Every night I dream I am Asian. I live in closed compound under a yellow roof, in a wooden room filled with carved furniture. I pick up a round hand mirror and see myself. I have long shiny black hair and black teeth. I am in what feels like three robes layered on top of each other. My hands nearly lost in the sleeves. The weight of the fabric is comforting. I wiggle my toes and struggle to stand. I ache all over. I breath deeply and smell familiar smells. Home. Home is neither good nor bad, it just is a smell I know I belong to.
Then, I wake. My eyes are wet and I have been woken by my own whimper “Wait” in English. I live in a big city, in a new condo building. I am laying under a white sheet in a plain white room on a small raised mattress that nearly fills the small room. There are no ostentatious carvings or portraits. I see no evidence of heritage, family, clan or deity worship. There are no adornments on me or in my hair. I am disrobed and exposed.I walk to the bathroom and confirm, I have long brown hair and a simple face. I brush my white teeth. I flex my knees and look at the clear plastic shower curtain behind me through the mirror. I ache all over. I breath deeply and smell nothing.