Dreams are brilliant. I had a dream last night. You know how weird and funny they can be.
In this one, I was in some old, walled Italian city. Beautiful place, all narrow streets, squares and porticos (whatever they are - it sounds Italian so I'll leave it in). Actually I don't know why it was Italian, it just was.
The thing about it was, the place was under siege. By whom, I don't know. But there was chaos, panic and unrest throughout, as old stone blocks fell from the sides of buildings and fire seemed to reign down from the sky (the impression I got was that the fire was a bombardment of missiles of some sort - but it was aflame anyway).
Amidst all this, I was in a place which seemed like some kind of hostel or commune or something. There was a huge communal kitchen with a few side rooms almost like dorms and offices (the implication seemed to be that I worked in this kitchen along with someone else). The tension in here was palpable too.
There was a sense of day and night passing and things getting more intense, everyone in motion, hurrying around as things appeared to be getting more desperate outside.
Then, in this hostel/commune kitchen area, someone took me to one side. A mysterious hooded figure, ill-defined, but like an odd cross between the sandman and a sinister bond villain. He told me I had one sure-fire way of getting out. He told me to be very careful, and not to let anyone else in on this, except one other person who already knew, and who would be escaping with me.
I had to lean forward as he whispered to me my instructions. It was important I didn't miss a detail, I thought. His voice sounded ancient and full of gravitas (or gravel).
"You will be aware....that there are two trays full of cakes in the cupboard down there."
"You will take these cakes with you - but do not let anyone else see them. These are your key to escape."
The cakes? THE CAKES? CAKES ARE MY WAY OUT?
"SsssssSSSSHHHHHHHHHH! Look! Everyone else is looking for them! If you tell anyone, your chance is lost!"
I lowered my voice.
So, I was to just take the cakes and go?
"Yes. With her -" he pointed to the woman who worked alongside me in the kitchen " - but don't let anyone see you with the cakes!"
Guess what? He was right. I didn't know how, but they really were our escape ticket. We got the cakes, all two trays of them. We sidled our way through the chaos both within and without the building, and out of the increasingly hellish spectacle of the walled city, taking strength and courage from each other (and the cakes, presumably) as we went.
My lazy attempts at analysis so far make me think that the city and the pandemonium within it, represent the often dispiriting chaos that is my work. Perhaps the woman I escape with, represents the fact that I need some help from someone to effectively change my situation. Maybe the sandman/Bond villain represents my subconscious, or conscience (oh dear, is that what it looks like?), trying to guide me along. Maybe, maybe not, but that all makes some kind of sense so far.
But the cake? Any ideas?