Nangangarap o nananaginip…? I’m not sure, but these past few days, I’ve been having recurring dreams… No dream is exactly the same as the last, but each dream revolves around one theme… about a person… waking from the dead…
* * *
For the past few nights, he’s been haunting me. His face is the same as it has always been, but there’s a note of sadness in his eyes. Yes, his eyes are sadder, and his voice… softer. I haven’t seen him in months. Not in person. Yet each night… he visits me. He makes his way into my subconscious, and speaks to me.
He does not look like a stereotypical ghost. Nor does he look like a typical zombie. At least he doesn’t anymore. I remember that I once saw him in a deserted mansion, with rotting flesh hanging from his bones. What was left of his face was ash gray and there were dark circles around his eyes. I could not bear to look at his eyes back then. I couldn’t – they were so empty. Not like the ones that I remember… ones that used to be so full of life…
Yet these past few days, he seemed to look more like his old self. And it seems as if he has finally realized that he still has the ability to communicate. When he made his way in and out of my dreams the months prior to this, all he did was that. He merely made his way from one dream to another, but not once did he try to speak to me or to any other person. He was just there.
But the past few nights have been different. He finally spoke to me. One night, he said thank you. He was smiling, but his eyes seemed so sad. I remember thinking that it would make my day if he smiled both with his eyes and mouth, but… I knew he still couldn’t. The atmosphere between us was still bittersweet.
I knew the reason. Just the night before, I had been caught with an argument with this ghost. I was telling him what was going on in the real world, in the world were people were alive, where life radiated from every smile. I told him that those who were once dead began living again… and he said… yes, he did talk to me, but he said… “Wala kang karapatan na sabihin ang mga iyan sa akin…” There was bitterness in his voice. I just couldn’t understand it.
But the next night, he said thank you. Thank you. I asked why, but he merely said, “Wala lang… salamat.”
The night before last, his visit was stranger than usual. At first, I thought that he would ignore me again. And honestly, I would have had it that way. And if I could ignore him that time, I would have done so. But he didn’t and I couldn’t.
I had just come from doing a number of errands. I entered a certain meeting a few minutes late. But I wasn’t that late. Somebody came in later than I did. The ghost went in and passed right by me and headed straight into the kitchen. I must have looked shocked, startled, and puzzled, because a few seconds later, I received a text message. Just getting a drink. A received another text message after that. Something about giving somebody a letter, about giving somebody a gift… or something like that. The message seemed important, but by the time that I began to create a reply to that message… my battery gave up on me.
Minutes later, he approached me. I began to apologize, but he stopped me. “Stop trying to apologize. It’s not your fault… It’s okay. Lagi ka nalang ganyan.” He handed me a gift, then a letter. There was a name on the letter. “I want you to give this to her. I have to leave by four o’clock. I’d love to stay, but I still have to go to work…”
It was almost dreamlike. As if he had finally began to come alive. Here he was talking to me, and it seemed as if he finally did have a life. But what if I was the only one who could see him???
“Heeey!!!” An elated voice came behind the ghost. “You’re here! Bakit ako, wala akong gift?” The ghost sheepishly turned around and came face to face with one of his mentors… A mentor he had when he was still alive. But wait a minute. If she could see him, does that mean…?
“Sorry, I have to leave,” he said rather sheepishly and apologetically. Turning to me, he said, “Make sure she gets it.”
I don’t know if I was able to do what he wanted me to do. The dream ended after that. Yet I knew there was still a continuation.
By last night, I was starting to get used to those encounters. I was walking with my grandmother… and someone else whom I didn’t know, yet still seemed familiar at the same time. I was walking with those people, then, at the corner of my eye, I saw the ghost walking toward us. He greeted those people whom I was with. He did so with respect, as if he also knew them. Turning to me, he said, “What was the message that you gave to me yesterday?”
I realized that he was talking about the message that I sent him in the waking world.
“I was just asking if you were with…”
“Oh that. I was with her in the afternoon. Four o’clock.”
We rode in a jeepney afterwards. The wind was blowing and he said, “You know what? I’m cold.” He brought out a blanket, something to cover himself from the biting wind.
Then I woke up.
Looking back at his expression in the jeepney, at the things that he said… I wonder. Did he mean those things literally? Or was he somehow using a figure of speech? Like it wasn’t his flesh that was cold… but his heart and spirit. And he was using a blanket as a form of security and that all he wanted to do was hide behind that blanket.
I don’t know. I really don’t know.
I don’t know why that ghost keeps on haunting me. And I don’t know if he still IS a ghost. He seems so real… yet at the same time… so…not. The life that used to be in him wasn’t there. I didn’t know him and still don’t know him that well, but I know what life is when I see it. And I couldn’t see in him just yet.
Yet for the past nights, he seemed to be making that transition – the transition from death to life. By the end of this year… will the fullness of life be upon him once again???
* * *
This is just fiction. Or is it? Reality is stranger than fiction. Not just stranger. It’s even more tragic than the story written above. Everyday, we see ghosts around us. I’m not talking about those physically dead. I’m talking about those spiritually dead. Even those dead emotionally. Everyday, we are given the opportunity to bring them back to life. Yet sometimes fear overcomes us. Many times I have lost the opportunity to impart life to those ghosts because of fear. And I regret those times. Yet I know God will give me another chance. Because these days, He is teaching me that perfect love casts out all fear…
… But what if you don’t have the opportunity to see those “ghosts”…? God will make a way. Even if – for now – it may just be in dreams…