THE LAST PUBLIC SCHOOL MEETING

Originally posted on hastywords:

Sometimes I hear or read a story and think… what the actual heck?  Are there really kids out there behaving like this?  Worse… are there really ADULTS behaving like this?  The answer is YES, and it is happening in your own neighborhood, school, church, and place of employment.  The sheer number of stories I hear everyday from strangers and friends alike is disconcerting and extremely concerning.

Today my guest, Andrea Johnson Beck, will certainly take a firm jab at your emotions.  I was angry reading of her experience with her son’s school because I have heard too many stories – from too many families – regarding meetings just like this one.  When your child needs help you, as a parent or caretaker, are supposed to be able to count on the school to help.  There are people in a position to make a difference, who make it their policy, to…

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Smoke & Mirrors

I believe, without too much thought on evangelism, that every life lives lives outside of what we know. I believe in the quintessence quality of the string theory, or as lightly as one might quote such a large summary of life’s theory.

When I hear stories of my father’s adventures, journey through life, I believe this very young ambitious, unknowing, unexpected version of himself exists parallel against all odds to this day. On the same time line that his own daughter is now living. Just on a different plain. A different scope of time and imagery that I cannot catch a hold of on this side of the mirror.

At least, I would want to believe that. Might as well, if I were to throw around the word belief.

I suppose it was something about the undoubted self discipline, the visionary that really had no reason to vision, else to be quoted as arrogant and wanting – that was my father. From time to time, since a while ago, my mother has developed the habit to share little tid bits from her memory with this man. She tells me tonight that he went to boarding school when he was 13. Or was it 14? And that he took the international exam and passed, in order to be granted education in Canada.

I mean, that was a big deal back then.

Apparently, like all other young boys, he looked towards his friends, who spent their college years aboard partying (one thing has remained the same all these years, despite the parallel running string theory and all), while my father, in an old Chinese saying, would die and still not agree to go out with them. He says, and I quote, “Because once I go out, I know it will all shatter. It will all go to waste.”

“But you know, he told me sometimes he felt envious of them too. They wore leather pants and leather jackets, and they had fun. Then he would tell himself that these were all provisions from their family. That he had wanted a greater life, so he was alright with suffering momentarily and working just a little harder.”

I began crying, ever so quietly but just as inconsolably.

I wonder to myself, would it have made a difference if he were here right now. What if he were here all along? Would I have been more emotionally prepared for what to take on? Somehow I also think, would I have been more emotionally capable, more developed to have relationships? Does the lack of father power really effect me that greatly in my self image? In my ability to relate and to love? 

Again, I am in a different dimension  Perhaps those very questions were more than just a theory from early childhood development. Like the string theory, this version of myself exists, in the same mirage my young father currently lives on. I can’t see it, I can’t feel it. I just believe.

“Between your father and your uncle, his older brother, well, your grandpa was extremely disappointed when the eldest decided to quit school and start work. He began in the bank industry and kept at it until he retired. His whole life with that one job. And now he’s retired.”

I’m still crying, but the fact that this is a story, a verbal biography of someone’s life; my father’s. It made it comforting. It made sense out of the wordless crying .Correction: it made easy sense out of the wordless crying, rather than whatever else was mingled inside.

“Well, your father studied and worked at the same time. He says, ‘ you gotta work, or else you won’t have any money’,” my mother shrugs, “he says, it’s alright if you don’t mind struggling for the little while.”

“So I ask myself why I ever married your father to begin with – I would say how he was just self-proficient. And that he never owed anyone an emotional debt.”

“Your grandpa was awfully proud, bragging across the border that his son got a diploma and earned top grades.”

I keep crying now, but now I think, “Why aren’t you here,”

More accurately, this is only now that I have visibly calmed down. It was perhaps more like, “WHY AREN’T YOU HERE?!”

