Tuesday, March 14, 2017

3/14/17

Start afresh?

A quick refresher?

She was as serious as hell when she claimed that Coffee Club Harbour Town was quieter at this time of the day. Save for a couple of diners scattered inside and outside the coffeehouse, there wasn’t a crowd at the area. Not knowing what to do and not desiring to block the entrance, he waited at the corner of the coffeehouse.

“Hello, Brendan,” a voice behind him greeted.

Neither was it strong nor loud. It was coated with the right amount of warmth and friendliness yet he detected traces of caution in it. It was definitely her.

He turned at the familiar tone.

She donned a floral flair dress with a pair of matching brown wedges. Her shoulder-length hair was trimmed into a shorter bob. She glanced at him with a smile. “Winnie?”

“Let’s go inside. I’m not delivering your corpse, if you die from the heat, to Katrina.”

Ouch, the wounds from her sarcasm was deeper than that of a knife, he thought, but quickly recovered from it. Katrina must’ve stabbed her with such offence that it left Winnie with a sour tongue.

Winnie ensured that they were tucked away at the far end of Coffee Club, where it was quieter, cooler, and full of view, before she skated the surface while waiting for their coffee.

“I don’t mean to murder you with sarcasm, Brendan, but it’s in my blood now. It’s the only way that I can protect myself from people who bleed me dry for their benefit.” She was less standoffish with the traces of old Winnie resurfacing. “To receive your text that you’re in Perth all of a sudden definitely knocked me off. I didn’t know how to welcome or treat you now that we’ve been out of contact for almost half a year. The best way would be to retain the sarcasm while I observe you to see if you’ve changed or if you’re still the same Brendan Carrington that I know. So, tell me, why the long flight to nail me to the ground?”

“I needed to see you. No, let me correct that. I wanted to know the reasons behind your departure. I wanted to reason it out with you…,” he whispered, “and you’ve left hearts broken in its wake.”

She suppressed a smile and raised an eyebrow instead. That was so Brendan: honest, straight to the point, and refusing to beat around the bush. “I didn’t know I was sorely missed in Adelaide. But yes, I’ll spill the reasons like the rain.”

The barista came to deliver their coffees: a regular flat white for Winnie and an iced lemon tea for Brendan. If there was something that remained the same in her absence, it was Brendan’s habit before sinking into his cup of tea. She watched as he tore two satchels of sugar and dissolved it into the liquid with a quick stir.

“What?”

“It’s like when we always went out for a drink or two, you’d dump sugar inside your drink and comment that the amount of saccharine was perfect when you’ve arranged an appointment with diabetes.” Her face fell at the memory and she stared into her flat white. “I’m sorry for leaving.”

“Why did you have to leave then?”

“You and Katrina.”

Brendan’s eyes widened. “What?!”



Winnie sighed. “Brendan, are you naive or oblivious? You’re not a Sagittarius, so you shouldn’t be oblivious. You would’ve been stupid not to have noticed Katrina’s mischievous twinkle at you whenever she spoke. Or the fact that she glanced at you like a love struck puppy. Her eyes glared with such fury that it was capable of murder whenever you hugged me but not her. Also, only a fool couldn't see your preferential treatment towards me. If there’s one thing you haven’t known about the girl, she is observant - even for the finest detail. That’s what makes her a good debater and law student. She sees through the cracks and manipulates it to her advantage. Your eyes dilated with passion whenever you glanced at me. Your green eyes, while exotic, does not work in your favour in times like that. Katrina and I are able to get away easily because you can’t see our dilated eyes unless we’re under the sun. Your face could’ve brightened the somber Adelaidean winter whenever you showed up at my favourite places, the ones that Katrina didn’t know I love. Not to mention, your reaction whenever I laughed until I flushed with embarrassment… Should I continue?”

Brendan nodded.

“It was as if you longed for me to be elated in your company and not worry about matters, no matter how serious they were. Correct me if I’m wrong, but now that I’m out of the picture, has she been continuously texting you to hang out after classes? Or asking you to check out certain videos about love songs and romance novels?”

What Winnie described was almost the accurate description of Katrina’s behaviour towards him. Ever since she left, courage possessed Katrina with the bravery to message Brendan over serious and petty things like the ones Winnie mentioned. It was rubbing off him in the wrong light and he felt that she clung to him like he was her somebody.

