Dreams and Nightmares.

I woke up dazed on a bed with my hands on my face, dizzy and disoriented, as if I had just arrived from somewhere.  There was a knock on the door and I heard a voice, it was a sound familiar to me and yet I could not discern the words.  I knew, somehow I knew, that I had to go out.  I walked over to the bathroom to fix myself; I stared at the mirror, not quite sure what time of the day it was.  I seemed to have gone back in time and yet I knew that it was not a past, because the bedroom and the bathroom and all the things around me felt new.  And the face, my face, seemed older; but in a suit--something I was amused to be wearing--I had looked mature, almost wise.  I was still wearing glasses, but it was not the one I had been wearing for years.

I stared at my reflection for awhile.  It felt like I was asleep for a long time and I had just awaken.  Awaken from my slumber and I knew that this time, this is the right life.  The old one, something I can vaguely recall, has shriveled away.  There was another knock on the door and I heard it open.  A voice asked if I were okay and I said yes.  I should go down, the voice said.  It is time.

I stepped out of the room, trying to be as silent and inconspicuous as possible; I was aware of the noise my shoes were making, almost as loud as the beating of my heart.  There was a celebration going on downstairs, people were singing happy birthday, clapping their hands in a steady rhythm.  Then I stepped down, slowly, one step at a time.  I could not seem to make my shoes clack any quieter.  One by one the crowd stared up and noticed me.  And ever so slowly they parted.  There, standing in the middle was you.

You took a deep breath, as I heaved a sigh.  We stood facing each other for awhile, frozen in time, the chatter in the background fading into gray.  I smiled--in relief, in joy, in happiness, in tears that hardly come out of my eyes--as I walked over to you.  Then we hugged.  It was not a tight hug.  It was a hug that was welcoming, as if we had just gotten reacquainted.  It felt warm with just the slight pressure of a squeeze, For we both don't want to ruin our suit.  Our cheeks brushed against each other as I whispered happy birthday to you.

Then there was just us.  A mirrored disco ball started to spin slowly, reflecting shards of light in many directions.  There was a piano somewhere that started playing Moon River and we danced our own dance, rocking ourselves together sideways; not speaking, for it was unnecessary.

The song was played again and this time it was a chorus and other people joined in the dancing.  You know what, you said, it's not yet Chinese New Year.  So can I just say happy new year?

Yes, I replied.

Look, summer's just around the corner.  Will you be here for summer?

I'm staying.

I smiled.  And then I woke up.

I looked briefly on the wall and wondered why I had to wake up.  But I got up because I was expected to get up.  I opened my closet and picked out the clothes I'll be wearing.  I took a shower and got dressed.  I looked at myself at the mirror, not quite how I remember myself in the dream.  I took a deep breath and told myself to just get through the goddamn day.  I got down for breakfast and my Mom greeted me good morning.  I smiled, the kind of smile that was resigned to my life.  I finished my breakfast silently and said thank you.  Because it's the nice thing to say.


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