I met Mara two nights ago, in a dream.
I still have an absolute sense of her. From a distance she looks a little like a girl I once knew, in a road-not-taken sort of way, but when you get closer the details are different. She’s kind and direct, sort of fearless, with Autumn eyes and a long black leather greatcoat that’s incredibly soft to touch. Mara smokes, but she does so with a sort of embarrassed distaste. She’s a swimmer I think – something about her build and her legs suggest it.
She took me to see art, a textured set of red and white shredded shapes like glistening meat, hung in a frame at an old gallery. We sat on a bench and looked up at it, and she told me all of the things it contained with such clarity and passion that it became beautiful. I think the art might have been hers, though I don’t remember if she said so. I wonder if she was a student, because when I first saw her she was leaning against a wall on Gibson Street in Glasgow’s West End, around the corner from the University, while rain lashed down about her. Somehow her hair was dry.
Her name is definitely Mara, because I remember seeing it written down. I saw her surname too, something Russian or Eastern European perhaps, but that detail didn’t emerge from the dreamscape with me. Her accent was English in an unplaceable sort of way, her voice clear and confident. Mara knows what she wants I think, and is not shy in pursuing it.
The oddest thing about her was that when I was about to wake up, she pointed it out to me and said goodbye.
When I did wake I felt certain that she must be somebody real, somebody I met once, but I don’t think that’s the case. It’s possible, even probable, that she’s a composite of some sort, but unlike most dream people she remained herself throughout our (actually fairly uneventful) time together. There was no morphing of features, or flexing of details. She was just Mara from start to finish, and I have a better, clearer knowledge of her than many of the people I actually have met.
I don’t remember dreams very often, and when I do they’re usually a good deal more dramatic than this one. Yet Mara refuses to fade. She’s there now, in my head, and I’ve an urge, almost a compulsion, to make her more real still.
I may introduce you to her one day, when her stories are written down. There is definitely more than one tale to tell of her. I googled her name yesterday, and one of its meanings is so on point it’s a little disturbing.
I have a notebook to fill, and the first page is now made more or less of the above description. I wonder how many more pages it will take before she is done with me.