As a girl she attended Dresden, and experienced her first of many things. Looking back, it was a happy time, maybe her happiest, although who can be sure after so many years? In Dresden, before she turned 18, she had had her first tentative love affair. Not with a student, but with a local man.
She did not remember him as integral to the happy years; to be honest, she did not remember him at all. She did not remember that in fact he had been a student; though he’d graduated some time before she attended. Of all her memories at Dresden, the only remnant of her first lover was the dream.
It was a recurrent dream, and it followed her through the first great war, and then the second. It came to her on unexpected nights, after her wedding night and her children’s first Christmas Eves’. It came to her in her last nights of old age, after all her memories of the happy Dresden years had faded, it, the dream, remained. Which is really too bad, because it was a terrible dream and whatsmore stemmed from a conversation in 1915, which had not lasted five minutes and was totally unremarkable.
But all the same, she dreamt it at eighty as she had at twenty, just as the excerpt which follows shall show (Accompanied by TRG Banks’ ‘Lake in the woods’ from the album Dreamland – no copyright):
Theodore watched her strangely.
She thought Theodore watched her so strangely; his eyes held secrets and icy fear which is the fear of certain unknowing oscillated and then swamped her, tumbling and tossing between silence and loudness. She sought him out, her raft, swam across the tavern floor away from Theodore. There is something I must know her eyes said I have been found out his replied and he propelled her upward. She floated as he lay on the narrow bed and his young eyes said I trust that nothing bad will come of this and then they said nothing for his head was bowed. Then (I cannot look away!) he dismantled.
His hair slid back and beneath a withered orb spider-silk white tufts and browned age spots. Black brows drifted past for they were only charcoaled on his handsome face which was becoming something else. His strong legs, both but artificial appendages attached with metal joints which he unhinged and dragged aside. An arm followed, then the lower jawbone and ears and part of the nose, so at last on the bed a shapeless ancient thing, and its young eyes trusting and hopeful, so hopeful, innocent young eyes in a face that was not a face at all.
Theodore backstroked past them and laughed relieved, for NOW there were no secrets I see you have told her at last, you old dog! and to her Be not hasty in your actions my dear for what is age but a number?