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… is it right to choose to write? December 12, 2007

Posted by raincrystal in cl122 thingies..., personal.
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… so what about BAE? what’s wrong with being a creative writing student? it’s almost a year now after i’ve shifted from comsci and i still didn’t come to that phase of regretting what i’ve decided to do — perhaps, i never will… writing had always been something i could turn to each time i feel down or bored to death or wax poetic. for someone who doesn’t really have the guts to express their thoughts verbally (me, for instance), writing can be very comforting. yeah… it’s really nice to know that with just a pen and paper — or a computer, i can vent out all my frustrations and everything…

… so maybe it’s really right that i chose to write…

“this house on buttercup street” December 7, 2007

Posted by raincrystal in literary thingies..., literary thingy, personal.
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Just like what I used to do every ordinary night, here I am again — taking slow paces towards my final destination… the 49th house on Buttercup Street. No matter how tedious my day at the university had been or how many barbecues and lemon squares I had eaten during all those foodie sessions with my boyfriend, the story always has the same ending: me going to the direction illuminated by an orange light post — and tonight is not an exemption. Other people would normally love the idea of finally going home after such a long day but I often wish that the sun would not give way to the moon. I never want to go home…

I finally arrived at this particular house on Buttercup Street and as always, closing the red gate was such a difficult task. It meant that I am now in my dreaded place, away from the world that I never wanted to leave. As always, the sight was totally unwelcoming… Like every ordinary night, all the lights are turned off and if not for the flickering light from the television, any stranger would easily mistake the place as desolate. “Home again,” I sighed.

Grandpa is on the sofa again, totally immersed in his favorite basketball show. My aunts are in their bedroom again, equally immersed in their favorite TV sitcoms… They don’t even notice me coming back from school. As I entered my bedroom and switched the light on, I could see grandma sitting on the lower deck of the bed, glaring at me… again. “Why do you always come home late?”… “Turn off that light! You’re not the one paying the bills!”… “How long do you plan to stay here? How many times do I have to tell you to go away?”… It was always the same — nothing has changed. I can’t exactly figure out why but grandma was always so selfish, so wicked. We’re not really a family — we just happened to be related by blood.

Almost 200 kilometers away from here, the scene would have been entirely different and I would have had a different perception of going home…

“Really? A playhouse? A permanent one? Father’s going to build it?” my eight-year-old self couldn’t stop my mouth from throwing all those questions. It was one of those times when my eyes would glitter with a different kind of excitement. “Yes and you’ll be helping me put up the curtains as soon as it’s finished, okay?” came my mother’s reply. I could only nod in delight as I already started to imagine what I’ll be doing with the playhouse.

It was such a nice house — with bamboo flooring, wood slabs for walls and a “nipa” roof. Father even put a sink just so it would look like a real house and it was spacious. It was even more wonderful after all the curtains that mother had sewn were put up. Most of the time, me and the other kids would spend our afternoons there. I’d bring all my stuffed toys and a couple of pillows and there would be lots of partying. On weekends, my mother would even take time to stop doing her laundry just to prepare some snacks and there would be bread and orange juice in replacement of our usual fare which consisted of “santan” petals and leaves.

At other times, when I’m totally hooked up on the TV screen, my two younger brothers and the neighborhood boys would play soldiers and the playhouse would serve as their headquarters with all my stuffed toys as hostages. Then, on certain occasions, when our place is experiencing blackout, mother would gather the three of us to the playhouse where she would share all those scary stories — from grandpa’s encounters with the unknown to urban legends to pure fiction. Later, my brothers would be obliged to accompany me either to the comfort room or bedroom and father would occasionally grumble, “Tsk tsk… You always ask your mother for those stories and now you can’t even pee alone.” Mother would just chuckle and sometimes, she would sneak outside the house while covered in a blanket and stand outside the window. Then, me and the “brave” boys would end up screaming and scrambling in all directions until I end up crying. Father would then fold his arms across his chest and cast my mother that “I-told-you-not-to-scare-them-to-death” look. During those times, I’d be mad at her and pretend to resist each time she tried to hug me but mother would always find ways to make my anger fade away — tickling sessions and an extra allowance would be equally effective.

But as days turned into months and months into years, the playhouse became less and less visited. I became preoccupied with all those school stuff and so were my playmates. All those parties and storytelling sessions just seemed to be long-forgotten dreams — until the playhouse eventually fell into ruins. “You don’t understand! It’s our Music project and I just have to be there. You’re angry because it’s so late? It’s also your fault — you keep calling me and you don’t know that there are feedbacks on the sound system,” I managed to utter between sobs. It was the 1st time I learned to answer back. “It’s dangerous out there… We were worried. You’re a girl and something bad could happen to you…” But I wasn’t listening. I couldn’t understand them — I couldn’t understand my mother.

That was many moons ago and I’ve finally grown up. Now, as I lie in bed trying to fall asleep despite grandma’s tongue-lashing, I couldn’t help missing that woman who never really ceased to care though she was often misunderstood and taken for granted. She was very much different from this other woman in the lower deck — as if they were made of entirely opposite materials.

I am yet to be a mother but I’m quite sure that I’ll be following the steps of the woman living almost 200 kilometers away from here — and my future home would be anything except this house on Buttercup Street.