Writing challenge day 5

I forced myself again to write. I didn’t want to write. All I wanted to do was to watch Stranger Things and finish my book. But I wanted to get this challenge done with.

So far, it has been an uphill battle for me to even put pen to paper. I sit at my computer trying to think of things to write. In the end, I just get a few short paragraphs done and then write on this blog. I think my problem is that I write right before I go to sleep, since I forget to do it during the day. What I should push myself to do is to write in the morning and see if I want to write later.

I wrote a little more backstory on my story. I realize, as I am writing this, that I’m painting a picture of my parent’s life. It’s not the complete story, no. But it’s the essence of what my mom has been telling me for years. They say that you put a little of yourself in your work.

I wrote this on Reddit yesterday. Thought I’d post it here.

So a few months ago I met this guy on Tinder. He seemed nice. Went on a few dates and talked a lot on the phone. Let me set this up with the fact that there were huge red flags before this event occurred. He used to be married (he’s 24) and he’s a Republican (I’m a pretty liberal Democrat). I should note that I’m not discriminating against Republicans. I’m sure there are some that are lovely. I’ve met a few. But he does fit into the intolerant Republican stereotype. Of course I was desperate and chose to ignore the signs. After the fourth or so date, we had finally slept together. I didn’t want it to be just a hook up or one time thing, and he didn’t either, so we talked about being together. A few days after this, that’s when shit really hit the fan. He came over and cuddled. No sex, just cuddling. We were both pretty sick that day. I had given a few kisses while we slept. I wouldn’t push it, because I wasn’t in the mood, but hey… what’s wrong with a little kissing? I didn’t force myself on him. He didn’t call me out then. No, that was later. I saw him a few days after that and he acted normal. Held hands, talked about random stuff, and kissed in public. A few days later, after that, he started to become distant. I was really stressed out because I had to turn in my dissertation that week. I had failed my dissertation the first time, so I had to redo it so I can receive my Masters in Creative Writing (I passed by the way). So while I was working on my last edits, I decided to confront him about why he was so distant. That’s when he told me that I had raped him. He said that I had kissed him while he was sleeping and that since he was unconscious, that was considered rape. I apologized and asked why he didn’t mention it earlier, since he kissed me the other day, a few days after I supposedly raped him. He didn’t give me an answer on that one. I felt hurt that he would accuse me of such a thing. I’m glad that I wasn’t so angry that I turned in the wrong file or even deleted something crucial. I told him that he hurt my feelings and that it wasn’t rape, but he only said that it doesn’t matter. That I should get over it. After trying to get him to see where I was coming from, he finally yelled at me that he was almost raped in high school. He got mad at me because I was saying how I felt. I felt bad that he was almost raped, but that doesn’t excuse what he said. I continued being his friend a few months after this. I even considered sleeping with him again, out of desperation. There were a few things after this incident that made me realize that he was very racist and very misogynistic. I’m glad that I’m no longer friends with this guy. I think it’s hilarious that someone who moved to the Bay Area, who is so in love with how open minded the city is, could ever be so ignorantly racist. I always read stories about women accusing men of rape, but rarely hear about it on the other side. I did not rape this guy, but his accusation has made me feel like I am a terrible person. I thought posting this online would be immature, but honestly I think it helps alleviate the pain. Now I will always worry that any guy I’m with in the future will accuse me of something.

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Writing challenge… 4 (skipped a day): in which I overanalyze my love life

So I missed a day on my writing challenge. I’m a little disappointed in myself. But to be honest, I wasn’t feeling so great.

Today I wrote a little about myself. I just wanted to get some of this pent up feelings and put it down on paper. I psycho analyzed myself. It’s definitely something I should do more often.