“How did you know?”

“I’ve known that girl longer than you, my friend. She was in the same classes as me throughout high school and we’re distantly related through our mothers. I’ve never remained more than cordial with her because she is competitive. Anyway, it was easy to guess. Someone can become desperate when he or she wants the attention of their crush. Plus, you’ve no idea what she said to me during one of the family gatherings lately. She growled that you’re all hers and I should give my blessings instead of standing in the way. She even accused me of brainwashing you to dislike her! I mean, that isn’t true. You’re who you are and I can’t answer why you aren’t as close to her than to me. You’d never been able to see it because she’s clever. She knows how to separate work from family drama and jealousy.”

“How did you know that I liked you? I was as discreet as I could be. I always resisted the urge to embrace you unless it was to greet you after months of not seeing each other. I’ve never glanced or stared at your direction in class or bought you drinks when we were together either. I tried my hardest not to give you the eyebrow flash when you rocked in with your presentation outfit. I purposely didn’t compliment you on your haircut either.” Brendan gulped half of his iced lemon tea. “But you’ve reasonable cause to suspect because it’s all true. I like you and still do, which is why your unexplained departure slapped me the hardest.”

Winnie sipped her flat white, contented with the silence while buying time for her response. She never expected Brendan to come clean because she didn’t want to believe the signs in front of her. “The truth is I like you, Brendan,” she admitted. “But there’s too much for us to overcome. As I’ve mentioned much earlier, Perth is my home. I don’t want to be pitted against you, Katrina, and home after graduation. Long-distance relationship is not something I can deal with. If I hooked up with you, I’d lose Katrina as a friend. What’s worse is we’ll be sworn archrivals. If Katrina is your girlfriend, I’d lose you as a friend. Imagine the three of us heading out and hanging together. I’d be the lamp post that’s infringing on the lovebirds’ private moment. That’s reason number two.”

“But -”

“Let me finish. Reason number three is my ex-boyfriend. For whatever reason, the bloody idiot decided to pursue his education with his new flame in Adelaide. To make it worse, they are in our uni but under a different faculty. That’s my former best friend, whom he cheated on me with. I know you’ll argue that you’re different than Tobias, but it brings back raw memories. My heart still faintly skips whenever something reminds me of him or of our time together although it’s been three years since our breakup. Throw that on top of watching you and Katrina as a couple if that occurs. What I’m insinuating is I don’t know if I can overcome the scars and love you wholeheartedly. It makes it harder for me to trust you as a lover while focusing on my grades.”

Her eyes lost its radiant soul and on the verge of burning itself with a salty solution. It took an amount of self-control for Brendan not to take her into his embrace and comfort her. “You’ve to be kidding me, Winnie! You should’ve told me about this!” At least you wouldn’t have to suffer in silence and I’d have ensured that your ex learnt his lesson for not appreciating your sweet presence!” His voice softened. “My relationship with Katrina is and has always been platonic, we know that. The foundation that our friendship is built on is powerful enough to endure the storm from a future relationship, should it ever occur…”

“I didn’t need you to rock up to him and bleed the soul out of him either, Brendan, although the thought is much appreciated. I’m not worth enough for you to land yourself a meeting with the disciplinary board. As far as it mattered, I’m a stranger to them… just a fellow peer from uni. I strive hard to stay away from events that involve his favourite pastimes because I’d run into him there. You’re a law student, Brendan. You can’t afford to have a record of anything that might clip your chances of being the awesome lawyer I know you are.”

“I’m sorry I didn’t know about this.”

“Don’t be stupid, Brendan. You’re a native who has his life planned out for him in Adelaide. Me? Adelaide was an education sojourn for me. My life is in Perth. I know you love me and you wanted me to stay, but I don’t want you to be screwed over by someone who’s not staying there for good. Soon, you’d start hating me for playing you like a harp. So, no, thanks, it’s not something I want to risk, especially since you’ve been so good to me.” She gripped his hand. “I appreciate it that you miss me, but leaving was the only plausible choice. Please forgive me, Brendan, for being the love you can never have.”

“I won’t hate you. How could I hate someone whom I love, Winnie?”

Sunday, March 12, 2017

A pressure cooker's worth of schedule

Studies.

