It was her weird habit every time she was enrolled into a new course. She needed to familiarize herself with the course coordinators and the students were in the same tutorial as her. She wanted to see if there were any familiar names that were on the attendance list and if so, she had to mentally prepare herself to face them again. Her face adopted a paler shade when she saw his name on the list and didn't like what she saw at all.
A part of her craved to believe that it was a case of mistaken identity, but the rational side of her knew that it was impossible. The prospect of two people sharing the same christened name was next to zero. While she was aware that they may cross paths at the lectures for the core courses, she never expected him to be taking the third course, what more choosing the same seminar. Although they were acquainted with each other through the group project in the previous semester, it was on a strictly professional ground.
Sure, it'd have been awesome to work with him again, but his current treatment of her wasn't what she expected. She originally hoped for a friendly recognition since they were acquainted. She instead had to deal with an invisible barrier between them whenever they crossed paths and their conversations were forever clipped. If they were forced to be in the same team for the class presentation, it'd create more awkwardness and tension for both of them. It wasn't their working ethics that would send them wringing each other's necks; it was more of their personalities.
Her first impression of Ryan was not perfect. When he introduced himself in the previous semester's class, she felt that he was proud and had an aura of egoism. Not knowing what to expect, she remained professional with him and focused on what was ahead of them: the group completion of the project.
When they crossed paths again outside the lecture theatre, there was a whiff of unexpected surprise in his eyes as he approached his friend, who stood next to her and leaned against the table. She was prepared to ignore him, but it was rude to do so when there was eye contact. She didn't expect him to address her by her given name because never once did he do so, having half the heart to believe that he forgot she even came with one.
"Oh. Hey, Ryan."
"How've you been?"
"Not too bad. How about yourself?"
It caught her off guard when he called her name that her eyes furrowed with surprise behind his back. She couldn't help but eavesdrop on the conversation that Ryan had with his friend.
"You're not supposed to be here until next year."
"Well," Ryan acknowledged. "I want to pursue some electives that are only available in the first semester before the study tour to Auckland."
After having a small chat with her lecturer from the previous semester's course before the morning seminar, looking at the vacant room, Crystal thought that she was the earliest. Although the furniture had been rearranged to form an enclosed circle with the lights completely switched on, she thought that her tutor swung by when she arrived in the building to adjust the chairs. Bobbing her head to the obstreperous melody on her headphones, she almost jumped out of her skin when she heard someone greeting her. Unless her biorhythm was exceptionally low - which didn't make any sense at eight-thirty in the morning - it was impossible for her to be hearing voices. She turned to the direction of the voice and was pleasantly surprised to see that it was a seated Ryan with his Mac switched on.
"Hello there," came her reply.
The moment Ryan watched her half-dancing into the room in her attire, he was speechless beyond belief. He toyed with the notion of feigning ignorance, but he couldn't help but do a double take with an eyebrow flash. In the previous semester, she was always in casual attire and could've blended with the crowd with her simple do. She wore a muted red Uniqlo fleece turtleneck with a pair of Levi's and beige boots. She ditched her spectacles, which allowed him to admire her cute, almond-shaped brown eyes, and her hair was let loose down to her shoulders. He wanted to compliment on her attire, but considering the situation that they were in, it would make the atmosphere weirder and peculiar. The last thing he wanted for her to suspect is that he was admiring her change of clothes.
He saw the rare confidence in her as she threw her bag next to the red swivel chair and began to fiddle with the keyboard, hoping to wake the screen from its hibernation mode. He observed that she panicked when the screen refused to come to life. She scanned the area around the computer and the CPU, hoping to find the elusive instruction manual. There was only a moment's worth of uncertainty before he figured that she needed help and approached her.
"Do you need help?"
Crystal turned to face him. It was at this moment that he noticed hesitation in her eyes and realized that she was someone who preferred to settle things herself before asking for assistance as a last resort. "Yes. How do I wake the screen?"
As he watched Crystal communicating with her teammate, possibly over the final details of their presentation, Ryan didn't know why, but he felt a wave of jealousy overcoming him. He had to bite his lip hard to prevent his temper from rising, but he couldn't avoid shooting daggers at their backs. He reminded himself that she was not his and was instead being held on trust for someone else. Someone whom she was bound to meet the future and who would treat her like a princess with spine.
For all he knew, he was nobody special to her.
Yet, he was still intrigued by her personality and couldn't take his eyes off her.
