Archive for July, 2011
*This is it! This is the end…*
Opal–I met another girl with your name today. She was bittersweet memories flooding in, and my mind blacked out with images of your face. Remember that one time you told me that Opalwasn’t a real name–that you bestowed it upon yourself? Well, I believed you. But I forgive you–we were so young, how would you have known? I do wish that I hadn’t met her, though. Then, those words of yours wouldn’t feel so untrue, and your memories wouldn’t return to scald me.
Opal—you know, sometimes I feel like you’re still there. When I play baseball and I hit a homerun, it’s as if you’re standing beside the dugout with a pompous expression on your face. When my mother makes that stringy pasta that was always your favorite, it’s as if the only sound in the room is you slurping in down your throat. And yet, sometimes, I can feel that void. The forlorn feeling while whizzing past your house on a crisp, clear morning, and seeing that bed light through the lucidity of your curtains and the definite shadows of you with your book. There have been days when I’ve stood outside of that window for minutes, and just stared. I prayed for you to glance, to smile, to respond to my existence. But sometimes, I’ve realized, you just don’t get what you want.
I hate to say it, but I haven’t made any new friends. There was Billy and Scarlett and of course, you, but that’s where it ended. Lunch is my hour in hell. I can feel myself drifting off on a cloud and watch my reflection over the guck they call food. Sometimes I skip lunch and wander in the fields because sometimes nature is a friend I can depend on. And when it comes to my classes, I can glimpse at you through the corner of my eye while listening about Cicero or mixing two what-may-be extremely dangerous chemicals. (I suppose for the latter, I should be paying attention.)
Opal—we created our own lab once, remember? We pondered over the different possibilities while constructing a full lab outfit like the ones in the soap operas our mothers use to watch. You supplied two white sheets, while I smuggled two pairs of sunglasses from my house. I think we grabbed some ketchup, some salt, some baking powder—and probably a lot more. We peered over a pot, like two conventional witches (I’m a wizard), and poured each ingredient in. I’m sure you remember how that ended. Yikes…
Do you recall our Friday movie nights? Every Friday, we’d alternate houses and watch a movie. Sometimes we’d test our audacity and sneak movies with loads of adult content and thematic elements. I believe it was only once we did that, actually, and five minutes into it, the DVD player ejected out the DVD. I’d have to say that even though you’re a girl, and I’m a boy, it was never hard picking movies. You used to love the gory, bloody, and horror films. Sometimes you’d feel girly, and pick a chick flick. I sucked up and watched it, and to be honest, I think you hated it more than me.
Oh Opal—I miss this fun. I miss your dare-devilness and your astute mind and your ability to get me to do anything. I miss that laugh that conveyed your rather girly side, and that shrewd smile. Sometimes I wish I never said anything that day, because you would be next to me. But then again, maybe you would’ve left anyways.
Oh, Opal, I regret it.
I want to start over. Don’t you?
Opal—once, we created our own circus under a minuscule tent in my backyard. Do you remember? Tommy was the lion tamer (he’s my little brother, in case you forgot. He was unconditionally in love with you, so I suppose he isn’t very hard to forget) and he vigilantly chose his lion, a ragged stuffed animal from years ago. I was the mighty juggler, flaunting my insufficient talents to juggle. And lastly, you were the clown, the acrobat, andthe tight rope walker (you were quite the officious one, in case you haven’t noticed). But you were undeniably the most adroit one out of the three of us.
We’d invited the kids down the street, who more than willingly accepted. They were seated criss-cross-applesauce on the lengthy strands of feathery grass, intently awaiting for what they thought would be a fabulous show. I recall peering out through the white bed sheets your mom had offered as curtains, and feeling my palms sweat hysterically. You grasped my in-the-process-of-becoming-manly shoulders, shaking them to (as you used to say) let all the fear wriggle out. It worked, I suppose, because soon I felt my confidence appear once more and my fear abate. I strutted out on stage with the utmost poise, brazenly introducing you and Tommy on stage. First came Tommy, feigning lion roars from his lion as he struggled to push it through a hula hoop. After him was you, as the clown, the acrobat and the tight rope walker. I was last, and even though it was my second time on stage, I felt the apprehension flood back. Regardless of that, my juggling, for merely the first time, was close to impeccable. I had nearly caught them every time, except for the last few seconds (a rather poor way to end the show). It was alright, though, because all the kids had stood up for standing ovations. They were astonished, as were we, with our unpredictable success.
