The Cruelty of Waking Up

We were walking, you and I. UL was there, too. He was a little ahead, and you were in the middle, and I was behind you. We were in a wide square (my elementary school’s quadrangle, in fact), not a narrow sidewalk, but there we were, not walking side by side.

You were asking me questions, and I was answering them.

After I answered one question, you turned around to face me. You kissed me on the cheek. I was so surprised, I didn’t move. Then you faced forward again, and we all continued walking.

You did it a few times, kissed me on the cheek after I answered a question. The kisses were slowly approaching my lips.

I don’t remember your questions now, except for the last one. “We’re not just friends, are we?” And you kissed me before I could answer, still on the cheek, but the edge of your lips just about touched the edge of mine. My response was to shift my head, in a leap of faith across three centimetres, to kiss you properly.

I woke up then. It was cruel.

I decided to go back to sleep, in an attempt to return to the dream. I can do that, y’know. I always wonder if other people can do it, too. Sometimes, if I’m awake for only a second, my dream can pick up right where it left off. But this time, I didn’t close my eyes right away. I wanted to linger in the false memory of you.

When I finally slept and the dream resumed, it was already the end of the day in the dream, and somehow we hadn’t seen or talked to each other since I kissed you back. I wanted to text you, “Good night. I love you.” But my fingers couldn’t type the second sentence.

Still in the dream, the following day came, and I was in school but you weren’t. I missed you terribly.

Then I woke up again.


I had a dream

that there were tornadoes and I could see them from inside my house and I was holding on to pipes, and the house’s roof was gone, and then the tornadoes were gone and there was a big concert at the town square, but then the town square turned into my school, and KE was there and Ish was there and Joey was there and Joey’s sister was there and Coney was there and Gino was there, and other people from high school and college were there, and the Beatles were playing, and Ringo had me carry one of his drums when the band was setting up, and then everyone was dancing, and then there were games, and everyone was running around and winning challenges, and then everyone ran into one building, except for Ish who turned back, which was smart because there were zombies in the building, and then everyone became a zombie except Ish.

Dave and Taylor of the Foo Fighters

It was my graduation day. I woke up around 9 a.m. Both of my parents were awake. I talked to them, not about the graduation. They took whatever I said as a sign that we could all go back to sleep. When we all woke up later in the day, we sort of had to hurry towards the venue for the ceremony.

When we got there, my fellow graduates were in a long line. I was relieved to know I wasn’t late.

I was wearing a sky blue top and a sky blue skirt. They had ugly, mismatched patterns. My mom was wearing a plain, sky blue dress.

Not wanting to fall in line right away (there was really no rush; the line was rather long, and besides, I didn’t want to go and talk to my… friends… who were already in line), I looked around the building and bumped into this pretty famous rock band that was going to perform at the ceremony. I excitedly talked to the band members. While I was dreaming this part, I knew exactly which band they were, but I’d forget later in the dream.

My mom realized she had to pay for something she owed right away because she had just heard that the rates were going to rise soon, and she already owed over 12,000 (dollars or pesos — I don’t know) as it is. She, my dad and I got in the car and left the venue.

Outside, several men were guiding a nervous-looking horse down a grassy hill. My dad drove off the road and onto the hillside. He drove alongside the horse to help it stay calm.

Later, we were in a large room in a building. The room had a high ceiling, and there was some sort of backdrop made up of discrete stacks of bricks, with plants crawling around them. There were four columns of numbers. The first two columns weren’t aligned, but the last two were.

Dave Grohl was there. He was tugging at different parts of the backdrop, trying to get the first two columns to align. He couldn’t. Eventually he ran off somewhere, in search of someone or something, part of his attempt at fixing the backdrop.

I didn’t follow him. I stayed in the building and talked to Taylor Hawkins. It was an easy, pleasant, comfortable conversation. I ended up mentioning that it was my graduation day and that I met the members of the band that was playing at the ceremony.

“Which band?” he asked.

“I… can’t remember,” I said.

“Well, they must not be that famous then.”

“They are… hang on… I think it’s Linkin’ Rejects.”

“Everybody knows the Linkin’ Rejects!”

“Oh, wait, no, it was the All-American Rejects! Oh, wait, no, hang on…” I turned to my sister, who was apparently behind me. I asked her, “Which band was there at the graduation venue?”

She said, “OSM”.

I turned back to Taylor and said, “Ah, it was One Small Miracle, after all.”

He laughed because I forgot who OSM was, when OSM was apparently quite the famous pop rock band.

I said, “Well, you can’t blame me for forgetting them; you guys are my favourite band!” I laughed.

And then I woke up.


