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My dreams should come with a trigger warning

My dreams should come with a trigger warning.

A warning that stays running throughout as I watch myself pass a blunt to an older brother no longer around or perched high on a rickety stool in a dimly lit bar reading out loud, that lasts till my alarm blares in the morning, the ripples breaking through a dream wound tightly in a deep sense of belonging.

A warning that is louder than the way he walks into any room I find myself in, almost halfway through the sequence, smiling at me from afar as we pause and share a knowing grin – a moment that transcends the distance and convinces me that perhaps despite all this time and space, we’re still sharing this vision as he slowly makes his way towards me and pulls me in for a kiss that, long after I wake, lingers against my lips only to dissolve into the silence.

A warning that plays on loop as I sit amongst friends now scattered all over the world but for that brief moment we’re all in the same room, as one person shouts ‘busso’ and another decides to change the tunes while I lean against you, watching all the different people I met over the course of my life mesh into one large group under an unrecognizable roof but none of us seem deterred as if this is the norm we’re all used to, rather than unfulfilled promises to call this weekend and too many unsaid words and secrets that begin to loom, going from a desire to connect, to something you begin to dread because none of us meant to be ‘bad friends’ and yet despite our sense of invincibility, we became just another victim for life to consume so now somehow we’re living lives too full for us to breathe in wholly but also still feeling mundane and empty as we reach out with promises to ‘speak soon!’

A warning that plays right before I hit the pillow so that no matter where my soul decides to venture tonight, I am aware that all of this is merely for show – a fanfiction version of my own memories that I have written out of desperation to still feel close, as if I can still hear my friends bidding goodbye to their ‘second home’ as we all raise a toast and his hands slip around my waist just as I hear my family calling my name, reminding me that dinner is ready and we have to hurry because then Bhai has to go but the warning should remind me not to be surprised when I wake up to see that he was leaving for good and the rest of my life is trapped in a screen that relentlessly echoes but instead I wake up in an empty bed with my heart still full and my skin still tingling, relishing the few moments of the early morning before reality kicks in and the dreams shrivel back into nothing more than wishful thinking.

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