"Russet, can you tell me what happened in your dream, as you say it is when you woke up after your coma?" Our guidance counselor by the name of Ms. Violet looked at me with a slight smile and patience that I could not refuse.
"Well...I'll try to recall most of the stuff but please bear with me if there are little things that I forgot if there are because my dream was so vivid yet I find it blurry sometimes, Miss. I would not tell people much about it for it really is a weird one," I carefully told her choosing my words in a way she will treat me as someone normal as I know I am.
"The dream does not look like most where one would be between heaven or hell--or even our place at this time, the contemporary 21st century era I left. The dream started like this."
'I was wearing a black dazzling flapper dress, my Halloween costume before being in a coma, sitting on a long grey couch with no back rest save for a light blue wall where a window was towering above it. I looked out the window and see a full silvery bright moon with scattered stars on the midnight sky, lights below the venue make the stars look slightly fading against my vision."
'Then I saw this something that does not fit outside the scene I was seeing. It looked like lights or the sun already peeping from the horizon. Bedazzled by it, I touched one glass panel. To my surprise in the part where I tapped the window on, the glass seemed to ripple in waves like water. I touched the magic window in every other part and it went like that rippling repeatedly. I was delighted and fascinated that I tried to dip a finger in. My finger felt like water was enveloping it while I feel a space on my fingertip. Not the space like outer space but like a 'room space'. And that water-like entrance felt cold on my skin like real water."
'For a moment I thought, "This looks scifi. Would I be in a world like Alice in Wonderland's? I think I should find out and maybe I can still get back at my place after this." With that thought in mind, I dipped my hand slowly but surely until my whole body passed through the "still water" portal. I bravely went inside and happened to see a different world. I could still see the window and I looked through it. My reflection was of like before, a clip on my hair with some feathers on it and a flapper make up to match. I decided to turn around and leave that portal for awhile as I have a feeling that I can still get back sooner or later."
'My feet touched the ground and it was bare. The ground felt cool against my skin and I don't see any plastic wrappers thrown everywhere. I noticed I was wearing a different dress there. Something that only the ancient people of our country had worn."
'The black flapper dress I wore that night was replaced by a brightly colored soft fabric that hung halfway my lower legs. I can see blues and golds on it dancing as if they were newly tailored for me. I figured it was a skirt, given that feeling of having some air cooling my legs upward. The skirt's top ended on my belly button and was tied like a wrap skirt of sorts. My arms were covered in tattoos like what our ancient people have and I was thrilled because Mom would never allow me even to have a little scar on my skin. My upper clothing was also blue with geometric patterns of gold, red and yellows. It was short on my sleeves but I can manage to move from it and at the top, it's slightly open in a V-shaped neckline which ends just before my sternum is located. The hem of the shirt is no longer than what I'm wearing now. It's an inch above the skirt and that's all of it. The weirdest thing on it was: I got some jade bracelets on my left hand like how I wear my watch; golden earrings shaped in seashells; and a golden gem-studded necklace."
I paused for a moment to breathe. I even smiled at the counselor because that experience is so lovely for me.
"What did you see in that world?" Ms. Violet asked me after I have exhaled everything out, pen in hand as she was scribbling something on her notebook.
'When I looked from the ground up to the horizon, trees where everywhere. Green surrounded everything. The path I'm standing in was a dirt path which is still a little narrow due to people not really getting out of their towns I guess because if I was correct, transportation there is still by foot or if you're lucky, a carabao or some big animal traded in. The sky showed no sign of rain in that moment and I saw some casual cottony clouds here and there but no grey ones. I slowly walked on the path I was standing on, indulging everything around me before a deep voice shouted, "Hey look out!"
'I turned to see where the sound was and an arrow was suddenly flying towards me. I froze and ducked covering my head. I never felt so frightened all my life like that. I slowly removed my hands and turned to find the arrow. It stuck to a tree behind me with a target painted on it with some natural tints they use back then. Furious of the voice, I called out, "Whoever you are, please get out because that arrow scared the hell out of my life!"
'A guy then with an almost similar looking style of dress peeked behind a tree. I stared at him with my eyebrows knotting in disapproval of his actions. I can tell he's a man because of his broad shoulders. Broader than what I have. "I'm sorry to tell you but if you would want this to be a practice area for shooting your arrows and stuff, please tie a rope to barricade this so no person unwanted would go here."
'I brushed my dress off and walked towards my path again glancing at him vexed. As soon as I reached a clearing to a settlement, I heard a rustle behind me. "Oh, so now you are stalking me? Are you an assassin or a ninja?" I turned my head towards the rustling sound and faced it with contempt as my arms are folded in front of my chest."
'He slowly walked towards me in an expression I can't put off as asking for apology or making fun of me because he was looking down. I tilted my head to a side slightly as he stopped just about a foot away from me. "I'm sorry for my behavior. I should really barricade my practice area when I practice shooting."
'I stared at him until he looked me in the eyes. He felt familiar to me like I've met him already somewhere, somehow but maybe it's a subconscious reaction. His eyes looked soft against the light. He wears a wide-brimmed hat made out of footstool palm leaves. His wavy raven hair falls exactly on his broad shoulders. His color was a lot like mine, brown but with a glow that means he's healthy. His body was covered in tattoos too more than I am. He had different colored clothes than what I have which I think would tell me of his status in that society but I am not sure what it was at the time. He was slightly sweaty because he probably ran for some game in that forest I emerged in. He was holding some edible birds on his right hand."
