I have dreamt of home countless times, and I don’t mean home physically, not really, but home where I am with my parents. It usually starts out flooded with the feelings of pure, unadulterated happiness and relief, that I am finally home where it is safe and familiar and full of love. And then because this is an occurrence that happens way too often — so often that I fall so easily into the trap of believing in it and wake up the next morning feeling completely disorientated when the first thing I see when I open my eyes is my anime poster-plastered blue wall instead of my pink one back at home, filled with dread, feeling like I’d just lost something incredibly significant to me, because all these false hopes feel like a ten-tonne weight pressing against my chest when the dream bubble of a transient home is, yet again, cruelly burst — my mind subconsciously develops a testing system so that each time I plummet into yet another illusion of home, a brief moment of lucidity wherein I get myself to recall my flight back to Malaysia stands as gatekeeper to adjudicate whether this is real or not real. If I am unable to do that, to remember the details of how I left Manchester, what I did on the flight, and what I did upon reaching the airport in Malaysia — which is every single time because, well, it really isn’t real and I have never actually flown back yet — I subconsciously get to acknowledge that this is a dream within the dream itself, to cushion the guaranteed delivered blow so that it won’t be as hard and dreadful upon returning to consciousness. Pretty much the same principle as the spinning totem in Inception, except perhaps less cool.

But last night was a first. It was the first time my test malfunctioned and failed itself. It was the first time that I managed to fabricate a memory of flying back to Malaysia and deceiving my subconscious into truly believing that I was home. I dreamt that I was in my uncle’s old house back in Taman Golf and there was a family gathering. My relatives were all present and so was my cousin who I was hanging out with. Even my dog, Heart, was there. The subsequent sequence of events were all surreal and would never ever happen in real life (as dreams usually are) but because I was reassured of the verified status of my being at home by that mind test thing, I relaxed considerably and let all my guards down, which was why the mini panic that I had upon waking up and staring at my goddamn anime posters made me feel the most bewildered I’ve ever been after waking up from a dream of home. And after you’ve repeated this entire process a sufficient number of times, home in itself feels like the most unreachable concept it’s ever been.

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Michelle Teoh

26-year-old cynical Asian, book enthusiast and purveyor of fine sarcasm.

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