Surprising me for the third time, I woke up with swollen eyes - an indication that either I didn’t have quality sleep or I must’ve cried at one point in my sleep. It took a while for my mind to think before I realized that it’s the latter.
I dreamt that there was a murder, but the evidence kept pointing to the possibility that it was done in retaliation for something that occurred in the past as an accident. I raced through the hospital corridor in a state of panic after receiving the news. When I saw the good friend in sunglasses at the distance with a sad smile outside the mortuary, I burst into tears as I knew that there was no denying the truth.
The person didn’t survive the impact of the car crash and succumbed to the injuries en-route to the hospital.
A visit to the past was needed to understand the motive and intention behind the person’s death. The next scene went all the way back to the 1900s Malaysia, where it looked like a slum with dilapidated buildings and the electrical wires exposed to air. It was a tragedy waiting to occur. The timeline skipped to years later. I was in a back room, dealing with our dog’s urine when I heard an acquaintance talking to my housemate. My heart sank when the acquaintance broke the news of a death.
Yes, I know the dream does not make full sense. Even I’m struggling to break it apart for interpretation. Like, why would my good friend show up in the dream?!
A Case of Curious Coincidences (Part 3)5:13 PM
Author’s Note: This is a scheduled post. At the time of this posting, I’m away from everyone and the computer screen, clearing my cluttered mind in an undisclosed location. I'll be back to the computer screen sometime next week.
Hiding in the basement library at this hour of eight-thirty in the morning, Crystal couldn’t help but wonder why she dragged herself to campus when her lecture was at noon. The serenity that the empty area provided allowed her to reflect and think. Although she wasn’t exceptionally exuberant with her second semester’s timetable, she had to be contented because it accorded her with a rest day (unlike the previous semester, where it was necessary to embark on the daily commute to campus). She disliked the idea of running into Ryan on campus because she didn’t know what to expect from him. He was gregarious on one minute, but as moody as the grey skies on the next minute.
No matter how she rationalized the coincidences last semester, there were a couple of things that didn’t end up. How could they have enrolled together for those classes without even knowing what the other party’s choice was? Why was it so coincidental that they, for their own reasons, decided to study this particular course at the same time?
She initially hoped that she could rid herself of familiar faces when she broke away from her friends and embarked on a separate path for this year. She needed it; she needed it because she thought that she wouldn’t have to face Ryan for a long while and she had to excel in this favorite course of hers, making her college lecturer proud. Little did she expect that it will complicate matters for her instead.
The winter break allowed her to scrape the last semester’s stressful contents out of her brain with a spatula and start afresh. She was thankful that her two friends collaborated to drag her out to the movies and a late lunch together, where it took her mind off the worry of her final grades.
And sleep too.
Gosh, she couldn’t remember the last time she had such fitful sleep. Her rest was usually tattered with the amount of workload and fear about her academic performance where either she was insomniac or adopted the vampire’s shadowy figure, ready to pounce on people who stepped on her tail.
Yet, she still couldn’t wrap her head around the stark coincidence.
She buried her face in her hands when she realized that the very decision of swapping things around will lead to further interaction with him until their graduation.
The pressure flowed in her bloodstream and bled the joy out of Crystal when she departed with Tracy from campus for the last of their three exam papers. She wanted to be done with this and crash for the next twelve hours - or until her body was fully recovered by the continuous bashing.
Maybe it was for the best that all her papers were scheduled within a week of each other.
When they arrived at the examination hall, they squeezed their way through the crowd and hid at the far end of the building, where it was quieter and safer. The buzz that sashayed around them was too great a risk for them; they didn’t want to absorb the additional stress from the crazy energy that bounced off each student.
“Psst, look who’s here.” Tracy whispered, pointing to a reticent soul standing across them.
Crystal turned her head in the direction of Tracy’s finger and sighed. “Oh, great.”
