I woke up and all I wanted to do was tell my husband about the dream.
About the strange land with its strange people, where the people are given a building and other resources and told to do with it what they will… And what do they do? They open a workshop where everyone is welcome to develop whatever idea they’ve had in their lifetime.
I walk in and I’m not sure what they make here. There’s an grey old man, dressed in a slacks and a faded blue shirt, sitting at a machine I don’t recognise. I greet him and move on.
Everyone has their own corner – women and men working on their projects. Again I’m not sure why they all look so happy but it’s infectious.
I feel better than I have for a while – these people are living their dreams. All because they were given the space to do so by the government (hard to believe…)!
I stand and marvel at how happy and content everyone seems. Can’t help myself.
The building’s not that new or even cutting edge, in fact the whole neighbourhood (suddenly I have an idea of the whole place) feels like the Cape Flats – with red-bricked apartments that go up for several stories, little windows and hot, black tar streets. The houses are small from the outside, not like those places where the houses look small and suddenly when you’re inside they expand. I just know these houses are like my grandmother’s in Silvertown.
Small rooms, front gardens and weirdly large backyards where my uncle grew his dagga plants and the loquats were always sweet and juicy. How did loquats from Japan end up in Cape Town?.
But I digress.
I walk out feeling like this place actually works, you know, works like other places don’t.
Like watching the news every day reveals that most nations don’t. The people just seem to going about their business, you know. No hassle.
So I walk out and the sun is shining (of course) and I look up at the tall, red-bricked flats, across to the quiet street and wonder where are the cars…
And I suddenly want to drive. Now everyone who knows me knows that’s an issue. I want to drive a car.
I start walking and find myself looking left and see a group of men, young and old, singing outside the building. I walk by and try not to stare – because, well, where on earth does this happen? Not on Earth maybe.
I walk down the road thinking… nothing really. And see one of the guys bounce away from the group and run my way. And now everyone thinks: “Oh, it’s a love story” because isn’t that what most women dream about – a hero to sweep them off their feet?
Anyway, he bounces over and just starts walking beside me. Smile in place. Not a word. He has light hair, curly and way too long. The definition of which is longer than mine.
He says nothing. I smile. I’ve played this game before – it’s not like it’s the first time I’ve been hit on by a pretty boy in a strange place.
And then I find myself talking. Telling him that I want to drive: “Do you have a car?” No answer. But he keep walking, so I do the same. I get the distinct and uncomfortable feeling that he’s not hitting on me. What?
Then he says, “I have a car. It’s not far from here. I’ll take you.” That sounds more like it, I think, smiling.
I start noticing the cars passing us by – vintage mostly, like one would see in those travel pieces about Cuba. This makes sense. I’ve always wanted to go to Cuba. And don’t you imagine that the state would be helpful and the people content in Cuba. I do.
“This is my car,” he says smiling beautifically. I mean how else would he smile in that neat white shirt?
Oh, did I say this wasn’t a love story?
The doors on the turquoise car are slightly ajar. I’m suspicious.
Don’t worry, this isn’t a thriller either.
I open the door closest to me – it happens to be the right door; the passenger side. But all the doors are coated with this black material on the inside. Looks like oil and it’s just dripping from the doors.
Now I have no idea what the yucky black stuff is but, luckily, there are other plans for me because I’m suddenly back at the building I started sans what I have now decided is boy-man with beautific smile, lovely hair and white shirt. I’m not sure if he was any good at the singing.
It’s months later. You know like those movies where time passes with the use of a montage or somesuch device. No such luck here. Just a jump to the future.
I’ve been here for months. Made friends, some enemies I think. They want me out. I can’t get my papers renewed. It sucks. We’re all sad. The people and I in the building where we spend our time being happily industrious.
The building’s changed though. It has a garden and a courtyard. The sun is a little brighter than when I arrived. Could it be me? So vain.
I have to leave this afternoon. They’re sending me home. Surprisingly, I’m not standing and fighting. This must a different me.
I get my bags as he waits. He doesn’t look happy. This is not a love story.
As I say goodbye, some tearful, to people in the workshop, I see cars parked in the courtyard. Those vintage ones I love so much.
There are no women, I suddenly realise. I have just now realised. The cars are filled with men and boys. He says that I have been very popular for the past few months. I misunderstand his teasing and deny everything. Somewhere in there I know I have a family at home.
The cars are filled with boys and men. I am embarrassed. What have I done that deserves this group in the courtyard, waiting to say fare well.
He smiles. I walk out to the street alone. More cars, more people saying goodbye. Everyone from the tall, red-bricked apartments? It seems like it. They’ll miss me.
They wave and smile as they walk towards… the airport, bus? I’m walking down the street with a smile on my face, the weather’s cool and I still don’t know how I’m getting home but it’s fine.
Then the movie thing happens. I cringe because here he is, running towards me, shouting lord knows what. Embarrassed again.
This is not your typical love story. I insist.
He grabs my hand and I have to start running too.
Now I think it’s the airport we’re heading towards but we have to stop somewhere first. It’s hard to describe.
I slide over a rock smoothed by water that runs over it. There’s a painting of a woman on the rock – I wish I was a painter so I could share her face. She’s brown and happy. Not like me?
This is not about love of self or anything as trite. I don’t think so.
There are more rocks and it feels cool and peaceful. Joyful at the same time.
I wake up feeling happy and want to tell my husband about this incredible dream. He brushes me off and I’m upset. It felt like it was life-changing and he’s only half listening.
I wake up – it’s past 6am on Friday morning. Our son is sound asleep, unusual for him.
I want to tell my husband about this awesome dream. But I don’t and move to the bathroom with the images playing over and over in my head.
* I usually spend hours analysing my own dreams. I have nothing. Anyone?