Night Embassy ... (three)Mature

You have to get on the boat, a voice said.

I had started having very strange dreams.

I was in a harbour. Boats rocked on the surface of the water and a staccato rhythm of the vessels knocking together haunted the quiet, peculiar night. It looked like Vancouver Harbour, but it wasn’t. The water was lilac, the crests of the lapping waves gilded in a glimmer of gold. The city behind me, usually glassy green and blues was a mess of twilight colours, dark oranges, reds, purples, black.

You have to get on a boat, a voice said.

I turned. In front of me stood a young girl, she was naked. I swore.

You have to get on a boat.

People in Vancouver didn’t walk around stark naked. Not that I knew of. If they did, I had been hanging out in the wrong neighbourhoods.

The girl was young. Possibly too young. Almost certainly in her teens.

She stood very still and watched me. Looked me up and down. I looked down. I was naked too.

For centuries dream interpreters had attempted to decipher the meanings of the things our subconscious threw at us. I’d love to know what they’d make of this. I’d read books about dream meanings. Bullshit, if you asked me, but it was basically ancient semiotics – that interested me.

What could it mean? Being naked. Naked girl. Lots of boats, lots of water. A familiar city. Not a clue, I thought. It’s all a bit feminine, I mused.

The girl turned and walked a simple walk, her pert behind effortlessly exuding sexiness. I felt flush like I never had in a dream before. I hoped this wasn’t that kind of dream. What would that say about me?

Years ago, I used to have strange dreams.

Once I had woken, startled, hot and sweaty. Emily had been roused by my sudden jolt in the bed. She held my shoulders and rubbed my back, offered me the glass of water that she ritualistically took to bed.

It’ll help calm you, she said. Tell me what happened.

I told her.

I had stood beneath an apple tree. Green apples scattered beneath the thick branches on a ground that glowed with embers that burnt slowly away at the grass.

In the undergrowth of forest, the shaggy gray hair of wolves hustled past foliage. My Mother ran amongst them. I stood and watched.

The apples now rattled, they floated from the ground and up around me. Their shapes morphed with a pop and turned into alarm clocks. They hung from the branches and tick-tocked away.

My father had tree hands, but they were withered and petrified, slowly in the heat the rest of  his skin shrivelled into the callous grooves of tree bark.

The alarm clock tree behind me lifted, its roots tugging at the earth in clumps, bringing with it a mirror ball, the kind they used in discos to reflect lights off of. In its multitude of reflections I could see the disappointed features of all the people I knew staring right back at me.

After this, everything would melt, like a Salvador Dali painting. My hands drooped against my will as tried to move. My legs ineffectual, suddenly turgid and toffee like. I’d see my face melt, and beneath the dripping, waxy syrup of my own face, I’d see my Father.

Yeah, I used to have strange dreams. I hadn’t had that one for some time now.

Emily would make me drink the water and I’d sit and hold her for a while. With Emily I didn’t feel the need to appear invincible. With Emily I was vulnerable. Both of us were.

Come to think of it, I was naked in that dream too.

The naked girl led me past what should have been coal harbour.

Humans shouldn’t be so shy, I thought to myself. It was quite enlightening to walk down Vancouver waterfront with it all hanging loose.

We arrived at Not Stanley Park. The trees were empty of leaves. We followed the shore around to where I knew totem poles to stand.

I knew little about totem poles. I’d heard a bunch of stuff about them; I took very little as gospel. I had read once that some were intended to commemorate important dead.

I had never heard that they could talk.

My legs hurt, said one.

You haven’t got legs, idiot, said another.

The naked girl continued past them. Momentarily she disappeared ahead of me into the crowded verge of skeleton trees. I followed her into a place I didn’t recognise, was this not, Not Vancouver? This was a sort of Niagra Falls. Only over the purple torrents of crashing water, wooden platforms had been erected atop the falls. Platforms and pathways, shops and houses; wooden shacks designed on stilts that rose above the unstoppable currents of the Niagra river. Here, we were looking out at the Horseshoe falls, even more incredible in this glittery purple dream of mine.

The naked girl smiled at me.

You have to get on a boat, she said.

I watched as an old looking ship, sails unravelling and now billowing in the powerful wind left harbour at the unusual wooden village that hovered above the river. The ship leant dangerously as the wind hooked the huge silvery sails. It straightened and cut perfectly through the water towards the falls.

It’s going over, I said.

I thought of Gloria and her poignant observations.

Once, I had read an article about all sorts of adrenalin junkies and stuntmen that had attempted to go over the falls. To my surprise the majority of them had been successful, going over in just barrels and other such archaic transport. The entire idea of being trapped in one vessel for the rest of my life wasn’t massively appealing to me. I’d done a lot of thinking about this and I had decided that dying wasn’t really for me; I would have much preferred not to get on a boat today.

The naked girl smiled at me.

You have to get on a boat, she said. 

The End

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