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Rooms filled with paintings next to rooms filled with people. But no toilet. How could they forget to put a toilet in this building? She wanders around aimlessly. She needs to go, but a painting is blocking her way, it is standing right in front of her, sending out edgy sounds while its colours flow in streams. 

She doesn't know how to react, doesn't know what to do. Another sound arises, it reaches through the canvas of the painting like a wave, catching her attention. This sound is more familiar, but still it takes some moments until she can place it: it is the sound of stairs. More precisely, it is the sound of someone stepping on wooden stairs. 

It is the sound of someone stepping on the wooden stairs that lead from the cellar door up to the first floor. 

It is the sound of someone sneaking into her house. 

At five o'clock in the morning. 

She holds her breath. Slowly her hand reaches out to the space beside her, to the other side of the bed. It is empty. She is relieved. So it is not burglars out there on the floor, but her husband. 

Consciousness sets in. Bodily functions set in. Why is he walking up those stairs this early in the morning. Why does she still need to go to the toilet, even though the dream is over. 

Undecided she gets up, manoeuvres through the room in the dark, and almost freaks out as the door is opening itself right in front of her. But it is only him, about to come to bed. He stares at her as if it was her who was the ghostly one, and not him. 

In an attempt to make the situation less surreal, she gives him a quick kiss. 

He tries to explain. "I was just tidying up a bit," he says, and adds: "The Redskins have won."

So much for less surreal, she thinks, refraining to comment. 

Half an hour later. The house is sound asleep finally. But not for long. His mobile phone wakes early,  joining the birds outside in their praise for the new morning. It rings, or rather sings five times. Two beeps follow, announcing a new message on the mailbox. It is not even six, it is not even day. Either someone got the times and numbers mixed up, or something has happened. For some seconds neither of them moves, a weak effort to delay reality. Then she switches the light on. Her husband gets up to check the message. It's security service, announcing an alarm in his company.

He is not amused. She is not surprised. The burglars, she knew it. Her husband is not so sure. Maybe it was just a bird that invaded through a window left open. "Well, or someone in desperate need for a toilet," she suggests.

He is about to give her his get-a-life-look, but she just shrugs. After all you can never know. Especially not on a Monday morning. 


[Dorothee Lang is German; she does this.]

[Forever after at

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