I’m relieved that I’m on the halfway mark in more ways than one. We’re talking about a four-year degree and an additional year of legal training. That’s if I decide to practice as a barrister, but the chances are likely. I mean, why stop at the bachelor level when I can improve the shape of my career? That decision also makes me feel … riper than I should. When I take a step back and look at all of my friends, most of them are now in their final year and looking forward to their graduation next year whereas a bunch of us (including me) won’t be officially be done until two years after.

Oh, well.

Something must be wrong with me to realize that I’m feeling more at home with Creative Writing when it’s one of the electives attached to my degree. I can’t exactly change time, can I? I’m not going to change my degree pathway at this stage. If I wanted to, as I’ve mentioned before, I’d have done it, much to the exuberance of my good friend. I read in between the lines that he’d have loved to be accorded with the opportunity of us graduating together from his choice of words, but it is what it is. I don’t know whether he’ll show up at my convocation to send me off with so much of a goodbye because we’ve never broached on this topic. It’ll be awesome to see him there, but I won’t blame him if he can’t attend due to reasons unknown to us now. I guess we’ll only know when the time arrives.

This particular elective that I chose on a whim has the remnants of Writer’s Craft, which is a positive and negative thing because it’s unlocked the chain of memories that I thought I buried in the depths of my heart. I still hear the sound of my own heart cracking in the dead silence whenever I catch myself reminiscing on my time in that class. A part of me still harbors the belief that if I hadn’t enrolled at the time that I did, I would’ve saved myself from all of the troubles that ensued with it. It’s not that I’m wishing those batch of classmates away - that’s not true because I couldn’t ask for a better batch - but more along the lines of two people. It’s always in the serenity of the chilly evening air that their images float with lucidity in my psyche. One I’ve stabbed with the sharpest end of a sword and the other sending his prayers of happiness to the skies with the wish that I’ll receive it. (It is with regrets that I don't know when it will come.)

You can pretty much deduce the ending from that sentence, although if you’re thinking of betrayal, you’re dead wrong.

Nope, it’s nothing to that degree.



The other friend’s right; I’ve signed myself up for a round of torture with the amount of coursework. I can’t whinge because I knew about the intensity almost as soon as the enrollment was open. It is with clarity that I remember his kind advice to swap things around (two of the electives with the core subject next year, like what I did for the first semester as a sophomore)... but let’s just say that I overestimated my capabilities and academic schedule. I thought I’d be able to ride this semester out like I did for the last one. Don’t get me wrong; I love the subjects that I chose. Otherwise, why was I stubborn for it? It bleeds me dry inasmuch as it resuscitates me with interest.

He didn’t bat his eyelids when I told him that I stuck to my choice. It was as if he saw it coming. You see, we managed to catch up in the first week over coffee - away from campus - and a tad bit of laughter to lighten the mood of what will be an adventurous penultimate year. Both of us are waist-deep in our respective matters and it's hard to waddle without growing weary over our grades.

Speaking of electives, I’m sure that the History mate will face-palm himself when he hears that I’m doing one related to philosophy. He embraces it with more passion than myself and it was as plain as day that I didn’t fancy learning about it. When we learned about the Enlightenment and the Salon, where all of the philosophers - including Voltaire, Rousseau, Montesquieu, and Kant, to name a few - exchanged ideas with each other over tea, he flourished like a bird in the sky, even more so than me. Me, I swam under the enormous pressures of understanding each concept that each philosopher brought to the table.

Oh, well. *shrugs*

Sunday, March 5, 2017

3/5/2017

I dreamt that there were a bunch of us huddled in an elevator while waiting to exit at our intended floor. We laughed out loud over something that one of the girls mentioned when the only male friend broke into coughing fits. I didn’t know what happened to him, so I patted his back to help him clear his throat. It wasn’t until he coughed out a thick liquid onto his white napkin that a death-defying silence fell upon us.

Blood.

He sensed our horror and tried to soothe us that it was nothing big, but not me because I knew what it meant.

I bolted out of the place and cried my eye sockets out when my suspicions were proven true in the form of a pathologist’s report. Lung cancer. And the poor chap looked miserable and pale in the span of a week. It was like the revelation bled any form of life from him.

