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picnic with the dead

Last night I went to bed at 7pm, from total exhaustion and sensory overload. We have been making a documentary about my family for nearly two years now and the past three weeks of recording and structuring narrative have brought me back into the world of family and my previous life with such heaviness, that last night, I was at breaking point. As I fell into a more or less instant sleep, I found myself at a picnic, everyone sat on blankets on a lawn, in England, which resembled the garden of our family house. Every lost love I have ever known was there. I was the only living person invited to this picnic. My sister Sonia was ecstatic to see me, and me her, we always had so much excitement around each other. My paternal grandma was there, lying in a dressing gown, smoking, my maternal grandpa Jack, was drunk, as usual, looking very dapper, as usual. Mum was encouraging me to eat (I was the only person eating, the others were all laughing, smoking and drinking) and dad, in conversation with some other lost loves, dear old friends who have passed away, was again talking, but not taking his eyes of me, enjoying that I was there but not needing to say anything to me directly. As usual. Helen, Sonia's girlfriend arrived looking glamorous and not remotely surprised to see me. They were all there. I was the only one alive, we were in some other realm. After eating, I started to put on make up, announcing that I was going on a date. They all stopped and fired questions at me about my potential suitor. Mum took me into the bathroom and squeezed my cheeks and told me to go back to the living. They were all here. They would always be here. But I have stuff to be getting on with before I come back and sit on the lawn again with all of them.

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