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From a dream

and the first thing I thought when I came to was that my head didn’t hurt and that this was peculiar as I was sure it had been a terrible fall and I was certain that I briefly felt the base of my cranium crash hard against something (the bathtub?) and it was also strange, I thought, that I was standing but the sense of urgency and need for haste was overwhelming so I left the bathroom quickly and moved downstairs quickly and before I knew it I was in the foyer and the Famous Woman was waiting for me already

and I turned about me and saw that Belle was looking around impatiently and I called out to her and told her I wouldn’t be long and the Famous Woman smiled kindly at me and she said we needed to hurry and I called out to Belle and she looked beautiful and I remembered us as two young people and I realised, again, that I loved her

and the Famous Woman took my hand and we walked out of the foyer and up a long, old staircase and the dust smelled like cinnamon and we arrived on a corridor and the Famous Woman told me Belle would follow us and we walked past several blue doors and behind them I thought I could hear music and laughing and we passed some black doors and I was sure I could hear screaming and tearing and agony and pain and I did not dare to look down because I knew I would see the thick, tarry pool of old blood which seeped from under it

and the Famous Woman told me we needed to hurry but I had to move closer to the black doors and I thought I heard names I knew, shouted loudly over the din of pain and suffering, and it made me miss Belle and I had to move closer still

and I heard scratching and ripping and I could smell something sour which filled my nostrils and made me think of kitchens and of a decision to be a better person in the future and of a terrible New Year’s Eve and of arguments with my parents and of regrets and of Sunday evenings before school as a boy and I moved away from the door and realised I was weeping and the Famous Woman put her arm around me and led me away from the black doors

and we arrived upstairs; a huge courtyard-shaped room with seating along the edge and nothing in the centre and a few people looking in my direction and I was still weeping and the feeling of the Famous Woman’s arm around my shoulder made me feel better but I longed, now, to see Belle and I turned and saw a window at the back of the room and I could see Belle and there were others there and I loved each of them and they loved me

and I moved towards the window and shouted out and I saw Belle was sad and shaking and I wanted to go to her

and I turned towards where the Famous Woman was now sitting and she smiled kindly to me and she beckoned me to sit down and I moved and I sat and she said “There: isn’t that better?” and she reached out her hand and I realised

and I didn’t want to but I realised

and I looked into the Famous Woman’s eyes and she was sad and welcoming and I asked her and she said it didn’t matter and I asked again and I said “Am I dead?” and she said “It doesn’t matter” and I looked at the window and I wanted to go to it and I asked if the people there, the people I loved, come come into the courtyard-shaped room and she said they could not

and I looked at the Famous Woman again and I was weeping and she smiled kindly and she understood and I asked her what had happened because I could not remember and she told me and I understood and I wept again

and she said “You had a terrible fall. In the bathroom. You hit your head, hard.” and she stopped smiling and she said “They didn’t get to you in time.”

and I understood

and I remembered Belle and I remembered us as two young people

and the Famous Woman put her arms around me again and everything started to drift away and I forgot what I’d asked and I felt calm and nothing hurt

and the Famous Woman said “There: isn’t that better?”

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