“I mean, look! He’s making us look like fool. He’s only carrying a handful of papers and I don’t see him carrying a bag.” Tracy shook her head. “Look at us. We’ve brought practically everything from the tutorials and lectures.”
“My dear, it’s alright. We feel more secure this way. Plus, God knows what he’s done in the days leading up to this.”
It came as no surprise. It was evident to her towards the end of the semester that Ryan would ace this particular course. Observing his body language in both classes led her to believe that he was not only sure about the value of his contribution for the discussions, but also his effort in attaining the desired grade. She smirked to herself, knowing that there was a whiff of anxiety in his thoughts. As he leaned against the hall and glued to his iPhone, she saw that his ankles were crossed - not a sign of being carefree and relaxed. If he was honestly and genuinely confident, his facial expression would’ve softened with faint traces of assurance. She could feel the nervousness off him in the same manner that she saw the fear in his eyes when they crossed paths in this very same place a semester ago.
“I know the guy,” Crystal continued after the silence. “That’s how he rolls. You can’t tell whether he’s relaxed or petrified over the final papers until there’s been an exchange of eye contact. Or, at least that was what I was led to assume.”
Tracy looked up. “Hmm? Do elaborate, Crystal.”
“This is not the first time that I’ve seen him here for the exams. The first time was actually last semester when we were sitting for our separate papers. I didn’t say hello to him when I passed by him because I was speaking to a female friend and he was busy with his revision. It wasn’t until the friend and I were returning to the main entrance that he shot a hello. Not to us, but only to me. When our eyes met, I saw the stress and panic floating in his eyes. He didn’t look as stoic as he does in class. It felt as if he was silently reaching out for help. I’m not going to mention what happened after the exams, but let’s just say that my friend whinged for an hour that Ryan was nicer to me than to her. Mind you, he knows her too.”
“That sounds funny and weird at the same time. Does she like him?”
“Nope. I know she's taken by someone else, but I'm not sure if he's single and ready to mingle.”
“Sounds like he does favor you more than her.”
“Oh my God.” Crystal laughed. “Tracy, I wouldn’t have a clue. I’m not a mind reader! But yeah, he’s an intelligent person who carries his weight.”
“He has always looked studious to me, but then again,” Tracy pointed out softly, “even the smartest student, if not cautious, could mess up from the pressure of time.”
“There’s one thing I don’t understand. Why does it feel like he’s forgotten that I exist or only speaks after I’ve acknowledged his presence?” Crystal sighed. “You know what? Let’s just make our way out of here before he catches sight of us.”
Torn between two . . . goals and one fact9:40 PM
There’s no way I’ll have such dreams unless my subconscious is extremely exhausted or it’s screaming for help.
I dreamt that we were late for our lecture in Hughes and when we arrived there, the lecture theatre was packed to the brim. We tried to squash our way into the few vacant seats remaining at the back. The lecturer verbally dragged us down to the front, where we found out that there were vacant rows of seats. It was like the invisible cloud surrounding that area cleared up. A coursemate was quietly sitting on one of the seats and stealing a moment’s rest when we made ourselves comfortable next to her. We were later at a dimly-lit parking garage, rushing to find our way out as there was a feeling of being chased or followed by someone.
In the next scene, I dreamt that there was a fire warning issued for the landed property that we lived in. We rushed to move all of the furniture and personal belongings out of the residence as fast as we could to a nearby safe place. The landscape was left alone, but I ended up walking through the fire, unscathed and alone. Oddly, I didn’t feel panic or fear - just serenity and security.
I also dreamt that a friend (his identity wasn’t revealed) and I took time out and went on an adventure to a resort. This was because he could see that I was heading towards the path of a nervous breakdown (although I was unaware of it). We obviously took separate rooms within walking distance to each other’s. I remember walking along the wooden route, heading to somewhere and being carefree and happy.
