Last night I dreamed I was new arrived again, and fell to weeping in my sleep. Those who welcomed me, rejected, accepted, attacked, tolerated or disapproved of me: I’ve forgiven you all. Some indeed have by now forgiven me.
Why then do tears run down in sleep? Sleep, the alternative world, is peopled with the past, a treasure-store of memory: prop-room, wardrobe, prompt-box, rehearsal space for life’s cautionary dramas.
Proust says a cast of divinities inhabits memory: those people who have made us suffer. Recollection comes through the senses, an uneven paving-stone, for instance, and Venice appears. For me the question ‘How d’you like Australia?’— once a common expression — awakened memory to work again in sleep.
All this was decades ago, many have died, and died heroic deaths, too. Yet in memory, in sleep, they live to perform their roles. As Proustian divinities, they’re only a metaphor: they point to the joy received when they embrace instead of doubting.Is life so personal? The rational mind would allow, explain, excuse, comprehend. In sleep, though, the mind recounts its private story. What I’ve learned is this: for the love of God, treat your immigrants well. The marks are indelible.