Opal—when you were six (when we were both six), we had made some new friends. Scarlett, who had just moved in next door to you, and Billy, who we had just newly discovered lived near us. They used to drop by almost everyday, pleading to play our exhilarating games with us. We were ecstatic to have found more playmates, and soon enough we were just four good friends always digging for fun. It was only about two months later that Scarlett moved away once more. Alabama, I slightly recall her new world being called. We talked about it quite a lot initially, but soon Scarlett was just another primeval chapter in our lives. We began to discern Billy becoming rather reticent, uttering words seldom. As the days progressed, his time spent with us subsided, and soon enough we stopped seeing him.
After those days, it was only me and you, the duo that it all began with. The reason behind Billy’s wary behavior was ambiguous, but soon enough, much like Scarlett, we had moved on.
Oh, Opal—now it’s just me. No foursome, no trio, not even the eternal duo we had created. In our years, we created such a great accretion of memories. Impossible to erase them from our minds—you must agree. There isn’t a chance that you wouldn’t recall them—I know there isn’t.
Oh, Opal—come back. I miss you—but the real question is:
Do you miss me?
I apologize for this recent obsession of mine to post my past writing. But, it is exciting for me to come back upon old words and realize what they meant to me. Opal was one of the most naturally-occurring ideas I’ve ever had. The character of the narrator has developed in my mind as I write his words. And this is one of the very few pieces that I can completely imagine–it’s as if it is laid out for me already. I have a few more installments of Opal left, which I will be posting shortly. However, as I went back to read them, I realized that I ended it on a rather unsatisfying note, about a year and a half ago. So, I have written the final installment of Opal (which will most likely be posted in a few days, unless I get too excited and impatient). I sincerely hope that I have been able to convey the emotions of the character and my passion for this series well. Like I said before, your opinion matters the most. So, please comment!
Opal—remember our dripping ice cream cones on the pilgrimage back from the ice cream truck? Mine was chocolate and yours was vanilla—an order we had established from the commencement of our friendship. You’re a slow eater; you used to tease me as you gulped down the last crumbs of the enticing waffle cone. Baseball cap on backwards, baggy shorts, that’s all I remember your attire as. I do recall the first time I saw you in a dress. June 21st, that was the approximate date. Summer solstice, I think. It’s a date imprinted so gravely into my mind, a date that’s oh-so memorable. Or at least it is now, if not before. You danced among my lush lawn wearing a floral dress that reached down to your flamboyant blue toenails. You said your mother had made you wear it, but I could see the euphoria conveyed from your smiles and the liberation that came with being able to do so many things.
Opal—when was the first time we met? I sure remember, but do you? What a superb day that was, the crisp winter air of New England briefly sending stings down our spines. I remember swimming through the inches of fresh fluffs of snow, as alluring as a big bowl of whipped cream (it did look like whipped cream). You were new to the neighborhood, yet you didn’t convey a single bit of apprehension. You were the kind of person I highly admire—boisterous without a shame. Well, at that time, I should admit, I had developed a slight fear for you. The way you were the in-your-face type of person frightened me to the slightest bit, but soon I discovered your intentions were strictly cordial, not menacing. Your solicitude was so endearing—the way you had that maternal intuition hidden within you. The other boys in the neighborhood had immediately scrunched their noses at the thought of playing with—gasp!—a girl. It was a highly deplorable thing to do in boyhood—but I was different. You didn’t really care about what others had to say, because all that mattered was that you wanted to be yourself.
