Once on a sunny afternoon when I was a kid...

Once on a sunny afternoon when I was a kid, mum hanging out with a friend and me in the city. We were passing by an English primary school and she told her friend that she would like to send me to that English school to study, speak English, and go abroad someday. I was petrified, I didn't want to go to the English school. I didn't want to speak English. I didn't want to go abroad. I begged her not to send me to that school. She said I must. She didn't send me to the English school in the end. I was just sent to a Chinese school nearby the hill we lived. I was pleased and relieved. But still, I grew up trying to achieve what she had hoped for in that afternoon. I knew it was her dream to acquire knowledge if she wasn't confined by the old society. Those old ideas. Those she had to live by...

So she set her dream on me. She extended herself into me. And that sometimes I wonder: is it my dream or hers? Am I dreaming or is she dreaming through me? Or both - we are dreaming the same dreams? It seems that she hasn't realised that she is already lied six feet under. Or maybe deep inside me never realised that as I was stranded abroad and did not attend her funeral. I was only informed about it. Saw some videos and pictures. I never held her cold body up from the floor that took her life. I can never know how it was like to hold her for one last time, to say the last goodbye. I only can imagine.

So since then, she has lived inside my dreams instead. She seems fine. Lives well. Does what she likes to do. Never ages a day. Only at times, she turns into a raging beast agonizing over her death whenever she finds out that she has already died. Petrified and wailing in my dreams, waking up in me with an ache at night. But I have learned to calm the beast. Put her to sleep. Let her wait in my dreams. So, when she sleeps, I awake. I sleep so that she can live. And we both live by a truce like this, for ever.

01.08.2021, 02:59 pm, Sun.


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© Lau Tiam Kok