Checking his messages on his phone and then staring at the bookshelf, he did not know what it was he wanted to say when finally they would meet. He had wrestled with himself in sleep the night before, scared to his wits end by a dream in which he was belittled and made to feel infinitesimally small and reminded of his insignificance. But when it came to define the dream the following morning he was stuck as to how he could put words to adequately describe the shame. Shame had been featuring heavily lately, creeping into his thoughts about his work, his relationship. Questions of whether he owned his own work or whether he was an imposter, questions of whether his love was real or whether everything he attacked her about was in itself a reflection of all his own shortcomings. Coupled with these dreams he felt the shame merging with insignificance and he felt completely paralysed.
He squeezed his fingers into his palm and felt them cold. A door opened upstairs and soft murmurs could be heard. He turned his head as the previous patient walked past, opening the door swiftly and exiting leaving only a small faint scent of perfume.
“You are not the owner of your work, you are merely a conduit for the Great Creator” he thought recalling some self-help book. He reached for his journal and made his way to the stairwell. There she stood, looking down at him with an empathetic expression which immediately disarmed him and brought to the forefront all he wished to tell her.
“You look lovely today” he said, “You’ve dressed perfectly for the weather”.
“Oh” she said with a stammered puff of air which denoted an unreasoned fondness, “thank you, it was cold and wet this morning so I decided to wear boots”. Her voice, which was soft, and might be described as mousy, was in fact considered and more potent for its lightness.
He sank himself into the armchair and placed his journal on the side table. She smoothed out her skirt and neatly crossed her left leg over her right, as she always did, and studied him to ascertain where she thought he might be heading today.
“I had a dream”
“Oh, well, let’s start with that” she said with disarming ease.
“And I wrote my journal. But I will start with the dream. This was a variation of the one I told you about that other time. You know how I got caught stuck on that mountain top in the aeroplane with my cousin and my other friend and I was about to fall out. Well, it’s not exactly the same, but it is similar” and then he slowed his movements and took the journal out to guide himself.
“I was selling pots or pans – I don’t know, they seemed to be special, or especially designed for some purpose. And I was happy. I think I might have been involved with the company or had some stake in it. But then I passed a street one day where, well, I wasn’t sure what kind of a place it was really, it could be Paris, it could be Rome, and it could be Sydney. I just don’t know how to describe it other than there were cobbled stones. You know when a new city sometimes fabricates the look of an old city. It was new but it was old. And there I was with a suitcase full of items and I was busy thinking about my business when I came across Jeremy Winterbotham.”