The Bright Light (A short story I wrote in H.S.) May 5, 2006Posted by quiapo in Literary.
She misses me. Since I’ve been trapped in this place I’ve been hearing her in my mind, begging me to go back, saying everything will work out fine despite the many problems we are facing. She needs me back; I have always been her strength and source of inspiration. I, the obedient son who always makes her mother proud, am now lost in this fantasy world of mine. I have always done what she had wanted, but now I can’t do what she asks me to do, because I do not know how to go back. I am trapped, and my mother is crying.
I really can’t sleep without the lights on. In the bedroom or in the few times I slept at the sofa, or in our school, I just have to have a source of illumination. It has been that way since I was in grade school, when my parents always quarreled and they’d send me to bed early so that I wouldn’t hear them yelling at each other. I was an emotional kid, I’d cry my lungs out every time I hear them arguing. Locking me in my bedroom ensured the efficient conversion of their bottled up anger into the most vicious vexes one can hurl. I guess they had to release whatever they felt inside, so they’d always argue loudly. I never really liked that so I always kept the things that troubled me to myself. They never wanted me to learn or use their “angry” language, they’d even make me confess the few times they heard me say cuss words. Whenever they would have their “discussion,” I’d be sent to my room.
I was pretty scared of monsters under my bed back then, so I wouldn’t even dare touch the switch to turn the room’s lighting off. I’d be staring at that single bright light bulb directly above my bed until I fell asleep. In time my little bed and the bright light above it became my place of escape. Whenever I felt bad about something I’d go lock myself up in my room and just stare at the bright light in the ceiling until I fall asleep. Then one time something different happened, the glow became hazy, the room spiraled, the light became bigger and brighter until the whole room was so radiant that it would
blind my eyes and I had to close them. And when I open my eyes I was not in my room anymore.
I was in a place that looked like my room, only it now looks the way I wanted it to look. With a few things I always wanted to own, like that rare alternate cover X-Men comic book I found in my table and the Sony Mini-Compo I almost tripped on which I just saw at the mall. The air had the smell of bacon and pancakes, my favorite breakfast. Feeling hungry I went to the dining room and saw everyone in my family was there enjoying a conversation with Angel, my crush, who happened to drop by our place on her way to school. I was numb to the events happening because I was still feeling a little sleepy. I went to the bathroom to fix myself up, I got dressed for school, ate a lot of that bacon and pancake, got my bag, bid my parents goodbye, went out and joined Angel. We were walking and talking about something funny when I noticed that I was holding her hand. Then I heard this infuriating beeping from all directions. Everything turned black and I felt my back was attached to something soft. I turned and felt my blanket tighten around my body. Suddenly I realized Angel lives about 30 kms from my place (duh!) and (subsequently and much to my dismay) grasped that everything was a dream. The beeping came from my alarm clock, it was 5.00 am. Time to wake up and go to school.
I thought about my dream all day long and I became fixated with the possibility of controlling my dreams. After all, I was thinking of that X-men comic book, the mini-compo, and Angel before I slept. Can dreams be manipulated just by sheer concentration? Or maybe it isn’t concentration but just really wanting some things, events, or someone…
I went home early to try my theories, didn’t even hang around the Kiosk with the gang or wait for (stalk) Angel. After all, if I get it right I’ll be continuing that walk of ours and I’d have an entire orchestra with Burt Bacharach following us playing the most romantic song one could ever hear. Three jeepney rides after I was home and rushing to my room. I didn’t even bother to change my clothes, I just lay in my bed staring at the ceiling and hoping that the sandman blows his dust early. He didn’t and I got quite bored, frustrated and felt stupid with what I was trying to do. I went out to the living room to watch TV. I found my parents “in animated discourse” in the sofa about my dad’s business trips getting more often and lengthier but I didn’t give it any attention. They’ve been at each others throats since I was in grade school so now this little talk they were having was just ordinary for me, it was even a bit mild by their standards. Then my mom yelled something and my dad yelled back and it was hell in the living room. I calmly stood up, went to my room and locked my door. Grown-ups, I thought, find amusement in hating each other. I felt exhausted hearing my parents fighting again (for the nth time) so I went back to bed and prepared myself for my walk with Angel and Burt Bacharach and the orchestra…. The room started spinning again…
I found myself in our house; my mom and dad were apologizing for all the trauma they’ve caused me with their fighting. They promised to see a councilor and a shrink and work out their differences. They meant it too, not like the countless times they said sorry to me and to each other. The scenery shifted to a place near our school and I was with Angel, we were talking about my problems with my family and she was consoling me. Yes, to my delight, we were holding hands. However, Bacharach and the orchestra was nowhere in sight or hearing distance. We reached to school grounds and I heard that terrible noise again. My dream world collapsed into nothingness. Again it was 5.00 am, time to wake up.
A few more trips to my dream world via the light bulb portal and I learned to control of my dreams, I have been successful in changing a few details here and there and what I always wanted to happen in my dreams did happen. My dreams became connected until a world was created from the collection of dreams I always remembered. I became detached from the real world. In school I would cut classes just to sleep at an old stockroom, where teachers seldom go. My parents were now clashing every dog damned day and it was really starting to disturb me. Thus I always craved for my refuge under the bright light in my room. I began to ignore my homework, seldom talked to my friends, and slept everywhere and every time I could. Dreaming was my addiction, it presented an alternate world for me where everything was right and I was content.
One morning I woke up earlier than usual because I heard my mother crying. Dad was leaving us, the bastard wasn’t having business trips, she says, he was having an affair with some girl eight years older than me and now the girl’s pregnant. He’s gone. He ran away with her with everything that they had in the bank. I wanted to beat the hell out of him but he left with all of his things before I woke up. Seeing that my mom’s a nervous wreck I decided to fix her breakfast and calm her. I went out of the house to buy some bread and cheese at the bakery, it was still dark and I was still trying to get myself together after all the madness I just learned. I was walking when I saw bright lights approaching and I couldn’t help but stare, I wanted to go back to my world. Reality is madness, I thought. So I just stood there, I waited for the light to envelope me as it has done before. The lights became brighter and brighter and I felt the world vibrating, I felt myself being pushed violently.
I am flying, beneath my feet I saw my world, I saw my friends, my parents, my brothers, Angel, my neighbors… Everyone was there and they were waving at me. I went back down and they were cheering. Like when I passed the entrance exams to my prestigious high school, only it was much grander now. I was in my dream world and everyone else was happy to see me. I discovered that now I can control everything in my dream world, I can change my appearance, teleport to someplace else, create things from air, fly… even mind control! Angel became my lover, as well as every other female I fancied. I became bigger than Jordan. I was president of the earth and we were colonizing the galaxy. Just like movies. Then I grew tired of it because I knew it was fake.
I am in a world where I am god. Here I make the laws of physics; I play dice with my universe, I know everything and see everything and do everything I want. But all I want is to be back to my real non-dream world home, to my mom. I can still hear her crying, sometimes I hear her whispering words… but the words never become clear. I can also hear a repeating beat, but unlike the infuriating alarm of my clock it is too weak to pull me off of this place. I have observed the period between the beats are getting longer and longer, and the cries of my mother are becoming more desperate. I want to return but I am trapped, and I feel myself getting weaker.