Last night, I fell asleep reading Salman Rushdie’s East, West, a collection of short stories faithful to the author’s obsession on the thin line between fiction and reality, the blurred boundary between madness and sanity. Maybe this is why I dreamed of Jeffrey H.*
Freud would come up with a different prognosis, of course.
In the dream, I was at Vinzons Hall in Diliman and there was a big crowd of people that there must have been an ongoing mobilization, or else a student forum of some sort. Everyone was wearing black, and because it was a dream, some people were even wearing ridiculous Halloween costumes. I saw him, Jeffrey H, standing alone in the lobby amidst the crowd, wearing one of those Ferragamo spoof shirts. I do not know how old he is in real life, but in the dream, he looked younger than I am.
When he realized that I was staring at him, I registered his panic, the scared look in eyes: he has recognized me. He must have thought I would physically attack him, and that it was my dream, and I could be as strong as I bloody liked.
Luckily for him,he did not have to wait any longer for his inevitable doom. I strode across the lobby, grew impossible muscles on the way, and pummeled him until he was nothing but jelly.
But I had better plans. Only when I knew he was already sweating a river did I approach him. I asked him if he was joining the rally. He said yes, in the nervous tone of the hopelessly guilty.
“Which organization are you from?”
He mentioned an obscure group which claims to harbor nationalist tendencies, adding meekly that he was not from UP. He then went into an elaborate story about how a friend coaxed him into joining in the rally from Diliman, and how this particular friend happened to have suddenly vanished from sight.
With a hint of sarcasm and condescension that I would otherwise be incapable of in waking life, I quizzed him on what his group does, their leanings and associations with other progressive cadres, their perception of Noynoy Aquino and his Hacienda Luisita background. Jeffrey H naturally floundered, lost for words, his replies short and vague. I relished the obvious fact that he felt exposed as a pretentious fraud.
I ended the dream right then and there, content with my small victory. When I woke up, a devilish smile was still plastered on my face. I wondered if I could make myself dream the same dream next time. I never knew I could be so heartless.
I stared at the ceiling and made a resolve to make a habit out of reading Rushdie before going to sleep.
* Not his real name.