And I would never have thought the voice of a thought rebounds, reverberates and carries on in echos like an after thought to the original accusation. Why? I ask…

It was the first time in a long while that I had wanted for my father’s presence so emotionally. I mean, he’s never too far off, just across the border of smoke and mirrors. He exists.

But I think to myself, if only he were here to guide me. To provide me the vision I would need. Shit, I suppose the only saving grace now would be to continue crying and blinking away the tears as if they don’t exist. And for the first time, my mother neither asks me to stop nor try too hard to provide a change of topic. She continues, and I oddly respect her all the more for it.

“So, I’m finished talking. Is there anything you want to tell me? Or do you not want to talk to me?”

No ma, there’s so much to say, actually too much to say – it’s purging and rolling around in my brain; I’m getting choked up, shoot, I’m actually choking up. Breathe, breathe. Exhale. 

I shrug instead. What do you want me to say?

I imagine her reaction if I were to come out and say all the things I would really want to. Like ma, I really don’t like myself. But please don’t interrupt, because there is no why. I come to the conclusion that, after everything she has told me, the sheer visionary that was my father, I really do not want much. I imagine cowering towards the table and confessing that I neither wish for the greater things in life more than an above average meal and a place to call home. My biggest dreams? – I just want…to provide a good life, a great life for my mother and sister. I wanted to live vicariously through them in all the material goods life has to offer. But would I be willing to work hard enough? Would I be willing to do in the same ethical sense what my father did?

“You know, he just wanted to pass on a good foundation for you guys. He says that when you are older, you will develop your own path.”

Like clockwork, my eyes swim.

Maybe in another life time, maybe another me might do a better job than that.

On this side of the mirror though, I can only see so far. I mean, when you read that sort of life statement aloud, who the hell would believe that. So idiotically philanthropic, Stop kidding Duck. Really now.

I can’t say anything like that. Can’t scream and yell and blame her like I would want to. I choke up again and remind myself to swallow and breathe.

All through our dessert, the tears stream and gather at the tip of my chin. I melt and swallow periodically the mango ice cream that tasted of nothing but shaved ice.

A rip off.

And that’s all I can muster to remember to think of.

It’s simple ma, I’m just really sad. 

Ah, I remember now. Originally, I had just wanted the privilege to cry out to our mothers again. I just wanted to blurt out and say all the things that might be mean and blasphemous, but truthful all the same. I wish to love and protect, and in the same sentence I would wish to condemn you for all the things you didn’t do instead. And I would wish to cry unapologetically afterwards, cause goddamn, I’m just sad.

Self: Reflected

IMG_20150303_184518~2

Look at me. Do I look strong to you? Perhaps someone who might have her shit together. If I were to walk out in public is that what people ought to think of me?

These narcissistic words were always something I picked up on since a young girl. I can deal with a lot, if only people kept on regarding me in a way that deemed I was within expectations to. What else would give you enough strength?

I have always had in the back of my mind that I take care of myself. It’s not a sound philosophy. Truly demented in a lot of areas because the sky is only the size of a well when we’re looking up at it. And if we ever find ourselves spending too much time looking out into space, well, it’d be hard to make it to another day.

It’s easy enough to put on a proud front when there’s an audience. It’s easier when your proud front is still attached nobly to the maternal blood. That way all that pride and nobility isn’t in fact your’s, but just an extension of your blood relations. Nobody who’s read my blog thus far would be news struck. I’m a mean old Duck if it means saving the soft skin of a naive bosom. Yes, I will peck and I will bite. And I will just as quickly bite my own tongue to reserve myself to my own place because that isn’t within the means of my public image. See how it all sorts of works its own radical way out?

I wonder what it is that brings all writers to their knees when they are at last placed in front of an instrument to vent. Everything is hard to say.

When I had dinner with my cousins and aunt the other night, the first question asked was, “So, what do you do now”-“How’s your place”-“Is it big, small?”-“How much is rent”-“How much do you make”-“When do you plan on going to school?”-“So your mother is still not working? How lucky”-“Yes, I just went to Mexico and New York, I work hard.”-“Did you hear about your other aunt? She’s in a situation.”

