbed eyes I thought at first I was still trying not to cry. And then I remembered everything. I lay in the dark for a minute, grinning. Thinking about the week just past, and what I was going back to. It turned out I was right: it hardly mattered at all.