So this surge in my chest underscores my desire for ‘better things’. It’s like I have something worth building, something worth fighting for, something bigger to be part of. Like there’s some big truths inside me. That, if I dug hard enough, if I dug deep enough, I could find it. Then all of the world would make sense. That I would make sense.

So if I don’t even belong in my body, what hope do I have of finding where I belong? A little boy brushes my knee and runs off, chasing another girl, presumably his sister. And the boy sent my gaze once again to the crowd around me. Lovers, family, friends, people with people, people belonging to people.

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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