Something I realized during today’s writing was that I worry too much on whether or not I’m going to meet a guy. I haven’t met a guy I truly liked and was willing to go after. I want a guy to fall for me…without the awkward flirting and talking involved. It doesn’t make me less developed. My mom made a comment about how if we raise my niece right, she could be married by 20. Like there was anything wrong with the way we were raised. Yes, I know there’s huge gaps in my upbringing, but whose fault is that? Just because I haven’t found a man to settle down with at my age, doesn’t mean that I am developmentally challenged. I’m perfectly fine just the way I am. I don’t think you have to change you are to attract a guy. If a guy is going to be with you, they’re going to be with you for YOU. We all have qualities that are less than perfect. But I definitely think that if you like the person enough, you can get past it.

Anyways, I did the challenge. Now to go read “Frozen Tides” by Morgan Rhodes.

Writing challenge day 3

I definitely did not want to write today. I just finished reading “One Dark Throne” by Kendare Blake. My thoughts are jumbling. It’s almost midnight and so I thought I’d update on my progress. Again, I wrote into my “Summer with Nana”story. One thing that I’ve noticed is that the language I use for this one has been progressing. Definitely something I want to keep going with on my challenge. I realize that I’ve been editing as I write. I write a few sentences and then go back and make sure they have a coherent voice. I think I’d get a lot more done if I didn’t think of the sentence beforehand. Seriously, I spend a copious amount of time rereading what I just wrote.

I didn’t write much so I will not be posting what I wrote.

My stomach feels crappy because all I really ate was sugar. I did have a healthy sandwich, but that doesn’t cancel out everything else I ate. I have got to cut soda and any sugar drink out of my diet. From now on, I will stick with water.

Writing challenge day 2

It’s day two of my writing challenge. I didn’t want to do it in the end, but I forced myself. I wrote a new scene for my “Summer with Nana” story. The scene I started writing was definitely more of a character development piece. I want the grandma to be unique. She doesn’t allow her house to be filled with china cups and antique clocks. I want my character to help solve the mystery of her grandma’s life by sorting through some old documents. And while this is happening, I want the character’s favorite book to go missing, only to have it reappear with a note in it. My character will definitely have a bit of a romance, but the main focus is her relationship with her grandma.

This challenge will be harder than I thought. I have so many excuses of why I don’t write or read as often. But if I cut out some of the mindless time spent watching cartoons or checking Facebook, I could be writing a lot more. For now, the twenty minutes is a good push for me to keep writing. I’m never going to finish my novel otherwise.

Here is what I wrote, since I actually think I’m beginning to get my voice down.

**

Nana’s house was my home away from home. She was not like any other grandma I had ever met. Trips to the mall were fun scavenger hunts in which she and I would compete to find the most unique thing that day. I always won, on account of Nana throwing the game and buying me a churro instead. Her house looked lived in. She never had any old relic in her house because she always switched her house around every six months. I’m sure the old memories, like china cups or antique clocks, were tucked away somewhere she could only find. She truly was a one of a kind grandma.

When I came home that day, the day after, it felt like I was walking into a stranger’s house. The pictures on our wall were foreign to me. Memories from another time. I looked around at the small TV in the living room, the reclining chair nearest the door where dad would sometimes sleep at night, and the dining room table. These objects didn’t mean anything at that moment.

Instead of making sure the house was taken care of, I walked out the door.

Of course Nana was happy to have me. She had just come from the hospital, where she said her goodbye over her daughter’s dead body.

 

***

Because I want to stick with the twenty minutes challenge, I will not be editing some of what I post. These are raw snippets of my writing. If I sat down to edit them, I’d forget to even do the challenge.

In which we try and making writing a habit

To non-readers, my list of books that I’ve read this year may seem high. But what you don’t realize is that I am such an avid reader, that the number is very low to my standards. If you can imagine that I have bought at least six books a month, and I read at least two or three of them that month, my number may seem average. Currently, I have read 26 books. This year has seen me through some big reading slumps. A slump is when you can’t get up the courage or motivation to read. Sometimes you can get in a reading slump when a book you’ve been most anticipating turns out to be a dud. You get the book and you just cannot get the will power to read it. And thus creating a reading slump.