I suppose this is the entity of a family dinner. Audible tension and palpable discretion are the makings of a great evening. Was I reading too much into her words? Was there in fact no further implication between the finishing of the sentence about my mother’s prolonged unemployment and the fact that my aunt’s trip to Mexico and New York was free because she has no money?

It took me several years, but alas I finally started to feel that prickly sensation of doubt as my mother had always expressed towards our family. “But why mom, she’s my aunt. My cousin.” I had said.

I get it now.

Between my sister and I, we had built up our own riot during the ride there. I held my tongue to comment that her spending so much time with her boyfriend and his peers had led to the tendency to assert one’s opinions about the roads and a better plan to get there, loudly and passive aggressively. I used to think it was amusing to witness between the two of them, but now I see that it is plain irritating and greatly offensive to a degree. On our way back, we exchanged our thoughts on our other aunt’s situation. We gave our sympathy to our cousins. It felt overbearing and none of our business. Who were we to express condolence for a situation we have no partake in and were not asked to be apart of. I felt I should have just stayed home, where I belonged. Where the passing of days are blocked by the blinds, and I can mutually dread and look forward to my work place, a stage of refuge for sorts.

Tonight, I have just returned from another outing. My aunt from Calgary flew over to visit until the middle of March. Before dining she had gently placed her hand on my shoulder to tell her companion in Vietnamese that, “Sarah was always one of my favorite in school, she was so smart – but she just decided to take a break now.” At that point she waved her other spare hand in the air as if to brush off the absolute illusion that her companion had wanted to retort a disagreement. It all happens so fast in real life you can’t even react to it, but once it’s logged into your head, god, it keeps playing beautifully in stark detail. Goddamn, that is my decision, and mine only. Fuck them and the idea of rent and making a living for yourself.

I also found out she has osteoporosis, but saw to it that I was increasingly unable to even manage a front to care. She says, “My daughter (Victoria) says, ‘Mom you need to exercise.’ but hun, how do you get muscle on your back?” We visited the local Costco, and she continues, “And my husband says I should drink more milk, eat cheese, but gosh, I’m lactose intolerant and it always upsets my stomach….”  and I was shocked into the realization that this had been the exact same lifestyle I lived when I was 13. It terrified me that for the moment it appeared nothing had changed in the last 5 years.

Had I not tried hard enough? Did I accomplish nothing?

That makes me want to cry. Or just throw a tantrum.

Before we left each other for the night, she repeatedly confessed her worry that my spare key to the old house would not work. I assured her it did.

“What do you think…the house in Surrey…it’s safe, right?”

For nth time, I told her yes. I was biting my own tongue trying not to ruin my image. But why do they ask? Why do two sisters, my mother and her, ask me the same rhetorical question. I would grab their shoulders and shake the reality into them.

They ask because it was broken into last winter, yes, for fuck’s sakes, but would getting my permission, my repeated assurance help?

It makes me mad not the fact that they ask, but that they are scared.

And it translates to so many more areas in life. Why are you scared? You shouldn’t be scared. You don’t have the right to be. On the same catatonic level, I worry – what if I can’t take care of my mom? What if I’m not strong enough, mentally tough enough; what if I were just more disciplined; what if everything people think of me is wrong? I’m a bad person, they should know that. God, what if I’m just dwelling in my own mess. Does that make me worse? Shit, shit shit. What if I…

I curl up into myself and I fear the people that might reach out. I fear that out of irrationality I will alas blurt out, Well fuck, I don’t trust you.

Or at least at the end of the day, I will be the one having the last words to say, “I take care of myself.”

I always hit this quiet amorphous wall when my sister tells me so unaffectedly that I worry too much. She waves her hand in the air in the same motion my aunt had to ward off that illusion of a retort. Of course I give none.