I blocked the sight of him and his news out of my mind when we entered a premium-looking immigration complex. One of the immigration ministers was en-route to his office after a smoking break. A shopping mall was its neighbor, which allowed the applicants the means and method to kill some time - if required to - or satiate their thirst/hunger. She caught up with my childhood friend and his younger sister when I pretended to immerse myself with the range of perfume that this particular shop carried. Although the mere smell of it sends me running for the hills in a sneezing attack, I had already decided to purchase a bottle of fragrance for the gravely-ill friend, whose birthday was just around the corner. I didn’t want to face any mutual friends while I came to terms with the bleak prognosis.

To be honest, this dream has leaned towards the weirder side. I mean, this is the second time that the childhood friend has appeared in my dream. It has to mean something, right? Otherwise, why has he decided to make himself known in my dream? And with his sister this time?

Let’s blow the scenes into a frame by frame analysis then.

The lung cancer prognosis could mean that a friendship’s about to prematurely electrocuted. The premium-looking immigration complex might indicate my desire to visit Pavilion and sink my face into Kurtos Spiroll. Not wanting to acknowledge the childhood friend could be my intention to distance myself from everyone whom I know. I’ve never bought a bottle of fragrance and will not do so for at least a long while, but it might be a symbol of the early birthday gift that I intend to pass to the finance friend.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Past Memories



Bic Runga’s sweet voice swimming through my bloodstream through her amazing songs - such as Sway and Get Some Sleep - is something that I need after an intense start to the academic week. I’m not sure what transpired in the wee hours of the morning, but I woke up with a vampire’s makeup and feeling trashy as I made my way to the classes and tutorials. I could barely keep my eyes open in the middle of International Humanitarian Law without the access to caffeine.

It’s always moments like this when I listen to songs like this that I’m heavily reminiscent about the memories in New Zealand. Ah, the time when we snuggled in that ancient green Toyota Corolla and drove down the highway to Palmerston North for an overnight rest in Papa Carrie’s acquaintance’s house (if memory serves me right, I still have the little gift that she purchased for me.) before landing in our final destination. The capital city. Wellington.

I’m hoping for the day when I’ve enough dough to take the flight there and breathe the fresh Kiwi air after more than a decade away from the country.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Let's go?

Hello again, folks!

How was everyone’s Chinese New Year? I hope it was much better than mine. Mine was expectedly quiet, seeing that it’s my penultimate year in a foreign land with a different spirit for the festivity. I’ve learnt not to expect the annual lion dances or fireworks (unless it coincides with other events) because it’s not ingrained in the Australian culture in the same manner that it does for Malaysia, which is why I’m always caught aback whenever I hear the drums.

If memory serves me well, you’ll know that the festival season is around the corner when the shopping mall or grocery stores are alive with the mandarin oranges or the festivity-themed songs. Your neighbors will set the firecrackers or fireworks off on the street, sending you into a temporary cardiac arrest or reaching out for your thickest headphones.

Nothing of that sort occurred here.

To be honest, I didn’t even know that it was Chinese New Year until I received the festive greetings from friends on WhatsApp and one of the sales assistant at the Asian grocery store that I patronize frequently informed me about it. Talk about being kept in the dark, lol. I guess that’s the beauty of not traveling during the festivity. Unlike the rest of my compatriots, I chose to spend it here instead of back home for reasons that I’ll rather shove under the carpet. I think the only fruitful thing I did was watch the much-anticipated Australia Open 2017 finals between Federer and Nadal over a plate of Magharita pizza at the tail-end of the heatwave.

It was down to business with the start of the orientation training. We gathered on the lawns outside Elder Hall like piranha fish giddy with delight over human delicacies to meet the students who were assigned to our care for the important day. I wouldn’t blame the commencing students for the overwhelming nerves because we’ve all experienced it as freshmen. It took me an entire year - yeah, I know - before I found my footin and regained my confidence as a sophomore. Let me tell you that it’s not the orientation day that will paralyze you with fear (although I didn’t attend mine. I mean, I was there on campus but it was a different atmosphere altogether). It’s the first day of tutorials that has the potential of you breaking into a film of perspiration - unless you’re the lucky one to have friends/cliques from college in the same degree and seminars as you.

Anyway.