"I'm so sorry for that, dayang (princess or lady)." The guy bowed but I am sure he's smirking from that bow because he was shaking a bit as he does it. I turned around and left him there, walking where my feet would take me. I think the day I arrived there was a market day for there were lots of goods being sold: from trinkets to food to cloths and stuff."
'They're wonderful. The cloths were silken, some I guess were made of a different material but gosh they're a big dream for people who wear clothes in comfortable kind of ways. As I was browsing through the merchandise being sold, I felt the man following me again. I caught him hiding from the fish vendor when I spun around briefly wary of his presence. I pulled his hand out of the poor old man's shoulders. "I'm very sorry, sir." I bowed to the elderly vendor and smiled at him reassuringly pulling the hunter with me somewhere. When everything was out of earshot, I glared at him. "Wh-who are you?"
'He froze for a moment then sighed as I gripped his shirt tight pulling him to my height. He suddenly showed me a proof of my existence that I am a lost person. Some jade bangles that I recognize was mine in that dream. "If I am not mistaken...this is yours when you were lost in the woods a month ago. Your...your parents, the Raja Bantog and Hara Maliyag, had been searching you after you ran away...because of suitors. That's what they told everybody. Your suitors were concerned and were tasked to find you but they never succeeded until it was me."
'I pulled off my grip on his shirt's collar and shrugged. "Hmmkay, y-you're persistent. I can see that. But...no man will ever take my hand for marriage." I smiled at those lines inside my head as I was saying it. "Lost or not, I would like to wander this world as a maharlika (warrior class in Philippine pre-colonial society). Being a maginoo (rich upper class in Philippine pre-colonial society) is boring you know? If...if they could just give more freedom to women like me, I would choose freedom over anything else. And-and be who I want to be and not just be a hand for marriages politically or not."
"B-but...dayang." I pushed him aside and walked out of that clearing again and tried to find an arrow or any weapon. I told myself that if this is just a dream, I may as well do what I want and be the person I should be in real life. I traded my earrings, and jewelry for a simple hair tie, a bow and some arrows. I noticed that the man followed me because he was standing beside me after I bought some weaponry. He grabbed my arm and gripped it tight. "What are you planning?"
'I smiled at his question. "Let's have this deal then. I would be learning archery in exchange for your courtship with me." I poked his chest as I made eye contact on him with my glare saying I rule my life and no man can ever stop me from being the person I should be. But there will be no marriage after I become an expert."
'He shrugged. "You are ridiculous." I frowned upon his words. "Well, if you are not interested in that deal then I must say goodbye. I'll be off to my own adventure then."
'I heard his footsteps as soon as I leave the market and continue my path again searching for a town beyond the grove of trees. I felt a hand hold my wrist making me stop. "You're leaving me no other choices then, I guess it's a deal."
'I turned around and I am sure a wide grin set my face gleaming against the light of an afternoon sun flashing on the west. "You can take me home to my parents then. And I'll tell them of what happened. Don't worry, our deal would not be in vain, buddy." I tapped the guy's shoulder in a friendly manner."
I paused for a moment as I saw my counselor shaking her head smiling at my "dream." "We're not over your dream yet, I know, but the way this goes, I can see that life was teaching you a lesson about you suppressing something in real life and bravely letting it all out in your subconscious."
"Wow. What could that be?" I muttered but already knew the answer though I would want to keep it a secret to people.
"By the way Miss, during that time I was practicing archery with that guy, I felt so alive in that world. Like I don't want to even get out of it one bit. The man calls me Dayang Takay. I never found out his name though I somehow knew he's a young datu of his clan in that barangay or so I think." I tilted my head a bit as I sat like an Indian in the wooden couch of the clinic.
"At some point in the dream, I eventually woke up when I heard my parents calling my own name. The man and I were practicing sword-fighting then. But you know what I learned about it, Miss?" I sat straight and leaned into the back rest looking up at the ceiling fighting back tears.
"What is it dear?" The woman continued scribbling notes.
"I should not have listened to my bullies. I can stand up against them if I want to, fighting silently but fiercely...like Takay in my dream but I didn't. I let them shove me, push me around and make fun of me in that stupid party where they told me it was a costume party but wasn't. With some anger and unstable state of mind, I-I did not expect myself to let them be inside my head like they owned it. Honestly, I did not see the car...but I was praying for it because I...I feel like my life has been a big joke though it actually wasn't. Everything has been destined in a way...and that my choices were all in the wrong side of a coin giving me more consequences I should not have." I breathed and exhaled a lot of air after that and smiled at her.
"Dearie, you're getting better actually. Realizations like that are not realized by people as fast as they can. You are an intelligent kid. You know you can surpass this." She smiled at me walking to my seat and hugging me like it's all I ever need: an assurance that everything will be alright and that I can do it if I just believe I can.
"I just hope so Miss. I would not get myself in the middle of the road again and let a car run through me." She patted my head like my brothers would when they were still at home.
"Word of advice: When you pick choices, weigh them down. Look at every scenario it would give you after you pick it. You can even jot that down on your phone or notebook. Then try to see people, especially those you love, for reaction if you pick a choice and decide on it. If it looks worth it for you and everybody you love, then take it. If not, try to find other ways. If you can't find ways, you can always ask me for suggestions or your closest friends or family."
The session ended with a smile and hugs from both of us. I guess windows are not just eyes for the soul but windows for seeing things in different lights in your life. Lights that lead you to paths uncharted or probably not been used to much of the time. I myself have seen it and maybe someday, I will walk on it with a smile.