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(141) Cochi tir



The other night, I sat up in bed and listened to a steam train in the distance. I live about half a mile from a railway station and it surprises me to hear the modern trains shunt on a quiet weekend night—suddenly, I’m aware they are there. This weekend, it was the steam train special—probably a Christmas special for the children to ride with Santa Claus. The steam train is much louder than a modern train, and much more organic—its coziness doubtless associated with the way a kettle sings for a cup of tea. At that moment, as I sat up in bed, I felt the room around me fall away—in part, back to the 1950s when this was a primitive suburb and people caught steam trains, but then almost immediately beyond that. It was not a fall back in time, it was a fall out of time.


You have heard the expression “life is a dream” before—either represented as from the Chinese sage who suspected he was a butterfly that dreamt it was a man, or on a fridge magnet, or on a quote site. Until last night, I would have said that I saw what people meant when they say that intellectually but if I said “life is a dream” I was not sincere. However, last night, as the room fell away from me, I had the real sensation that life is a dream and at the same time I felt I had awoken from a long fever and that all my past life, as remembered, was just a dream that I had now stepped from. I had sloughed from that skin, as with the snake.


Later, I dreamed a dark humanoid in a tracksuit was on top of me; it kissed my nipple and said: “I had to slip past the two laundry women to tell you I truly love you.”—the two laundry women being my mother and aunt, asleep in the other rooms.



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