Dream or Reality (22)
The dream of my father
text and image by Hans Smeekes
“Hello, goodnight,” with these words we are being welcomed by Tu Kodok, the frog and before we can react his companion Tu Tokeh, the gecko asks: “And how was your day today?”
Normally we, Fifi and I, sitting on the romantic bed in our dream room in the palace, expect our both animal friends to appear on the edge of the window in front of us after the specific tokeh sound, Tu Tokeh always does it eleven times, but this night we have to do it without the announcement, maybe because they are a little bit late.
It has been a tradition we meet each other in the midst of the night and then we tell each other stories.
“Yes goodnight to you too,” is Fifi’s reaction, “and talking about today, specially Hans had a remarkable experience.”
“Okay please tell us, we are all ears.”
“We were sitting on the porch here in front of the room, when late in the afternoon, suddenly the nature around us was changing. We noticed the change in how the animals were acting from one moment to the other. There were swarms of birds going up and down. Bats flying just above our heads, like airoplanes. Butterflies nervously fluttering around from flower to flower, into the grass and up. Insects were teasing us by going around our heads. A strong wind arose.
The whole atmosphere had the tension, which we sometimes experienced when a heavy rain was approaching. But this time there was no rain coming.
In stead of that it became very silent. No wind anymore, the sky getting darker and darker. And the animals stayed where they were. No movement anymore.
A golden dragonfly landed on a wire in the garden in front of us. He stayed there, waiting for what was to come.
A white bird settled on a branch of an old tree. Very close. I could almost touch the bird.
Giving the bird a better look, I saw my father, who died twenty years ago. In his last years we had a very good relation and I was there when he died. In fact he passed away in my arms. I will never forget that.
My thinking of my father when seeing a bird is not so very strange. When we talked about Buddhism one time he said to me: ‘If there is something like reincarnation, then I want to come back as a bird.’ And he had something like a bird over him.
So birds make me think of my father. Sometimes I think they bring a message from my father from heaven.
But this afternoon it was different. The bird was not there anymore. He changed unmistakable into the features of my father, my daddy.
I wanted to say hello to my dad, but the word did not leave my mouth.
And then he started to move surrounded by a misty white light, he passed me very slowly, followed by my beloved little brother, who died much too early and then there were my both grandfathers and grandmothers and their fathers and mothers, my beloved aunties and uncles.
A long row of my ancestors in this misty light. Men with mustaches and beards. All of my family in white long robes and with a slight smile on the face, but no one was looking in my direction. Not giving any attention to me.
Seeing my ancestors, I was very curious if anyone had dark features, like an Asian, because sometimes I am thinking I must have Asian genes in me, because of my physics and the strong connection I feel with this part of the world. But to my disappointment I could not discover anything, that could confirm my conviction: Everyone was so many Belanda, so very white.”
“Yes I can imagine your feeling, you have something Indonesian over you, specially your attitude in life, but the reason can also be you were here in another life,” Tu Kodok says.
“It was a procession,” I continue, “very much like the Balinese when they are in a procession.
And to make it more Balinese they were holding a long white cloth between them.”
“You saw your ancestors here in Bali, wow,” is Tu Tokeh’s reaction.
On which Tu Kodok adds: “You know that in Bali the ancestors of the people are very important? Sometimes someone is convinced he ìs one of his ancestors.”
“Oh that sounds not strange to me, often I think I àm my father. When I look in the mirror I see my father. The way he used to laugh and make jokes.”
“Tell our friends about hìs dream,” Fifi encourages me.
“The dream of my dad was to visit Indonesia one time. But unfortunately he never did manage to do it.
So I have the feeling I do it for him now. That he is travelling with me and that he experiences Bali through my eyes and the other senses.
My father was a simple man and knew only one word in English: Beautiful.
He used the word many times. So when now I see something nice, I say to my father, imagining he is sitting on my shoulder: ‘Look daddy, isn’t that beautiful?’ Specially I do this when I see a beautiful girl and because in Bali there is no lack of beautiful girls, it happens many times.”
“Fifi, did you also see his father and the procession?” Tu Kodok asks.
“No, but I experienced the strange atmosphere and I saw the bird. When the bird flew away a cool breeze was passing me. In fact it was his dream.”
“Sorry we have to finish our interesting meeting, but we have to go now, until tomorrow.”
Our friends are gone, we look at the empty spot on the window and then to each other.
Dream or Reality? Hans Smeekes.