Jinger is wearing an orange/purple bandana around her hair, Jane can see now that her eyes can flicker red sometimes. Her hair isn’t a constant colour either. It stays mostly a reddish colour but from another angle just looks brown. Jinger and Jane are sitting on the end of a jetty, overlooking the sea. They are somewhere in Malaysia, and Jane recognises this place as somewhere her parents used to take her to on holidays.
“You were only 5 years old, Jane, when you started to awaken. ” Jinger said. “You were an ancient soul in a child’s body.” Jane just listens….unsure what to ask or where to start.
“How come I’m 28 and you are like….19?” Jane asks Jinger.
“I’m not an extension of you, Jane. If that’s what you’re trying to ask. I am from another world away, another lifetime ago.”
“So you’re a ghost? Or like….I don’t get it. Do you not age? I mean. Which world are you…. from? How many worlds are there? And also….where are we?!”
“We’re in your dream. See?” Jinger says. And she dips her toe into the body of water that we were overlooking.
Jane fixates on Jinger’s toe because she thought she just saw only four toes instead of five.
Suddenly, the body of water turns bright green, Jinger takes Jane by the collar of her shirt, and that swift action surprises her. She let’s out a soundless “eeeek!!” And by her next breath, Jane realized they were on top of Bukit Timah Hill.
“Woaaaaaaah. What just happened? Did we just…teleport?!” Jane is trying to process how, in a split second, they could transport from a jetty in Sibu, west of Malaysia, to the top of the highest hill in Singapore. (It’s really not very high but, still)
Jinger has changed her appearance. She’s now in a fashionable hiking suit, red wing boots, and a camo hat. Jane looks down and realizes she’s still wearing the same thing, however. A grey oversized t-shirt and yellow boxers. She couldn’t help but feel underdressed and somewhat embarrassing to be in her pajamas.
“In your dream, you construct your own reality. So really, we can go anywhere…..and do anything you want here.” Jinger says.
“Oh wow, sounds like a dream hahaha, pun intended. Now I see why people wanna stay in their dreams all the time. You get to create your own reality?! That’s cool. ” Jane is using her hands to try and lift a stick on the ground, hoping she could suddenly move objects with her mind.
“You have to train if you wanna be a dream builder. But that’s a conversation for another time.” Jinger calmly says as she flies into the air and does a 180 flip, casually changing outfits again, this time wearing black tight leggings, a cropped grey t-shirt, and Jane notices her belly button ring. She also notices how incredibly silk-like Jinger’s skin looks. It has a translucent quality so you can see beyond her skin to the layers within. If Jane squinted her eyes, she could almost make out that Jinger had a warm fiery glow underneath her skin, moving through her veins.
“Do you remember that tree, Jane?” Jinger asks.
“Yeah I do. ” Jane walks over to this huge tree, possibly a few hundred years old. There’s a big branch that has grown sideways instead of upwards. It’s big and strong enough to withstand a child’s on it. “I have a photograph of me and my 3 childhood friends on this tree. Felin was seated upfront, then Bell, and Shirley.”
“What do you remember about them?” Jinger asks. And suddenly Jane feels this great surge of darkness hover over her. She feels her mood immediately swing to sadness, and drops of water start falling onto her hair. Jane looks up and sees that a small dark cloud has formed above her, and she steps away from the tree to see if the cloud moves with her. It doesn’t only move together with her but slowly disappears once she’s far enough away from it.
Jane shoots Jinger a look and Jinger answers before she can ask the next question.
“That’s a mood pixel. It tells you the emotion that a memory invokes in you. I placed it on you a while ago so I could track your progress – I’ll explain in due time. Tell me more about these friends of yours.” Jinger says.
“Well, I don’t think they were great friends to be honest. Shirley was my best friend. Her sister Bell and Felin were never very nice to me. In fact, they always made me feel kinda….left out. I can’t blame them though. Bell and Shirley are sisters, and Felin is their cousin. I just wish I didn’t have to hang out with them when we were younger. But I didn’t have a choice because our parents were friends.” Jane says.
“I remember. Because I was there. They placed a little seed of shame in you back then, and they made you feel inadequate and worthy, as if you always had to do something nice or say something funny to get their attention. They were mean friends to you. But they were also just children. Children are easily affected by what goes on in their parents’ lives. And you remember their parents….yes? ” Jinger says.
“Yeah, yeah I do. I know what you’re getting at. These 3 friends set the foundation of the kind of friendship I set out to accept. Its the same at school too, remember my 2 friends in Kindergarten? The ones who eventually told me I can’t be friends with them because I was going to a different primary school? Oh man, Jinger. Why did I always have mean friends?”
“The short version is that children are mean all the time. When you are so young, none of you have the capability to self-regulate your emotions. Your actions are directly correlated to how you feel inside, and the feelings inside get so big sometimes that you act out. You were mean to other kids, too, sometimes. Like that girl from China who lived in your house for 2 years, remember her? You used to pick on her because she was an easy target. ” Jinger has transformed a piece of grass into a picnic area in front of us. There is wine, cheese, fruits and a basket of bread.
“Can I just say how much I like your taste, Jinger?” Jane says to her while popping a grape into her mouth and slicing a piece of cheese onto bread.
“Anyway, yes. I do remember. I was mean to other kids too. And I get what you mean about the big emotions. I was so upset as a baby. And my parents never quite helped me process my emotions. ” Jane continues.
“John and Joanne? Oh they were never going to be capable of that. We chose them as your parents for a reason, you know? If you had a different set of parents, you wouldn’t be who you are now. We wanted you to have the most loving and supportive parents. But John and Joanne were never meant to parent you. They were just meant to be your first friends.” Jinger says.
“WAIT. What the fuck?!” Jane spits out a piece of bread by accident as she hears this piece of information. The cheese she was about to savour falls onto her grey shirt in crumbs.
“It’s all written in the records, you know. You could just go look one day.” Jinger says as she picks up an orange and skillfully cuts them up into 4 slices.
As Jane eats more of the cheese and bread, she feels herself getting more and more drowsy, and her vision starts to blur. “Jinger….I don’t feel so good, what did you put in the cheese?”
“It’s just medicine, Jane. For you to get better.”
“Get better from what? And why couldn’t you just give…..it…to…..me”
Jane awakens very suddenly and finds herself abruptly sitting up on the bed. She looks left and right and touches herself from face to chest as if trying to see if she’s still alive.
She looks down on her shirt, and there are no cheese crumbs. She had been dreaming. Just dreaming.
She starts to get out of bed, and as she does so, she realises her footsteps feel lighter, and her stomach feels less bloated than normal. She looks into the mirror for a moment, thinking about the crazy fun dream as she begins washing her face….
Just as she blinks open her eyes, she knows for a fact that the face looking back at her is Jinger’s. It doesn’t scare her all, and Jinger knows the medicine worked. She blows a kiss to Jane, and the widest smile spreads across her face as she catches the kiss and puts it to her chest.