I was in a classroom, and the students were taking turns doing their group presentations, and I was in a group with Ish and two other girls I don’t remember. Ish walked up to the front and started presenting, while I and the other two groupmates remained seated, but Ish wasn’t alone up there because there were like a dozen other people, I don’t know who, and then suddenly the aisle to my right caught everyone’s attention because there was a pool of blood, and everyone was freaking out, and Ish and I tried to clean it up but there was too much, and then suddenly for some reason it was time to go to the next class, and I don’t know what happened to the blood, and then I was standing outside the door, looking back in, and the professor, Eden, was standing inside, looking out at me, and I said, “I don’t want to go,” and she said “4:30” and I said “okay”.

And then I was on my bike, riding past crowds on narrow streets, and riding up and down small, grassy hills, and even up and down stairs, and then some student asked me, “Is it faster that way?” And I said, “it’s about the same,” and then I ran into Tonet and KE, and Tonet was in a marigold-coloured baro’t saya, and she had just come from a dance recital or something, and she was excitedly telling me about it, but I had to go.

And then I was in a bookstore, sitting next to Eden, who was talking about how to negotiate wages, and then a woman walked up and said to her, “You told me you were busy but you’re just here discussing contracts with that girl? You’re treating her like a colleague, but me — an actual colleague — you turned me down.”

(And then I woke up. And then I went back to sleep.)

I was in a car, in the passenger’s seat, and Eden was driving. It was night-time. Laurie and Mae were texting me about our previously arranged dinner plans. They were already at the restaurant. I replied, saying I was going to be late (obviously). I checked the time and saw that it was 10 pm. I figured I should text my parents, tell them I was having dinner after a long day of schoolwork, but before I could do that, the car pulled up at the restaurant, and we got out. We walked in to find my friends, and we said hello, and Mae was down to her last slice of pizza, and we didn’t actually sit with Mae and Laurie and the rest of them, because we got our own table. I decided I wanted fried chicken.

(And then I woke up.)

Explain “could”

Ish donated blood, and Joey donated blood. I watched the nurse inject the syringe into Joey’s arm three times in the same place. She was bleeding out pretty bad from the needle hole. Afterwards, Ish and Joey both changed their Facebook profile pictures to ones that showed the post-donation bandages on their arms. And then my brother also donated blood. He bled out pretty bad, too, and the nurse had to attach some cables onto his arm — cables that connected the veins from his shoulder to his wrist, bypassing the needle hole entirely. And then I found myself at a Foo Fighters concert in the Philippines, and Monica and Chandler surprised Dave Grohl by getting on the stage. Yes, Monica and Chandler, not Courteney and Matthew. Monica was wearing a black lace dress. Chandler was wearing a black shirt and a red silk skirt. It was kind of a strange concert; there was a giant dragon head above the stage, and Dave Grohl seemed confused. After the concert, I was backstage, looking for the band. I didn’t get to see them. They were in a private room with a group of young female high-school students — some sort of meet-and-greet, I guess. So I just decided to leave the auditorium. Before reaching the doors, I noticed I wasn’t wearing my trainers. I backtracked, running, and I saw this guy who said he found my shoes. He threw them towards me. I put them on and left the building. Outside, there was an expansive field of grass. As I was walking, this girl came up to me and said she knew I wasn’t in the technical support department, but she needed help with a customer. She led me to what looked like a computer lab in a school, where there were computers of various shapes and sizes and languages and brands I had never heard of. The customer was there, a girl about my age. She had her tablet with her. She was with her mother. The customer wanted live-streaming stock quotes. She explained she had already subscribed to receive that service, but she wasn’t getting them. I said I’d check out her tablet for her. I did a screen print, and it appeared her tablet was showing only the left half of what it should’ve been showing on the screen. We tried the computers in the lab, but we couldn’t get any of them to work. They were either incomprehensible or too slow. One of the computers had a Google search page up. The last search was “explain ‘could'” under the “Korean filter” search setting. I took this to mean that a Korean person was searching for the meaning of “could” in Google. Anyway I told the customer I couldn’t help her. And then I woke up.


I had a dream I was in a big house, at least four storeys high, with lots of yard space. There was a party being thrown by a publisher. It was more like a college party than an Oscars afterparty. The publisher held a contest for writers. I was one of the winners; I was going to have my book published. The publisher wanted the title of my book to be my name (four letters to be printed sideways, in gold font, on the white jacket cover). Lips was there; she won too. Wait, it was either Lips or Dianne from work. Jam was there, but she was mostly attending to a newborn baby. Sol and Tonet were both helping me design something, perhaps the cover of my book, perhaps not, I’m not sure. They each showed me a blue-and-white circular pattern that resembled first nations symbols. Joey and Dana were there too.

More dreams

I’m in Manila, studying for a maths exam. My cousins and aunts ask me where my sister is. I say I’m not sure. To get away from them, I climb a very narrow flight of stairs, built in the small space between a pair of slum houses. I have to dodge laundry hanging on the slum houses’ windows. I take a jeep to get to school. When I get there, people are preparing for a big production, like a cheering competition. I have the maths exam in my hand. The time has run out, but I’m not even halfway done with the questions. I carry the exam papers around with me as I navigate a maze in the school’s parking lot. There is a gigantic, slimy wormlike creature in the maze.

