It is an odd feeling. “Such a celebration, it is – life, my life.” I tell myself while I look at this wedding I am attending right now. The only thing to be compromised here is the food; I wish they had it a tad bit spicier. My mother is in a blue dress, but not one of those fancy looking ones. Now that I think about it, she has always been good at blending in elegantly. Or maybe I was the one bad at staying focused on things – always captivated by every small sound or shimmer which occurred close by. As I turned away from her, I observed the scenery change completely. I’m running through this post apocalyptic sight of the place I grew up in – or so I have always believed it to be. I failed to grasp the exact location countless times due to panic I experience in that moment. If running towards the unknown was ever a Broadway theme, I’d probably ace the show just by re-enacting my emotional state – tears, heavy breathing and the clear sound of my heart beating as I scream to find a familiar face in this wasteland.

Dreams are odd, especially since they’re very inconsistent. You’d be celebrating at one moment, and the next moment you’re trembling with fear. But back to my spiel – as I kept running for my life through what seemed to resemble the set of the Hunger Games, I magically aged a couple of years – somewhat broad, muscular, with a goatee and a mustache, and curly hair. And I am neither running alone anymore, nor am I running with fear. We’re now chasing what appears to be a fox, but it honestly could even be a coyote or a wolf. I was never bright enough to understand the difference. All I cared about in that moment was me and this short, buff and somewhat athletic man, somewhat older than me by a few years, running behind this creature as we smiled. The sight of catastrophe, with each passing broken house or a burnt tree, was slowly changing to that of a much calmer place.

Detailing on dreams that pass in an instant is truly a challenge in itself. Every time I had this dream, it felt as if it lasted a little bit shorter than the last time. Or maybe it was me who wanted it to last longer – especially the end. With each passing stone, the sound of us panting became clearer. We somehow ended up in this garden with no end while chasing the little troublemaker. I was a few steps ahead of my partner, very close to touching the tail of the one who guided us out of that miserable scene.

It was bright, and beautiful – both the garden and the way the fox now was illuminating with every step. That’s when my dream usually comes to an end; though just before the dream ends, I’m able to make eye contact with either the animal or the person next to me for a split second – not enough for me to know who, and then it all goes away. Each time my dream ended in this instance, and each time I regretted not being able to either see the face of the man who was next to me or truly understand the emotions behind those eyes before they faded. Over the 22 years I’ve been alive in this reality, I’ve had the exact same dream about 7 times. Each time I’ve waken up with different questions.

It’s not uncommon for me to talk to people about this dream. In fact, I think I’ve discussed it with everyone of value in my life at some point – briefly or in detail. However, I’ve stopped paying attention to it as much as I used to when I was younger.

Dreams are another form of reality, but I think most of us have our hands full with other things anyhow. I think it couldn’t have meant many things, since it was obvious where it was pointing. I had enough reasons to feel like a outcast; having to explain the 50-year age gap between me and my parents as I tried to hide the fact that I was adopted, figuring out my sexuality in a country and time where death was of the few resorts available, and having little to no friends due to countless variables including the failed marriage of my parents. I think the only thing that kept them together was the cultural pressure – the shame I feel even writing this. I never had any of my friends over because I never wanted to justify why we had ‘my mom’s room’ and ‘my dad’s room’ in the opposite ends of the house.

Dreams are oddly honest and transparent, yet they’re not always direct. I mean, my romance driven self is still waiting for that man to show up who will laugh with me through all my problems – at least that’s the impression I and everyone else got from how the dream goes. I’m not in a dungeon anymore, so parts of it are becoming reality. But I’m not quite the big man with the broad shoulders yet either, so I think this all could still wait a few years.

In my hunt for the truth behind this dream, I looked over so many myths and stories, researched on symbolism associated with dreams, and as a very typical Indian kid, even had a pandit/priest do my hand reading, because why not? However, the only thing that came out of that was me associating far too many people with the person in the dream, hoping to achieve something, and then crying because your boy got his heart broken. I don’t think I can force the revelation to happen, that is if it ever is supposed to happen. On the contrary, people in their hardest times look for reasons to keep going and maybe the fact that the dream kept reappearing was because my subconscious gave meaning to it. I guess reality is odd as well.