The light from outside the triangular windows far above me is still too bright, so I decide to go home. I catch myself, for I am only returning to my rented room in someone else’s home. I am boarding no plane. Instead I will be stepping into a subway, buried so deep that it feels like an electric shock once it sees the light of day again.

I get to the elongated vestibules that will lead me to the MRT station, past the swarms of people crowding into the mall. Seeing everyone walking so surely into Jewel reminded me of when I crossed the causeway from Johor Bahru into Singapore back in March, before the borders closed.

Then I’d step out in an Ibanese women garb, which I’d seen before in some civics textbook when I was in secondary school. Always, I’d wake up at that point, and there’d be a rattle in my bones. I got used to it as I grew up. But when I was a kid, ine would be right there if I woke up afraid. It’s always like she knew when I would make that dream. She’d hand me a glass of water. Then she’d stroke my hair, and her soft coos faded into the night only as I returned to sleep.

Then she’d go on to tell me I’ve forgotten about that dream of becoming a shaman again. She’d always talk to me about it as if she was actually inside that dream.

‘Don’t you see? Don’t you understand? You are a vessel of the celestial. You’ve transcended; you can heal!’ ine always says. ‘I’m supposed to tell to heed that dream, that calling. But you already have enough worries weighing on your chest.’

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