Last night, though, for the first time in a while, I managed to get a mostly uninterrupted night's kip. (I say 'mostly' because, in their infinite ruining ways, the Chemo Gods have decided that, now the spots are showing signs of clearing up, I'm obviously equipped to handle a nice bout of cystitis. Bastards.) Either way, last night's sleep kept me under long enough to have another of my weird-ass dreams. Here goes.
Having learned of The Bullshit, a bunch of my school friends got together (and I'm talking about people I've not thought about for years, not the limited few I still see) to throw a soiree for me in a private room at the rear of a petrol station (classy). For some reason I turned up to the party in my dressing gown (actually, that's not so difficult to suss – I'm always in my dressing gown these days) and, rather than everyone hanging out together, the girls and boys stayed on separate sides of the venue, similar to the way we gathered round different tables in our form room. While the girls gossiped in one corner, each boy took it in turns to take me aside for a chat about their favourite school memories of me, a bit like in that episode of Friends where they each have a separate goodbye talk with Rachel before she leaves for Paris.
One (a boy I went to nursery school with) sat me down for a chat on the sofa and, inexplicably, introduced me to his sausage dog. (I've just read that back and would like to point out that it wasn't as dodgy as that may have sounded. He actually had a sausage dog. A brown one. Enough now.) Then his twin brother took me for a country walk and we reminisced while sitting on a fence overlooking a field. From there, two more lads from my class (again related, oddly – this time cousins) pulled up in their car and took me for a drive around town to point out all the places we used to go as teenagers. On getting back to the petrol-station venue, waiting in a private room a bit like a Lucky Voice karaoke booth were two more lads from my year: a favourite old class-clown friend that I've not seen for ages and his best mate (and former object of my teenage affections). As the most confident and big-gobbed of my school friends, they had been nominated to present me with a special gift that they'd planted in my dressing-gown pockets. The right pocket was filled with sweets (the kind you'd buy in a pick-n-mix) and the left pocket contained a beautiful purple leather Smythson notebook (the kind that'd cost you a lifetime supply of pick-n-mix).
The lads looked on as I opened the notebook, filled with messages from all of my old mates. It was a bit like one of those leavers' books that you'd get everyone to sign when you left school but, rather than being full of drivel about how you were a 'nice person' and a 'good listener' and that you'd be 'wiv your [unsuitable] boyfriend 4 eva', each person had instead left a note revealing the single thing they really wanted to tell me, assuming I was, well, 'leaving for Paris', shall we say. (Incidentally, I have just dug out my old leavers' book and it is a bloody hilarious read. All the girls have made references to Take That and drawn either a flower or a CND symbol, and all the boys have made references to a Derby County player they nicknamed 'The Beast' and taken the piss out of each other's messages. My favourite scribble by far, however, comes from someone I can't recall and reads: 'Sorry about the messy writing and remember me as the one who went abroad for the eczema treatment.')
Anyway, back to the dream. Realising that the notebook contained such personal messages and that the lads were looking on, I told them that I'd take it home to read later (the same etiquette that stops you reading everyone's notes in your birthday card from work, when all everyone really wants is to see you tear into the present). When I got back from the party and read through the notebook, it was filled with all kinds of missives, each from an actual school friend (rather than made-up dream folk). Some people said thank you for something or other. Others apologised. One said sorry for blanking me in a bar years after we'd left school – something that actually happened and I've always wondered why. One girl told me she'd never really liked me and knew that the feeling was mutual (she was right), but hadn't we done well for staying civil all those years. And another one was from a boyfriend (the only person from another school who'd written in the book) that simply read: 'I thought about you'.
Now, as ridiculous as it is, that dream is pretty morbid, no? People from my past having one last opportunity to tell me the one thing they never did? My subconscious can be a right wanker sometimes. It's got a really irritating habit of gathering up all the emotions I'm not feeling and the people I'm no longer seeing and the things I'm not thinking about, and mixing them all together to create one big dream recipe that'll give me something to chew on for days on end. As it goes, I'm actually feeling pretty chirpy at the moment (acne and burning sensation aside), and all those early-stages doubts about mortality and future illness have since been replaced with excited plans of all the good times I'm going to have as soon as The Bullshit is done with. (Last night I was plotting weeks of Stateside fun with my LA friend who promised she'd arrange for there to be a mini-earthquake while I'm visiting, just so I can say that I've experienced one.) But no. My subconscious would much rather I woke up feeling cross, then sat about fretting in my dressing gown. Just as I was coming round from my dream and angrily yanking off my sleep mask to tell P how I was feeling, he rolled over, gave me a kiss and made up a little song about how lovely it was to be in bed with me. And there it is. I just don't have the energy to stay mad with my subconscious when the real-life stuff is this good.