The setting of the dream: a large farm the dreamer understood to be Orwell’s. Visitors had come – six or seven. The dreamer sat in a closed car with them because, outside, a hailstorm was in relentless progress. Hailstones the size of golf balls. Whatever spring greenery had started to sprout was being cut down and flattened to the ground. With a start, the dreamer wondered if her brother was out in the storm. A voice said he was inside the stable, tending to the panicked horses.
Dreams have a way of synthesizing and dramatizing events. They do so with no concern whatsoever about judgmental issues such as good or bad taste.
Speaking to my contact from Réseau Education Sans Frontière last night, I learned another family was under house arrest in similar circumstances to the one here in town. Coincidence or not, the other family is also Rom. The papers served on that family also state they received the order to leave France back in January. They didn’t. At this end, I’ll go through every scrap of paper at the family’s apartment again but I doubt I’ll find a trace of said document. The significance being that the January date places the present house arrest until deportation too late for an appeal.
Other institutional proceedings are underway. When systems get screwy and lose sight of every last human consideration imaginable, the only thing you can do is to stand by people who don’t “deserve” what’s happening to them. No one “deserves” to be treated like excess luggage that gets shunted off while, all around them, life goes on as if the dream hailstorm was happening inside the parked car. Outside, the sun shines or a drippy rain falls. People kvetch (in France, it’s called “râler”; a kvetch is a “râleur” or a “râleuse”; “râler” is something of a national pastime.)
The draft in all this? Much on my mind, not much in my fingers. More paperwork to photocopy somewhere (the home printer, out of ink and none of the cartridges to be had in town); a stop to say good morning to the local gendarmes where the family must sign in every day until the deportation; off to Albi with them for another procedure at the Préfecture; then, back for a full afternoon of coaching children with little appetite for school learning.
Avoiding pathos. Making the best of the breaks when they show up. Keeping a mindset as clean as that of a dreamscape, no matter what images, sensations and emotions the dream projects on the inner screen. In real life, there was quite a bit of laughing yesterday, when the father finally came back from the gendarmerie. Relief; we all had visions of him going straight to a retention center. There’ll be less laughter further down the line, that’s a given. When you know worse times are coming, is there any point in anticipating?
Best I can do is to make sure there’s some laughter in the story when I get back to it, or when it gets back to me. (Pocket notebook with me? At all times, when awake.)