I’ve been trying to at least read for twenty minutes each day. It’s a goal that has kept me actively reading. So I thought I’d try that for my writing. I will be writing for at least twenty minutes each day. Sometimes I will post what I have written, but others I might just talk about what the process was like. That way other writers and even readers can join in on the fun. They say that if you do something for at least two weeks, it’ll be a habit. So for the next two weeks, we will see if I prosper, or if I fail. What I write might be little antidotes on writing, or even some small reviews. Or they might be personal.

I’ve been writing for at least ten minutes. I honestly want to talk about friendships.

I have a hard time keeping friends. Making friends is the easy part. Keeping a friend is something else entirely. I can be a bit annoying and sometimes don’t know boundaries. There is still a little amount of clingy that I haven’t been able to suss out. I’ve recently had to block a friend that I was once close to.

Without going into details, I will say that she was extremely clingy, and a lot of my other friends wondered why I was friends with her in the first place. There were several bad instances where I should have just ended the friendship before it had really started.

I will point out one thing that really set me over the edge. She is the first person (besides my sisters) who has ever told me that no one cares about me. I’m sure none of the other people who I have unfriended (there’s not that many people) would ever say that to me. Sad part is that I didn’t automatically unfriend her right then. I knew she had mental problems, so I wanted to brush it off. But when she wrote two weeks later that my happy posts were annoying her, that was when I drew the line. They do say the best revenge is them seeing you be happy.

No one should ever tell someone that no one cares about them. You don’t know how they will take it. I’ve dealt with depression, and if I was maybe five years younger, I might have done something harmful to myself because of that statement. Words hold meaning.

Don’t ever let the idea of being friendless stop you from unfriending a toxic person. You deserve to be happy.

Infinite: a short story of sorts

I am on a ledge. I don’t know how I came to be here, but there are people on the ground, looking up at me. My mind starts to wander to images of this morning. That positive sign, and the yelling that ensued. I had been contemplating this for years, but had never had any sign, up until now, to do it. My breathe shakes and twirls in the afternoon mist. I want to get off, but there’s John in the back of my mind; telling me that I can’t possibly be pregnant. With his kid.

The trees surrounding me are all glazed with fog, even though the sun is shining brightly overhead. The rocks beneath my feet start to dig into my old black Vans. The sound of the distant creek and the many wildlife around the area, is all that surrounds me in this moment of clarity. My therapist seems to think I live my life on a limb. She’s not wrong, though every fiber of my being wants to contradict her. Which is probably why I spend so much going twice a week. I can’t ever come down from this high that I seem to have gotten myself in.

They say jumping from this height is probably a sign I’m going crazy, especially considering my age. But to be honest, I really don’t care. I just wanted that momentary thrill of rushing off a cliff. Now, however, I seem to be stuck. I could just walk away and be done with it.

Yet, haven’t I been doing that for years?

I’d see a stray dog, and on a whim, I’d adopt him. Not even taking into account the fact that my apartment has a no dog clause and we’d be forced to move out. Who knew pit bulls could be so darn cute? It was hard giving Prince Charles up so I would have a place to stay that wasn’t completely bankrupting me.

That’s nothing compared to the thousand dollar ticket I bought to travel through the US on a train. I chickened out last minute and couldn’t get my refund. I did that all because I watched an episode of Big Bang Theory and thought trains were cool. But then I worried that something bad would happen to me. So I let the time pass and revoked my two week’s notice at work.

These many life choices I’ve made have led me to this ledge, half hoping I would actually splat on the forrest floor. The people on the floor are yelling at me. Small encouragements from people I’ve only known for an hour. I stare at the rock I’m standing on. It juts out, and then at the last possible moment takes a dive to the floor. It wants me to give up. To let some real or imaginary obstacle prevent me from finishing something.

As my lips get chapped and my hair tossed, I look down at my flat stomach. I realize that I have time, and that this baby will be my chance at a new life. I will be the woman I have always dreamed of being.

But for now, I have to complete this journey and jump off the cliff. Because when I left home in a rage, after being yelled at by my partner, I knew the one thing I had to do to get my head clear. Cliff jumping.