So instead for the last two days I spent in bed outside of the two outings I had. I don’t think too deeply, just like one shouldn’t stare too blankly into the vastness of the sky. I don’t ponder about the lack of relationships I have maintained outside of my family. I don’t ask myself whether or not that makes me lonely. I can’t bother to deal with the two sides within me. They can vex for my conclusion till next time. I can’t bother with anything at all. Truly, the only reason why I cleaned up and bought groceries was because I knew my mother was returning from Mexico this week and she would come by. My image. It is clean.

Even so, in my haste I dropped one of the dishes tonight and once the shards splattered, I thought, how perfect. Splendid. Sharp and in pieces. I rather felt I could have left it at that; I mean, imagine walking in to a mad woman’s house, would you be able to detect the insanity at first glance? Will you be scared now? Will you back off?

But you know I couldn’t. So I took a picture of the beautifully delicate and dangerous mess instead.

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Didn’t someone once tell me as a teenager that we develop just the biggest ego. It had a fancier name, but one would be struck by the idea that they were always being observed. How fanciful. On the skytrain,I realize that the quiet stoic face can cry just as vehemently underneath the surface, and the single greatest notice one might take is the shocking cold wetness of a line of tear running down your face. That’s it. People only see you for what they think is within your image.

If You Say It Is

“Well what do you want”

“I want to fuck ur pretty little mouth”

“Is what I want so badly”


Commonality is a dangerous thing. Too many people confessing their wrong doings, their bad behaviors, their immorality and downright faulty self. Too many self-loathers and hungry seekers that can’t argue with themselves. What do we all want?

I never quite drew the line that the three messages above sent to me by an ex coworker were something I should be offended about. It’s been about a month of similar interaction. The fact that I wouldn’t brag about this to my sister should have been a clear sign, that hey Sarah, maybe this isn’t so right. Isn’t quite the way a man should treat a woman. Of course there’s perspective on this area. It happens too often for people to not have opinions. Happens way too often to too many people to decipher between what they want and what they adopt wanting others.

Like I said, commonality is the thief that takes away our sense of judgment. No doubt I would have told a girlfriend to manhandle him. We would have all been so steadfast to stand somebody else’s ground. Shoulder the hero weight. Just like so many fellow bloggers stand up for one another during our individual struggles. I am definitely not bashing on anyone, but be honest, do we give the same credit back? Not to yourself. Not for us.

Since I read recently a very introspective post from a fellow blogger regarding compassion, commenting on the complex empathy upon reception of the emotion, I’ll put it this way: the position of third party heroes should only be heroes in the light of uncovering another. So much easier for us to give (unintended) empty kind words and gestures – to help a disabled stranger, to give up a seat – and so very hard to take the most simple compliments. So silly of a child to hate being a child, but so very hard for an adult to withdraw the pinching fingers and be in a pinch ourselves.

These sort of communication has always gone on in my life. It’s sad and it’s empty. When I have the sliver of courage to say that aloud, it’s like:

What?”

Empty. Sad. A sheer waste. Not sex, but as a person. 

“Like what?”

Like having boobs as your only virtue. Like as if my most defining moment in life were sexual photos according to your libido and your brain.

Ok…”

Well anyways, an optimum 10 days later –

“Babe I can’t stop dreaming about you.”

Then most of the time, as it has been, I would recompose myself and ask: Am I really upset? Do I believe in fairytales? Like, fairytales? Yeah I do ! You mean for me? Oh. 

I don’t know.

Actually, if I were to be perfectly honest now, before I ask that, the first emotional reaction would be : Oh, he still thought about me.

Isn’t that sad? To be at all flattered, happy, relieved that somebody thought of you. Even in this way had thought you were attractive. Never mind your any attributes or emotional brilliance as an individual; at least they still thought of you.

Strange. I should be okay with this, I say. It’s just casual. We’re all liberated here in North America. There’s pornography on the internet for crying out loud. Yes, we should take pride.

