Desert

I know why I dream it, it came to me as I walked. The important thing is that I solved it, or at least got myself out of the dilemma. I found myself walking in a desert. There was just sand, nothing but sand, no landmarks whatsoever. I wasn’t too perturbed, but I remember thinking to myself that I was lost, or that I could be walking this terrain forever. Then, as I thought it I found myself (which is often how it happens in dreams) in a busy bookshop, sharing a table with another person, a man I think, and waiting to give a talk of some sort. Then I was walking beside a waterway I knew. I recall thinking to myself I know this, this is familiar, this is nice, I know this. At first it made me think of my time in Covent Garden (I know, there is no water there) then of our trips to Norfolk, and Blakeney in particular and then of Cornwall. Not that it looked like any of these places. Then I was in a waterside cafe and asking for a job. Two women interviewed me. The one who seemed to be the boss was reluctant, standoffish but as we talked I could feel her soften. I’ve waitressed lots of times, I said to her, all the time knowing that I didn’t really want to do it but I’d come all that way and I wanted a resolution. She was hard to soften. At one point, in my eagerness to show willing I put some dirty plates on the dumb waiter. Does that go to the kitchen? I asked. It was an odd contraption that appeared to be going round rather than upwards. Don’t do it like that, the boss woman snapped, you’ll hurt yourself. But I knew even in her abrasiveness, or perhaps in spite of it, she would employ me. That will do for now, I thought. That’s work solved. But it’s funny how the current climate is feeding in. They are sitting too close, I remember thinking. And how come the cafe is still busy? The boss said that they did over 10,000 covers during the day in the summer. I shall be exhausted, I thought to myself, but think of the tips. All very prosaic, but I write it to fix it in my mind. I slept better. Just waking once in the night and then again five minutes before the alarm. We keep it tight, he and I, disregarding the mayhem of the lockdown. Life flows onward. I work as usual, and he reads the papers as usual, though online. We breakfast at the same time and we walk at the same time. Is it mad not to implode, to soften, to yield, to grow flabby with ennui? Are you doing that? She always accused me of rigour. Did she mean it was unnecessary? I do it for myself. To hold it all together. I have done so in even more extraordinary circumstances, believe me. Personally extraordinary, that is, not globally. Still no news from work. Will they furlough us? Huge organisations have no conscience. I keep nudging, will it do any good?