Falling teeth

And I suddenly woke up from a bad dream.

In that dream, I was supposedly in this sort of inn, where I was with a group of friends were sleeping after a long day. We were sharing jokes in the earlier part of the evening, laughing our hearts out. We were oblivious to the fact that the owner of the inn told us to be careful with the next door neighbor. Apparently, that neighbor gives everyone the creeps.

And so we slept. Later, I was suddenly awakened by some noise at the door. Trying to see what it was, I quikly rose from my bed and proceeded to the door. It was ajar and so I decided to close it. But, as soon as I was closing it, I felt a push in the opposite direction of that with which I was closing the door. The push against me was so strong, I had to exert all my strength just so I could close it. The whole time I was doing this, I was thinking of the creepy neighbor the owner had told us about. 

Not able to fully close the door, I ran away from it and went back into the room, closing the door behind me. I waited for a while if someone would go barging into the door. No one came. And so I tried to go back to sleep. A few minutes later, I felt something stuck in my gums and so I tried yanking it out. But when I did, my upper and lower teeth all fell out and so I started crying. And that was where I woke up ( in real life this time) from my sleep.

Immediately after waking up, I called up my mother back in Cagayan de Oro to check on my father, and my younger sister and brother. I wanted to know if they were all at home, safe and sound. Mama told me that everyone was okay: Papa had just arrived from Camiguin Island, and my siblings were both asleep in their rooms. I was relieved. Still, at the back of my mind, there was the fear that something might happen to them over the weekend. And so I asked my mother if it were possible for them to postpone any travel plans over the weekend and take extra caution. My mother and brother were supposed to go to Butuan City over the weekend for a site investigation in relation to the family business, but she obliged. And so I felt a little assured that they are all safe and have been warned.

While in Western cultures, dreams of falling teeth are often times interpreted as the unexpressed anxiety, for us Filipinos, it signifies death. And whenever one get to have that dream, among the soonest people you’d like to know and be warned are those you love the most – your family. Despite my being educated in a Jesuit institution; professing a belief in logic, science, and history; and appreciative of the works of the scholars of the Western classics to the contemporary studies from different corners of the world, I still cannot take away the traditions, customs, and heritage I grew up to. And those include how I interprete my dreams. I am, despite the use of English language, enabled with Western thought, and having the facility of using the Internet, still a Filipino, bound by the folkloric beliefs of my ancestors.

My mother though had a different view. While she also understood the bad dream in the same manner I interpreted it, she said that maybe my grandfather was reminding me of his death anniversary, which was last May 9th. My Lolo died on that date in 1983 after several months of hard-fought but fruitless struggle against cancer. Being the first nephew and grandson in the family, I was close to him. Through the years though, it has been very difficult to visit his grave since he was buried in Cabadbaran, Agusan del Norte. And the last time I paid him my respects was in 2006. Mama suggested that in order to appease the possibly clamoring soul of my grandfather, I should attend mass and offer my prayers. I think that would be the least I can do to show that I have not forgotten about him.

While I am now somewhat appeased that my family has been sufficiently warned, I still cannot lay off the fear I have in me. I have been seeing several friends, including my girlfriend, lose some members of their family over these past few weeks. I hope and pray mine would be spared. Before I go, I’d like to remind everyone, it’s Friday the 13th and there’s the second planetary conjunction later. I guess this weekend will be full of superstitious beliefs and fears. Still, I will try to take comfort in these lines from Emerson: “All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.”

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