As she began to present her fair share, his mind started to wander away. It wasn't because he was bored out of his wits, but it was his opportunity to observe her without being caught by any one of their peers. He admired the way she carried herself with assurance in the seminars that they shared. While she struck some as quiet, he considered it as humility. He knew that she restrained herself from speaking unless she was sure on her answers or when the tutor called on her for ideas. Unlike her good friend, Crystal was someone who was not afraid to dig deep into the mud to achieve her goals. This was an attribute of hers that stood out when they worked together for the previous semester's project.
He smiled with a soft sigh. If only she would gaze in his direction and acknowledge him, like what he did to her when he presented a couple of weeks ago. It wasn't until the seminar fell into a brief silence that he realized that he lost his concentration and awkwardly answered the question that was posed to him by the tutor.
He didn't expect that the tutor misinterpreted his contribution and broke into a laughter, which set the class in a train of muffled giggles. The tutor had to remove her spectacles to wipe away the tears that swam in her eyes, but Ryan's focus remained dead straight on Crystal. Her eyes crinkled with happiness and radiance when she laughed that she covered half her face with her notebook, presumably to prevent her from flushing as red as a cherry tomato. She lost all traces of laughter when their gaze met and she adopted a stoic expression instead.
It was if she knew that he was watching her like a hawk.
Crystal's heart almost fell out of her mouth when she saw Ryan waiting with the other students at the 3rd floor hallway for the afternoon seminar. She huffed out a breath, silently cursing at the eerie coincidence. It was already testing her patience and adaptability to be in the same morning seminar as him, but to deal with him twice a day? She wasn't sure how she could survive until the end of semester without the urge of bashing the wall or banging her head on the pillow.
There was exhaustion written in his face and painting a sincere smile on her face, she exchanged a quick hello as she walked past him to join her group of friends who stood at the opposite end. As her friends engaged in a conversation about something that wasn't of her interest, she watched as he slithered towards another lecturer's office to read the piece of paper glued to the door. She shook her head and smirked, recollecting the content on that paper and the memories of her time in torts: one does not simply avoid discussing causation.
She was shocked when she heard Ryan and his female friend laughing in their conversation. It didn't specifically irk her, but there was a faint suspicion that he did it to annoy her and to gauge if she was jealous. Why Ryan thought that she should be jealous when they were not even a couple, Crystal didn't have an answer, but he was succeeding, even if slightly. Her breath quickened and she could feel her temper flaring brighter than the campfire. It was just a matter of time before it would spill on her face and spell more trouble.
She saw her opportunity to escape when her tutor walked into the now-empty room and followed behind him.
Conversations flowed into the room as the rest of her peers began to take their seats and make themselves comfortable in their chosen seats. She didn't pay much attention to where Ryan and his female friend sat as she thought that they wouldn't be seated close to her. It wasn't until she heard his whispers that her peripheral vision took in the scene. Of all the places that they could have chosen, they sat at the place that was diagonally closest to her.
It could've been the female friend's choice, but it didn't matter. Having them at such a close proximity was making her uncomfortable, but she tried her best not to let it creep into her facial expression. It was when Ryan shot her a glance while she was in mid-conversation with her good friend that her heart raced. It wasn't because he knew that they exchanged comments about his conduct, but it was more of a reminder of someone's secretive grins. It was as if that person knew something that she didn't and wanted to raise her attention to it.
Crystal didn't have much time to ponder on it because the next thing she knew, the headache that sat behind the fence began to pound repeatedly in her head. She immediately knew that it was because Ryan was loudly contributing the voluminous ideas to the class discussion and it was affecting her because she was the closest to him. It was a possibility that he wanted those two students, who always took the floor in the discussion without allowing the peers a chance to speak, that he meant business.
She supported the weight of her head with her hands and used the inside of her wrists to massage her temples, trying but failing to relieve the headache.
"You okay?" Her good friend placed a hand on Crystal's left shoulder. "Do you need an ointment or Panadol?"
"I'm alright." She nodded her head. "It's just that I'm in need for sleep and listening to him in an earsplitting tone isn't helping at all."
"I know. The tutor's wearing a puzzled expression too. Just tune him out and internally focus on something that allows you to focus on the tutor instead of Ryan's words."
"I'm trying to..."
"Either Ryan's trying to impress you with his vast knowledge, or it's his favorite topic. I can't help but think that it's the first."
"We'll talk about this afterwards." Crystal closed her eyes. "My brain is congested."
A Case of Curious Coincidences5:43 PM
Between friends and acquaintances, there is the fine line of good friends3:17 PM
On the bright side, I'm surprised that my good friend bought my birthday present 6 months in advance. It was explainable for my sister because her birthday is in the middle of July, but mine's in early December. Yes, we gave him our respective presents 4 months in advance, but that was because I knew that there was a great chance we won't be able to meet up on his birthday due to the differing timetables.
