Formerly known as Burma

Somehow, I was in space, high above the planet Earth. I was dressed in regular street clothes, shorts and a t-shirt and my trusty Chucks, which is to say, I was not dressed for space. And yet, I was fine. Breathing did not seem to be a problem, despite the lack of air.

The planet filled my vision, a blue and green and white and sometimes tan marble. Behind me deep space. In front of me the birthplace and homeworld of my species.

I was fine. Other than the falling. Imperceptibly at first, but with a steady build up of acceleration, I was pulled back to mother Earth.

I brushed past the thin layers of the upper atmosphere, cold. I noted without alarm the fact of my not heating up due to friction. The air simply slowed my fall, gently blowing around me and preventing my combustion. It was completely unlike skydiving – that wind was a onrushing jet engine, 120+ miles per hour, a column of air. This was simply like flying, only in one direction, down.

As the sea and land grew closer and larger in my sight, I realized I had some small control over my descent, and thought that an ocean landing would be better. I angled my body, which was feet-first, to a spot just off the coast of… Myanmar. I was over the Indian Ocean, I could see, above south east Asia, on the other side of the world from Portland.

And suddenly, I plunged into warm blue water, in the middle of a bright warm day. I held my arms above my head, and tilted my head back to prevent the impact from slamming my jaw upward, preventing water from jetting into my sinuses. It was as if I had done this before. And, of course, it all worked perfectly.

Just like in a dream.

I plunged deep, deep enough for the water to turn dark, and then pulled towards the surface. I feared predators, sharks or other beasts. I had to get back to the surface. Again, as at the top of my fall, here I had no fear of suffocating. Just a fear of being eaten. As I neared the mirror of the interface between water and air, I saw a menacing torpedo shape and swam away.

My head popped up above the water, my sight clouded by the salt water. I wiped my eyes, and looked for shore; behind me rose green jungle and hills. And as I gradually regained my senses, I felt, then heard, the rumble of engines, and saw boats of various types, small and large and gianormous. This was a busy port! They all must have seen my fall. I had to get out of sight.

I flagged down a small 15 foot boat, shouting “help!” They turned towards me, approached, and helped me up. I could almost understand them. They were speaking German. There were about six or seven of them, adults and two children, a family. I told them “Ich sprache bitte Deutsche” – pidgin German, forgotten since high school, to communicate that I knew very little of their language. “English?” I asked but they shook their heads.

They consulted, and then turned their outboard motor to angle back to shore. I huddled under a blanket, now cold. Day became evening, faster than I would have guessed. I could smell the salt air and the rich, almost rotting, odor of the jungle.

The boat docked at a long, low, white-washed building with red tile roof. People in casual clothes and flip flops, sunglasses and caps, among other brown-skinned people in white uniforms. A resort of some kind. I realized now that I had no identification on me, and that my first goal would be to find the closest American embassy, where I could attempt to get a passport and return home, perhaps to find answers to my strange journey. I found the front desk, asked the staff (who, strangely, spoke only their native language and Spanish, and very little English). I had the odd feeling that I had a room here, though I did not know how that was possible. After stumbling through the inter-language barrier (my Spanish is not much better than my German, and I have no idea what the native language of Myanmar is), the staff finally directed me to find room A-72.

A-72 was off in a dusty, unused corridor of the resort. A small, tiled waiting room fitted with a burgundy leather couch with no windows before a simple wooden door. Set in the door, a frosted glass window. The waiting room was lit only by the light from the intersection behind me, and the faint gleam of light from behind that little frosted window.

I knocked. No answer. I tried the door. It was locked. I sat down on the couch. Soon enough, the door opened, and a giant dark-haired woman, also in the white linen dress uniform of the resort, ducked under the lintel and stepped out, nearly folding herself in half to do so. I noticed that the ceiling was nearly three stories up, so that once in the waiting room she could stand normally. I looked up at her, her face hidden in the darkness up there, but I could tell she smiled.

“Brian Moon?” she asked, in a European accent. French? Spanish, again? I could not tell.

I nodded, almost afraid to speak. She took my hand and led me into the room behind the door. I went in first, and she folded herself in behind me.

She hugged me. The skin of her thigh felt warm against my cheek.

She sat behind a desk, reached into a drawer, and pulled out a manila envelope, pushed it across the desk. I opened it and pulled out a passport, and my iPhone. I knew the iPhone was mine because of the dent on the back, and it was full of my own personal information, the numbers and addresses of my friends and family. I would need this to get back home. Who remembers phone numbers anymore? They were all in my phone.

The passport, though it had my picture, was not mine. But the name looked familiar to me. It was… difficult to read. The letters swam and moved, changed shapes, switched positions on me. I was afflicted with a type of dyslexia that only affected this one document. And yet, the name was familiar. It was…

A bell rang. It was my iPhone.

I woke up. The bell was an incoming text from Tracy.

Man, what a weird dream.