I am dreaming, but I don’t know it yet.
I am with my brother Jani. It feels so good to see him again after all this time. He still looks young and handsome, just as I remember him. We are talking and laughing, having light-hearted exchanges. I hear his laughter and see his smiling face. I see the twinkle in his eyes. My heart sings and dances.
I have often dreamt of him, but this time it’s different. There’s none of the usual stuff: no panicking about stopping him from returning to the battlefront, because I know he will never return; no sad realisation that this is only a dream and that I am powerless to prevent his death. No. This time it’s different. There is only love and laughter – the feeling that he is with me and that he and I are both ok.
I wake up and remember. I remember his smile and the happiness we just shared. I carry this happiness into my day with me, savouring it.
I call my sister and tell her all about my fantastic dream. It feels good to share my experience with her. She understands. She feels better for having heard my story.
It is a Saturday. I busy myself with the day’s activities. Soon, I find myself having lunch on my own – not a usual occurrence. My wife is upstairs, getting our daughter dressed for her drama class. She left the stereo on. I eat to the sound of Whitney Houston’s voice. I remember how my brother loved her ‘Whitney’ album. I recall how he played it continuously when he was home on leave from the Academy one time.
We are together again. I feel love welling up inside of me once again. But this time it’s different. Could it be? Could it really be true what I’m feeling inside? It feels like love being sent from my brother to me. It’s not just something my mind has made up. I can feel it in my body too. Waves of soothing pleasure pass through me. I bask in the sensations and carry on eating, a big smile on my face and tears streaming down my cheeks. Who cares if it’s real? What does ‘real’ even mean? And am I to dismiss what I’m feeling? It feels real enough to me. I’ll take it, thank you very much!
We have dropped our daughter off at her class. She seems happy and contented. It’s time for us to leave and go about our business until it is time to pick her up again. My phone vibrates. I take a look. It’s a message from my friend Avanthi. Hmmm…I haven’t heard from her in months. We used to be so close – like brother and sister, but living in different countries and having families to take care of means that we only exchange messages on birthdays and at Christmas time now. Wonder what she’s written. Hope everything’s ok. I take a look… and what I see floors me!
She’s at a fund-raising event held at the school her son attends – the school her husband (my friend) and my brothers and I attended back in Sri Lanka. She’s just passed through a stall and seen a commemorative wall plaque with my brother’s name on it. She’s taken a picture and I’m staring at it now in disbelief! And it’s staring right back at me saying ‘Oh yeah, you got that right. I’m here and you better believe it!’