Somewhere in the North of England.
Sunday. My trip is over, and it's time for me to go. I can feel the minutes rumbling past, as only a procrastinator can. It's now afternoon. I have of course been putting the return journey off. I am all too aware of the clock turning past 1pm. I've a long journey ahead of me, around six hours. I look at my mum in the kitchen, her soft smile invites me to stay, at least that's what I want it to mean. If I leave now I'll be home around 7pm. Plenty of time. And yet...
The sky dims ever so slightly, it's later, I think around 5. I can still get home in time for bed. I'll have to drive in the dark, but it's not really a problem, but then I realise I have to retrieve my car. I know it's parked further away, for whatever reason I couldn't park closer to home. Where did I put it? I can picture the street. It's somewhere in Pimlico, in London. I need to go and find it, so I set out, the journey and the confusion about the whereabouts of my car and the anxiety of the long drive ahead race around in my head. Do I even know the way home? I've done it so many times, but suddenly I am unsure.
London is about 300 miles from where I supposedly am. I don't question the geographical anomaly. I don't question the fact my mum's alive.
If I leave now, I can just get home in time for work tomorrow morning. Maybe I'll drive through the night. I just need to find the car. The dream becomes all about finding the car.
In the dream the journey never actually starts. Other times it starts, but I never get to where I'm supposed to go (I remember being stuck at a motorway service station, a literal nightmare) It is the state of needing to be somewhere that prevails. The missing car is funny; this is a common theme, in another dream it was in a parking garage so tall and labyrinthine It was like a Terry Gilliam creation. There is always some obstacle to making progress.
I've never felt these problems that much in real life, but I have always had butterflies about travel, a restless urge to get going. Friends have said when I have somewhere to be I get antsy.
London, somewhere on the underground.
I have to get to Waterloo railway station,I know I've got to change trains, this London Underground station is vast, with seemingly endless stairs and walkways. There's people everyhwere. I need to get a through ticket to Southampton, too (why don't I have one already?) I go to the ticket office but it's all confusion and queues. I am certain that if I join a queue I'll never make the train I need. I decide to go upstairs and outside. The outside of the station feels familiar but I don't recognise it at all, it's open like a city square, spacious and absolutely not anywhere real. A constant of my dreams is all these places are weirdly proportioned - cities are too spacious; streets too wide. I am now very worried about missing my train to Southampton. It is a Sunday, I am in the window for the last train already, surely? should I just go back to my parent's flat? I return to the inside of the station (I don't know why), and descend deep into the the station, to the platform level. The platform is massive, more like an overground station. I get on a train. I am anxious and I don't know where it is even going.
I have to get to the airport. I habitually like to leave a couple of hours in hand for the flight. I haven't really packed anything, so I tell myself to get on with it. Imperceptably, time passes and I realise time is now very tight. I am in the car with my dad, I don't think we're going to make it. What flight is it anyway? I don't remember. I'll find out when we get there. I get to the airport and realise I didn't even book a flight, so I set about organising one, as if it is like taking a train. The lines for the counters are so massive that I wonder if I will ever leave that airport. Sometimes i get on the plane, and the dream breaks completely; we have to drive down the road because there's a problem with the runway.
At some university
I'm in a hall of residence, my room feels familiar, but I do not know this place. It is an amalagamation of many places I have known, but again large in the way only an imaginary location can be. I can hear my neighbours running around. They're all aged about 20, and apparently, so am I. I remember that I haven't been going to class for weeks on end, and at some point somebody is going to realise. I've got a mathematics class this morning. I decide not to go. I don't know if I've ever been, It's impossible for me to pass the year now, as far as I know. What am I going to do? I walk out into the corridor and chat with friends. I am extremely anxious about explaining all of this, when the time comes, and come it will. I'm sure of it, and it is the only thing I think of as I contemplate the magnolia walls and linoleum flooring. There is a smell of carbolic acid and stale beer coming from the kitchen, which doubles as a common room. I've never had a recurring dream that actually goes anywhere near a classroom, it is always a version of this place, but the place is different every time, but it has the same look and feel.