The tunnel

I dreamt I was driving with a child in the passenger’s seat and as we approached the tunnel its black and yellow pendulum was industrial trellis and could drop at any moment like a hammer. The child ducked and held his breath upon entering, superstitious, feeling blinkered, like the coneheaded dog just home from the vet, unable to nab at the itch in his folds and creases. I urged him to focus on counting the hingeless doors that pop up, or the loosehanging wire above, and not the fact we were now at a conspicuous distance from the princess being chauffeured in front. Tunnels you can see out of, like the Pont de l’Alma in Paris, can’t be entrusted with secrets, and did you know the mind of a child can dissemble, is still to lay its bridge supports to push against, or bore into, and what adult knows from where we’re likely to emerge anyway? This child wanted to ask about the men who drive wanting photographs, who will make new incidents just for the event of a good photograph, and others who seek gratefulness, a kind of gratitude for their own elevation. Shadows of pillars flick by. Now he wants me to tell again the story of the glasseyed mechanic, whose right eye was snatched through the side window of his Mercedes by the hand of a motorcyclist flung after an errant piece of cabletie, or loosehanging wire, likely got stuck in his bike’s engine or wheel. Incidents flick by, quicker than their events. Did the motorcyclist need gratefulness, a kind of gratitude for his elevation? And what if our rearview mirror is a liar, and the scene behind the car is collapsing, like a plastic bottle singed with a clipper lighter? Or the tunnel doesn’t keep its side of the bargain. But see if you can keep holding, I said to the child, the lit ceiling is, for now, still turning

Sam Buchan-Watts