For the second dream, my personal interpretation of the dream is that I do crave an isolation period, away from the peers and in a place where no one can contact me. It is arguable that the moving of items indicates that the triggers need to be eliminated in a swift manner. Could the fire warning be a signal of me potentially losing my temper?. I don’t know, but it’s possible. It’s true, though. I’m reaching that stage where the stress is beginning to weigh me down.
For the third dream, is this a sign that someone is the panacea to the unspoken pressures I’m facing? Or, is someone worried for my emotional well-being? If so, I know who this dream is pointing to. Maybe I’m just in dire need for a beach/resort getaway?
Peace will come when one of us puts down the gun8:28 PM
The title is from the song lyrics of "Battlefield" by Lea Michele - and attached is the video for it.
After allowing my mind to stew for a couple of days, I’m not sure what to expect anymore. I don’t know, I’ve arrived at the stage where I’m contradicting myself. On one hand, I’m more than comfortable locking myself in the unit whenever I don’t have lectures or tutorials. At least I can be a disheveled suburbian girl who doesn’t need to care how she looks for the day. That doesn’t mean that I don’t place any effort in my attires, man. What I mean is that I can leave my hair in a mess state and change from one pair of pajamas to another. On the other hand, I need to breathe the fresh air and socialize with the slippery souls. At the rate that we are going, it feels like we’re catching each other’s shadows instead of the actual persons.
Now that we’ve officially reached the halfway mark of the semester, I’ll have to admit that while learning about the decisions countries make for their foreign policies is interesting, it’s nudging me to enroll in the quasi-law, quasi-politics elective that the Property Law lecturer is offering for next semester (especially since the course is about the influence of politics on the law or vice versa, I can’t specifically remember).
Six more weeks before crunch time - and I’m sure time will fly past me in the blink of an eye. Before I’m even aware of it, it’s revision time, hinting at the deadline of the final assignments due for my electives. Not too far away is the strangling Administrative Law exam. *sighs*
But who knows?
No, I'm not using alcohol to cope with the stress. To do so would be the dumbest decision of mine.
SWOTVAC and summer break, in itself, could bring different thoughts altogether. I might freeze all forms of communications during SWOTVAC to focus on the assignments and exam revision (yes, thank God, there’s only one exam to deal with this time around). Maybe I’ll use the summer break to connect with myself on a deeper level. It feels like I’ve abandoned a part of myself somewhere in the process of running after the elusive grades. If the plans are successful, I’ll be challenged mentally and physically by the prospective doubling of stress. The only positive side of it is that it will take my mind off things and keep me on the go most of the time.
Okay, we’ve arrived at the substance of the topic.
I know, I left the readers on a weird cliffhanger in the previous post (to the point where I made it sound like I’m a sacrificial lamb). No mortal is a saint, and there’s always that speck of imperfection or sin in all of us. With that in mind, I’ll pick up on where I left off and elaborate myself.
It’s more for the innocent player that my worries lie on. As he’s someone whom I’ve grown to appreciate and accept as an awesome friend, I’ll definitely step in and try to contain the burning fire. The matter is between me and the person; it shouldn’t require the involvement of other parties in the process. I could care less about this person’s conduct towards me because I’ve arrived at the stage where I honestly don’t care. In fact, if the situation isn't changing for the better, I won't take offence and will play the same cards as him instead.
Humans are just that complicated to understand, pfft.
It's just that I'm praying that he wouldn’t leave the innocent player feeling like the latter’s been snubbed.
[The term ‘innocent player’ refers to someone whose interest will be affected by the consequences of the game and, yet, is not considered a party to it.]
I wonder if I should take up photography as a favorite hobby again.