After the necessary introductions and small talk, we listened in on a speech presented by the outgoing Vice-Chancellor before we disembarked on a campus tour. You’d think that I’d have made my way to the O-week activities since I was there, but I gave it an entire miss. I wasn’t feeling the spirit of it. It’s one thing to attend it with familiar faces but it’s another to be there on your own.

That’s not to say that I can’t attend events on my own. Heck, I’ve done it before.

My penultimate year officially starts tomorrow with the Creative Writing lecture. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. I’m either out of my mind or crazy for not pursuing a double degree. I’ve thought about that as a freshman in Taylor’s … but let’s just say that I’ll have gone for it in a different world. It’s not a piece of cake to endure the intensity of a double degree because you’re talking about 4 courses every semester for at least 5 years.

I don’t know what to expect although I’ve been doing this for the last two years. I mean, each year throws you off-balance with its weird twists and turns. I’ve also peppered the foundations that will lead me to the next stage of my life with seeds of hope. I’m not going to jinx it by speaking of it, but I hope that things will turn out for the best and it’ll at least bring out some joy. I don’t know why, but I’ve been feeling alone and isolated in crowds. Like I’ve tuned everyone out and the only sound I hear is the one of my beating heart.

Which is not a good thing, if you ask me.

Which is also a good thing that the physical exhaustion masquerades it. I’ve always taken my time to flag a ride to the same destination as everyone else (if it makes any sense?). I don’t do things just because everyone else of my age is doing it. Take driving license for example. Most of my friends rushed to enroll in driving lessons the moment they were legal to do so and are now proud owners who are independent, at least in the travel sense. Me, I’m still license-less because you could say I’m a rebel. I still don’t see the need to fork out the money for it, especially since I’m abroad now. I’m not familiar with the roads here and I’ll have to read the RTA from cover to cover before I decide on taking my license in Adelaide. (I can imagine my good friend groaning at that thought because he’s been pushing me out of that due to the financial costs involved. Sorry, mate.) Another reason is because I’m not sure where my heart takes me for work. I don’t want to be in the midst of learning it and suddenly move to - let’s say - Brisbane for work and throw everything in a limbo. It’ll be a different Road Transport Department and God knows how much unnecessary paperwork I might have to endure.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Just a word of update

Hello folks, it’s been a wild week over here. I’m sure you’ve heard about the heatwave that’s thrown Australia into a furnace with temperatures edging closer to 50C. I don’t think you can imagine the hot air, but to provide some context, it was being baked alive in an oven. To make things worse, there were unscheduled blackouts for load shedding. Humidity also paid a visit. It’s different from the 70 - 80% humidity that we have in KL in the sense that you feel like you’re being suffocated. At least with KL, you’ve the cool winds at night.

“Because it’s easier to know what you’re not than what you are.” - Born in Ice by Nora Roberts, page 182

Everyone has spoon-fed me with things along the lines of intelligence, confidence, and kindness and expected me to be brainwashed by those sweet words. Some of it is based on the the truth, which I’ll willingly admit, but some are sugarcoated. I’d rather believe that I’m the average girl next door who’s trying to weave her way into a smooth transition from one environment to other. I want to believe that I’m capable of dropping people like hot potato once they’ve inflicted enough damage and making them suffer emotional trauma because it masks my weakness with the protective layers and keeps me from keeling over in angst.

It’s for the same reason that I’ve kept my innermost thoughts at arm’s length from the good friends, instead using exhaustion as an excuse to mask the absence.

That’s it from me today. I’ll be back with a more detailed post some time next week.

Friday, February 10, 2017

2/10/17



I dreamt that I drove to someone’s house and landed in their driveway. It was occupied by a Chinese family - judging from the happiness sticker that they plastered on the wooden door. The occupants looked familiar, but I couldn’t place where I previously saw or met them.

Later that week, when it was time for exams, I searched for the examination hall hosting the paper that I was about to sit. The security guard didn’t search my bag and demand that I send it through something that resembled the airport scanner because I slid under the radar. Once inside, I perused the noticeboard for my name, but it wasn’t listed there. A name similar to mine was, but either it belonged to someone else or it was a spelling mistake. I didn’t want to take my chances and commit identity fraud.

In reality, I’ve been visiting a particular family - acquainted to my Mom since when childhood - whenever I’m back in town. A quick reference check online indicated that the inability to find my seat for an exam meant that I want to prove myself, but am unsure how to. It’s like being restrained against your will.



