Writer . Editor . Author
This morning I had a dream that paralyzed me to my bed. In that dream I had started a relationship with a guy (who in real life is already with another girl).
In that dream my body was drifting off to sleep. We were at the beginning of our relationship and I wanted to get to know him as much as possible. We had just come from a meal in a very old-fashioned and unpopular shopping mall.
But my body was so overcome with fatigue that I could barely have conversation with him. I was lying comatose-like in bed and taking so much strength even to utter just a few words. He was sat by the bed listening to me.
“Which part of Bukit Mertajam are you from?” I asked.
I don’t think I heard his reply. It wasn’t any particular area’s name which I had expected to hear.
“You know,” I continued. “Like Alma is a kampung, it’s the name of the town but it’s part of Bukit Mertajam also.”
No reply was uttered. “Which school were you from?” I asked still with my eyes closed. “Jit Sin?” and laughed a little, for in my mind it was the most ridiculous of schools due to its gruelling discipline and bilingual syllabus, which meant the students had to take two national exams.
“Nah, just a regular BM school,” he replied.
“Is that BM high school?” In my fatigue I was trying to figure out if he was Chinese ed or English ed, on whether he was educated in a vernacular school or a national school.
“You mean SMK Bukit Mertajam?” I continued. “Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Bukit Mertajam?”
Yes, was his reply. In my mind that was running simultaneously with my almost-dead body, I tried to make conversation by bringing up all the people that I knew to be from Bukit Mertajam, which would hopefully create a common talking point and lead us to discover mutual friends.
I caught myself thinking about shan jiao xia nan hai, but decided against mentioning the local boyband for fear I could not pronounce the Chinese words with precision.
“I went to church with Dr Wan’s children, do you know him? The gynae? He had four children, rich, good-looking, smart.”
There was no reply after a long silence, and I tried to fill in the pause by bringing up Jonathan Lim, a doctor’s son whom I had studied with in the UK, and another girl from the dentistry course in Manchester.
But alas my body gave way, and as though I had once last chance left, I made a final attempt by drawing out what I thought was my biggest and most important card.
“Oh my brother-in-law is from Bukit Mertajam…” How could I forget? He was probably more important and closest to me than any of the people I had just mentioned. I had thrown out the trump card that would finally get him talking.
But my body sank into slumber and my mind shut down. I woke up and it was 9.20am. I woke up wondering what day it was, and what his girlfriend’s name was. I knew them both, but somehow she had slipped my mind. I was late for work.
Postscript: This was such a bizarre dream because my body usually tries to wake me up in such instances, but this one had tried to reinforce my situation instead of doing the opposite. It was as though my subconscious will had taken a backseat. Nothing much had happened the day before either; it was an unventful mundane day like any other. But I must’ve been so tired in my mind and emotions for this to happen.