A singer who became a Buddhist nun.

There are only two buses a day that go from Honjo to Tokyo, one at 11 in the morning, the other at 7:45 in the evening. Miss any one of them and I would have to take the Shinkansen train home (3200 yen for a ride). Obviously, I chose not to pay for such a fee (after taking one here two nights ago) after I was done with LAST FRAGMENTS OF WINTER, I decided to wait it out for the evening bus.

I had already made backups with my hard disk, made a HDcam, burnt a DVD, it was 4pm. I headed to the lab for a nap.

Suddenly I was in the courtyard of a Buddhist temple, there were a number of monks and nuns before me. A nun was introduced to me by a monk, she had plain features, seemed slightly older than me, late 20s, or early 30s?


"She was once a singer." The monk said. "She sang a famous song called Huo Che (火车 "train" in Chinese)."

"Oh!" I nodded in recognition, but making a mental note that I would Google the song and check the name of the singer. I started reaching for my iPhone...

I then found myself in an old house, filled with narrow corridors, and grey walls. It was dimly-lit, the lightbulbs above me flickering softly. The me in the dream was immediately aware that I was in a house that was supposed to belong to my grandparents. I remembered it because my mother had told me that before, I tried searching through my memories to see when my mother had told me about this house, but it was to no avail, so as I continued walking, I started suspecting that I was in a dream.

I went on and saw a long-haired woman standing at the door, her back facing me.

As she slowly turned, my mind said:

You do NOT want to see her face, wake up now.

I opened my eyes, and found myself standing faraway from a house on a tiny hill, which, immediately, I knew was the house that was supposed to belong to my grandparents. I heard some noises and whirled about, then I saw two cars having been flipped upside down, spinning and spinning, like a top, they were in flames. I thought of tortoises.

A crowd had gathered, coming closer towards the spinning cars, witnessing the commotion.

And then people in colourful garments jumped out of the cars, and there was suddenly a carnival, filled with dancing people, a massive bustling crowd and the like.

I then found myself walking away from the carnival with my mother, and looking at the house on the hill again.

"You remember this house, right?" My mom said.

I nodded.

"Your poor grandmother. I was going to buy this house for her." My mom said, referring to her own mother.

I thought it was strange, since I was aware that the house on the hill belonged to my father's parents, whom I have never met. The house had nothing to do with my mother's mother...

Yes, I was still in a dream then.

Then I thought of my grandmother anyway, her Alzheimer's had gotten progressively worse in recent years, and she has had trouble recognizing me these days. Nonetheless many times I have seen her, she seemed happy.

"Nothing poor about her." I said to my mother.

I paused, and then asked my mom, who was a pop singer, about the nun I met at the temple courtyard earlier. A former singer who became a nun, who sang a song about trains?

My mother then asked me. "Do you remember a primary school teacher you used to have, whose name you always got wrong?"

"Miss Zhan?" Realization dawned upon me, there was a pulsating orchestra piece swirling about me.

"She died, you were just a child then, we didn't let you know. Maybe she became a nun." My mother said.

I tried to remember the face of the nun, and also the face of Miss Zhan.

Then I woke up.

For real.

On the couch of my lab.

My grandparents never owned a house on a scenic house.

I vaguely remember a Miss Zhan who taught my class for a few short months when I was in standard 4. She left to continue her studies in another state. But I had never gotten her name wrong.

Also, her face and the nun's was rather different.

I got up and headed to the computer, for an instant, I was thinking of Googling a song and the name of its singer.