Miss Puzzle's Dreamland
By: Hana Guo
I wrote this story 2 years ago, while I was 24 years old and suffering from serious anxiety issues after the miscarriage of my first baby. The termination of pregnancy was a termination of vitality in my heart as well. I felt weak, desperate as if I was a dying old lady. My head was filled with complex feelings, thus I was eager to find a way for expression. This was my first story, which I initially wrote in Chinese.
I am currenty a painter, a comic author and a freelance translator.
I like travelling, reading (normally follow the Paris Review recommendations), music (mainly 70s) and films (at present my favourites are Cohen brothers and David Lynch series).
You can find me on facebook (Hana Guo), on wechat (hanaguohana) or weibo (hana_guo).
iss Puzzle opened her eyes, while the dream was still vivid in her mind – At the foot of an all white ice mountain, she was holding W’s hand, fingers intertwined, kissing him softly. When their lips touched, the whole dream world quietly collapsed to a mess of white and grey. She heard W whispering at her ear: “I do love you, but we are not meant to be.”
Then she woke up. She felt weird but sweet. It has been 12 years since she first knew W in her class. They never touched, not even the elbow while they were sharing the same table in high school lab. For her, he is a granted existence, always there but never cross the line. In Puzzle’s freshman year, after the devastating earthquake 1000 miles away, she received a letter from W. He described his panic, saying he was worrying about her. She felt sweet from reading his letter, same as in that dream. For the fleeting moment, they were close with each other.
W is a reliable friend, vice versa. Therefore, the only explanation for having such a sensual suggestive dream is: her menses came.
She could sense her female hormone reaching the peak at this special time every month. She is becoming emotional, sentimental, self-centered, even gifted a sensitive nose. During this time, female has only one thing to care about- her emotion. And the only thing worth to do for the male neighbors is- avoiding this time bomb.
Puzzle called for a day off. She sees menstrual leave as maternal leave, in order to compensate female’s physical suffering. Therefore she received an immediate approval from her pregnant manager.
Feeling released, she slipped into her soft and warm quilt again, to keep away the overwhelming haze and moisture outside the curtain, while started to circulate the song from her favorite singer Desert. Images from her dream were still floating in front of her eyes.
Knowing it’s impossible that W could receive her message, she texted him, in an extremely ambiguous tone, saying she dreamed about him again. She felt like throwing a drift bottle into the sea, with the very fresh and ridiculous thinking in her mind written inside, going to an unknown somewhere.
Staring at the ceiling, she seriously considered why they didn’t become a couple for a little while. The messy thoughts made her drowsy then fall back into the absurd dreamland again.
Puzzle has learnt from her previous relationships. She could see herself doomed eternally in the predictable future, right before the relationship begins. After a huge inner struggle, she has realized that love is not about the other person involved, but from one’s own imagination. Then she thinks that lovers equal lunatics with intermittent symptoms. When they become sober one day, the raising level of depression and disappointment will cause them escaping from their partners. The rational ones survive.
After celebrating her 24th birthday, she became aware of the subtle change on her appearance, with a strong feeling that youth was walking away from her, which will catch up with her old soul soon. Once she was extremely eager to settle down and have her one baby, however, when senility shows up, she decides to take her time.
Puzzle wants to escape, for now or for ever. She has never felt so calm or relaxed, she feels like a wild horse.
When she came out from the marshy dreamland, it was still rainy and dark around. She checked the time, it was 4 p.m. She walked into the lobby, poured herself a cup of hot jasmine tea, warming up her cold viscera from losing blood. Then she remembered the kiss in her dream, distant but real.
She can’t help wondering, assuming there is a parallel space, at that scorching summer, what will happen if the other Puzzle and W decided to be brave with each other.
However, “if” statement doesn’t work well in this world.
Puzzle could still remember her wish to escape, and the melting white and grey in her dream. She tagged those beautiful and wild fragments, and filed under her “Age 25 Memory”.
She wishes to travel with someone, to put down her overloaded mind, to be refreshed.
Puzzle looks down at the pet cat in her arms. It’s soft, naive but slyly, as quite and emotional as herself in private.She feels an unseen connection between this tiny little thing and her, as if this ruthless city has never harmed her.BW