Another dream post to sharpen your imaginations this evening, hypothetical audience.
In a cake shop which is also a barn, where donkeys are feeding from hay-stacks among a young women icing cakes on sideboards. Above the doorway is a sign which reads ‘The Donkey Cake Emporium’ and as you might concede, every cake she has made is shaped like donkey, iced in dark-brown, with liquorice balls for the eyes. She takes a box down from a high shelf and lays it on a table, and then she picks a donkey from the pack of the darn, pulls it over via its blue lead and places it on its side on the top. The donkey is quiet and still, and lays patiently as its owner removes a carving knife from the sideboard. When she brings it down through the donkeys neck, she reveals a Victoria-sponge centre, complete with jam and cream. She moves the head to another sideboard, leaving the body where it is, and places it on a cake-board, then she packs it into the box. With little care she skins the body and hands the pelt to a child, I hadn’t noticed; a little girl with the head of a donkey.
The cake-maker leaves with the box, and locks the doors behind her; the little donkey girl retreats to a corner of the barn where a candle pushes out the darkness; only now do I release how cold and aphotic the place, how dusty and rickety. Everything is bathed in a hazy glow from outside, but I can’t discern whether its sunlight or moonlight that’s showing through the breaks in the woodwork. In the corner the little girl removes a sowing kit from a pile of hay, and settles herself down. Slowly she starts to make a jacket from the pelt with thin arms and a tiny body, and when she is finished she wraps it around her, and she becomes a little donkey.
With their master gone, the donkeys begin to converse with each other in a language – obviously – I am unable to comprehend. The little donkey girl tries to speak with them, but they ignore her, and pretend she isn’t pulling at their feet or climbing on their backs. Music plays and the donkeys start to dance – yes, dance – in a form reminiscent of the Greek celebration dances, Andreas once taught me. Desperate to join in, the little girl pushes herself into the tiny gaps between each donkey, but they notice her efforts and clamp onto each others tails as a means to stop her. All this time I’ve been standing somewhere above or around, just watching her, but at this moment she sees me, and she approaches. I feel guilty because I don’t know her name, and I am afraid calling her ‘donkey-girl’ will upset her.
The little donkey-girl removes her donkey head, and actually underneath she has a beautiful, regular face, with sparking brown eyes and rosy cheeks, but she’s crying cradling her artificial head under her arm. I reach out and hold her, and she whispers ‘if I’m not a donkey, and I can’t make cakes, where do I fit?” She’s warm, still wrapped in her fur coat, and I don’t know what to say for a while, and the donkeys, upon noticing me have taken to their silence. In the distance I see her corner, her sowing box still open, dark threads falling over the dusty hay, and I answer,
‘You’re a seamstress, worth more than a corner. And they’re not donkeys anyway, they’re just cakes.’
I think I may have opened the door at that point, but I really can’t remember much else.