Last night I dreamed about The End of the World.
In the dream my family and I went to a hole-in-a-wall restaurant somewhere in the ghetto part of the city. The restaurant had a karindirya vibe. The plastic tables and chairs were arranged unceremoniously in an open garage along a crummy alley, and the trays of food were displayed behind a glass case similar to the ones in fancier turo-turo places.
My mind was elsewhere when we got there. I was thinking about Something, and Something was stressing me so hard that I decided to light a cigarette that I fished out of my sweater pocket. I puffed a smoke in front of my parents and they didn’t seem to care. All was well.
Oddly, however, I was the only person in that restaurant who was smoking. Instead of reading the menu so I could place my order, I started looking around for an ashtray.
There were no frickin ashtrays.
The waiters were all busy and the people manning the food display were also preoccupied. None of them budged even when I stared intensely at their faces in the hopes that they would look my way and help me out. I didn’t want to simply flick the ash onto the floor, and I didn’t feel like completely putting out my yosi either. I needed to find an ashtray.
I stayed on my seat but my eyes continued to scan the scene looking for anything into which I could flick my cigarette ash: a cup, a pot, anything. What caught my attention, however, was a kiddie pool that was apparently just beside where the food trays were.
The pool seemed to have appeared out of nowhere. It was a foldable plastic pool that looked similar to what our rich neighbours used to prep on their yards during hot summer days in Bicol. But what in hell was that pool doing in this janky-ass eatery?
I walked towards the pool and surprise surprise I saw swarms of tilapia swimming in the pool slash makeshift pond. Maybe the owners cultured their fish onsite, or maybe they just wanted to save money and not buy a freezer. Psh, who knew?
In any case, I did something that I (in my woken state) couldn’t quite understand — I flicked the cigarette ash straight into the tilapia pool. I was conscientious enough not to use the floor as my ashtray and yet I thought it was a good idea to feed the tilapias with tobacco bits instead. (Good job, Dream Self.)
A split-second later I heard a loud bang. There was an explosion. The bang was followed by a crescendo of screaming voices. I walked closer to the alleyway to trace where the noises were coming from, then I saw throngs of people running along the main road.
The people in the restaurant shuffled out of their seats. My mom stood up and rushed towards the other end of the alley, and just as she was passing by a red van, the van fucking exploded! There was an orange flash and the van was suddenly covered in blazing flame! What in dick’s hell was going on?
My dad ran towards the burning van and everyone else started scampering in different directions. I saw Mama pop from behind the van and she didn’t seem hurt. She was smiling too, and she extended her hand to reach for my father’s and they both ran away from the main road. I couldn’t find where my brothers were.
I looked behind me and saw the top of a building explode into huge slabs of concrete. The explosions were getting louder and more frequent, and more and more hordes of people were running in panic.
At this point I realized how huge the commotion was. The city was in chaos in a span of a minute — this could be a meticulously orchestrated terror attack, or this could also be the beginning of the End of the World.
Yet I didn’t run. I didn’t feel like running. The crowds raced past me but I didn’t get buried in the stampede. I remained firm but not frozen on my feet.
I started thinking about the idea that if my life were a disaster movie, I probably wouldn’t be the first one to die. I also looked around for places to hide but the buildings and the tables and the chairs were all exploding on their own.
I thought about the Theory of Spontaneous Generation, about how life supposedly emerged from nonliving matter. I wondered how “Historians of the Future” or “Explorers from Another Planet” would theorize about the Earth’s End — the Theory of Spontaneous Destruction, maybe? I wondered if I would still be alive to read their stories.
And just when I finally had the urge to run for my life, I looked up and saw blocks of cement falling from the sky. A giant brick was plummeting straight from above me and all I could think of how fast its shadow was growing. My mouth dropped; my mind went blank.
I may or may not have taken a deep breath. Waking up was a painless death.
The featured image was based on this. Take care, everyone! 🙂