I had this dream about 12 hours ago. Incredibly surreal, I have to say. Let me paint you a picture first. About four days ago, I burnt what I think was all my “mementos” of my ex. I also realised how rubbish I am at burning things. Three years ago, my wallet that had money, an ID, and my ex’s letters to me was stolen.
The dream, as far as I can remember, starts with me walking alone in a small street lined with low-rise buildings in Tokyo. It was a cold and grey day. My red and black winter jacket was up my neck. The black beanie I wore didn’t do shit so I bought a pair of brown earmuffs. I wore black mittens that did nothing to protect my delicate woman-like fingers against the weather so I stuffed my hands in the pockets of my jacket. I passed by a couple of traditional Japanese ramen bars. You know, the ones with the wood and paper sliding door. I kept walking until I saw this shop that sold accessories. The glass windows that reached from the ceiling to the floor were the most modest not that I know what a boastful glass window looks like. There wasn’t any door, which I didn’t find strange at all. The walls were a kind of sea-foam-green with glass shelves upon shelves bolted to it. Some shelves had bags and shoes, some had magazines.
One rack near the entrance caught my attention since it said, “Used wallets. 50% off.” I was convinced that people came to this shop and had pawned their wallets. Following that logic, the rack of wallets of different shapes, sizes, colour, and material were those that weren’t bought back. The thought that these could be stolen was non-existent. I looked at these wallets like how I was looking for books to buy–by appearance. I only ever buy wallets that are made of leather, folds, and has many slots.
My eyes widened when I saw a leather wallet with black lettering on a red canvas. For a moment I turned into Indiana Jones in the Temple of doom, slowly reaching for the wallet. It certainly was the same brand (Tough Jeansmith has the best Japanese leather wallets btw). I slowly unbuttoned it open as if it were my lover in a rainy day. It had nothing but the letters from my ex. “I can finally burn everything,” I mumbled.
Of all the places in the world, it was in a small shop, in some back alley, in Tokyo. I looked to the shopkeeper. He was an old man. The hair on his head turned white and had receded to the back. The green apron he wore gave him the second tone of colour along with the white long-sleeved polo shirt. His black slacks and black leather shoes were plain yet appropriate. “There’s a coin purse that came with this. Where is it?” The impatience was showing but the shopkeeper kept a straight face.
“You can find it if you look hard enough.” Even though he answered in Japanese, I completely understood him.
Unbelievably it was right beside where the wallet was. I realised then that the shopkeeper wasn’t being an old wise man giving life advice but just an old facetious asshole. The coin purse had, could you believe it, coins inside. They were yen though, which wasn’t surprising.
“How much for the wallet and coin purse?” I stared at him, unblinking. It was at this point the shopkeeper knew that I would have paid any amount to get these.
There was a silence that grew between us. “1,000 yen.”
“1,000 yen.” I was shocked. I bought this wallet for 10,000 yen. (I actually really did.)
“You need this wallet more than I do.”
“I have unfinished business with it.”
He gave me a blank look. I gave the wallet and coin purse a blank look. After a while the shopkeeper broke the silence, “There’s a pawn shop nearby that will gladly change your currency. I’ll hold on to these while you’re away.”
I left the shop without a word.
The pawn shop was pure white inside and out. The bright lights made it impossible for anyone to do anything from picking their nose to picking a pocket. Glass cases of pawned jewelry stood behind steel bars. It was a zoo for the desperate where visitors stood at one side and their rare animals of burden were on display. I came up to one of the counters where a woman was sorting papers. Her ponytail was brown with gold streaks at the side. It was obvious she didn’t have time to fix her hair given how dry it looked. She had a slender body like most Japanese women. Her face was average but her skin was perfect. The uniform she wore was a white long-sleeved polo shirt and a red vest. I couldn’t see her skirt from where I was standing.
I stared at her exposed ears, neck and collarbone for a few seconds until she realised I was there. “I need to exchange my currency to yen.”
“Please take a seat sir.” She directed me to a corner of a room where connected, black, plastic chairs popped against the white everything. I understood her perfect Japanese as she understood my perfect English. I took the seat nearest to the counter and waited for the lady to come back. Just then a person from TV came in.
“Defconn, what are you doing here?” I stood up and gave him the bro-handshake-followed-with-the-bro-hug-while-still-keeping-the-bro-handshake.
“Nothing really,” he answered in Korean. It wasn’t unusual for him to be in this part of town but to be in Tokyo was something else. He wore his usual colours of black and white. A simple black T-shirt with white text boxed in white lines, brown cargo shorts, yellow sneakers, a black and white checkered scarf hanging from his waist, and a black cap with the same design as his shirt were his OOTD. I guessed he just bought those in some thrift store in Tokyo. “I’m just here for a vacation and for something else.”
“Something else?” We both took a seat in front of the counter.
“I heard this pawn shop has some rare kind of diamonds that look like transparent pearls.” His breath was so close I could smell the cigarette and soju.
“You came here to buy them?”
“More or less.”
His uncertain answer made me give him a quizzical look. We didn’t talk for a couple of minutes. I was waiting for the woman to come out, and he was throwing his head around looking for something. He got up to the counter and said something to one of the employees. She later came back with a black jewelry container. “Come here and look at this.”
I was curious to what this was diamond-pearl looked like so I stood beside him. They looked exactly as he described them to me. Some of them had black spots. “What are these?”
“Oh, these are the grade.”
I said nothing. I put back the diamond-pearls in the container when suddenly he threw them in the air. “What are you doing?” I shouted as the hailstorm of what could have fed a small village fell to the floor.
“Distraction!” He whispered. I saw the other customers picking up the rocks just as he was. The employees were panicking. One phoned the police.
I quickly picked up the disaster he created and put them back in the container. “I’m making things right!” I shouted at him.
The entrance busted open with a squad of armed officers. A detective had his gun and badge out. “Drop the diamonds,” he said with a smirk on his face.
I held my hands up and glared at Defconn. He was being wrestled to the floor and laughing like it was some sort of sick joke. I looked back at my reflection on the glass cases. “Damn it. I was supposed to burn the letters but now I will never get them.”
That’s when I woke up.
What I take from this dream is that I really wanna burn the things I gave to my ex and what she gave to me.