In another dream, I fled from the floors of SJMC and found myself head to head with someone at the entrance gate. Her eyes burnt with fury and demanded that I leave the scene immediately. An adult with a younger fellow entered the seaside building on a breezy yet sunny afternoon. It was evident that they were mother and child. When I saw them, I ran in the opposite direction. The child saw me - her father - and called for him. My heart wanted to embrace her, but my brain said to run. I was cornered by walls at every turn while I tried to rid the child off my trail. We ultimately caught up with each other at the row of elevators. Her voice was enough to melt my stone cold heart.

In reality, the aforementioned person in the hospital is someone whom I’ve not spoken in months. In reality, we’ve drifted away due to unresolved matters and the distance of time. Maybe she’s thinking of me or still annoyed with me, I don’t want to know.

The change of gender in the dream reminded me of something that an acquaintance posted on Facebook a while back… it went along the lines of not being able to be the doting parent to a beautiful and treasured child. Could my dream be a signal that the father in the dream is the adult version of me? Or just the way of an exhausted yet sleep-deprived subconscious?

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

2/7/17

Start afresh?

A quick refresher?

It was already nightfall when Brendan was given his hotel key card after the check in process was completed. He didn’t care much if his room was blessed with the magnificent view of Swan River because he wouldn’t soak up Mother Nature’s beautiful artwork. Most of his time would be spent outdoors, experiencing Perth while tracking down Winnie. What he needed was a comfortable bed to crash on instead.

With the help of the hotel receptionist’s instructions, he made his way to the Crawley-Nedlands campus of University of Western Australia by bus and train the next morning. As he was a stranger to this part of the country, he assumed the role of a prospective student and casually followed the crowd into the admissions office before he waited at the corner. Half an hour later, he found himself being given a tour of the large campus and the accommodation. Allowing himself to rest on the wooden yet heated bench and with one last effort at contacting Winnie, he dropped a text on WhatsApp and hoped for little. Two years of friendship and continuously seeing each other in tutorials were enough for Brendan to understand the inner workings of Winnie’s mind. The girl had the penchant of ignoring messages on Messenger for weeks at one go. Getting her to reply on WhatsApp was a tad bit easier but still took an effort. Brendan shook his head, relieved that at least Winnie came with the brains to answer to urgent and important texts on either social media accounts. His phone vibrated with such intensity that he almost jumped in shock.

It was Winnie, which surprised him.

“You’ve finally got in contact.”

“I read your messages. Why did you track me down in Perth?”

It was not a question of how. It was more of why, which was highly indicative that she knew he’d search for her whereabouts and that their former lecturer fed him with the important information. She knew he was hot on her trail and it wasn’t long before her hideout would be exposed to the light of day. “I needed to know if you were alright. You left without a trace. Katrina and I are both worried about you.”

“I had my reasons.”

“Any of which you want to spill? I’ve time and can listen.”

She navigated past his gentle prodding. “Don’t you have classes to attend to back in Adelaide? It’s not the autumn break yet.”

Smart gal, he thought. Although she was no longer physically in the North Terrace campus, she still kept herself in touch with the university’s academic calendar and events. “Missing a tutorial once is fine. Plus, my friend will cover for me. My flight’s on Sunday. If you’re thinking of throwing me off, it’s not working, Winnie.”

There was a moment’s silence in which she debated whether to reveal the truth or to keep the cards close to herself. Sure, he was someone she trusted. She had come to appreciate his presence in her life over the course of their friendship. He was able to be there for her while maintaining a distance - unlike Katrina, whom Winnie felt was intrusive at times. He was a mature chap who understood the crooked paths of life, but she was unsure if he could handle everything she was to tell. It wasn’t just Katrina’s role that complicated matters. It was his feelings towards her… and as she hated to admit, her thoughts of him. He fulfilled all of the attributes of her Mr. Right but distance was a double-edged sword. He didn’t endure the 3-hour flight to unchartered territories for nothing. He wanted answers, something to assist him in understanding the rationale behind her decision and the reasons leading to it. She’d dish the truth on a plate to him, as per his silent wishes, but she was in no way responsible for the impact on him.

“Fine, you win. Where are you now?”