I’m in a white building. The rooms are filled with important-looking men and women. They’re discussing the end of the universe. I eavesdrop. Some people will gather at a particular location; they will be spared from the destruction. I go into a room and then get my baby sister. Carrying her, I look around for other people I know. Everyone’s out on the streets, celebrating something, I don’t know what. I find Joey and Ethel. We head to the meeting place. We sit around a small square table and lay our heads down on it, like we’re sleeping. A lady tells me I should leave my sister behind. Two men fight. The destruction starts. Ethel pushes the two men off the edge of the room. They fall into what appears to be a black hole.

I don’t know any of these characters in real life.

I’m walking halfway around the auditorium with Mark and Abby. People are coming in through various doors, looking for seats. I see Eric at a far entrance. He walks toward us. And then a montage — Mark, Abby, Eric, Rosalie and I — at a garden, at school, at the beach, at a pool, at a play (not watching but acting). Mark and Rosalie seem to be a couple. Abby and Eric, too. And then, while I’m hanging out with Mark and Abby, Mark asks me, “Do you love me?” I say, “What? No!” I wonder if I’m lying. And then we go hiking, and we get to a house, and on the other side of the house is a river, and there are mats lined up on the river, and if you walk on the mats, you won’t sink. Eric and I go swimming. And then it’s time to go home, and the couples leave, and I’m angry at Mark, and I want to hang out with Eric to complain about Mark, but Eric is leaving, so I’m angry at him too. I am waiting at the bus stop when suddenly, everyone’s back, and Mark tells me he likes me, and I figure it’s like I’m shooting an alternative ending for a movie, and Mark and I go swimming in the river. And then Tyra is screaming from the second floor of the house, like something horrible is happening and we must leave, and everyone quietly goes to the dock to wait for a boat, but no boat is coming, so everyone just crosses the river by walking on the mats, and there’s a large, red and blue striped coat on one of the mats, and we just keep walking, wanting to get away. We come to a house, we go inside, and it starts caving in. Mark and I manage to crawl out of the debris, but we find ourselves at the same dock where we were earlier. We look back at the house, and it’s not caved in, but it’s the same house where we were earlier. I look at the mats on the river, and the coat is still there, and an old woman peeks from under the coat, and she’s what we were running from in the first place.

Enter Sandman

I don’t remember what went on in the first nightmare, but I woke up screaming against the sound of something growling about five feet from my head. The sound carried over from the nightmare into real life, and for 10 minutes I could barely move — I was shaken and wide awake in the dark at 1 a.m. I managed to get up to turn on the light and eventually fall back to sleep. I was woken maybe five more times throughout the night. I remember waking to the sight of a light orange spider on the ceiling, right above me. I hid under the covers and went back to sleep. The other time I awoke, I felt that the spider had come down and was crawling on my left arm. I shook it off, and secured the covers tighter around and under me. I don’t remember much of the nightmares themselves, but there was one in which I was in an apartment (not mine) that had lots of insects just dangling from the ceiling, at the ends of strips of paper.

Only one dream sequence has remained with me. I saw someone, who was carrying a baby, flick a switch next to a mirror. This made the baby disappear in the mirror image. Later, it was I who was carrying a baby. I didn’t do the same thing with the switch, so you could see both me and the baby in the mirror, as you normally would in real life. When the baby saw himself in the mirror, he threw up like crazy, it was practically flooding white goo.

I hope I get a better night’s sleep tonight.

Haven’t had running-from-something dreams in a while

I was in class with Tonet and my cousin Lyn. We had a final exam (subject: Filipino) to take. Everyone in class was going through his/her notes in the last few minutes before the exam. There were papers everywhere. The teacher announced, “Write this down.” I had no paper. Someone gave me a pink index card. The teacher dictated what we had to write down. I realized that everyone had a bundle of papers in his/her hand. Another classmate, Mags, decided to go home and not take the exam. She didn’t have her bundle of all her quizzes, and neither did I. I figured I’d still take the test, quickly go home to get my quizzes and come back to submit them. I came across one sheet of paper that said something like… someone was coming for some of us. I looked outside and saw two girls trying to get away from townspeople who were going after them. Lyn and I decided to run. Tonet did too, but she morphed into my elementary schoolmate, Mary Ann. We couldn’t take the usual exits because the teachers and nuns were there. We sneaked out through a back door somehow, but there were people watching for us outside the school, too. So we climbed up a fence into a country club and pretended to be members. We walked across the cricket field and into the main building. We couldn’t go out the front door, so we walked up to the top floor of the building, where the chapel was. We exited through there. Eventually we got into a bus, and Mary Ann morphed back into Tonet.