Vanessa says, “You never seem to remember your dreams in Petersham!”
But this morning, two small dreams stick with me.
In one, my friend Anna emails me a very long story about her life. It’s a convoluted and difficult tale, but I can’t see any reference within it to Petersham. She now lives in Glebe. And then I find it, one tiny sentence, a footnote in an autobiography:
“From age one to nine, I lived in Petersham.”
In the second dream, I bump into Rohan on the street, just outside my gate. “My flatmate found your blog!” he says. “And he wanted to say how much he admires you!” His face is flushed and smooth, rosy cheeks, hairless, like a waxwork model of himself.
A breakfast date with Helen and Barbara at Big Brekkie. We shift the table around in the sun. Both Barbara and I want the feeble autumn light to touch our exposed skin. But Helen needs shade. It’s like having a vampire to breakfast, I joke. (An image comes to mind of Spike, the vampire in Buffy, running through the streets with a blanket over his head, body steaming in the broad daylight).
I can’t remember why, but at a certain point in the conversation Helen declares: “Fifty percent less effort!” – it’s something her Zen teacher has advised. That makes sense, I think. But I forget to follow it up.
While we’re eating, Heather and Polly and Nay, my neighbours from around the corner, show up. I haven’t seen Heather since our frisbee escapade. That seems like weeks ago now. Since the first attempt at a dinner invite fell through, they invite me around once again. “We’ve still got that pumpkin you gave us. We’ll make soup!” says Heather. It occurs to me that if I’d known it was going to take so long to cook up that pumpkin, I could have left it growing in the ground. It’d be twice as big by now…
I walk with Barbara down to Cass Bros Plumbing supplies. She needs a wide PVC pipe to roll up some fragile prints for transport. On the way, a text message comes through from Vanessa:
you are nearby
today, you are
welcome to stop
by + have some.
This is great, I’ve been wanting Barbara and Vanessa to meet. Barbara is about a third of the way through a demanding project in which she must do a webcast, every night, at sunset, for 1001 nights. The text for each online performance is “donated” by a different writer each day. It’s a delicate balancing act for Barbara, co-ordinating all those writers, without whose textual gifts her project would collapse. And I reckon Vanessa, with her prolific (dare I say obsessive) output, would be a perfect contributor.
The apple pie is indeed stunning. It has a delicate balance of spices, and just enough sultanas to make it interesting. Vanessa says she has cold hands, which Barbara notes is a good thing for a pastry chef.