What’s making me suspicious is the fact that I dreamt that I obtained this person’s timetable (through legal means, don’t worry) for the entire academic year through someone else a while back. I'm honestly not sure what its relevance is to the current matter is. I've to throw caution to the wind about this interpretation because I don't know what to take from it - and it's scary enough that I dreamt of Kyle glaring at me before our papers in college. One of the dreams that I had last year recently came true, so yeah. There's a chance that this timetable exam could be a living reality and, if that happens, I'll verbally strangle someone. *shakes head*
Also, if it’s an advance warning to her suspicions, then I’m speechless. A part of me is hoping that her suspicions are founded on probable grounds, and not on reasonable grounds. If it is proven, you can already imagine me with saucer eyes and gaping at the stark coincidence of it all. If sneaky Fate additionally intervenes to complicate an awkward situation, it’s more than pure coincidence that history is repeating itself. Don’t ask me what I’ll do, though. It is something that I’ll only deal with if and when it happens.
It’s too soon to worry about it, especially since I’ve enough on my plate to crack the brain wide open.
Plus, I highly doubt that we’d be that lucky to land in the same tutorial without advance planning. It’s just impossible . . . (or maybe it is, this is, like, the second time I’m in the same class as an acquaintance - and we didn’t discuss about it beforehand.)
Mini Break5:33 PM
The more things are being rolled out, the more it is likely that her suspicions will come true - and I’ll be the next person out of the door. If it’s just the two of us, we couldn’t be bothered, to say the least, because we know what to expect. It is when there’s an innocent third party who is involved that things will be murkier. Put it this way, the third party has done nothing to deserve such a treatment. For that reason, I’ll have to sacrifice myself in the line of fire and do something that I never thought I’ll have to do again.
Then again, it’s only something that I’ll deal with when it really happens. What’s the point of being fearful over it when it still cannot be proved on a balance of probabilities? As it is, I’m mentally and emotionally exhausted from the continuous perfection I crave for the degree.
Now that the two assignments have been concurrently completed and submitted, it’s about time that I reduce the travelling speed and learn to take well-deserved pit-stops, if/when required to. At the time of this posting, I’m riding out the effects of straining the glutes and quadriceps over the weekend. So, you can already see why I should learn to be gentler on myself - physically, emotionally and mentally.
Since I know what I’m capable of if the stress reaches the limit, I decided to squash some time out and relax to one of my all-time favorite games.
Meet Maple Story: Beast Tamer
My apologies for a short post today. I’ve to prepare for tomorrow’s tutorial work and catch up on the backdated readings as well. I promise I’ll pen a longer, detailed post when I’ve more free time on my hands, though.
A Case of Curious Coincidences (Part 2)9:26 PM
Author's Note: My sincere apologies if today's story doesn't flow smoothly. I'm juggling two assignments that are due on Monday.
Crystal smelt the fresh morning air and curled her lips upwards as she disembarked from her bus stop and made the short walk to campus. Her shoulders were less burdened, knowing that the last twelve weeks of learning would come to an end after her last class. She was additionally relieved that she wouldn't need to face Ryan twice a day after this. Having to deal with his capricious demeanor towards her on top of her stress-inducing courses was draining her energy. Her head was hammered with such force by the knowledge thrown at her that she swore a headache was waiting to pounce on her around the corner.
It was a different thought a couple of days ago, especially during one of her morning lectures. There she was, seated by herself in the half-empty lecture theatre, attempting hard to stay awake to the lecturer's tips and advice no thanks to her housemate. He, who she suspected was under the influence of alcohol to the point of criminal irresponsibility, was obstreperous, repeatedly shouting another occupant's name and laughing out loud at their late-night rendezvous until the wee hours of the morning. It wrecked her rest with such impact that she was a walking and snappy zombie, who desired to wring her hands on anyone who - inadvertently or intentionally - stepped on her tail. Inasmuch as she desired to skip that day's worth of lectures due to unexpected exhaustion, it was not worth the risk as it was now the dangerous race to the finish line. If she faltered in this last week of lectures, her chances of sitting the supplementary exams or retaking the entire course was significant. Fully aware of the blow of her temper whenever it exploded, she decided to hide in the basement area of the library after the lecture to regain her composure and stew in the annoyance. Her intuition guided her to the other end of the area, but not wanting to walk any further, she decided to go for the nearest available spot.
