She dreams of preparing a revolution, a demonstration, a situation with a slim waisted woman with dark brown hair, a crowd of people and a family. In a huge apartment, plans are laid. She dreams of kissing the man that she loves, of ineluctable crumbling, disintegration, of the things that are going to happen.
“Je t’aime”, he says.
She dreams of flying in azure, into the endless blue above a London street, of watching the crowds, awaiting events, of all of the yearnings ploughed, year after year, into the furrows and ridges of her skin, her hide, She eats a hard-boiled egg in the sky, grips the ovoid promise in her hands, fears of dropping shell on someone’s head. Cracks and splintering.
“Hold me”, he whispers. “Tiens-moi”
She dreams of the butterflies in the forest, of ephemeral dust and of the advancing mud of time, of all that is here and was.
‘To hold. To contain, To foster. To cherish’, she reads in a dictionary.
Then, she dreams it is over and the crowds disperse, to the beat of her breath and drift uneasily.
“Let us travel to the earth”, they exclaim; “ Lets us walk through our grief”; with each step they are lost, perdu and found, trouvé.
She dreams of much later, of time silting, of returning to stillness, to a kind of blue. She tries to catch the impossible, desperate remembrance. She forgets the colour that has no name, like the non-existent word for blue in Ancient Greek whose absence made C2Oth historians believe the Greeks were colour blind. They had no word for the sapphires of the sea. The cerulean skies. The indigo hope.
“There is a moment of silence after death when only poetry and song can convey our grief”, the philosopher writes.
She dreams of later, when the apartment is empty, vide de tout, except for one woman who stays with her lover.
She dreams of this couple in an empty room with a gun and a knife on the navy bed, and their legs are thin and they are sat in silence, eyes fixed forwards, slowly dying of starvation.
“We are waiting” he murmurs, “Nous attendons, nous attendons”.
Then, she dreams of the apartment doorbell ringing and the sight of the man she loved with mud on his legs saying,
“I fought them with my stick”. The mud coats his ankles and shins, his thighs and knees, an inevitable layer of soil, the sediment of his days. Exhausted, he falls to the floor.
And, she dreams of going to the forest and picking bruised apples from the edge of a clearing, next to a blue river. The water turns. Trees are covered in sylvan kisses. And she dreams of desperately gathering fruit, of it falling, red globes tumbling into dirt and of a woman appearing with a plate of food, prepared by a friend for the starving couple, and she dreams of the woman falling to the forest floor, weeping and sobbing, saying,
“You cannot die, you cannot die. I could not bear it if you died”.
And she looks up and the cobalt water flows.
Susanna Crossman is the co-writer of the French novel, L’hôpital: Le dessous des Cartes (LEH, 2015), and her short fiction is recently published or upcoming in The Creative Review, Litro, The Stockholm Review of Literature, BlueFifth Review, and has been shortlisted for the Bristol Prize and Glimmertrain. Her regular hybrid collaborations have led to artists books and video-poem performances, most recently Les Ruines a parafictional project with French artist Anne-Sophia Duca. She is represented by Craig Literary. Read more at: https://susannacrossman.squarespace.com