After this dream I came to a solid decision – no more drinking alcohol before bedtime. It makes for strange strange dreams. I woke up feeling a bit like Alice – drinking a (few) small jars of burning hallucinogenics and falling down the rabbit hole that is my unconsciousness. So, without a firm grip on my own sanity after this dream, I’ll just start from the beginning. Bottoms up!!!
The stadium rose high above my head, its intricate, architectural white marble sides looming and casting long shadows over the car park where I stood as twilight fell. The crowds milled around me – people ferrying pillows, doonas and overnight bags from their cars to the stadium door in preparation for tonight. Looking down, I realised I hadn’t bought anything with me at all. Just the flimsy shorts and t-shirt I was wearing.
Looking around, my eyes passed over hundreds of people searching in vain for the man who had convinced me to come tonight to no avail. Sighing, I let myself get swept up as the crowd slowly surged forward as one, shoulder to shoulder, shuffling towards the two tiny doors of the arena that looked like they’d never let us all in. I guess I would just find him when we got in there. Frowning as elbows jostled my body and people rudely shoved me aside in their hurry to get in, I questioned why I had even come at all tonight. For charity, I assured myself. It’s all for charity. Another sharp elbow to the stomach forced the air from my lungs and caused me to stumble into the woman in front of me. The woman tossed her hair over her shoulder flashing me a haughty, annoyed look. Yep… all for those poor orphans.
As the doors loomed larger and larger before me I started to get excited to see what was inside. These golden tickets of entry were like needles in a haystack to get a hold of; though you’d never know it with the throngs of people fighting to get in. I’d been really lucky to get a spare ticket from him and was glad he’d sent it over to me before the event. The men at the doors stood to attention in red tops and tails. Their skin youthful and oily, their eyes sharp, their smiles friendly. Checking my ticket, one of the young men took my arm and escorted me into the building.
Finally crossing the threshold, I stared in astonishment. It was like a jungle in there – ropes at all different levels throughout the arena suspended small lily pad beds complete with plush white pillows and doonas. Vines with petite lilac flowers curled around the ropes; climbing towards the open-air roof and increasing inky darkness of night. Small pinpricks of glitter smattered over the doonas and lily pads, twinkling under the bright spread of stars. The ground was covered in small, sparkling lights that illuminated the aisles and numbered ladders swaying in the evening breeze. Some beds were already taken – from mums, dads and kids curled up in the biggest pads, to couples hiding under dancing doonas, to individuals settling back with books, drinks and food.
Following the ushers’ directions, I meandered through the thinning crowds towards the back section, climbing my swinging ladder to our pad. Snuggled comfortably under the doona sat Mike smiling down at me.
“She’s finally here!” he exclaimed, reaching out and grabbing my hand to pull me up onto the pad with him. Laughing I let him pull me up, crossing my legs and surveying the world of beds from our high vantage point. Breathing deeply, I let out a small cough, frowning as the toxic smoke of cigarettes filled my lungs. Glancing around I took in the chubby, man-sized caterpillars dotting the landscape. One in particular was sitting a few pads over, blowing smoke rings and ruining the serenity of the night.
I started to move towards the edge of the pad to get some help. This was just unacceptable. Pulling me over, Mike told me not to worry and murmured that we should get some rest. Stretching out, I hugged the snugly, feather doona to my body and closed my eyes. I could forget about it. For charity. Drifting slowly off to sleep, I was jolted sharply back to reality by the loud snores of those around me. Sitting up I looked around, taking in the sleeping figures of chubby caterpillars, men, women and children – all emitting nerve grating, window shattering, ground shaking snores. Flopping back onto my pillow, I blew my hair off my face. I wouldn’t be getting any sleep tonight. Grumbling I reminded myself once again – this is for the orphans.