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"Dream A Little Dream of Me"


She was holding a hyacinth, kissing it in the middle of the crowded streets. And there I was, standing right there, petrified by beauty radiated by the girl wearing a pink, layered sequin dress. The Jonker Street rang with celebration; tourists from all over the world came over to participate in the lovely exhibition of life. I was here to celebrate romance.


Before I know it, I was standing beside her, glancing over all those flowers that were meant to be bought for lovers. I held up a hyacinth.


“A white hyacinth signifies prayers.” I said, staring at her as she stuck her nose into the flower.


“You sure know a lot about flowers. That’s sweet.” She said, putting down the pure white hyacinth back to the vase.  She wasn’t even looking at me. To tell the truth, I had never approached girls with such sensitivity.


“You know no less than me. In fact, more.” I stuttered, amazed at God for putting us side by side in the middle of the world.


“I have to. I’m a florist, after all. You can call me Cynthia. Doesn’t that sound a little bit like hyacinth?”


“Heh. I believe they named the flower after you.” I smiled. She walked over to me and put her palms at my chest.


“I need you to look for me here.”


“What do you mean?” I was dumbfounded. “I’m here.”


“No. You don’t understand.”


In a split second, the woman of radiance turned into damsel of distress. I can almost feel the pain by looking into her eyes. But what causes the pain?


“Please, look for me. I need you.”


The distressing sound of the little steel hammer knocking at the bell of my clock broke the silence in my bedroom. I jolted up from my sleep. Damn, I could still feel her hand touching my chest. It was so real. I kicked on the base of my floor to force myself up to get my sketching pen and a paper.


They say you could only remember 10% of your dreams after an hour of waking up from it. So I decided to cheat it. I decided to sketch her down. Somewhere in the world, there must be someone who looks like this. It’s just that I haven’t met her yet.


Here I go, like a madman chasing his dreams, hopping on a bus straight to Malacca.


I imagined life in a fast lane, as my chariot sped its way through the motions. Life and moments went into overdrive. Minutes went by like seconds. There are people stranded on the roads. There are old people walking alone in the mundane city, carrying bags and trinkets to sell to passers-by. The bus was my time machine, and my destination is the moment I met my destiny.


There was a ring and sounds of vibration on my cellphone. It was my boss, demanding to see me in the next five minutes or else I won’t be able to see my next month’s payday.


“You bastard! You irresponsible bastard!” was the reply I got when I gave him the answer. It had always been my dream to travel. I had hated the life I had, sitting within the breathless room, typing away my work hours just to get home and sleep and do everything all over again tomorrow. Rinse and repeat. I never had the courage to quit. Until now.


Road signs went by, followed by more road signs. The world is filled with road signs, telling us where we should go and not to go. Telling us the limits. I stopped paying attention at those words printed on their green bodies. Slowly, I drifted into my sleep. Slowly, I prayed to meet her again in my dreams.


Cynthia. Hyacinth.


Prayers? Pain?


Is she in pain? Can I end her pain? Can I end her suffering?


I’m too tired to think. I haven’t had my breakfast yet. I’m too tired to think.


I was woken up by the voice of the bus driver.


“… And on your left is the church left by the Portuguese. Enjoy your sight-seeing here, and take a few photos of it – if you haven’t already.”


He sounds so cynical. I wonder how many times had he repeated the same words today.


I got off the bus and took a few seconds to breathe the air of Malacca. I decided to do the bus driver a favour. I took out my Polaroid and snapped one breathtaking photo of the church. As I was shaking the film, I asked someone nearby me, the guy who was holding the big long yellow snake the route I need to take to go to the Jonker Street.


And my quest had begun.


I kept walking, enjoying the sight of the crowds moving in and out of the shops. Old Chinese shops selling growing crystals. Some old man outside selling some delicacy made out of potato. Do-it-yourself cotton candies. That caught my eye for a moment there. Malacca reeks of pungent smell of all kinds of delicacy.


I held an A4 paper of the sketch to show it to the shopkeepers I had encountered along the way. Most of them just simply shook their heads. Some gave an audible reply “No” and some just told me to buzz off if I weren’t going to buy their stuff.


It was still too early to give up. I’m not even in Jonker Street yet. As I proceed, I tried to shake off my logics, saying that Cynthia was just a fickle of my imagination. There are no imaginations, just revelations.


I need you to look for me here.


I believed in her. I had faith in her. I shall meet her in one form or another.


I kept myself from starvation with the snacks sold around the city. I sat in few restaurants, enjoying coffee and keep track of the world with a newspaper. Everything seems interesting. I wonder if I had gained weight from all this.


Few more metres left to arrive in Jonker Street. I checked myself in at one of the hotels with a colourful neon sign. Putting down my small luggage, I rinsed myself and walked out the door, determined to continue what I had come here for. The sky had gone dark. The view in front of me was illuminated with only street lamps and different kinds of colours of neon signs and plastic helicopters.


I looked up at a big sign.


Jonker Street.


I’m ready.


