Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Four years ago, I acquired the frequently distressing habit of recalling every single one of my dreams first thing every morning. It was all part of a desperate bid my parents made for me to understand my subconscious better. For one week of my life, I opened my eyes to my parents' unblinking, anxious faces, asking me what I had dreamt, what it felt like, what I felt like, what colour it was, what it could have meant, and I would dive back into the murky recesses of REM sleep...a car...a dog...a dog biting off somebody's leg...a long drive. And so it went, until I learned to dive in and out of dreams, coming up for air with broken recollections and holding my breath to remember farther back, with the talent of a seasoned swimmer. By now, there's hardly any diving required; I weave in and out of dreams while going about the mundane tasks of my weekdays, occasionally confusing something I saw or felt or smelled in the otherworld for something that happened in my realworld, straining to differentiate one from the other.

The otherworld is a dangerous place to indulge for too much time; it's where all your longings and fears and hopes mesh into a wild chase, or a film-grainy horror scene, or the paraphernalia of your childhood, and they pop up and distract you from correctly squeezing the toothpaste tube or closing the car door. They beg you to stay, they ask you to try and go back, but you won't ever find your way there once you've lost it.

There was a warm paper bag in my hand, rain in my hair and dampness in my boots, my fingers rubbed against the magnetic stripe of my card, bits of grass stuck to the soles of my shoes while I walked home in anticipation of dry clothes and the smell of winter-approaching hung about. There were children too, all seven my siblings, and a chimpanzee...and how happy we all were together. Sometimes, I know already how terribly I will miss the people I meet in this world, and I float out of it reluctantly and spend idle moments trying to recreate them, or hoping I meet them again. It's strange how a week of practice opened up my whole being to this otherplace, stranger still how it feels like home, how the tug of nostalgia lends itself to figments of my sleeping imagination. I still hope to be reunited with my seven siblings again; my chimpanzee; my wet hair; my warm paper bag, my home.