Priya looked around. Where was she? It looked like some kind of city. But, it wasn’t New York. Like her hometown, the buildings stood close together. However, this city had much more color and cheer, if it were possible. On the contrary, the inhabitants were dull and lacking color. They were nothing but walking figures of nothingness. Most of them were wearing trench coats, or any coat for that matter. Priya wasn’t sure why anyone would wear a coat at this weather, which was funny because the sun wasn’t even out.
The place was much smaller
Before Priya could turn around, she appeared at a bakery, already sitting at a table. A cupcake of pink frosting topped with a cherry stood before her. How did that get there? She was a diabetic for crying out loud!
She pulled out her phone to use the map app. One problem. It’s missing! Maybe she left it at home? Hopefully, that would ease Priya’s panic.
Before she decided to leave, a doe-eyed, silver-haired girl appeared out of nowhere. Her hair was slightly covering her pale, oval face. She sat across from Priya, her noodle-like arms spreading across the table, then folded. She flashed her a smile as if she knew her.
For some reason, Priya did know her, at least in this universe. Priya wanted to ask who she was, but decided against it.
The girl took her phone out. “So, we on for tonight?”
Tonight? Priya thought. What was happening tonight?
The girl looked at her, concerned. “Priya? The concert?”
Priya just looked at her.
The girl gave an annoyed expression. “We’re going to see Megarock, remember?”
Priya gave her best smile, embarrassed. “Sorry. I am just tired.”
“School?” she guessed, giving a half-smile.
“You’re always a hard worker, Pri. You’ll be getting that art degree in no time.”
Priya frowned. Art was not her field of study. It was STEM. Art was more of her brother’s passion, which her father wouldn’t allow. He wanted him to be a computer engineer. Unfortunately for him, that was what Priya chose to study. Her father worried that she would not make it out alive since she was a woman. Although those weren’t his exact words, she knew it was because she was female. But, his words were, “I’m just looking out for my little girl.” Yeah, right.
“Priya?” The girl’s voice snapped her out of her daze. “You there?”
Priya looked up, but didn’t respond.
“The concert is starting in about an hour. We should start getting ready.” She stood up and before Priya knew it, the girl was gone.
Priya just sat there, reflecting on what just happened. Whoever this girl was, they seemed to be pretty close friends, which was impossible considering that she hadn’t had one friend since she and her family immigrated into the United States from India. She and Sanjay were in high school that time and they both struggled to fit in. Eventually, Sanjay seemed to be building friendships easily, but slowly. As for Priya, she has yet to find a good friend to vent to.
If all of these occurrences around her were real, which were likely not, then Priya has finally found a friend she could connect with. The girl seemed friendly and authentic enough. But, she came out of nowhere.
It was a good thing she was close enough to her brother. They currently live together in a tiny flat. They were working to get a high-paying job to move to a nicer, safer neighborhood. The one they lived in was not what one would consider nice or safe. But it was not dangerous enough for them to move out immediately. The good thing about New York was that it had more diversity. But in the schools the siblings were attending, most of the students were white.
Suddenly, loud cheers surrounded her followed by booming music. The environment grew darker. She was now at a large auditorium. Her anxiety raised the roof as she was now surrounded by a large crowd of people. She desperately looked around and saw her “friend” on the left of her, cheering as the band performed.
Priya looked down and saw that she was wearing a black t-shirt read “MEGAROCK” in Ravie font.
“Come on, Pri! Scream!” the girl urged. “This is your favorite band!”
Priya let out a weak cheer. Since when did this become her favorite band. The banging and the screeching? That was far from what she liked. She was more comfortable with her regular playlist of Bollywood with a hint of acid jazz.
“Everybody jump!” the lead singer shouted.
Everyone started leaping like frogs. Priya just did a few small hops. The hops increased into bigger hops. She started getting into the music. All of a sudden, she started flying out of her seat and into the air.
“Whoa! Look at her go!” the lead gasped into the mic.
Priya then realized that she was about to crash into the wall. She was nearly inches away until…
“Priya? Priya, wake up.”
Priya mumbled as she stirred inside her bed. Her brother gently shook her shoulder.
“You have missed your alarm. Wake up.”
“I’m up. I’m up.” She opened her eyes as she arose. “What time is it?”
“It’s 9am. Your class is at ten.”
Priya’s eyes finally snapped open as she yanked the covers from her body.
“Quick, get out!” She pushed her younger brother out of her room and quickly took out a dress. After a shower, she hopped into her brother’s car as they drove to the university.
“You will never believe the dream I just had,” Priya started. “I had a friend.”
Sanjay looked at her as if expecting to hear more. “And?”
“That’s it. You know I have been longing for a friend for years.”
“Well, why don’t you put yourself out there?”
“I do not know. Maybe it’s because I am weird.”
“Pri, you are not weird. A goofball, yes. But, not weird. I want you to promise me today that you will make a friend.”
“I have tried! People would either give me a look or just walk away.”
“Then, forget those people. There is nothing wrong with you. Look, don’t let anyone discourage you from finding a like-minded individual. Promise me you won’t give up today.”
Priya sighed and slouched in her seat. “I promise.”
On her way to her chemistry class, she bumped into someone, causing her books, along with the other person’s, to cascade to the floor.
“I’m sorry,” Priya said as she collected her books and picked up one of the person’s books.
“No, it’s fine.”
As Priya glanced up, she noticed something about the person. She had silver hair, the same color as the girl in the dream.