We both turned five that day, inadvertently sharing a birthday. I suppose that was the first aspect of our acquaintance, or rather the base of the cake that was our friendship. We began to assemble layers to that cake. Today, that cake is deprived of the artsy bits; frosting, sprinkles, colors. That garnish would’ve have been the last step to completing our saga, the step that I was prepared for and the step that you had failed to acknowledge.
Nostalgia has struck me to the greatest lengths. You were a significant part of me, as if we were Siamese twins. Yes, you’re a girl and I’m a boy. But to each other, we were merely companions, gender being only a minute factor. To me, being with you was like being with any other boy down the street, only being with you was stimulating, a breath of fresh air from the universal little boy. You enlightened me with the simplest of knowledge, diminutive facts that pioneered a whole new pathway.
Opal, seeing you feels just the same as before—a pang of excitement promptly swimming through me. But it’s just a one-way sensation, with no mutuality whatsoever.
Opal, what do you feel when you see me? That same pang of excitement? Or perhaps to you, I’m merely lucid.
When you—left (or rather, we separated), you deserted me, leaving me with my solitary soul. You were all I really had. I suppose now— there’s nothing there.
Opal, do you still think about me like I still think about you?
This isn’t part of the Opal series, but it’s a prologue to a story I started last summer. I never continued, but maybe I’ll look back upon it.
Old shadows lingered by the sidewalks in the dark night. Lunar light reflected off of her glossy strands of butternut hair and sprung off into the haze. It was the clitter and clatter of stiletto heels that broke her balance. I remember catching her in my arms and looking at the pitiful semblance swathing her face. The relentless tears and shots that she thought would wash away the love settled in her heart. She thrashed him and hated him and tried to forget about him until all that led to loving him even more.
I didn’t say a word that evening; just watched as the tears flooded the restaurant and nobody cleaned them up. I nodded when on cue and gave a little pat, but nothing I did could make her realize the right thing to do. She was so disheveled with this ordinary man who could hardly present her happiness, forget about love. And that one slight thing he was fit to give her, he took away—just as simply as taking away candy from a baby. The poor baby ends up helpless and livid and naturally gives it up because it realizes that another lollipop will come someday. But unlike the baby, she was trying to cling on because she thought he was the one.
It’s terribly sad that today’s generation has created standards for falling in love. If the man says a certain thing, it means he likes you. If he doesn’t, it means get over him. It’s as if every man is created the same; by a machine that alters their brains for perfunctory motions. Years ago, we fret about women’s civil liberties in society—should we fret about men now? We, as women, act as if we know their every motion and every breath and how their minds work. We think that they won’t love us if they do something an average man wouldn’t. The truth is, we’re so lost in our own utopias of true love, that we lose respect for ourselves and blame it on the men.
My mother told me many things as I grew up—things I’d pass on and forget about. All those trivial pep talks that mothers should give to their daughters. There was one thing I remembered, though. It was not the words that had hooked my attention, but it was the semblance of my mother and the tone that imprinted those words into my mind.
“Adelaide,” she began. My mother seldom ever called me by my full name. “Adelaide, these next few years will be the best of your life. Right now, you may be frenetic about the stress and all the troubles, but just hear me out, enjoy them while they last. But there is one thing you should take caution of. Never be quick to fall in love.” She left me hanging with those few, equivocal words. I flew out of France the day after, to attend medical school in Boston. After our talk, my mother acted differently—on the phone and when I went to visit. Sometimes I’d find her all alone in a room, staring at the ceiling until she burned a hole through. Sometimes I’d hear the faint hum of familiar melodies from my mother’s sub consciousness. When she hugged me and gave me a kiss on the cheek, she would gaze into my eyes until the bond stung so much, she started tearing up.
I didn’t know what changed my mother—what changed this woman to someone she was not. But I didn’t ask either, because she would come to me one day, just like I had always done in my adolescence. I used to spend days pondering those words—trying to discern the connection between them and my mother. I used to spend days wondering why she would give that advice to me. I was young, and lively, and so remote from the wonders of love. And sometimes I’d come to a conclusion, but brush it off with fear. Other times, I tried to convince myself of that conclusion, but I was the only one who needed convincing. Maybe my mother was giving that advice to herself.