I never expected him to actually reciprocate us with our presents, to be honest. When he said that he'd get our birthday presents, my sister and I thought that he was joking about it. How he knew that the item was something I was eyeing for, I have no idea and don't want to know either. I almost burst into tears of joy when I saw the present because I instantly knew where he bought it from.
Mind you, the things in that shop don't come cheap. Not that I'm complaining, but I didn't want him to spend that much on us (although I spent about AU$24 for his birthday presents - including one from the States). I'm usually not that emotional when it comes to receiving presents, but I guess it's because he actually gave a lot of thought and care into choosing the present. Oh well, I should've seen the warning signs when he said that he bought matching presents for me and my sister.
I was telling her that Typo has cat-influenced items now (since she is a cat lover), but he misheard it as cat influenza. That set me laughing so hard that I flushed as red as a cherry tomato, embarrassing myself in the moment.
I'm still unsure why that made me laugh out loud. I mean, we did do an Australian Constitutional Law assignment on Pigeon Flu, but there is no connection between Pigeon Flu and Cat Flu, right?
There is even a plan to catch a movie together after the exam for a much-needed break, but nothing is rock solid now. We're all waiting to deal with our final paper before deciding on a mutually available day.
I know that he's not going to stumble upon this little blog for now, so to the good friend of mine, here's a huge thank you for such an amazing present! You didn't have to spend so much on it or even rushed it, but once again, thank you. I'm really honored that we met in the Foundations of Law tutorial and were given a chance to get to know each other as good friends now.
Surviving on the less than 7 hours of sleep is never fun, trust me.
I've been doing that for the last academic week to rush on the assessments and begin the exam revisions and the sleep deprivation has finally caught up with me. The temper is flaring up - to the point where I am more comfortable wearing a moody mask. This is the scary part: when I'm boiling at myself, it's scary for those around me because the possibility of me snapping is great when I'm being disturbed.
Here's the thing. I couldn't sleep until 2 am last Thursday because of the above reasons of studies. I felt like I was going to burst with anger, but held it in until after the Equity lecture. I needed a quiet spot to stew and revise and what better place than to hide in the library. I thought that the place I chose was secure enough (come to think of it, I should've trusted my suspicions that my course mate would be headed in the same direction) until I noticed him walking in some short while later.
Sure, we'd usually greet each other if our eyes fell on each other or either one breaks the ice.
I was pretty exasperated with my inability to handle the academic stress and couldn't summon the extra energy to say hello to him. This has happened, but with terrible consequences (of yelling at my innocent classmates). I know that comes as a shock to you, my readers, but I've quite a temper when I'm stressed. I wouldn't be surprised if my behavior left him in an awkward position. When we crossed paths the next day before class, he was a little cautious when he greeted me and another student.
No one likes being given the cold shoulder treatment, but he's been doing that to me for most of the semester. I'm not bat crap sure about the reasons, but I'm not liking what I'm seeing either. It's eerily coincidental and suspicious.
On that account, I'll jump back into the ocean and continue with the exam revision.
See you all in July! Pray I don't drown with the sharks. =)
I'm sailing off...10:17 PM
It's that time of the semester again, I'm afraid.
Since my exam schedule has been released, I feel that I should take a breather from blogging to focus on the revision. It's better that way because in the current mental state of mine, I'm more fragile than I expected (especially after the unexpected amount of mental harm and sudden shock).
It doesn't help that my exams are rather squashed this semester. Two papers in two days! I don't know whether to be thankful that my winter break will start early or cringe because I'll be swimming in more stress.
There is a chance that my decisions to take Australian Constitutional Law, Equity and Criminal Law together have thrown undesired stress on me. My body is physically struggling to cope with it. I almost threw out the contents of my breakfast before my Week 10 Equity lecture - and it was something that I've been taking all along in the morning: cappuccino with oats and toast. A quick search on Google suggested that it is the work of stress and/or anxiety.
I used to have a voracious appetite for food - to the point where I can accompany my college friend for two consecutive lunch hangouts, but not now. I can't even finish a proper meal without someone sharing it with me. If you compare what I have for lunch now and during the CPU days, you'll be surprised. On a good day, lunch consists of pulled tea and a slice of cake. On a bad day, it's just Vietnamese cold roll from the Hub.
And no, I'm not trying to lose weight.
