The week I dreamt about finding a long-lost ninth marble was the week Pluto was renamed a planet.
I’m not psychic. Definitely not psychic. If I were, my parents would have won the lottery by now. Sadly, my dreams are just cryptic coincidences. I’m pretty sure everyone has dreams like that, dreams that warn of something or another. At least, I hope everyone does. It’s fun and all, being able to say “I knew that was coming,” but truthfully, I’m tired of all the surprises in the world being taken away like that. I want normal dreams. Mother says I think too much. That’s why I get these dreams, she thinks. (But I blame my step-grandmother. She’s a shaman―you know, a person who does divination and talks to spirits―so she’s probably the reason why I have too many of these odd dreams.)
I dreamt of a thousand bugs huddled in the corner of my room last summer.
Days later, we had a bug infestation, most likely baby carpet beetles or larvae. We never found out what kind of bugs they were. We just knew they were a nuisance to have around. It definitely wasn’t a good surprise, but then again my mother should have listened to me. I did tell her about the bug dream, but she didn’t listen. She says my dreams are weird because I’m stressed. (No, I’m not. I’m stress-free most of the time.)
I’ve dreamt of tigers and lions and sharks in the house.
Mother says if I don’t think anything of it then the dreams mean nothing, but it’s fun picking out the symbolism in each dream especially because each of them are different. (The animal dreams are the most fun.) It’s like analyzing a book, except it’s a book you read at night to escape the boring reality of life. Maybe those dreams came to me because I was bored? I guess I will never know. But one thing’s for sure: waking up in the middle night, paranoid that there is a ferocious creature in the room, is not fun. Not fun at all.
On a random night, a pair of lionesses circled my bed, one decided to pounce me.
Mother was worried. Because we’re not Christian or Catholic, she didn’t make me go to church. Instead, she made me pray to Guanyin Pusa for safety and peace of mind. (I was just grateful we had the little shrine at home. I didn’t want to go to a priest and have him think I was nuts.) Sometime later, my mom and stay-at-home aunt had a fight, and my aunt hit me. The lioness was less painful…
The tiger was friendlier. It sat at the foot of my bed.
My mother was less worried, nevertheless she was worried, but she said that the dream could be interpreted in two ways. It was either I would tame a wild beast or I would come to have power. (I wanted to have power. I wanted to boss someone around.) At the beginning of sixth grade, I became friends with one of the toughest girls in school and, all throughout middle school and high school, she spoiled me. Basically, she gave me food, advice, and very happy memories.
I opened the bathroom door. It was filled with water. The shark just stared at me.
For once, that dream had no cryptic meaning. The following days, nothing came that seemed to be related to the dream. For once, the dream was just a random thought, so I never told Mother. (The dream wasn’t normal, but I felt normal because it wasn’t tied to anything.) After five days passed, I found out it was shark week. FML.
I was in the basement. A lion cub came to me. Its mother slashed my face.
Within the month, I hurt my back and couldn’t go to school for two full weeks. Perfect attendance was gone that second month of high school. It’s not like I cared about my attendance, but my back never got better. All my intermit absences meant that I missed out on a lot. I must have missed at least half of each school year. Looking back on high school is like trying to remember long-lost memories with blackouts in between. The doctors didn’t believe me. They all thought I wanted to play hooky. (In the span of four years, I took more medicine than in the fourteen years before ninth grade. Motrin, naproxen, ibuprofen, oxycodone, etc. If I really was just playing hooky, I would have sold every capsule I had and became rich. Instead, I had medical bills upon medical bills.) My reputation with New Jersey doctors and the school was marred.
I’ve dreamt of getting married to a guy whose face I couldn’t see.
I had crazy romantic dreams too just like everyone else. Or at least, I hope just like everyone else. I don’t want to be the only one with stupid dreams. I was too embarrassed to tell Mother about this dream. (I decided that dreams are stupid, and I should stop remembering them, but it’s so hard not to. Dreams are just too fun to not have and too fun to forget.)
A baby boy came to the house. He had the cutest smile, but then he disappeared.
I want to be a mother. I want to have children. At least four. At most ten. The baby boy in my dream seemed too real to be fake. In East Asia (not sure about anywhere else), dreams about babies are called conception dreams, and they foretell of an upcoming birth. (Conception dreams are very important. Some people actually buy other people’s conception dreams because these dreams mean a whole lot of good luck for the baby.) But the dream I had was a bad one, so I didn’t tell my mother about the dream, fearing that I would scare her. It didn’t help. She still miscarried. (I hope he comes back when I’m ready to be a mother. I’ll give him the life he should have gotten.) I cried for the brother I would never get to meet.
When my grandmother died, I dreamt of her in bed with an alligator.
I didn’t tell Mother about that one either. Alligators aren’t necessarily bad things, but I didn’t want her to worry when she had a funeral to keep track of. I guess I didn’t cry enough because seeing an alligator meant that I had repressed emotions and that I needed to see the situation in a different perspective. I really did try to cry, but the whole situation seemed unreal to me. My grandmother lived in Malaysia, far away from us. I still thought she was alive and well. (The denial stage lasted a while for me, so the alligator kept coming back, grinning an awful grin. It tried to climb onto my bed a few times. I had to kick it out more than once.) Her death couldn’t have worse timing. She died around Halloween and the Indian New Year so, while my friends were having a fun time, I had to watch a funeral through Skype. I cried when I saw the coffin.
I didn’t just dream of ferocious animals. I dreamt of turtles too…
The turtle dreams made me cry too, not because they were scary but because they were beautiful. In one, I was on the beach when suddenly baby turtles began popping their heads out of the sand. In another, I was swimming in a pool, and there were koi fish of different colors too, but the turtles were gold. Tiny ones but, nevertheless, golden ones swimming about. When I told Mother, she was ecstatic. They weren’t normal dreams but, at the very least, they weren’t bad ones. Dreaming about turtles (and koi fish) was unquestionably better than dreaming about lions and tigers. Mother says the dreams were about me coming into good fortune, but I believe those dreams were about me going to college. Sounds kinda clichéd and sappy, but it’s true. Everyone’s just starting their journeys, and everybody’s different, but they all are beautiful in their own ways. (Still haven’t met a golden turtle though… Met a few different koi fish but not a golden turtle yet.)
One night, my father died in a car accident, his blood splashing onto my face.
I cried when I woke up from that nightmare. (I cry a lot, don’t I? I’m definitely a crybaby. I try not to be, but I guess I’m too emotional.) Actually, a better description was: I was scared out of my mind, ran all the way down stairs into my parents’ room, and held onto my father for dear life as I sobbed hysterically. Needless to say, my parents didn’t know how to deal with me, so they just let me cry.
There are some people who say their dreams are their wishes for the future. I hate my dreams―well, just the scary ones. Mother says, in Chinese superstitions, dreaming of someone dying means they will live for a very long time. Well, fuck superstitions. I was scared. Period. A little girl should not have a dream like that, no matter what fortune it holds. (I just want normal dreams.)