There’s a man outside shouting down the street at another man, “Are we gonna watch a film tonight?”
“Are we gonna watch a FILM tonight?!”
Fever dreams these past few nights: deep and vivid. I keep returning to the Bodleian in them. It always looks different, but the grandeur and the books give it away. I get lost, every time, happily lost. Sometimes it takes me awhile to find the entrance. Sometimes I breeze past the porters and they seem to accept me as an insider. In one of these dreams I discover there is a mountain inside, a garden out back. I follow a line of tourists through the snow; we sit and have tea on a patio looking into one of the reading rooms. Mostly, I sit inside and do work. It’s very strange to have a dream where you sit and work, and run your hands over books.
Other things in my dreams are less mundane, less easy to pinpoint. Lions and giraffes and monkeys running up a hill. Time-travel: I am disguised as a boy in Oxford, being shown his rooms by a plump woman in an apron. Russian girls wearing wisps of red fabric doing ballet. Me doing ballet; and a handstand, my toes pointed in the air. An upside-down world. More time-travel, as if time is a malleable substance, something made and unmade in my own hands. In the future, my debit card does not work at most cashpoints. Walking a dog. Running up the hill to my parents’ house. A dress shop. A series of hairdressers’. A camera, running out of batteries. If only my debit card worked here, I could buy new ones.
An underground palace, populated by animals (lions, giraffes, monkeys), whose doors open only in response to a human touch. Re-sculpting the shape and size of the Earth itself. None of this seems impossible, or even unlikely.