With God's help and loads of revision coupled with prayers, I'd love to visit the beach in Glenelg or Henley during the winter break and enjoy the beautiful scenery that it offers. I need a change of environment to clear the congested mind.
In addition, there are some personal matters that require my due diligence - as if I don't already have enough on my plate, lol.
Rainy Thoughts11:13 PM
By the way, I apologize for such a lengthy post. It’s not very often that the word count for my posts would exceed 1k words.
On a peaceful, cool night like this, it's really good to open YouTube in a separate web browser and listen to the music of 1960s to 1970s to bring the hyperactive mind to a standstill. I would always imagine myself standing on the balcony, nursing a glass of Merlot and contemplating on life while relaxing to the fresh air. With my head thrown back and eyes closed, I'm shedding light into the dark thoughts.
I don't like the fact that it's taken me half the semester to find my ground in criminal law. I'm supposed to have enjoyed the course from the get-go - like the chap from my property law seminar. Yup, as if fate couldn't have been meaner, we're stuck with seeing each other's faces again - for criminal law and another course.
Unlike him, I've been struggling to find my place in criminal law, sigh.
It's ironic when you come to think of it. This is where my interest in law was built on. I'm sure I gave my teacher in second grade a fright when I wrote that my childhood ambition was to be a criminal law barrister, lol. I don't think she was able to associate the seriousness of a lawyer with the bespectacled, cute me. I've always wanted to dabble in criminal law since young yet it's taken me this long to be comfortable.
What can I say? I've already bitten off more than I can chew - when I swapped the core course with the electives - and nothing can undo the decisions that I've since made. I'm not saying that I regret it; what I'm saying is that it's forced me to address some buried issues prematurely. (I'm not going to elaborate more on it because it's making my breath faster and my hands shaky.)
By the virtue of me expediting the learning of criminal law, there is a possibility that my good friend and I might be in the same arts elective next year. With that being said, I don't want to impose this on him as I don't think he even remembers mentioning about this last year. (Though if I may add, he was rather disappointed that I chose a different elective than originally intended.)
But we'll have to see how that plays out. It's too far into the future to tell, especially since we're not a 100% sure on the electives that we're after. For all I know, I kind of promised the course coordinator for Legal Theory that I'll enroll in his class next year.
There are a couple more weeks left in the semester and I'm unsure if I should be neutral or worried about the final papers. The exam timetable has been released, which means that I need to take a peek at it as soon as possible - so that I'll know where to begin my revisions. Passing should be alright, but knowing me, I won't settle for a minimum pass. It won't look good on the transcript either, trust me. This in turn creates a huge dilemma for me.
On one hand, I obviously crave to attain a high grade (in fact, all students want that elusive HD, I'm sure) and be in the zone that accompanied me for the entire duration of second semester in college, but it is risky business.
I'll probably tumble down the mountainous cliff before I'm even aware of it.
On the other hand, I know it's impossible to aim for that without sacrificing my mental state of mind. I've the bad habit of bursting into tears when my results are lower than what I wanted - or even expected. Oh, trust me, I'm not as intelligent as I sound or look. That's why I've learned not to hope for the skies for the fear of a greater disappointment. The emotions can take quite a beating when that occurs.
Unlike some folks around me, I don't have any external assistance or experiences to lessen the effects or pressures that have been silently building up on me. I dislike talking about it because it'll make it sound like I'm whining, so the best is to be reticent - but it's beginning to sow the seeds of doubt, fear and anger in me (refer to this post).
This could possibly be the matter that Mr. Y warned me about, but there's an invisible barrier between me and my academic success. It's making me angrier than usual because it's taking a toll on my brain and emotions... and I hate feeling lost like a deer in the woods or even worse, vulnerable.
(No one has broken my heart; it's just that I found the melody relaxing enough to soothe the exhausted heart and mind.)
You can safely assume that the above is the reason why I'm more than happy being left alone now. Sure, it may feel lonely, but being with people won't make much of a change. I'll spare you with the details because it might create an impression that I'm borderline depressive (when I'm sure I'm nowhere near that yet), but plainly said, I'm tired of wearing a happy facade. I can't let the true me emerge - at least not until I'm with the right people, if you know what I mean?
Even then, allowing them to see the weaker side of me takes a whole lot of trust.
I'm actually looking forward to a well-deserved break after the exams. I need to recharge the batteries and allow the mind a chance to recuperate from the stress I've been punishing myself with. If you have seen that I've completely vanished from Facebook and Twitter at that time, you know that I'm seeking shelter in the cold yet loving arms of winter and finding my mojo again. Don't get me wrong, I still have the love-hate relationship with winter because I will lucidly remember things that I shouldn't.