“D-do I know you?” Priya asked.
“I don’t think so. Should you?”
Priya could not stop stuttering. I-I’m sorry. I-I-I shouldn’t have asked.”
“No, it’s fine. I-”
Priya cut her off by walking away. No wonder I don’t have friends, she thought to herself. I’m always so awkward.
Priya went to her chemistry class and pulled out her laptop as soon as she sat down. She immediately typed down whatever the professor was spewing out. But, as much as Priya wanted to, she couldn’t focus on the lesson. She couldn’t stop thinking about that girl.
What is with this strange coincidence? Priya thought. Who was this girl?
Stephanie couldn’t stop gulping down her iced tea. She was nervous that she met someone in her dreams that she has never met before.
“Steph, take it easy,” her boyfriend, Emery warned. “You might get the hiccups.”
“Sorry. I’m still just freaked out over this whole thing.”
“You sure you saw this girl in your dream?”
“Okay, so tell me again what happened in that dream.”
“Well, we were at a bakery. In this dream, we’ve seemed to know each other. But, I knew on the inside that I have never met this person before. She knew my name, but I didn’t know hers. We were planning to go to a concert for a Bollywood singer, and I’ve never listened to Bollywood before. Of course, you know I’ll listen to anything, but Bollywood? Never heard of it. She then brought up my journalism major.”
“But, you’re a theatre major.”
“That’s what I’m saying. And, when we got to the concert, I started feeling the music. And that is when the dream ended.”
“And, you two have never seen each other before?”
“No. Until today. We just bumped into each other before class.
“Hmmm. Look, I’m no dream therapist, but maybe you should talk to that girl.”
“And, how is that going to help anything, Em? She’ll probably look at me like I’m crazy!”
“Just try it. You’ll never know. The next time you see her-”
“Shut up! Here she comes!” Stephanie nudged her boyfriend as the mysterious girl walked around lost. The girl pushed her long, black hair from her face as she tried to find an empty table. When she approached Stephanie’s table, she gave her another glimpse, but carefully passed it.
“You want to sit with us?” Emery blurted out.
“Em,” Stephanie whispered.
Emery shushed her and gestured her toward the table.
The girl sat down between the couple and simply stared at her food.
“How ya doin’?” Emery tried making her comfortable, but she didn’t look up.
Stephanie placed a hand on her shoulder. “You okay?”
The girl finally met her eyes.
It is her, Stephanie thought.
The girl nodded. “Yeah. I’m fine.” She paused as she positioned her body to turn to Stephanie. “I’m Priya.”
“Stephanie. Nice to meet you. This is my boyfriend, Emery.”
Emery nodded to Priya. “Nice to meet you, Priya.”
“So, what’s your major?” Stephanie asked.
“STEM. I want to be a computer engineer. What about you?”
“Theatre. Emery and I have always wanted to be in a Broadway show.”
“If we do, I would totally get a lead role,” Emery teased with a cheeky grin.
“And, I’d be his leading lady.” Stephanie winked.
“How long have you two been together?” Priya asked.
“Three years,” they both said almost in unison.
Priya started to feel jealous. She never had the fortune to have a man by her side, mainly because her father was quite strict when it came to dating.
“Welp, I’m gonna go to the loo,” Emery started. “Have fun with each other.”
Stephanie rolled her eyes. What he was trying to do was clear. What was she supposed to say to her? The girl’s timidity didn’t help. Usually Stephanie is the first to start a conversation with anyone, but now she was stuck.
Priya decided to start, for once. She couldn’t stand being caught in awkward silences. “So, you like rock?”
“I love rock. I mean, I like all kinds of genres.”
“Which one is your favorite?”
“I don’t have a favorite. Do you?”
“Bollywood. But, I like to listen to acid jazz.”
“Oh, I love acid jazz.”
“Really?” Priya’s eyes widened.
“Yeah, my dad listens to it all the time.”
“D-do you like Bollywood?”
“I’ve never listened to it, but I’m up for trying new things.”
Priya took out her mp3 player. “Here’s a song by Taaron Ke Shehar. He’s really good.”
Stephanie plugged in the tangled headphones and started bobbing her head to the song. “Hey, this is awesome. I like it.” She lent the headphones back. “Might add that to my playlist.”
“Can I ask you a hypothetical question?” Priya asked shortly after Stephanie returned her mp3 player. “Have you ever had a dream of a stranger and the next day, you meet that exact person?”
Stephanie just finished sipping her tea. “Maybe. Why?”
“Well, just asking for a friend.”
“Is that friend you?”
“Well…yes.” Priya looked away, embarrassed.
“Who was this person?”
“I’m still trying to figure that out.”
“Okay. Yes, I have the same encounter.”
“Really? Who were they?”
Stephanie hesitated. “Y-you.”
Priya looked puzzled. “Really?”
Stephanie nodded. “I know it seems weird, but-”
“No, it’s not. I had a dream about you…too.”
“What do you think this means?”
“Well, during my chemistry class, I researched on my laptop on how this could be. One of the possibilities is that we could be soul mates.”
Stephanie grimaced. “I’m taken, so obviously that can’t be it.”
“Another may be that we were just meant to be friends, for some unknown reason. Not that I don’t want to be friends with you, but…”
“Then, let’s do it. Let’s become friends. Why question it?”
Weeks turn into months and the duo became inseparable. Who knew one dream could change their lives forever?