We ate in some pub. It was London but some part between one and another – a not-quite-zone, ambiguous, hard to definite in its mix of houses, businesses, retail units, construction work, cobbled alleys and nothingness. The light and the sky above was pure Magritte for a while, vivid blue and unreal, later fading with the street to become a shadowy De Chirco. Just down the road Crow said was a house in which Verlaine and Rimbaud had stayed for a while, a house of ill repute, whose blue plaque was now removed for reasons that could only be guessed at. History was always flickering then, in and out of existence, a story told one day and not the next, a story still whispered.
Outside the window, in the darkness/dim orange of distant streetlamps and moon, men were waiting on the street to catch plastic bin-liners crammed with rubbish dropped from the windows of the flat upstairs, the bags then laid out on the street like lines of slumbering figures hunched foetal for collection. A strange furtive sport – this dropping and catching of the bags – played in the shadows, and meant apparently to be observed only as if by chance, through windows as conversation proceeded inside…
Someone said that as a child all her dreams were bad dreams (and hence she grew to fear sleep, telling herself stories to stay out of it, pinching herself… trying all sorts of remedies but always falling in the end to that place where dreams would come, unwanted.)
Another seated at the table, with clear deep eyes, said that once, way back as a child, she’d dreamed that she’d pressed the button to launch the bombs to start the nuclear war. Months of guilt, maybe longer, for something that did not even happen.