Speaking of winter, it feels like it has made an early arrival. The clouds decided to share its emotions a couple of days and splashed its tears on the unsuspecting humans. The wind that joined in its sadness made it worse.
University of Adelaide - Bachelor of Laws Graduation (2016)3:26 PM
Few more years, and I'll have the honor of setting foot in this majesty graduation hall (that is known as Bonython Hall) to receive the elusive degree.
Where has the time gone?7:04 PM
Currently listening to 'Love Will Set You Free' by Kodaline
Reading the previous posts about my summer trip to Western Australia after my finals in 2013 actually makes me want to return there and continue from where I left off. I don't really care much if I'm flying out alone or with friends - because it's a place that I've loved the moment I landed on Perth soil. One friend whom I thought would be keen to visit the state has sworn - at least twice - that it's a place he'll never visit and the other friend's probably waiting to turn financially legal before joining me.
I mean, I still can visit Auckland after graduation, but it's pretty exorbitant to fly there and I kind of promised someone that I'd be his unofficial tour guide there, lol.
That's just the bright side of things, I'm afraid.
I'm relieved that the autumn break couldn't have arrived at a better time although it's been screwing with my sleeping schedule. A lot of things have happened since my last post, to be honest. I'm super irritable over petty matters (signs of stress and sleep deprivation working against me) and inasmuch as I hate to admit it, I'd rather prefer to be left alone than to engage in conversations with anyone - unless necessary (yup, the effects of CPU's Semester 2 has risen from the ashes). Depending on which end of the spectrum you're looking at, it's both good and bad: good in the sense that I'll be able to have some time to myself, but bad because it means that I'll be so comfortable that I'll end up sliding into a wave of depression without being aware of it.
But hey, at least classes and daily errands are forcing me out of the house - since I'm not the type who skips lectures (if I can avoid it).
Anyhow, as long as I'm careful with my conduct when I'm around people, I think I'll be alright. It's nevertheless good to breathe the air of autumn mornings. There's nothing like some fresh smack on the face to wake the soul. Throw in some upbeat or head-bashing songs, and I'm good to go. Yes, you may be thinking, who in the world listens to Korn's Narcissistic Cannibal or Avenged Sevenfold's Afterlife at 8 am while on the commute to campus?!
Catching up with the finance friend a couple of days before the end of our semester break was awesome. It's good that we were able to extract some time out of our busy schedules to meet up. I can't believe that the last time we were actually able to hold a proper conversation was during orientation week, sigh.
If you ask me, I'm relieved that it's back to university now. I'll be able to redirect all of the accumulated negative energy into the completion of exam revisions, tutorial questions and lectures. Apart from doing so, keeping busy will maintain my sanity and ensure that I survive until the winter break. (The reason behind that my immune system has been taking a beating, and I'm catching myself suffering from bouts of cold far more too often now.)
Until then, I'll float in the air like a zombie but still cautious of her surroundings and alive enough to absorb information.
These dreams like ashes float away5:56 PM
Title is from the song lyrics of "Let It Burn" by Red.
I dreamt that I was volunteering for the upcoming graduation ceremony, but it was in Inti Subang Jaya's campus - with lush greenery surrounding it.
On the day of the event, a fellow volunteer and I were held up at the convenience store as she wanted to grab something light to eat before we headed to her place for a quick change of clothes. She lived closer to the campus than me. As there was a downpour, I had to call the person in charge to notify her that we'd be 5 - 10 minutes late, as we were waiting for the rain to taper down before making our way to the campus.
We eventually arrived, but as the grassy lawns were soiled and muddy, the graduation had to be held indoors - and we broke into a run in our boots.
Can dreams carry its own message?1:49 PM
I'm still unsure on how to make of it. I'm not the type who easily breaks down in her dreams, but it caught me this time - especially since it involved the love of my life: dogs.
I dreamt that I was experiencing a difficult phase in life (dream meets reality?) when I'd always see a Golden Retriever around me. Although the dog was wearing a leash, the owner was nowhere to be in sight. It was like the Goldie was sent to cheer me up or soothe the negative emotions I felt because I'd feel much more peaceful after spending time with it.
Towards the end of the dream, I saw the same dog; it was wagging its tail furiously. Something in me suspected that this could be the last time I'd see the Goldie. I knelt in front of the dog and hugged it, whispering, "Yes, I know you've to go. Don't worry, I'll be fine."
Only thing I didn't expect was me crying my heart out after uttering those words - to the point that I woke up with tears streaming down in my face and shortness of breath.