29 January, 2019 by katelaity
‘Where shall we go now?’ I asked Tansy as we rumbled along toward the station. I must admit to having a fearful idea that she might suggest boarding a whaler to head off into the sea, for she had that faraway look I had come to regard with some trepidation. What exotic port might awaken her zeal for the absurd? I steeled myself for her answer, but I was quite unprepared for it.
‘Leicester,’ Tansy said with a little nod as if to signal the matter had been settled (for of course it had been).
I was perplexed. ‘Leicester? Why?’
She regarded me with a speculative sort of expression on her lovely face. I could not decide whether I ought to feel irritation or give in to the fondness I had for my friend. Tansy could be so very bewitching when she chose to be, at least when she was not plaguing my every attempt at a comfortable life. ‘You may not credit it, but I had a dream.’
I laughed. ‘It would be admirably absurd, I wager, to make our plans based on something so insubstantial.’
‘Precisely,’ she said, taking my meaning all wrong. ‘How better to find the very height of the notion of absurdity than by following the ethereal messages of dreams?’
We arrived at the station. I helped gather our bags together for the porter who wheeled them to our track for our train, which he assured us would not be arriving for some minutes yet.
‘But what was this dream?’ I asked Tansy whilst pocketing the tickets I bought from the cheery seller.
‘Oh, I don’t know if I ought to tell you,’ Tansy said, suddenly looking shy.
‘You think I shall tease you,’ I said with a laugh, taking her arm. ‘I will do my best not to, but I can make no promises for you do have some rather peculiar dreams. Remember the penguin dream!’ I did laugh then for the vivid image of the poor creature dressed as Mr Darcy was far too droll.
‘I do indeed remember. This was far less funny and rather more…strange.’ Tansy looked off in the distance, a habit she indulges in far too often for my taste.
I patted her hand to recall her attention. ‘Well, now you have succeeded in making me exceedingly curious, so you must tell me about it.’
Tansy chuckled. ‘Well, first there was a fox spirit—’
‘Not precisely. It wasn’t a spirit of something passed on but something more…elemental I suppose you might say.’
‘You might say that. I have no idea what you mean.’ I brushed off a bench for us to sit on while we waited. The train station was rather newer than Paddington but it seemed much older from use, I suppose.
‘The essence of a fox you might say,’ Tansy said, forehead crinkling in that way she had when trying—often in vain—to get me to understand some esoteric argument. I was annoyingly plebian when it came to philosophy. ‘But that’s not the important part. It’s what the fox spirit showed me.’
‘In Leicester? Was it cheese?’ The thought of some delicious Red Leicester set my stomach to rumbling.
‘Do you never think about anything but food?’ Tansy said with sigh. ‘No, it was a king.’
‘A king? Not our late king? Heavens!’
‘No, a much older king.’
‘What was this king doing? Playing croquet with flamingoes?’
‘No, he was dead and buried.’
‘Flamingo croquet would be much more absurd. Dead and buried sounds quite reasonable!’