“Your campus.”

“Tell you what, Brendan. Meet me in front of Coffee Club Harbour Town in two hours time. It’s quieter there and we’ll talk.”

The call went dead before Brendan responded. Winnie was deranged to have suggested that place. How was he to head there? Couldn't she have suggested somewhere nearby, somewhere closer where he wouldn’t find himself lost like a confused deer? With a sigh, he retraced his footsteps to the admissions office and prayed that whoever was in charge would be able to guide him.

Friday, January 20, 2017

1/20/17

In the first scene, which didn’t provide enough context for me to work with, I dreamt that I couldn’t find my way home and landed in an adult’s house. The owner’s eye shot up when he saw me because I looked familiar to him. It dawned on him that I’m a friend of his nephew and we’ve met at an open house gathering.

In real life, the nephew is my childhood friend who’s happily living his life in Boulder, CO. The reason how I could make the association was because he mentioned the friend’s name. The house resembled the ones in the neighborhood of USJ 11. I reckon that the dream’s nudging me to address the insecurities and annoyance at everything going around me. Either that - or I’m harboring the subconscious fear of failing and wish of desiring a safe pair of arms to guide and nurture me to weather this storm.



In the second scene, where it was much clearer, I dreamt that I loitered outside a large hall full of foldable tables and chairs with a trolley that students use to lug their textbooks to school in. The hall was devoid of people when I entered and immediately settled for the seat opposite a female friend for the next tuition session. Seated diagonally us was a college friend who didn’t notice my presence there.

“Dreamt of him working in a coffeehouse and, guess what, he’s actually a barista in real life,” was what I whispered to the female friend. “I haven’t spoken to him after our graduation…”

In real life, the said female friend is an associate in law who’s in the same batch as me. The said college friend is the same one mentioned here.

The memory of attending that tuition in elementary school, albeit a different location, arose like ashes in the air. I don’t know; maybe it’s a hint of personal growth, where I’m learning something that will propel me to greater heights. Or it’s an indication that I need to improve intelligence as I’ve been feeling a little … well, un-intelligent lately. I wouldn’t dare say that it’s hinting me to confide in a non-judgmental person because I’m quite comfortable in keeping most thoughts/comments/opinions to myself nowadays.

I know that it’s a signal for something if the college friend can appear in my dream twice. A quick check online revealed that I need to reflect on my acquaintanceship with him for clues as it holds the key to lessons I’m now experiencing.

In the third scene, which left me with a frown, I dreamt that another friend dropped me in front of an office after picking me up from somewhere. The departing destination was not revealed. The person awaiting me in front of the office was wearing an office attire and an employee tag. His eyes beamed with happiness and he proceeded to rubbing my cheeks in the same way that I used to do it to my Shih Tzu. He kept muttering that ‘aw, you so cute’, much to my chagrin. I rolled my eyes and shot a visual signal to my friend, who was rearranging his things at the back seat of the car, for help.



In real life, I’ve no idea on what to make of this because the identities of the so-called friends in the dream weren’t revealed. I can interpret this dream in two ways: 1) the person rubbing my cheeks is someone close yet exerting authority over me. I can’t fight back although I should and he knows that, exploiting my weakness to his advantage; or 2) there are positive changes coming my way hence his action of jokingly rubbing my cheeks. This action would require the person to be a loved one - either a parent or a lover.

The online interpretation even went as far as to suggest that a dearly beloved one is in my midst but treating my existence as invisible. *facepalm*

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

1/10/17

Start afresh?

A quick refresher?

"I’m leaving, cause I’m so tired/ Of never knowing what to do./ I’m feeling you got me hired/To be a fool for you."

Guilt-inflicted anger crawled on Katrina like a cockroach when she read Winnie’s Facebook status. It was the first verse of "Fool for You" by The Once. No matter how much she disliked her for not helping her to nail Brendan as a boyfriend, they were like a family to each other. The three were supposed to stand up for each other and protect the other from harm’s way. She felt that she disappointed Winnie by accusing her of things she never did. But with Winnie out of the picture and with no one standing in her quest to pursue Brendan, Katrina’s smile crept out of the corners of her lips. Inasmuch as her conscience nagged her to show this to Brendan, her heart waved the idea off. It didn't benefit her if she helped him find Winnie. In fact, she’d land herself in more detriment by doing so, especially when it was clear that Brendan harboured a love for Winnie.