As I jump the cliff, tethered to the bungee chord, I feel infinite.

To the boy who hurt me

I will always think of you as a montage of small vignettes. The kind that start timid, then happy, and end up being painful to watch. Some may say that I should stop fixating on you, but it’s been a month and I can’t stop. Every good thing you did and every nice thing you said is repeated in my head over and over. Your face is constantly sketched into my memory, like a grease stain that will never come off. That one profile I haven’t blocked you from is constantly being viewed, in case you write that you miss me. To which I would say, “If you miss me, why did you hurt me?” Which I would feel required to say, but deep down I would think it’s sweet that you even care.

You were the person I turned to when I had something funny or witty to say. Or if my day was going horribly and I needed someone to vent to. We were almost polar opposites, but I tried hard to make it work. Even when I passionately disagreed or got so mad I almost unfriended you from the start, I wanted to make it work. Like all love sick puppies, I didn’t see what your true colors were, until things went sour.

I’d go by the places we visited, hear some of our favorite songs, and I would think of you. I’d think of your smile whenever I told a silly joke. Or that small frown you’d have whenever you talked about your past. Small things would remind me of the time you took my hand at the beach and told me that you liked me. Like that time we listened to Green Day on the way home and we disagreed on whether the new stuff was worth listening to. (It is by the way.)

These images are the things I think about when I think of you.

I guess things were too good to be true. When I see your picture pop up on social media, I have a mixture of happy and sad memories. What you did will never be forgotten. I will always carry this with me. I will always wonder if the next guy is going to screw me over one day.

We had some happy memories, but what happened between us was too much for me to handle. I will always miss the boy who made me smile. But that part of my life is done and I have to move on.

***

I’m thinking of publishing some stand alone scenes from some of the different characters I’m working on. This one is a little personal, but I thought I’d start off with myself as one of my characters. I can easily work on scene writing, which is one of my favorite things to write. I will be posting more of my writing later on.

Cataclysmic (middle section)

So I decided to show you guys part of what I’ve been working on for my novel. If you guys remember, I have been working on this novel called “Cataclysmic.” The name actually started as a placeholder, but then as the story progressed, I realised that it was perfect for the story I wanted to tell. So here is the middle part.

***

‘You’ve got to be kidding me!’ I exclaimed.

Not only were we in a dark, underground jail cell, but I was trapped with Aaron. The guy who, for all I knew, wanted to roast me on a pit and eat me. We had been previously on a hill next to our high school in San Rafael, California, when the creature approached. After seeing the creature, Aaron had grabbed me from behind and thrown something at the beast, sending us to this cave. After the sensation of popping from one point to another, I was faced with more versions of the creature. Each one was identical to the other, with green scales surrounding its body, red eyes, and a blue horn on top of its head. They each carried some kind of metallic object in their hands. The objects reminded me of the Grim Reaper’s scythe, except they didn’t look old.  As soon as I wrestled my body away from Aaron’s, I was grabbed by an invisible force and thrown in the jail cell; Aaron along with me. The creatures disappeared from view.

There was nothing I could see outside of the bars. No indication of where we came from and no sign of the creatures anywhere.

Inside the cell, there was nothing except for the small orb in Aaron’s hands, which he took out of his pocket. It didn’t cast enough light for me to see the entire layout of the cell, but I could see the rust on the wall next to the cell door. The walls were made of metal, but the torches hanging around the opening of the cave entrance were lit by fires instead of electricity. I tried banging on the door, in a futile attempt to break free. To my surprise, the doors sparked beneath my hands, shooting electricity through my body. I hastily withdrew my hands and took a step back

‘Where the hell are we?’ I asked.

‘Trisha, this might be hard to hear, but you’re in the same spot we were just in,’ Aaron said.

‘That can’t be right. We were just on the hill, not in a cave. Now really, where are we? And what do you want from me?’