She couldn't believe her luck when she heard Ryan arriving five minutes later. She had to stop herself from rolling her eyes and instead took a deep breath to mask her dismay. No matter how she longed to feed him a taste of his own medicine, she wasn't going to leave the moment he arrived. It was a risky move not worth playing when she was unsure whether he hated her with a vengeance or merely frightened of his impression of her and it was rather rude to do so.
Although she sensed that he hoped for an acknowledgment from her, she didn't have the extra energy to deal with him when her focus was on maintaining her composure. The relaxed atmosphere tensed to the point where his face was coated with discomfiture and his body language fidgety, obviously uneasy by Crystal's behavior.
After a fruitful rest, she was much more emotionally stable and less likely to bite. She nodded a smile to her postgraduate course mate, Tracy, who was waiting in the silent room and caught up with her.
"Ready for the presentation?" Crystal asked, sitting next to her.
"I'm anxious." Tracy sighed. "But I'm confident that I can nail this. Just don't ask me any questions because I'd be too nervous to answer."
"I don't intend on asking any either."
"Because the article's too close to home, most of my questions would've been answered by interpreting the document itself." She looked around the room. "Eh, I'm surprised that Ryan hasn't arrived yet."
And at the mention of his name, she caught him walking up the stairs from the library, clutching a paper in his hand. He barely noticed Crystal and Tracy's presence until a moment later when he walked in to them rearranging the furniture for the umpteenth time.
"Good morning." He wished them, slightly wary of Crystal.
"Morning," Crystal and Tracy replied in unison before returning to their duty.
Crystal almost raised an eyebrow at Ryan when he assisted them with perfecting the arrangement of the chairs. She thought that she saw the slight trace of perfectionism from him, not realizing that it was already evident when they collaborated in the previous group project. She smirked as she thought to herself: it's good that you're prudent of me, man. I'm just as capable of being temperamental as you are, Ryan. Don't let this pair of angelic face fool you into thinking that I don't come with a temper.
An incident that occurred shortly before the commencement of the previous week's class irked her when she pondered on it during the short break. What made it tough for her to comprehend was Ryan's reaction when he saw her engaged in a hearty discussion with a mutual course mate, who happened to be from the same hometown as Crystal. She noticed that Ryan's eyes bulged with horror and a vocal tone that left chills at her spine and immediately suspected that there was more to his body language than meets the eye. It could have been a mere coincidence if he hadn't given her the eyebrow flash when he noticed her change of attire a fortnight ago.
Screw you, man. She mentally cursed. If you're jealous that I'm laughing with another guy, you've to be out of your mind. There's no standing for you to be jealous and we're not even that close.
It was obvious that there was discriminatory treatment on Crystal's part, but to her defense, she was growing exhausted with Ryan. On some days, she could feel the cold air radiating from him. On other days, she could feel a faint trace of warmth whenever they crossed paths. Their eyes accidentally landed on each other when they looked at the tutor, who addressed the class with the discussion topics after the break. Crystal looked away, opted to focus on the carpeted floor ahead of her as it was straining her neck to look at the tutor. Not wanting the tutor to assume that she was zoning out and feeling that the coast was clear, Crystal turned to face her tutor again, it was Ryan who glanced in the opposite direction instead.
Ryan sat on the benches outside the building with furrowed brows after the class was dismissed. He couldn't quite place the cause of his emotions the last couple of days and nothing has been able to make him lose his concentration either. All he remembered was a long awkward silence before he realized that the tutor asked the class a question, to which he awkwardly cleared his throat to answer it. Now that he reflected on it, he was surprised that none of his peers took the opportunity to gain brownie points for their contributions.
Much earlier in the semester, when the assignments for all three courses were released for the autumn break, he remembered Crystal's hesitance when she approached him about it after their afternoon class.
"Oh yeah, Ryan?"
"Yo," was what he replied, and knew that he must've said the wrong thing because her eyes betrayed her surprise.
