The concrete street leading into the centre of the village was dusty. The only vehicles we saw on the road were small kapchais with engines that sounded like grass cutters. 

It was past the lunch hour and we were looking for something to eat. The entire village and its surroundings seemed sleepy, as if nothing much ever happened in the area. As a city girl, the quietness of this small town was unfamiliar. 

And then we saw it. Although the restaurant facade looked similar to the shops around it, the interior was markedly different — more similar to the cafes in Bangsar or Damansara. 

I nudged Ming, gesturing for him to look at the menu. 

It was a fish restaurant. You chose your fish and the sauce or soup base. And if you wanted, you could choose to have your fish wrapped in a kind of pastry, like a dumpling. And you could also opt to have your fish stuffed with cheese. 

A whole fish! Stuffed with cheese. A whole fish and cheese dumpling. I had to try it. 

I begged. But Ming was resolute. We were not going to eat at this place that didn’t even seem like it belonged in this area. 

Anger came over me like a tidal wave. I began shouting in the street. Ming tried to placate me, but I shook him off in rage. 

And as my body made that sudden movement, I woke up. 

It was only a dream. 

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