Aaron looked at me like he was pained, but I didn’t let him speak. I didn’t want to hear what he had to say.

‘And you know what? I wouldn’t have been in this cell if you hadn’t been following me. What is your problem anyways? I don’t even know you –,’

‘You do,’ Aaron interrupted. ‘you do know me.’

‘What?’

‘It’s just…’ he started while looking at his hands.

His expression reminded me of when Tyler would eat the last of the chocolate candy. Tyler always felt sorry afterwards, but I knew he was only saying that to make me calm down. Looking at Aaron at that moment, I rethought of everything that I knew of Aaron. Maybe I judged him wrong.

‘Don’t you remember me?’ he asked.

‘No…should I?’

‘This is hard to explain. I never thought I would have to explain it to you hear, in the parallel world.’

‘A parallel what? Are we in some form of Doctor Who episode?’ I asked, jokingly, hoping that it wasn’t the case.

I remembered nights staying up late with my Dad watching episode after episode of Doctor Who. We would wait till Mom and Tyler went to bed before tiptoeing into the living room to watch the Doctor save the world from an alien attack. When Rose got trapped in the parallel world, away from the Doctor, Dad had run to the nearest 7/11 a few blocks away to grab two pints of ice cream for both of us, and a beer for him. We stayed up all night crying over Rose. To this day I can’t eat ice cream without thinking of the Doctor and the way I clung to Dad’s shoulder after the Doctor put the device around Rose’s neck, sending her to the parallel world, forever.

‘Sort of. Look, do you remember this?’

He took out this small round object from his pocket. It was the heart pendant that my imaginary friend Leonard gave me when I was 6 years old. It was something Leonard and I used to fight away the bad guys in my stories. It served as a protection amulet to ward off any evil doers in my backyard. Somehow I had lost the amulet once I was 8 years old and stopped believing in Leonard.

‘Where’d you get that?’

Aaron handed the amulet to me. It was exactly how I had last remembered it. It was cool to the touch and a bright red light seemed to glow from within the pendant. I knew this was the amulet because of the marking I made on the right side of the heart. ‘T and L forever.’ I remember the day I put it there. We were in my backyard, under the big Camphor tree.

‘What is it?’ I had asked Leonard, as he handed me the amulet.

‘It’s an amulet to ward you from the bad guys.’

‘Cool!’ I had thought any kind of adventure was cool back then.

‘You should write something on it, so that it can be a message for future you. Like in Doctor Who.’

‘Like Doctor what?’

Leonard looked at me like I was missing a head.

‘You haven’t watched Doctor Who yet?’

When I shook my head, he let out an exasperated sigh.

‘You have to watch it. You never know…’ he trailed off.

After I scratched in the engraving, my mom had called me in for dinner.

I started watching Doctor Who that night.

‘I kept it after your parents told me to leave you alone.’

‘Why would they want you to leave me alone? Wait,’ I said, fully realizing what he meant by that statement. ‘You were,’ I started, unable to process what was going on. I didn’t know how to phrase what I wanted to ask.

Aaron nodded. The light from the orb in his hand was moving in a circle around the cell. The light made the gold tint in Aaron’s hair more prominent.

‘My real name is Aaron Leonard Rodgers. I didn’t want you to leak my real name to your parents. But that backfired once the elders figured out what was going on.’

‘My parents? What have they got to do with ANY of this?!’ I asked, upset that he would even think about bringing them into what was happening here.

‘They are guardians, like me,’ Aaron hesitated, ‘Like you.’

The walls seemed to cave in on me when he said that. My parents were guardians? This didn’t make any sense. To lighten the mood, I said, ‘Oh, you mean like the Guardians of the Galaxy?’ I remember my parents took me to see that movie when it came out. Just them and me. Tyler was at a friend’s house and my parents were both off for the weekend, which was a first in months. Mom wasn’t into the whole Marvel franchise, but she came anyways to spend time with me. It was always my Dad and I who spent most of our time obsessing over the Marvel comics. I was happy to have them both to myself, since that rarely happened ever since Tyler was born. After the movie, in the lobby, my dad had tried so hard to beat me at a dance off,             but he couldn’t get his footing right. He kept falling on the floor, which made everyone in the theatre’s lobby turn to look at him. I didn’t mind at the time, since it was nice to be spending some quality time with my dad.

