By GEMMA CRUZ ARANETA
A few days ago, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I was frozen with fear, shrouded with inexplicable dread which is strange for a person like me who is usually cheerful and optimistic from the crack of dawn. What is the matter?—I pondered, and suddenly remembered that I had a terrible dream, almost a nightmare. I dreamt that I was standing beside someone who murdered President Rodrigo Duterte right before my eyes.
During breakfast, my grandson, Tekwani, always asks me how I slept and what I dreamt about. Probably because old age is creeping in, I do not always remember my dreams. “You should write them down, Lola, as soon as you wake up, dreams fade rapidly and that is the only way you can remember them.” He sounded like an old man, not like a 21-year-old Gen Z. I placed a notebook and a felt pen on my bedside table to do just that, but, so far, I have scribbled the details of only one dream where I went into a decaying heritage home which I thought was so lovely, I refused to leave it even if its roof was about to fall on my head. As soon as I wake up to Alexa’s “Fur Elise,” I have to prepare breakfast for my cats. Milonga starts nibbling my ankles, a sign that she’s famished; Jarocho and Merengue implore with their eyes. The fourth cat is Tekwani, which in Nahuatl (Aztec) means a fierce, man-eating wild cat. No time to record anything.
I dreamt I was walking in a pubic park paved with flat cobble stones (adoquin in Spanish). There were nondescript trees at the fringes of the park and people milling around. Beside me was a Chinese-looking woman who was walking in the same direction and was talking incessantly as if we were long-lost friends. She was smiling all the time although her conversation was quite a serious one; I felt she did not want to alarm the people around us with what she was telling me. The gravity of her words were in direct contrast with the happy expression of her face. Then, President Duterte and a discreet retinue of body guards appeared and started walking with us. The Chinese lady began engaging him in a rather animated conversation , I could not get a word in, not even to greet the President. As we continued walking, we passed by a sinister sink hole and she suddenly pushed President Duterte into that dark muddy crater. I was speechless and so were the close-in security. By the time we recovered from the shock, the Chinese lady had disappeared without a trace.
I felt I had to escape but before I could take a step, the PSG (Presidential Security Guards) surrounded me and one of them menacingly shook a finger, “I saw you! You did it! You killed the President!” I was too petrified to answer but managed to slither through the crowd and seek refuge in an old church nearby. I knelt in front of the altar but that same PSG placed a lethal explosive in front of me. It started to burn, so I picked it up and hurled it back him. There was a deafening explosion followed by total chaos outside. I escaped unscathed. No wonder I woke up with tectonic foreboding, the dream was so real.
I have a nephew who can interpret dreams because he read neurolinguistics at Pepperdine University in Southern California. When he was living in the Philippines, I would always call him whenever I had an inexplicable dream which he would interpret and analyze. Once I asked him why I dreamt that my favorite niece and nephew were playing under a raging waterfall without getting drenched. There was a time I would always dream I was flying. I must send him this column so he can analyze this Duterte incubus.