Except, I’m not. I’m not attracted to an immature 25 year old male who can’t (or just really chooses not to) respond when I don’t reciprocate sexual messages. Or only reaches out when he has 13-year-old-boys wet dreams. And neither should you. Whomever you may be. You shouldn’t be yelled at. Or hit. Or blamed. Or asked ridiculously psychologically twisted questions that are as simple as : What’s wrong with what I want?

Your body is your own and you should honor it. You should have intelligent conversations face-to-face (if you hadn’t already guessed, no guy dares to say this aloud) that serves as much towards engaging foreplay as they think a picture of their junk would do. You should come to and walk away from a present date and not worry about deep throating him that night – why? just because he prepped himself with his favorite porn (with you as the lead) tonight?  And told you about it, as if that changes anything? Because he asked you to watch him on Skype and then expected you to moan for him?

All of this sounds so wrong. So degrading and so sad. It’s truthfully embarrassing to share, because I still can’t say whether it’s right or wrong according to me. Where are my standards, my rules, my boundaries? What of my playfulness, my open-mindness – that very silver lining that might just make me different. Is that what I think? If so, then how does that differ me from the very same presumptuous assumptions these very same offenders makes of me.

And the wheels keep turning…

To say that I have allowed it to happened, and happened it did while I was in the midst of telling myself I was enjoying this. Games and fun. Smoke and mirrors. I don’t deserve a relationship. No, that’s too self-depreciating – I’m not ready for one – ah, that way I’m allowed to be stupid. I should have fun. We’re entitled. It’s common. Would that in fact make me a bad person?  Was it misleading as they say or “not as nice of a person as they had thought me as” before.

It’s a confusing period during the phase of this time line. I look around me and see couples all around. And not to be condescending, but hardly one that comes up to par with a coexistence I would admire. The fundamental argument being the glaring mutual settlement I see when you really look at people. The awkward silences, the discretion when they roll their eyes at the partner for the billionth time they talked about this or that subject. Or worse, when they just stand next to each other texting. When dating is just a hang out with a friend with a title slapped on to it.

To be fair, most of them are just young. My age really. I shouldn’t even be allowed to comment. It’s more than just age though, for sure. The greatest emotional connections I’ve ever made were with men 9 and 14 years my senior during their respective stay in my life. It’s not so much about superiority or status. It’s just…sexy being grounded. A grip on their masculinity, a solid stance on their ground. Something about being vulnerable. Carrying an attitude of honesty and grace. Them being entrancingly quaint and delightful. Sometimes serious. Ambitious. Driven; With care. Something about learning to be wholesome and the want to be above, in no demeaning way, but to not just swim in precarious waters together. To arrive in a matter of senses.

Somebody else feel free to chip in.

I can’t even tell you what it is, having never been close myself. The point of the matter though, in what I do have experience in, is just to read that one paragraph reminding yourself what you should and are allowed to uphold to. I know it’s common, but it’s still much easier to take in when compassion is confusingly misdirected back to someone else. ‘You’ is just ‘me’ after all, for so many people out there. For the young females growing into womanhood. Adulthood does not start at 18.

And you know what, all those great guys and gals out there, they can be well-balanced, respectful and sane individuals with a healthy sexual appetite up for discussion. It’s totally possible. For one, you should be an example.

| Nostalgia :

Upstairs, the room is stuffed,
The room is hungry
For air,
Where the children play
Our draft tank tops
Sweaty, the floor thumps
Background paraphernalia
Muffled music
They dance downstairs, inebriated,
Adults, supposedly
My parents and your’s
Going rogue
Loud karaoke
– just childhood memories, on a Friday night.

It’s the sweet sense of used blankets,
Both dirty and new
We cling to,
The smell of children
How their future inevitably leaks out
Going skywards in the balls of our eyes
We’re all together now,
Stupidly excited to grow up –
To never grow up –
We all have to grow up –
In morning light we stay up till dawn
Play Nintendo,
Swap games and
Swap lives,
As if anyone still remembers how now, just like
We once remembered
Time never runs out.