Aaron gave me a look that told me he was getting tired with my little quips.

‘Trisha, this is serious. Your parents were..’

‘I know this is serious, Aaron. Or should I say Leonard. I’m finding it difficult to believe this is really happening.’

I turned my back away from him.

‘I’m sorry if I got angry. I understand how this might feel –.’

‘No you don’t. You’ve had this knowledge prior to this moment and I’ve been the one in the dark. And now we are literally in the dark. I’ve kept it together when my parents died and when I thought I saw that thing. And even when we first met, I kept my cool. Now you tell me that my parents were some kind of guardians and you expect me to just accept that? Aaron, there is only so much I can take before I break.’

In a futile attempt to escape, I grabbed on to the door, hoping to somehow break free of this imprisonment. Electricity ran through my body, causing me to jump backwards, straight into the wall behind me. As my head hit the wall, a couple of startling memories of the past few months came to me.

It was two weeks back and Tyler was asking me to play blind man’s bluff with him. I didn’t want to play, but he kept insisting. To shut him up I put a blindfold on him and told him to wait thirty seconds. With his eyes covered, I made my way to the small shed outside by the pool. There was a hammock in there that I claimed as my own when we moved in. After ten minutes, I heard Tyler open the back door. It was a hot day out and I was sitting in the hammock in my bathing suit. The next door neighbor’s backyard was being renovated so every now and then the sound of a jack hammer could be heard.

I tried to crouch down below the Bay windows, but this didn’t seem to work.

‘Trisha, I know you’re there,’ Tyler said.

After a moment, I heard Tyler sigh.

‘Okay, so you don’t want to play with me. I get it. But do you really think that hiding yourself in your room will change the fact that our parents are gone? I kind of thought coming to San Rafael would bring us closer together, but all you’ve been doing is moping. I’m going inside to watch Netflix. You can come join if you decide to stop hiding away.’

I heard the distant sounds of his footsteps as he went back into the house.

As quick as I heard the backdoor slam close, I was pushed from this memory into the next. It felt as if I was slowly floating in the space of nothingness. It was neither hot nor cold and the only feeling I had was of just being in my body. After a few scary moments of me wondering if this was the end, I saw a trickle of light ahead. I started to move more closely to the light, like a bug drawn to a lightbulb.

Next thing I knew I was back in my house in San Francisco. Except everything was in boxes and we were moving out. The back of the house had been boarded off because of the fire. Tyler and Aunt Kristy were fighting over what they should bring back to Aunt Kristy’s place.

‘But I want this blender,’ Tyler was saying.

‘I have the exact same blender at my place. We don’t need another,’ Aunt Kristy argued. We all knew who would win this fight. Tyler, once he set his mind on something, always got his way.

The front of the house looked nothing like it once did. All of the pictures of Mom and Dad were packed away and the only picture that adorned the shelf above the couch was the one of Tyler and I at the Marin County Fair. We were sitting on the benches in front of the merry go round eating our ice cream cones and looking at the new iPod mom got me for my birthday. It was the day Dad had gotten that promotion at his work. He had been working tirelessly to get the promotion at his law firm, and when his boss had fired one of the other lawyers, they decided to finally give him it. We woke up early that morning to make it early to the fair. It felt like luck was on our side that day when we missed the traffic getting out of San Francisco and gotten free upgrades to cut in line at the fair.

‘Oh I want this,’ Tyler said.

He had walked in to the living room while I was checking out the picture.

He was starting to get taller, like dad. He was already almost to my shoulders. I unfortunately took after my mother and stopped growing when I was 12, five years ago.

‘Well too bad. I’m taking it. It’s going to stay in my room,’ I said, hoping to put some older sister authority to my voice.

