The chase

I don't remember my dreams. I mean, the ones I have at night, whenever I go to sleep. In almost all instances I can't stand in front of you and give you a complete-ish narrative of what my subconscious conjured while I supposedly rested.

Frankly, I'm a little jealous Shalla could do that. Many mornings she'd tell me what she dreamt of, and all I could do inside is wish I could do the same. All I could do is tell her very general things about my dreams. It's in a busy setting - perhaps a crowded city, or a shopping mall that's closed for the day. It always involves me with another girl - not necessarily someone I know, but just another girl. We're always being chased by someone, or something, but almost always someone. My dreams rarely go to supernatural territory.

"They're anxiety dreams," she'd tell me.

She has this slight interest on dream interpretation. I think she read one of the seminal books about it, or something.

That's how she also explains another recurring dream of mine, one that I don't think I've had for a decade. It's a view from the bottom of an empty swimming pool. No people, but just the flood lights from the surface emphasizing on how the water ripples. I'm never in the dream, and there's no indication that I'm the one seeing the bottom of the pool, although now I'm thinking I've already drowned. Or perhaps that's my present-day anxiety talking.

Lately, though, I've been remembering my dreams. Pandemic-induced, perhaps? It's apparently a thing. My dreams are not necessarily about the situation we've been locked into, however. It's the same dreams I've always had. It's in a busy setting. It always involves me with another girl. We're always being chased by someone.

Well, I was alone in this one dream. I remember the opening scenes clearly, even though this was from a few months ago. I was in an almost-empty passenger bus. For some reason I was standing on the aisle, rather than seated. I was thinking, why aren't we wearing any face masks?

Suddenly the bus began to move wildly. The driver put his foot down on the accelerator and just played with the steering wheel. It was an empty road, but still, you're not supposed to drive that fast. The next thing I know, the bus is flying off the overpass. I somehow survived the crash. (Must be the emptiness of the bus, and me standing on the aisle. Since when did I have the ability to navigate my surroundings under stress?) As I dusted myself off, I thought, damn it, I need a face mask!

Come to think of it, I don't think this dream is much of a chase, really. Nobody wanted to get me. Instead, it was me running around the city - in this case, an amalgam of Baclaran, Recto and Baguio - to look for a place that sells face masks. I found a Mercury Drug branch - it was really crowded, that one - and as I approached the shelf with the face masks, I woke up. Seems like a nice way to tie up a story.

The dream I had this morning, however, is. The details on this one are a little blurrier - I still forget easily - but it starts with me looking for a laptop in a mall, and ends, for some reason, in what looks like a vaguely east Asian temple wedged into a tight spot in a Japanese town, or what looks like one. (It looks more like a Chinese temple in a Miyazaki-esque Japanese suburb. Let's just call it "east Asian".) I don't remember why I was running, or who was running after me, but I remember I was with a woman. Curiously, this time around, she's someone I do know, someone I've seen for an extended period of time at some point in the last sixteen years, and someone I had a pretty big crush on.

In my dreams, the Big Bad is never vanquished. There's never a scene of me fighting off whoever is chasing me and making sure they don't go after me the next time. I just always escape. The relief is only momentary. It lasts long enough, though, for me to wake up and forget about everything that happened.

This morning's dream was just like all the others, but it stood out because of how it ended. The woman and I have gotten out of the temple, in what is a narrow street with trees on one side and a sidewalk on another. (Think Pom Poko.) She looks at me, holds my hand, and asks, "would you like to always have my hand to hold?"

And then I wake up.

I know you're not wondering, but yes, I told Shalla about that dream. I told her about the last scene, particularly, and thought of how the heck my head can conjure up such things in my sleep. She found that detail cute.

I mean, it could be much worse. She once dreamt that I cheated on her, and had a kid with another woman.

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