Our blueprints on the couch
Bony elbows and dangerous games
One pillow over your house
Stuffy
Dare to breathe now
Almost,
“Stop! Stop!” and flailing arms
Almost.

Not.

It’s something about the smell of that house
That kitchen
And the overstuffed, haphazard cabinets
Fridge with food from last night,
A slice, a warp, a couple of bottles
They’re called cocktail jello.
“Don’t eat it.”

“One day.”

It’s not perfect
Those askew hair strands on the comb, the bathroom floor.
Our life on “pre” mode the whole time
My aunt; your mother
Dutifully slapping our ass
Eyes red, and pupils
Shot
The day after.
We look in blank understanding
To one another,
Promised to tell the truth
The whole truth and nothing else, forever and always
Fingers crossed;
When was the last time
We came home satisfied ?
A day well spent, time well deceived,
If this were the truth…

nostalgia

The Memory Keeper

I grew up with the distinct idea that I had very few memories of my childhood. Once in grade 5 I curled up quietly in our apartment’s sofa bed and let the tears quietly roll down my cheek because I had come to the deep understanding befitting for a 11 year old that the family road trip we had taken around the states since we moved to Canada was the one and only we will ever have.

I don’t know. That scared me.

I felt it such a waste, knowing that I had a very blessed childhood, but had such an effective block on it, it was always spottedly blank. Then last night at dinner I suddenly had the clarity to recall all those tiny details in flashing memories that made a by passed event so real. In retrospect, the way the memories surfaced were in the same way a child might continuously spin a kaleidoscope and watch the random patterns appear. And suddenly I was constantly retorting one event or another in between bites. I couldn’t help but have the need to say aloud what had happened before. Although the universe will never reverse or answer, and certainly my mother and sister do not recall much of what I spoke of; something about solidifying its existence into a statement gave me comfort.

Talking about the small details, I wonder if its just my writer/reader brain that’s over actively making up for the lack thereof. Was it just humorous trauma that made me remember the time my mother forced a young Duck to shower in her master’s bedroom in order to inspect that her behind was well cleaned. And then sent her back in because it was not up to par. Or that eventually she used a wet napkin, not only since my dad had once told me any normal dry tissue was not good enough for my mom, to make sure everything was spotless. Rather, is it normal for a 6 year old girl to remember the way her matching bed set with her sister could feel quilted and sort of rough? And that, rather than sleeping in that spacious but lonely bedroom, while my sister lived in Canada with my aunt, back in China I slept in the play room where the two mattresses were thrown together on the floor.

I talked to my mom about the multiple live in nannies we had. I originally brought it up to tell her how I took my first puff of smoke at 7, but we never got to that. Instead, I talked about how in my very sheltered and spoiled childhood, I had witnessed a different side of Shang Hai for the first time when I accompanied one my mother’s favorite house keeper’s to her own home. I pointed upwards towards a hung garbage bag and asked, “Is that for garbage? Why don’t you throw it out?”. And she had laughed kindly and told me that, no, it was her clothes, because not everyone can afford the space to have a closet.

On our way there, I was constantly battling car sickness and twisting my young brows, while her daughter of the same age stared at me blankly. This was probably the most luxurious thing she had ridden. The other was a pull cart most likely.

She had a blinking problem though, where she would blink too many times too harshly. I went and tried that out myself, but thought it was too much of a chore to keep up daily.

Thinking back, I wonder how these people felt taking care of me in that big house. In my short memories, they were all kind.

My mother and I laughed, talking about the time when our family decided to take a New Years trip together and my father got robbed eighteen hundred dollars from his fanny pack between an elderly couple. I still vaguely remember their faces. It was the first time the constant stream of people was abruptly disturbed and stopped from travelers getting their passports verified. I remember looking down from the elevator and there the man was hurriedly scuffling with his very own fanny pack. I hadn’t thought much of it though.

