Sport 18: Autumn 1997
Louise Wrightson — Inés
Inés is having dinner with her son, a chef. They are eating potatoes carved into mushrooms and sautéed in turmeric. A light dusting of nutmeg adds to the effect. Her son thinks fungi are very overrated, except for truffles. He knows a wealthy woman who often orders them in his restaurant. She just sits, looking at the plate. I haven't come to eat—she said quietly to him one night, touching his sleeve—I've come to inhale. The woman smelt exquisite.
That night Inés dreams of a giant mushroom. It is 80 hectares—the exact dimension of the bush reserve near her house. It rains in the night and the mushroom grows. The bush reserve becomes famous. It is balanced on top of the mushroom and is quite hard to get to.
Inés is in bed with her husband. He confides that once he believed in magic. He was a boy magician. His father's friend took him to a bookshop. The book he wanted was very expensive. His father's friend asked for a rubber and a pencil. They turned their backs, rubbed out the price and wrote a new one. Then they gave the rubber and the pencil back to the shop assistant. She thanked them and sold them the book.
That night Inés dreams her husband is sawn in half. One half—the top half—refuses to get out of bed. It shouts—Time is money! Getting and spending! I'm sick of it! The bottom half goes to work as usual, wearing polished black shoes and grey trousers.
Inés is shopping at the supermarket. She hears a faint voice calling for help. A young boy has his head stuck in a clothing donation bin. Inés tells him not to panic. If he got his head in, he can get it out. She suggests standing on tiptoe. His head slides out easily through the slot. The young boy grins at Inés, puts on his hat and does a joyful little jig.
That night Inés dreams she is in labour. It is difficult to give birth. The head of her second son keeps appearing and retracting.
Inés is in a crowded tearoom. She buys a pot of tea and a chocolate bar. The only seat is beside a man with dreadlocks. He unwraps the chocolate bar and takes a large bite. Inés stares at him in astonishment. She has done assertiveness training, so she takes a larger bite. The man glares. Inés takes a bite from his muffin too. She leaves with her head high. Outside the tearoom, she opens her bag to get the car keys and finds her chocolate bar.
That night Inés dreams she is lost in the bush reserve. She has been missing for four days. Her hair is matted. She is naked, pregnant and very hungry. All she has to eat is a chocolate bar. Her son and half of her husband—the bottom half—are searching for her.