During certain periods in one's life, for some mysterious reason, one might be prone to dreaming a sequence of unrelated, fabulous dreams. And in such a vivid way that one remembers them in fine detail. 'Full colour,' complete dreams that on awakening, in the midst of these nights, one feels the need to write them down lest they be forgotten.
I refer to this now, because I recently came across a few examples, scribbled down in one of my old note books, and this took me back to that particular period. Perhaps it was during a short stay with a sister when, unconsciously, I might have been a little ill at ease or preoccupied by something.
Or could it have been that my sub-conscience was sorting out its memory banks and amusing itself in the process? Whatever, this strange, unique period lasted for about a week, six or seven almost consecutive nights of totally different dreams, each one taking place in curiously diverse locations.
The following one is peculiar because much later on, I had a similar dream. Obviously by then I had completely forgotten about this first one. In the second dream I was the tailor. And in an effort to retain my sanity, I was in the habit of kneading the piece of fine worsted fabric in the right pocket of the wet, muddy breeches of my uniform. It was during the First World War. The horrors of a winter in the trenches.
The following of the first dream is exactly as I wrote it, in the middle of the night, many years ago.
A clearing somewhere near the edge of a wood in Russia. A small outpost consisting of a radio operator's cabin and a Nissen hut. Near the cabin there is a dug out where two soldiers are supposed to be on night guard duty.
It is early evening and there's a damp mist. It's cold.
One of the soldiers is a young man perhaps less than twenty. He is not very intelligent, but he has a pleasant nature. The other one is a good deal older, about fifty-five. He is a tailor by profession. To remind him of the past and his trade which he misses, he keeps a piece of fine, woven cloth in his coat pocket. From time to time he nostalgically feels the cloth between his index finger and thumb.
Both men have been on active duty for quite a long time, and are weary of the war.
The tailor has also a photograph of a very pretty Russian girl that he found in the wallet of a dead soldier. On the back of the picture, is written the name and address of the girl. Occasionally he looks at the photograph and he remembers when he was younger. He never married.
Here, the fine cloth in his pocket, as well as the photograph, have become his reason of being and means of escaping from the war and the intolerable routine. He withdraws into a blissful fantasy, thanks to the photograph and his piece of cloth. He has decided that he will send a letter to the girl enclosing the photograph with the fine fabric.
Earlier, an attack was planned by the enemy to destroy the outpost, and this was carried out successfully that same night. The enemy completely surprised the Russian defenders and suffered no casualties.
Before the tailor was killed, a fleeting thought of the drill procedure that he knew by heart yet failed to comply by after all this time, ran through his mind and even made him wanly smile.
The sepia photograph and the piece of woven cloth were buried with him.
Text and image © Mirino. Marche, 2013