Groupie no. 52 (title tbc)
‘…my, my baby goodbye…’ (July 2003)
I dreamt about him again last night. I find I’m always dreaming about him these days. Or is it a memory? Or is it something to come or something that will never come? Them. Him and his little family this time. Always the same sort of thing, always the same way, can’t recognise who he is. I don’t know who he is, I don’t know who she is, I don’t know who the baby is. Just can’t see who any of them are. Are they mine? Am I him? Am I her?
He was walking down a familiar street, in my dream, pushing a blue striped baby buggy, with a black and silver rucksack hanging on the back. He was striding along, a tall man with dark hair and the hint of a beard shadowed on his face, wearing a navy jumper and those grey elephant cords. He always wears those. So many things about the dream are clear, like a thing that has happened over and over so many times that you remember it in your sleep, and then you wake up and you are confused and don’t know where you are.
He paused for a minute to look at the sculpture of the lady in the fountain outside the library. He felt the memory of them. Two giggling girls, one bottle of Fairy liquid, one overflowing fountain. The baby gurgled happily as it watched the jets of water and the man (he had kind eyes – he always has kind eyes) leaned over and tickled the baby’s chin. He adjusted the baby’s loose blanket and wheeled the buggy on.
‘Not long now,’ said the man, I can hear his voice but I cannot hear what he sounds like, parking the buggy and sitting on the bench by the bus stop. He got a bottle of juice out of the rucksack and gave it to the child, who started sucking contentedly, letting it slip from his grasp a couple of times so his father would have to replace it.
A bus pulled up at the stop and the man looked eagerly looked at the door. An old lady got off, followed by an impatient pair of young lads, it didn’t look as if she had caught this one. But then she was there. The mother. Couldn’t see what she looks like either. I think she must be nice. They seem pleased to see her. They seem to love her. She came over to him and kissed them.
And then the dream ended. It’s like I know them. They have been visiting my dreams now for months or years even. Who are they? Who are they? Will I ever know? Will I ever meet them? Am I in the dream? I am them but I am not them. I don’t think so, I don’t think so, no. It’s like they come to me and want to tell me their story, they want me to tell their story. And now I have started forgetting what my story is and what their story is and how it all fits together. If it ever fitted together. I dread their nightly visits but I long for them. I love them (all of them) and I hate them, for keeping me in the dark but keeping my eyes open. I am afraid of the day when I forget me and only remember them. It’s happening already.
I found the pillow was wet when I dreamt I woke up.
(c) Sam Hall, 2011, an extract from my forthcoming novel, tentatively titled Groupie no. 52.