Then my mother was lounging naked in another city apartment, vexing about the issue at hand, while my father tried to calm her more than for his sake by saying, “Let it be, say it was a New Years bonus for the old couple.”

I spent many hours playing with my plastic make believe kitchen in that apartment. My sister and I shared a cramped room that I always recalled to be awashed with a transient dusk/dawn pale blue light. When I couldn’t find any memories of us being together in that apartment, I felt bad. But then memories told me that we were both young toddlers sitting crossed legged together in the middle of the living room. A blanket spread across beneath us for a bed, and a giant mouse stuffed animal for me and a big Pikachu one for her. We would watch a silly children show, (or was it a movie?), and she would promptly tell me to shut up if I imitated the main character’s distinctive and cruelly whiny laughter and soon impeding complaints into a full blown cry.

My mother laughed at that.

Apparently her and my father went out a lot in those times.

I didn’t feel sad knowing, knowing now that they had many more private memories than I’ll ever speak of now that he’s gone.

So since I had come to understanding that between my mother and sister, they tend to receive my tales of the days before as a sort of fictional childhood story, I felt even more the need to retain these precious thoughts. To say them aloud time and time again. To become the family’s memory keeper. It’s a bit lonely to relive the sensations alone, but I suppose I don’t mind. The idea is to some day pass on these colorful tales to a grandchild or another, and they will probably unknowingly adjust them and tell on. Like I am doing now.

Dipping Them Elbows Into The Water

To sum it up, the basic lesson in life is that what we want most we sometimes do not get. Not because life is bad bitch or anything like that – that too – but also just because sometimes we’re not ready for it and haven’t grown ourselves enough to handle it.  Like how crabby lessons are always repeated until you get it right. Or something to that figure. I had it down in my head better yesterday, but of course, like all self indulgent writers out there I told myself I would remember without having to jot it down. It could have been a life changer epiphany I’m sure, but for now, we’ll just have to deal with this sort of half assed statement.

I reviewed my current lifestyle at the moment before I went to bed last night and went through a mental check list for the decent ‘adult’ life I had always imagined as a child. I have moved out after graduating. I had actually gotten that hospitality position downtown like aforementioned;  and I absolutely love it, both the pay grade and the people. I am finally exercising regularly – though sometimes begrudgingly. These were just my basic checklists since I was 13 years old and my mom really caught on to saying, “Everyone in the household should do their part.” I mean in other words, Asians are just known to be running child labor in every household. What are you going to do right?

This morning before work, my mother mentions to me, “Do you think your landlord is secretly upset that I have been sleeping over at your place so often?”

Now I can’t say I had never thought of this conclusion before. Particularly when she was caught several times coming back to my place at 3am in the morning while the landlord smoked outside. She would tell me the next morning as if she was proud. I didn’t get it. It seemed natural to me, all the more so since my mother was a landlord before, to imagine that if a reported single tenant of 18 uses the electricity and heat and water on par with that of two, sure, I might be a little upset.

I recall when I had first settled down back in October of last year, my mother would tentatively ask me whether or not she would be able to stay over for the night. In the beginning she would sleep over on my couch. Eventually, and somehow without my much noticing, she began to regularly sleep on my bed. Along the way she also became almost a house maid. She would cook my food and make my bed. Before long she did not hesitate to walk in and immediately begin cleaning up and opening up packages I get at the door. I had gotten myself a wife.

The sarcasm is certainly not lost, I’m sure. Among us bloggers, we’re experts in that area. With that, I could not help but think to myself how I had subconsciously battled this in my head, thinking that well, she does provide for me in food & beverage, so much so that its almost her payment to stay over. And naturally…she cannot stay with her partner of two and a half years, since his faith requires for him to be married in order to live under the same roof. And just in case anybody is wondering, she does in fact have a house – she’s not just a landlord over my kitchen alone – but it’s a house in which she has not slept in alone since a break-in during September of last year.