‘That’s not fair. I called it first. You were just staring at it. So there,’ he said, while sticking out his tongue.

‘You got everything that you wanted. I just want this picture,’

‘I got the frame, so it’s mine,’

‘You can have the frame. I want the picture.’

‘That’s not how it works,’ I half yelled, grabbing the picture.

‘Yes it is. You don’t know.’

He grabbed the other end.

We continued to fight over the picture when the doorbell rang. It surprised me enough that I jumped, causing the picture to fly out of both our hands, smashing against the wall.

Tyler’s eyes started to well up with tears.

‘You couldn’t let me have this one happy memory, could you?’ he asked, stomping down the hall to the bathroom that wasn’t taped off by the fire department.

The doorbell rang again.

I rubbed at the tears threatening to fall from my eyes.

When I opened the door, Jake was standing there wearing his work uniform. He worked at a movie theater and they made him wear these horrendous black polo shirts with a movie title on the back. His hair was still as floppy as I remembered it the last time I saw him, in the hospital.

‘Jake? What are you doing here?’

‘Well I hadn’t heard from you since the hospital. And I was worried about you. I didn’t get a chance to talk to you at the funeral. You left before I could say anything.’

I didn’t know what to say. I had never been that great at confronting people. Even telling him how I felt about him four months ago was the hardest thing I had to do.

‘Um… we, ugh…’ I began.

‘Look. I get it. What happened was horrible. I care about you and would hate to see you shut yourself up for the rest of your life.’

I was reminded of the look he gave Jenny in the hospital weeks prior. The look I wished he would have given me. Even in the hospital, she was the one he was looking at with tenderness. I had spent so many years pining over him, only to be rejected; and for my childhood best friend, no less. Looking at him then, I realised that it was useless to chase after a guy who would never see me as more than a friend. But I couldn’t stand a future where we would be friends without the pang of heartbreak. I had to let him go.

‘No,’ I said, after a few moments, ‘I don’t think you get it. I don’t want to be friends anymore.’

I went to close the door, but Jake pushed back.

‘Trish, you don’t mean that. You’re just—’

‘I do mean it. I don’t want to see you again.’

With that final statement, I slammed the door closed.

‘Trisha,’ a voice called from somewhere.

‘Trisha, wake up!’

‘Wah?’ I exclaimed.

‘That’s it. Breathe. In. Out. Good.’

‘Aaron?’

‘Oh thank God! I was worried the shock from the bars had killed you.’

When I opened my eyes, I could see Aaron crouched down in front of me. The orb with the light was in between us, illuminating our faces.

‘Am I really a cold hearted bitch?’ I asked.

Aaron furrowed his brow.

‘No. Why would you think that?’

‘It’s just,’ I began, ‘I didn’t care to hear you out and I’ve been distant with everyone.’

‘That’s normal. You’ve gone through a lot in the past few months. I would have been more concerned if you didn’t freak out.’

I nod, not knowing what to say after that. Aaron offered me his hand. When I stood up, I felt as if the world was spinning around me. Aaron steadied me with his hands.

‘Your hair looks like it’s trying to do the wave,’ Aaron joked, trying to lighten the mood.

‘What do you mean?’ My hands went up to my hair.

‘It’s just from the electricity that you touched. Don’t worry about it.’

There was an awkward silence.

‘So, what were you talking about earlier?’ I asked.

‘Well, as I was saying before you touched the bars,’ Aaron started, ‘Your parents were never supposed to be together. But, because they are, things are getting crazier by the minute.’

A sudden chill ran through me. What did that mean, that they weren’t supposed to be together?

‘Why weren’t they supposed to be together?’

Aaron bit his lip.

‘Well, it’s complicated. They are from two different worlds, for one. The other reason, well, I can’t tell you.’

Aaron looked at me, pleading with me not to pry. As much as I wanted to figure out the other reason, I let that one slide. If I was going to get anything out of Aaron, I would have to start trusting him to give me the information I needed.