"Have you completed that piece of assignment for our morning class?"
"Nah, I'll do this weekend."
He vehemently shook his head, bringing his mind back to the present. It couldn't have been her messing with his emotions, but it made absolute sense on another hand. If he regarded Crystal as nothing more than a fellow legal colleague, he definitely would've ignored her when he saw her laughing with her compatriot.
He definitely wouldn't have wished her by her name on the first day of lectures when they returned from summer break three months later for another round of studies.
He definitely wouldn't have forced her to move to another seat in the morning class or seated in close distance from her for the afternoon class.
And lastly, his focus wouldn't have lingered on Crystal more than necessary during his class presentation when he spoke to the class.
He covered his face with his hands, realizing that there was a possibility that he was intrigued by Crystal's personality. On the bright side, he'd be done with exams and could finally smell the roses during his break in less than a month's time. As he was confident that Fate wouldn't allow them to be in each other's view at the exam hall, he gathered his items and decided to head off-campus to clear his mind.
Preserve, and you'll reap the rewards in time9:44 PM
Trust me, only the dedicated folks wouldn’t let the chilly weather be in the way of a good exercise on the hills.
Although my friend was rather hesitant to invite me for the expedition because he knew that I’m knee-deep with the workload, I was game for it. I needed the time out from a packed schedule and smell the fresh fragrance. The workload has greatly impacted my emotions and, as such, it’s making me reconsider the plans for the future (read: after graduation).
The more I ponder on it, the more it feels like the right move for me.
But that’s a story best left for another day.
Back to today’s post.
It definitely was a hectic weekend trying to balance the readings, tutorial work and the outing. I almost tripped on the steps in the library after a late night with a friend (I wish it was for our assignments instead, though) and crashed in the Administrative Law lecture due to the inadequate sleep over the weekend. I should’ve realized that disaster was around the corner when I slept at 1 am on both days and woke up 6 hours later for classes.
With that, I introduce to you, Black Hill Conservation Park in Athelstone.
Its terrain is similar to that of Bukit Gasing but the atmosphere is much fresher and ‘tastier’ due to the unpolluted environment. It didn’t radiate the claustrophobic aura that Bukit Gasing sometimes had, especially in those shaded areas. I mean, sure, it’s good as a protection from the sun, but it also makes the place feel . . . cold and dingy.
The landscape, additionally, was breathtaking to the point where I continuously interrupted my friend to stop for pictures while we trekked the chosen path. As we gingerly made our way up, we were surrounded by beautiful trees and the colorful flowers that greeted us with a smile.
(I've obviously captured more pictures than this, but I'm not going to bombard the entire post with it, lol.)
He even added that the panoramic view changes into a stunning beauty if you are there later towards the evening, where you can hug your loved one close to you and watch the sunset in the distance. I know what some of you are thinking, but I’ll have to unfortunately disappoint you, folks. Neither did my friend and I wrap each other in an embrace (that’d be super awkward, and I would’ve elbowed him instead) nor did we watch the sun return to rest either.
The only issue that we encountered while trekking was the unexpected winds. While the projected forecast was a cloudy day, there was no indication of dancing trees up at the hills. Look, we may have been insane enough to trail the park in winter, but at least we were intelligent to bring a furry, warm coat with us.
We adjourned to an Italian cafe in the adjacent suburb of Campbelltown for a late tea/early dinner over rounds of coffee and pizza. I was tempted to order a medium-sized pizza, but figured that it was safer to stick to a smaller plate since it’s just the two of us.
Guess what? I gaped at the pizza when it arrived. It looks more like a medium than a small!
Bottom: Flat White
As my friend was aware of my hesitance to loiter outdoors after dusk, the conversation and laughter continued at my place. Due to the sensitive nature of topics and jokes, it’s best to leave it out of the public domain, but I can briefly mention on something: I finally know what in the world ‘tickle my pickle’ means!! Bya, you should’ve just explained its definition to me back then.
