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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Dream You Again

It came as a shock. I still remember the inexplicable sadness in his face when he dropped me off my house after work, not knowing that it will be the last expression I will see of him alive. The very next day, I found out that he was brutally murdered.

My friend gave some hints before it happened. About how his room that used to be a small garage looked like a tomb. How he said he always wore some cool underwear so when something happened to him, it won’t be embarrassing. How he wanted to die famous--his name in the papers and on television screens all over. There’s a superstition: when someone talks of dying, you should counter it. Erase. Reverse. Reject. Maybe I should have done that. Maybe I should have seen it coming. Then again, who would?

My anguish was only equal to my frustration. I wanted answers. Justice, of course. I prayed for a message, for some form of revelation. The night after the murder happened, I was in my room, yelling to my dead friend to tell me himself. Never did I expect that he actually would. Because in the next three nights, he visited me in my dreams.

The first night, I saw his face with the sunset as his background. He looked serious, even angry. As he spoke, words were scrolling down around him like the ending credits in a movie. His message was in old Tagalog, and it felt like he was leaving his last will, his habilin, sadly none of which I remembered. He sounded like a politician giving an impassioned speech. Funny, he was actually a councilman, a beloved public servant.

The second dream was brief. I was standing beside the street when a car stopped just in front of me. A brown Sportivo. It just stopped there, waiting for me to get in. In real life, he owned a black Sportivo and I had hitched with him a few times. Just some days before his death he casually asked me what I would do when he killed someone. Would I help him hide evidence? It was just probably his own version of a test of friendship. In hindsight, maybe it was another sign. I answered with a laugh, "Of course I wouldn’t help you!" In my dream, I didn’t ride the Sportivo.

The next day, I came to his wake for the first time. His expression as his body laid in the coffin was exactly the same in my first dream, only with his eyes closed. That bothered me. Never did I expect that my third night’s sleep would be more unnerving.

My dream was vivid—not just the colors and lines that made it seem like some semi-realistic comics, but the emotions. For some reason, I was really angry. I was walking on a street at night and from afar I saw two people. One was a fair, short-haired woman—it looked like she was a lesbian. She was wearing a white polo and silver necklace with a huge dollar sign pendant. The other was a tan, muscular man wearing a gray tank top. I wanted to kill them. My left shoulder felt heavy, like something or someone was standing on it, the pain adding to my fury. I tried to chase them but they were too far and there was a white gilded gate that I had to crawl down to pass, and they were gone. Eventually I found myself alone in the sloping road surrounded with grasslands. My friend’s body was found in his car (not the Sportivo) in the middle of an empty lot in a subdivision in QC.

That was it for me. I thought I was ready for this kind of experience—of someone reaching from beyond the grave to send me a message—but I wasn’t. I prayed for the dreams to stop and they did. Despite my fright, I dismissed the entire incident as irrelevant. Fruitless. There was nothing I could do to get him some justice. He was dead, he reached out to me, but that was all.

A few weeks later, someone came by the office. They were close and she used to work there, too. I heard her say to my officemates how she dreamt of our murdered friend, and in it was someone she thought must be a person of interest: a fair-skinned lesbian. I kept my shock to myself. She was just an acquaintance to me so I did not question her about what she saw, and she left.

Until now, my friend’s murder remains unsolved. I used to wonder if maybe I could have done something to help his case, but life moved on and so did I. The dreams are but a memory now—another imprint I have of him albeit they already happened after his death. I treat it as a gift: the rare experience of being able to share a few more moments with a friend even from beyond the veil. For that, at the very least, I am thankful. I just wish that despite of what happened, even if I don’t see him anywhere anymore, that he’s not sad or serious or angry, but instead he is at peace, and smiling.

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Bismark E. Avena is a graduate of University of the Philippines. He is holding two jobs within the traffic-free comforts of his hometown in Bulacan. An open-minded realist, he mostly believes in the value of experience. Luckily, when it comes to the mind-boggling and the mysterious, he has had his fair share.

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