My eyes aim at the perfect circle above me, the water fluttering as it falls. Again, that dream plays in my head: I remember falling with the water around me, before my body hit into a dark pool. As I fell there’d be two hands with thumbs outstretched appearing from the surrounding mist, and they’d gently touch my temples.

And then I’d find myself beside a river, surrounded by the tallest trees I’ve seen. When I looked into the water, I’d see a different reflection of me—I was a woman. Then I’d see seven pigs slain before being enveloped in a haze of brown and gold dust. I’d hear a coconut being cracked, with chanting and the dizzying wall of drums surrounding me. Another shaman would wave a dead fowl across this dark, endless room. It was terrifying to feel him dancing around so swift in the dark.

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,
Ibanese for grandmother.
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’d 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 you to heed that dream, that calling. But you already have enough worries weighing on your chest.’

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