Monthly Archives: September 2017

September Dream Series, 5 of 7

​4:10pm, 23 September 2017
There is no dream to write down today.

But I will write about how I woke up to a morning that crept through cream-colored curtains and faded onto the same shade of cream-colored floors. How I opened my eyes to the sound of your voice and your breath on my neck. How the whole day felt like one long-drawn morning, waking up to changing shades of faint daylight and getting pulled back under the sheets again and again.

I will write about the clouds because you asked me to. But this will not be long because today, the sky is just a white sheet. Not blue nor gray, not periwinkle nor aubergine. On your side of the bed, I could set my sights on the hills of your childhood, rows of rising curves against a colorless sky. The afternoon light is tame. There are no streaks of sunlight that glow against glass windows. There is no grayness pregnant of thunder and rain. The sky is a white sheet. Cool and warm at the same time. It tells us, time is still now. Bask in the moment of stillness, of here and now.

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September Dream Series, 4 of 7

3:22am,  22 September 2017

Rooftop, sunset, your city. I had just woken up, it felt like the beginning of a day but the orange and purple stains on the horizon hinted a different hour. I started to feel confused. Gradually and then all at once. I turned around, one full circle pivot and just like that I was inside a room. The color of my walls but your bed, slept in and unmade. Books everywhere – shelves, bedside, tabletop, kitchen sink, floor.  It started to get dark. The TV was on. Sports. Water ran in the bathroom but I could tell no one was inside. I stood there for a few moments waiting for the room to shift, for other things to change, for sounds to leap at me. Nothing. Then you walk toward the bed. From out of nowhere. Still chewing the last of dinner and scratching your stomach. You didn’t see me. You couldn’t see me. But I hid anyway. Not behind anything or under anywhere. I just stepped into the shadow and willed myself to blend in. Laughter. But from where? Under the sheets and the TV and the hallway. Giggling. I started to feel my chest tighten. I was inside a closet now, watching bodies on the bed from the crevice of the closet doors. Now, the light was yellow. Whispers and murmurs and more giggling. Your voice. Music, jazz. I put a hand to my mouth. I felt nauseated. I closed my eyes and tried to hold whatever was inside me struggling to escape my mouth. Somebody opened the closet door and now I am in the front seat of a car. An immeasurable distance seemed to stretch between my seat and the driver’s seat. I couldn’t make out who was behind the steering wheel. The car sped forward. Again, nausea. The drive was rough with sudden stops and sharp turns, clicking of tongues and hands slapping the dashboard. A hand reached out. I felt a brief wave of comfort until the hand passed right in front of me, past my hands, past my body, and reached to open the door on my side. Panic. I slipped out of my seat and into the hot asphalt. I lay there, curled and crying, as cars kept speeding by, drivers shouting at me repeatedly Why do you hate me?! Why do you hate me?! WHY?

And I started asking my own questions. Why are you shouting at me? Why are you still screaming? Why couldn’t you choose me? Why did you break your promise? Why did you say you love me when you couldn’t choose me? Over and over again. Over and over.

Over and over again. And then I was back on a bed, under a yellow comforter, surrounded by pillows, and in your arms. You held me and kept sighing. All I could do was cry. Again and again. Over and over and over again.

September Dream Series, 3 of 7

5:26am, 21 September 2017

It was in a bar we knew. The one that was an old house with wooden floors and dusty artworks hanging everywhere. The tops of the tables were dark wood and the legs of the chairs were loops of old steel. Cold and hard. I look at the details and dread the feeling on my skin.  The lights were dim and air was still. I knew there were other people there, not because I could hear them talk but because I could feel their eyes study me from the shadows. They didn’t move but they blinked and let their cigarettes burn. It was a scene we knew – the scene before Zhang Ziyi and Tony Leung had their duel in the movie we watched on our first day as lovers. This time we star in this dream. Our own duel is about to begin. I walked to the table at the center of the room knowing in my heart that is exactly where I will meet you. But there was no you there. Suddenly, all the surrounding tables, round with four chairs, fixed themselves symmetrically around me. And like the hands of a clock, I moved my eyes from one table to the next looking for you. But there was nobody. I could feel the shadows breathe pity on me. And my chest heaved. I looked again without moving. Suddenly all these things: on one table lay one folded blue shirt, on the next one a black cap, on another a plate of chicken wings, a pack of cigarettes beside a bottle of wine on another, and on the last one a bouquet of dead flowers. Dead blue flowers. My heart sank. All signs of you and yet still no sign of you. I walked to the table with the blue shirt and as I neared, piles and piles of plain colored shirts rose from the floor to my heels. And I began to breathe in the scent of you. And suddenly I could feel the emptiness of the room, the aching longing of my skin. I fell there and wept. And wept and wept and wept. And the dream went on with me there weeping on a pile of empty shirts, in the dim light of an old bar, under the eyes of shadows who couldn’t touch me. I wept. And wept and wept. And I woke up weeping, under the dim light of dawn, holding the only thing I have to remember you, a black shirt now wet with the quiet sobs that called only your name.

