There was a period when I fell into the habit of sleeping in, even until noon! Disgusting. Well into one morning a dream or nightmare of frightening presence rose in my sleep. The outlines of everything around me began to waver and the earth as I could see it moved in some degree toward a liquid state. Objects became softer without quite melting. Various things, large and small became softer without quite melting. Various thing also became less differentiated, one from the other. Was the creation moving in retrograde toward its molten beginnings, if that is indeed how it began. Some things were indeed in water. I saw no trilobites or amoeba. Perhaps in order to examine the situation more closely and even grasp its reality, I woke up. For a few moments things were indeed moving in a rubbery way. With a freakish elasticity. A great wave seemed to pass through all the things of the earth and possibly elsewhere.
Then, in a moment or so, my bed, my room, the walls close by, everything I could see, settled back into stability. From my low angle clouds in my window, against a flat unmoving sky, were remarkably still. No wind blew. Perhaps you can remember this. The effects of an earthquake somewhere near Newcastle had briefly reached Sydney. Objects had fallen from shelves in other homes. Not mine, however. it was not cataclysmic, as it had felt in sleep and for a minute or after waking. Why have I suddenly remembered this?
Because I have just found a book I thought had disappeared in the destruction of my old flat. The New Evolutionary Timetable by Steven M. Stanley. Dizzy Gillespie at Newport 1957 had also reappeared. Smiley Smile by The Beach Boys. My son had read The New Evolutionary Timetable when he lived with me. He exclaimed at its beautiful writing, its musical logic.
I must say he said the same about some of my writing. “You know you’re better than all of them,” he said one day.
“David Malouf. All of them.”
Ah, well… I knew at any rate that he loved me. The last time I saw him he he had been dead for half an hour as I flew to Brisbane. Too late. His face was supernaturally beautiful. A wonderful poised curiosity lingered. I kissed him on the forehead. “I’ll see you soon,” I said.
I am reading it now.
I’ll see you soon.