A recent dream: I am in the noisy chaos of a stifling indoor Chinese market, where goods and vendors line the aisles. Looking like a scene straight out of the movie Blade Runner, the market has establishments on either side and open stalls every which way. In the middle of the shouts for fresh food and dry goods, I am making my way to a stage.
Turns out the market is really a run-down Chinese restaurant which looks more like a humongous cafeteria, filled with patrons at dingy tables enjoying noodles and tea and dimsum, conversing in loud guttural voices.
The stage is small, I barely fit atop it. I am on a stool, with my acoustic guitar and a microphone in front of me. I’m finishing my gig. Singing solo. Alone, amidst a sea of hostile strangers who probably have no idea that I am singing about THEIR pain and THEIR hopes. It doesn’t matter. I am buoyed by the joy of performing.
I spot a familiar face in the crowd. It is my wife’s bridesmaid at our wedding — our friend who used to go out to all our band gigs back in the ’90s in Metro Manila. She spots me and motions for me to come join her group when my set finishes. I am glad for a familiar face and someone to talk with.
The gig ends. And I descend, expecting a warm welcome from a friend.