It wasn’t until my eyes threatened to shut on me that my friend (not Bya) and I knocked off for the night and went our separate ways at a little past 1 am on a Sunday morning. How I managed to wake up in time for Mass is beyond me, but that left me like a walking zombie on Monday.
Short Story: A Blend of Independence with Weakness (Part 5)4:02 PM
The sky poured its grief on the mourners six weeks later, participating in their grief for the loss of a prosperous life that was tragically shortened. Shelby had everything going on for her: a close-knit family, the wonderful friends who loved her to bits and a stable career that afforded her yearly vacations. With a deep breath and squeezing his fists in the pocket of his coat, he needed to keep his emotions in check before he entered the crematorium hall. If he allowed himself to bawl his heart out now, he didn't know when he'd be able to stop.
In the middle of the crematorium hall was the veneered word casket with the enlarged framed A3 picture of a grinning Shelby attached at the front of it. Wreaths of flowers possibly from her peers in her field of work were scattered behind the casket, but clear enough for the mourners to read the messages if they wanted to from this end of the area. Rows of plastic chairs were placed for them to have their quiet moment in grief or prayers. Greeting him as he entered was the book of condolences. He refused to pen his message on it because no amount of words illustrated the sadness he harbored at Shelby's death. He additionally believed that his physically being there for Shelby's family was a better comfort than the messages in a book.
His peripheral vision caught the sight of Mrs. Winters seated alone at the front row of the chairs and he offered his condolences to her.
“I’m sorry for your loss, Mrs. Winters. I really am.”
“Thank you, Jerry. I really appreciate it.” Her eyes were rimmed raw and swollen. “Can I ask for a favor?”
“Since you’re Shelby’s good friend, would you mind to offer the eulogy at the funeral mass and lead the seven day prayers tonight at eight?”
“I don’t mind it at all. I can do both.”
Mrs. Winters gripped Jerry’s hand as her way of saying thanks.
The decision to return to the park a month after Shelby's funeral left a sour note in his throat, but it was something that he had to do if he wanted to overcome his grief. While he felt emotionally lighter and less burdened now, it was still a working process through the five stages of grief with acceptance a far distance away. He leaned over the wooden railing and sighed. Although he knew that Shelby would be upset to see him in the depressive state, the journey of closure was harder with each passing minute. His face lost all traces of cheeriness. It was fixed in a permanent frown. Most of his nights were accompanied with silent tears, which affected his sleep. He was barely eating, which was evident on his five-foot-eleven frame. He lost additional weight and was dangerously close to emaciation. Functioning in his daily life was draining the remaining energy that he had, but he was also relieved that it wasn’t affected his work. Work was his only escape from reality.
Their friendship spanned for such a long time - seven years now - that her absence was sorely missed. Her departure blew the brightest candle in his life, killing all of his happiness. It would take the right person to replace the darkness and mend the hole in his heart. He was unsure whether he’d be given another opportunity for that to happen or if he was capable of loving again.
His mind returned to the time when Mrs. Winters informed him that Shelby was admitted to the hospital after collapsing in her bedroom.
Armed with the information provided by Mrs. Winter earlier over the phone, Jerry dashed out of his parked car and into the hospital. As he walked closer to the ward, he could hear Mrs. Winters’ soft cries and pleas to her daughter to make a full recovery. With a deep breath, he knocked on the door as a sign of his arrival.
“Hello, Mrs. Winters.” Jerry forced a smile. “How’s Shelby?”
“She isn’t in a good condition, I’m afraid, Jerry.” Mrs. Winters rose to her full height and repeated the doctor’s words before turning to her daughter. “It’s the beginning of the end now. Since it was Shelby’s choice to forgo medical treatment, we can only wait for the time when her body’s decided to throw in the towel.”
“Can I have a word with you outside? There’s something I have to ask.”
Mrs. Winters took hold of her purse and followed Jerry out.
