TYRANT #1: Guarantor (a Dream)

Artwork by Camilla Eustance

I AM WAITING IN a new apartment. White walls, high ceilings, crisp cream carpet. There’s a clean leather sofa, a glass coffee table, silver-legged kitchen stools gathered round a marble-topped island, and my parents, standing like furniture—waiting for Trump to come.

The forms are laid out on the bench in a neat row, three white squares standing in a line, as we do now, waiting. It is 11 am and there is a sense that this is the time that Trump will come. There is a bottle of champagne on the table, dewy-cold and unopened. All we need him to do is sign the guarantor forms, nothing more. We had offered to send them via fax, but his secretary informed us that Trump would come and do it in person. He wants to meet me, she said.

I am in a white dress: kind of tight, kind of short. There is a sense that I wouldn’t usually wear this dress. A sense, from the way my mother looks at me, that we have maybe picked it together. Or perhaps that she has picked it for me. We are staring out through the glass double doors, waiting for Trump to come. He doesn’t, he doesn’t, and then in that dream-time way, he does. My mother pushes open the sliding doors so he can walk right in. He does, right in to the apartment and towards me. He opens his arms and takes me in them—this is somehow both sudden and expected. There is a sense of discomfort that I know I must not show. His embrace seems too tight, too long. I am worried, perhaps about the orange marks on my white dress, or what my mother will say when she sees them. He pushes me back against the new-white walls—his body warm, breath cool—and over his neat black shoulder I see my parents. My mother and my father, eyes down, observing the carpet. There is a sense that maybe they have picked the carpet, that together we have built and furnished this apartment, this dream apartment, soon to be mine.

But first, Trump must sign the papers. He’s still on me, holding me there, and I know that I must let him finish. Must endure his embrace a little longer, and longer still, until he is done, until he signs along the dotted line. Across the living room, my mother reaches for the bottle of champagne but does not open it.