It dawned on Brendan that Winnie already hinted at her impending departure months ago when she casually commented that she foresaw herself working interstate, not in town. He didn’t think much about it because it’d be a long time before her wish could be granted. Yes, he remembered that she mentioned the states of Western Australia and Queensland, but both were larger states than his hometown. Pinpointing her current location would be harder than finding a needle in a haystack. Although her Messenger was idle, her WhatsApp service was still connected, which meant that either her phone number was still in service or was somewhere with good wireless signal.

Winnie Richards was a careful and systematic person. There was no way in hell that she’d skipped town without someone knowing. But the problem is, who could she have told? She would’ve told someone about it in advance, he was sure of that. Plus, something in his gut was persistent that she was completing the remainder of her degree interstate.

Their Criminal Law lecturer.

It was only plausible that she’d have sought help from their lecturer as Criminal Law was her highest-scoring course in her degree. In fact, one of the best performing students for that year. She also knew him on a personal basis and would’ve felt more comfortable approaching him on those two grounds.

“Hi, Mark.” Brendan entered the lecturer’s office, almost engulfed in a wave of trepidation. Although Winnie has spoken to Mark in his office on more than one occasion and went to describe their lecturer as strict but friendly out of tutorial hours, the nerves still affected Brendan as it was his first time here. It was a tidy office - with folders of papers kept to a minimum and books arranged on the shelves. There was a framed photo of his son who looked no more than five years old on the third tier. “Am I disturbing you?”

“Hello there! Nah, you’re not.” Mark’s smile immediately melt any fear that Brendan felt and gestures towards the seats in front of the office table. “Take a seat. What can I do for you today?”

“I’m actually a friend of Winnie Richards, who was a student of yours last year.”

“Yup, I remembered her. She was in one of my classes. A quiet but intelligent student. If memory serves me right, you were with her in the seminars too. What’s your name, if you don’t mind me asking?”

Brendan nodded. “Brendan. I know this may sound odd and maybe shocking to you, Mark, but did Winnie inform you about her departure?”

“Departure? You mean, academic transfer? She did. In fact, Winnie asked me to write a referral letter to boost the chances of her application to transfer being approved by the receiving university, UWA. It’s a first for me in my years of teaching; that’s why I remember it well. What happened to her?”

“It’s just that she stopped contacting her friends, including me, and we’re trying to find out if she’s okay and where she is. You said UWA? Is that in Perth?”

“She actually contacted me last week to drop a note, Brendan. In the email, she said that she’s doing fine in UWA, but adjusting to a new campus will take some time since she’s halfway done with her degree. To answer you, yup, that’s the one. There’s one more thing, though.” Mark shifted himself on the chair. “Winnie knew that you’d ask about her sudden disappearance from campus and specifically requested your friend Katrina to be kept out of the loop. She didn’t explain why but said that it’s to do with you. If you ask me, it has to do with love and relationships. Just a sixth sense.”

“Thanks for letting me know, Mark.” Although he wasn’t sure why Winnie would tell the lecturer that the reasons were complicated, he couldn’t disregard Mark’s comment. As a married father, Mark would be able to arrive at the root of the problem faster than Brendan because he’s experienced and seen life. He couldn’t help but ask for an advice or two. “What should I do?”

“If I were you, I’d take the next flight to Perth and settle it with Winnie. Tomorrow’s a Friday. If you’re worried about skipping a tutorial, an occasional one is absolutely fine. Just get a friend to pass the seminar notes to you. If that is impossible, read the prescribed textbook reading for the week and listen to the lecture again. It won’t be as good as personally taking the notes, but it works. Next week’s the autumn break for us. Then again, it’s just a suggestion.”

“I’ll have to think about it…”

“No worries, and all the best!”

As he slowly worked his way around Qantas’s automatic bag drop service, he felt the pain of purchasing a flight ticket at the eleventh hour. Although he was lucky to get a good seat that allowed him a view and an accommodation in Perth’s city centre for the weekend, he had to sprint home to pack his travel bag with clothing from Mark’s office and rushed to the airport before the peak hour traffic.

He’d decide on his itenary on the flight itself.
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