September Dream Series, 2 of 7

4:34am, 20 September 2017 

It started with an awareness of the darkness that one tries to envelop himself with in an attempt to drift off. I could feel how cold the air was through the fabric of my socks. It lingered outside for a bit and, sooner than I hoped, the chill began traveling from the soles of my feet to the skin of my legs, backs of my knees, shooting through my thighs. Suddenly, pain. It was a thick hollow feeling that bore through the center of my body, now an unrecognizable piece of flesh curled and trembling on some flat surface which was earlier still a bed. A streetlamp began to flicker a few meters away. An alley started to reveal itself, one spill of an old streetlight at a time. It stretched on to an end only possible in dreams. In an instant, I was up and tracing the pools of light that melted down sewers where another version of darkness took form. As I walked further, a chatter of voices began to build and my ears started feeling tingly. I knew I wanted to make out words and conversations, take out stories from the whispers which I can own and retell to someone. Then I realized there was no one for me to echo whatever conversation I could peel off the walls of chatter that lined the street. I walked on, pace steady and head hung low. I remember telling myself: keep the stride steady and don’t pause, don’t break. No matter how tempting the tone or the cackle of laughter, do not take a single moment to listen eagerly. Let it pass through you. You should also just pass through. And I did. Voices started to become more distinct at every flood of light that fell from a street lamp. The louder the light, the brighter the voices. One voice was from a wedding host, another from some close kin at the peak of a speech. And as I stepped into the dim in-betweens, faint murmurs from party tables and the sound of cutlery and pacified hunger. My ears started to hurt and my mouth began to feel dry from the chest to the throat and tongue and lips. I started walking faster. Spoons tinkled against wine glasses. The alley stretched on. Laughter. Now, shadows. Silhouettes that took form under the light and disappeared as I neared them. I remember yearning for faces to look at. I walked on and started talking at any figure of a body I could get close to. But they all fade past me. I began sentences that died in mid-air, my arms stretching out at the last second, hoping to catch whatever of my stories I gave away to the endless dark street. I could hear myself drown in the chatter. My lips moved but there was nothing there. Murmurs from tables and measured laughter. The alley stretched on. I walked and walked and walked, enveloped in the darkness. Chill in my limbs, hollowness in heart.

September Dream Series, 1 of 7

 

5:20am, 19 September 2017

There is a stool at the corner of the room with cream walls and a low ceiling. I sit there unmoved and upset, feeling the warm air move through the space and bend where the walls meet, exactly where I sit. It is humid and I am frowning. My hair is much longer than how I want it to be, and sticky and damp and straw blonde. Then I realize the girl in the stool is not me because I am watching her from this distance of my dream and because her hair is a style I will never wear for myself. She is not me but I feel the same furrowing of brows and the heaviness of lips weighed down by a pout and the burning heat of eyes that can barely keep themselves open. I also know there is a party in the distance and I understand how this girl – I feel is me but I know is not – have excluded herself from the merriment. A blue balloon drifts towards her corner of the room and suddenly she is donning a party hat. A cone of chocolate ice cream is melting from her hands, creating a web of dark brown trails on her arms. Then her legs and all over her clothes. The sweetness dries on her skin, the chocolate stains her clothes. Laughter rises and fades. She is alone, still.  Her face hasn’t moved but her sighs are long and drawn out, full of weight she wishes she didn’t bear. I am walking closer to her, I think. Or my eyes are the lens of a camera zooming in closer but not necessarily approaching her. The cone of ice cream melts completely, settling as a puddle of thick cream at her feet. Her limbs are stained with chocolate and she holds out her hands to look at the mess she’s created. They are starting another parlor game. She recognizes the voice leading the crowd and her lips move in tune to a spiel that comes to her by instinct. She licks the chocolate from her palm and wipes her face with the back of her hand. Her face and hair now stained, she is an artwork made of humid sweat and ordinary dessert. I am a camera lens, I am now sure. My sight, the viewfinder. I can see how the skin of her cheeks heaves at the weight of her breath and I breathe her in. I breathe with her. I breathe within. And the corners of my mouth point to the earth, my chest caves, and it is me again in this corner in this ending of this dream.