I was greeted by sounds of people bargaining their prices, the sound of people walking away from it, and the sound of the shopkeepers giving out small changes after a successful bargain. It’s like I travelled back in time. The buildings, the people. It’s like I’ve returned to the 60’s. It’s like I’ve returned to my dream.


I started from the first shop nearby me, the antique trinket seller. I went over to him and hid my Polaroid. I knew people were not supposed to take photos in that shop. Just to keep the mysteries of the past hidden from the future.


“Have you seen this girl before?”


He looked up from his newspaper and put away his fan. He looked at me from the top frame of his old glasses.

“Familiar. But I can’t remember who it is.”


I sensed a giant leap in my endeavour. I tried to trigger his memories and told him all I know about the girl from my dream.


“She’s a florist here.”


“Ah, I’m sorry. I don’t remember any florists here. You see, I’m not a big fan of socialising with the people here. But try your luck around other sellers here,” He said, then dismissed me by looking back at the newspaper.


“I see. Thank you very much.”


Nearby was a kopitiam with lots of paintings and photographs of Elvis Presley in it. Interesting.


I kept on asking, eager to dig more about the girl of my dream. She does exist, because some of the people I asked actually feel familiar about this girl. But the down side is, there are no flower stalls around here. Does that mean my dream isn’t accurate enough? No, if a part of my dream is not true, all of this isn’t true. I stood by Cynthia; I know she is giving me enough clues.


I walked right to the end of Jonker Street. The traffics came back to greet me, inviting me to join the real world. Inviting me to discard my dream. I slid the piece of paper I had been holding for a long time into my pocket. I turned back and looked for a bar instead.


I went past a shop with an old lady busy hand-crafting her flowers made out of straws and other recycled items. As I walked past her, she looked at me and followed me with her eyes. I dismissed her and pushed open the door of the bar. I sat down and took out the sketches of my dream, the fickle of imagination that I once chased.


My drink had arrived. I chugged down the whole glass and wiped my mouth, getting rid of the frothy moustache. I looked at the sketches of Cynthia.


Why did you lie to me?


I rested my head on my arms. I closed my eyes, demanding answers from her through my dreams. And when I see her, I don’t want to wake up again.


Flowers, aren’t plastic flowers considered flower as well?


I heard Cynthia’s voice in my head. Is this a dream?


Flowers brought delight to our lives, don’t they? But it’s just too bad they don’t last forever. That’s why some people decided to make it last. But they don’t delight you as much.


I jolted up from my dream. I put a RM 10 note on the table and left the bar. Why didn’t I think of it sooner? How did I overlook this?


I went over to the old lady with the plastic flowers. I shoved the sketches into her palms.


“Have you seen this girl?”


The old lady brought the paper near to her face and studied it for few seconds. She looked back at me.


“Is it, by any chance, you? Are you Cynthia?”


The old lady put aside the paper and looked at me. She tried to gather words with her mouth.


“Are you crazy, kid?”


I felt embarrassed, at the same time disappointed. That was my final chance. And it is proven then, Cynthia does not exist. But who are we to say final?


“It was my granddaughter.”


I bent to my knees and kissed the old lady’s hand. I thanked God at the final intervention. I finally found her.


“But she died 5 years ago, from leukaemia. Never really got the chance to see the world.” The old lady said, wiping her tears with her sleeves. “How did you know her?”


My heart was broken. Broken at the love that was never meant to be. I did not answer her question. I stood up and looked at the plastic flowers.


“Is this why you stopped selling flowers?”


The old lady looked at me.


“It could never be the same without her.”


Love goes all the way, even if how broken they are. I put my hands on the old lady’s shoulder and comforted her. The crowds in the streets had lost their voices. Jonker Street was silent to mourn the love that could never be found again.


“Where is she buried?”


The old lady looked up at me.


“I will meet her, no matter what.”




At the break of dawn, standing on the hills owned by the deceased, I put a bouquet of hyacinth onto a gravestone that would otherwise remain unknown to me if not for a dream.


“My prayer goes with you, Cynthia.”


I looked at her portrait that had a striking resemblance of my sketches.


“And this too.”


An A4 paper sketch of her rests on the gravestone.


I stood there for a long time, shedding tears. Wept at the loss of a lover.


Wept at the destiny that was never meant to be.

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  • 1) beautifully written

  • (Author)
    2) thanks! =D
  • 3) read in facebook and here also...
    ahh~ just so beautiful

  • (Author)
    4) tenkiu2!! let's hope this one will beat the record set by 'Blind Date'. =D
  • 5) nice!

  • (Author)
    6) thx! =D
  • 7) quality piece. well written! i enjoyed it.

    ahh ... tapi sian laki tu. the love that never meant to be. hehe!

  • (Author)
    8) thx cahatomic! =D
  • 9) He didn't get the girl but left his hated job. Not bad.
  • 10) oh...really nice story. goodbye cynthia...
  • 11) i dont think i should read another one of ur short story. they'll make me weep like a baby! haha

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