yesterday's papers / tomorrow's headlines

Sunday must be dream time around these parts. Last night it was my mother, a rare enough event for me, tho' I often dream of my father. We were sitting outdoors on some uncomfortable, perhaps wrought iron, chairs at a little round table. A wall loomed oppressively to her left, as she sat there on mine. Holding my hand. This is not just rare, it's unprecedented, at least since childhood. It was certainly her hand, knotted, veiny, wrinkled. She was expressing her horror of dying, which was very real while she lived, and remarking how bits of her liver were coming out her nose, a kind of powdery zinc or arsenic like deposit. There was more of the dream that lead up to this but I have not retained it. Nor what happened next, if there was any next. It was only as I made breakfast this morning, looking at the phone bill on the fridge to see when it is due, that I realised today is her birthday and remembered the dream. She would have been 83. The thing she hated most about dying was that she wouldn't know what happened in the world after she left it. Which means, I suppose, that her consciousness could not bear the thought of its own extinction. Strange how in the dream she seemed to have aged over the seven years since her death. As if the consciousness that could not bear the thought of extinction has somehow lived on, somehow survived the death of the body. It was a melancholy dream and left a slightly bitter aftertaste, like arsenic or zinc, on the back of my tongue.

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