“The thing is,” he continued after they were out of earshot. “I’ve asked Shelby why she refused further treatment, but she avoided the subject. I was wondering if she’s told you the reason?”
“She has. She told me that whether she continues with another round of treatment, it’ll ultimately rob her of her limited time to enjoy life. She doesn’t want to be plugged into the machines monitoring her every move and holed up within the four walls. Plus…” she trailed off, finding the appropriate words to express herself. “Another reason is you.”
His eyes furrowed. “Wait, what? I didn’t ask her to stop treatment, Mrs. Winters.”
“No, let me elaborate.” Mrs. Winters raised both hands. “When I pressed Shelby on this, she replied that she didn’t want you to spend your time on her when there are better girls than her out there. To be more specific, she was falling in love with you.”
“She couldn’t see a bright future with you, Jerry, if you two got together. Her illness will always be an issue that you two will have to tackle with and now that it arrived at this stage, it’d be a matter of time before goodbyes have to be said. Although she knows that it’s a tough thing to ask for, she wants you to love again and think of her as a distant memory of your past. If you ask me, Jerry, I actually believe that she sacrificed her short-lived happiness in exchange for your eternal one with someone.”
What Mrs. Winters revealed left him speechless that he lost his voice.
Looking up at the bright blue sky above him, he now wanted to rewind the time to their first encounter and seize his chance while he could. He swore that instead of beating around the bush, he would come clean with his honest feelings with her. He made one of the gravest mistakes in his life and now that Shelby was gone, there was no way of correcting it.
Travel Wishes7:40 PM
Before I pen today’s post, remember the crying dream that I had about a Goldie sometime in March? Now that I’m reflecting on it, the online interpretation makes an awful load of sense.
If you’ve been frequently reading this blog lately, you’ll know that I was swimming in a pot full of tremendous pressure as its contents for the entire semester - to the point where it threatened to take a toll on my emotional health. I’ve never mentioned about the event that transpired after the Thursday afternoon lecture to the group of trustworthy friends and I’m never going to speak a word of it to them either. It wouldn’t have made any difference - and it’s not as if they’ll be able to help me out.
I know that it carries a twinge of sting to it, but I’ve learned that some things are best left buried in the Aegean Sea.
Reading about the dream online connected the dots together. It was my subconscious sending my favorite breed, which is the Goldie, to comfort me in the dream (hey, Bruno!) The serenity it brought along made me so relaxed that it hinted heavily at one of the weekends I spent in One Tree Hill, Mt. Eden, where I played Frisbee with a … you guessed it, a Goldie.
So, there we go.
It’s almost 9 pm Adelaide time - yet I’m still awake, nursing a mug of warm cocoa on this awfully chilly night when I should be in bed. I should be refueling my body's sleep bank for tomorrow's 9 am lecture on Creative Writing and the 11 am tutorial for Politics awaits me after that. It’s evident that my academic workload has increased this semester (and it’s still manageable), but it doesn’t mean that the pressure has tapered down, either.
I’m in need for a travel break. You know, the one where we embark on a road trip into the country towns, experiencing the local culture and delving into the cuisines of the family-owned cafes. The unpolluted, refreshing air is our silent observer while we share memories with the right people. The car windows are rolled down with the music softly humming from the radio or CD player with its memory-evoking emotions. Throw in some food and wine on the way - and it’s all perfect…
How am I going to make that a living reality when I’m car-less and license-less? *scratches head* I don’t intend to study for my driving test yet because I’m not fully sure where I’ll be: whether I’m heading back to KL, moving interstate to practice, or killing another two - three years’ worth of postgraduate degree in Creative Writing in Sydney. (Let’s assume that I manage to pass the test in KL. I’ll still need to take an additional paper here before I’m a full license holder.)
I wouldn’t even count the yearly flights home, lol.
Well, in that case, I’m stuck to waiting it out until I’m financially independent. Like I’ve mentioned years before, it never mattered if I’m traveling solo or with a group of friends to the familiar places.