I get it. The house is out of the way across the bridge from the main part of town. Its a big space, especially being so spectacularly clean, it becomes down right depressing to feel that its almost a show room. I get that her room and belongings were particularly targeted as it was the masters bedroom. I get that she loves me, and is probably making up with that small conscientious part of her trying to make up for not being more of a homemaker back when we all lived in that home. I also get that I would sometimes leave the kitchen light on for her, expecting her very very late arrival into the night. I get that I would regularly wonder whether or not she would come to my place or her partner’s tonight. I have certainly become lenient and spoiled in the desperately awkward struggle to be a ‘grown up’.

Several nights ago, during dinner, her and I chatted for 4 good hours about her indecision to marry her partner. At the least I can say I have finally grown from those days when I first screamed at her for meeting a man after my dad passed. I mean, life’s got to let us have some leeway, sometimes. Otherwise, who else is going to play, right?

Anyway, when I reflected on how defiantly strong I was in my stance for what I imaged to be a healthy relationship, I recaptured the text messages I have received on my phone. Ex coworkers with very tinder like approaches. Is that a thing for guys to speak as if you owe them something? Like, all arranging females in the world just swoon for those 5 words. I know you like it. Right, precisely why the worse of my sarcasm is oozing through the screen. Now call me out on it. You know honestly, I took you for a much nicer person.

Sorry, I did not agree when you said, Cmon babe, you know it would be so hot. We would be so hot.

So what the hell am I doing giving relationship/marriage advice to a widow?

Am I perhaps advocating in secret to avoid confrontation and just have her naturally move out with more gain on her end?” 

Hm. Dangerous thoughts.

Even then, a even smaller wicked part of myself whispers, “Even she is in a relatively communicative long term relationship.” I look at my cousins, my sister – those are old wounds now, so I won’t quack that much. They were practically high school/college sweethearts – but then my coworkers, them and their 9 years as high school sweethearts. My manager and his new brood of vibrant personalities stuffed in the body of a 3 and half and 5 years old.

Now the following news is certainly not for the faint of heart. To think you would have read all the way down here, just so you can be witness to the following over populated words: I knew I was never quite ready to be in a functional relationship. After all, I still wasn’t kind enough, nor as sincerely humble as I would wish, or just simply wholesome enough as my own person to become codependent. Here, my sister chimes that I’m twisted. She’s 5 years older and has never ‘arrived’ as I had worded it. I get that too.

Doesn’t matter though. The glass can be viewed as half empty or half full. As a girl, I have a full closet and a variety of excessive choices in shoes, bags and general accessories in my choosing. I have a working phone and freedom to eat without overt guilt. But for the life of me, I have never proven myself to be capable of a friendly continuation between opposing sexes without the actual interference from the intermediate difference between the two: sex. In words or otherwise. Do I honestly think that’s my only redeeming feature against all other girls?

Gosh, I know that’s not true but I think the Duck can buy it enough to screw herself over.

Just tonight, feeling like a sack of potatoes after gym,  I watched my fellow Vancouverians walk their respective animal companions. That proud perching poodle and the sniffling twin Corgies. Or that famous wagging tail of a chocolate brown Labrador, openly looking up to its owner in affection and love. I thought, if only I could be as blindly loyal and unabashedly forever loving as all the pups in the world. But not be so completely docile I thought as well that deviant trait must be combined with the rude insolence of a cat. And of course, retain the flamboyant “Idaf” attitude of a paddling Duck on a calm palm. Wouldn’t I just be built for survival then in this cruel old play pen.

But like I said, I think the basic lesson in life is that we never quite catch the ripple of wave we really wanted. I don’t know, maybe cause I’ll drown. Or it’s poisonous. I mean, sister life deserves some leeway as well to be vacant from her alias, sometimes. Not all bad. I can only “Eat. Pray. & Love.” So you say Julia Roberts. Whenever I come across Mr. Edwards and become a ‘pretty woman’, I’ll let you know.