‘Okay, I’m not going to pry about that last one,’ I began, not particularly fond of dropping the subject. ‘But why do you look different than when I was little?’

The amulet, heavy in my hand, brought back memories of Saturday nights playing around the garden in the backyard, facing off faeries and ogres. Leonard had always had freckles and brown hair in the memories brought back by the amulet. He didn’t have the golden blonde hair and green eyes that Aaron has. These two images clashed with the solid form of the amulet. If Aaron wasn’t Leonard, then why would he possess the amulet?

‘It’s the machine. Watch.’ Aaron said.

He pressed a button on the orb in his hand. Suddenly, his appearance started to change. His image was pixelating, like when a picture on Facebook is loading. There was a bright light that came, as if, from around him. I covered my eyes. When the light seemed to fade away, I uncovered my eyes to find Leonard standing before me. We were silent for a minute as I took the sight of him in.

I babbled a few incoherent questions, unsure of how to respond in this situation.

‘Just think of it as a holographic projection. The machine can make you think what it wants you to think. It’s a lot of science stuff, but I’m sure you’ve seen enough Doctor Who, which I convinced you to watch, to imagine what is happening. I’m not sure myself on the mechanics of it, since the elders only told me which buttons to push.’

‘But that doesn’t explain how you were only visible to me and no one else. And how we ended up in this cell.’

‘It’s complicated. Lets just say that there are two worlds connected by a big machine, that must be protected at all costs. That’s really as far as I can tell you now. We will have to wait till we see Ada to give you the full scope of what this is.’

‘Who is Ada?’ I asked.

‘She’s my tutor.’

I didn’t want to believe a word he was saying, but the evidence was staring me in the face.

‘But why create such a device?’ I asked.

‘The elders in my world believed that by connecting the worlds, we could end the reign of the darkness that was coming over us. Look, we can sit here all day and discuss this, but it’s useless without Ada here to explain it. We need to think of a way to get out of here.’

‘But that doesn’t explain –,’ I began to say, as the cell doors opened.

Going unnoticed as Aaron and I talked, the lights had gone on in front of the cell. I could see more of the cave wall illuminated by the torches carried by the two people in front of the cell.

One of them was one of the creatures, and the other was…Jake.

Instead of the clean shaven face I was used to, here was a guy I barely knew. His face was painted with cuts and bruises, and his right eye was barely staying open. His clothes were tattered and he held his right arm close to his chest. I wondered if he had been following us from the hill.

‘Hurry. We’ve got to go!’ Jake said.

Aaron had taken a step back.

‘No. There’s no way I’m going with you,’ Aaron said.

I turned a questioning gaze at Aaron.

‘Why shouldn’t we?’

‘Trish, you don’t know him. He is a robot created by Baltazar and his only objective is to take you to his master and torture you.’

‘That can’t be—,’ I started.

‘It’s true Trish,’ Jake said. ‘I was made to befriend you and take you when Baltazar gave the signal.’

‘See, I told you,’ Aaron said with a smirk.

‘But, I’ve changed. When I met Jenny, something clicked for me. It’s not something I can really explain. Aaron here probably knows more about it since he was your imaginary friend.’

I was in shock. I had thought that Jake had somehow gotten through the parallel world, or wherever we were, and came to save us. But as I looked at Jake, as if for the first time, I realised that I didn’t really know him at all. I guess my brain had filled in what it thought was a reasonable story for Jake. But none of this explained the creature next to him.

‘If you are here to help us,’ I asked, while pointing at the creature, ‘then why did you come with that?’

As if he anticipated this precise question, Jake got something out of his pocket. It looked like a remote control.

‘I found this in the laboratory down the hall, after I went against the other mutants. It’s still in the prototype phase, but it works pretty well. It’s a Hypno Ray. Look.’

Jake pointed the device at the creature, or mutant as he called it. Jake pressed a button and said, ‘turn to your left.’ The mutant actually moved to the left.

‘Now, do the Macarena.’

True to the gadgets’ scientific properties, the mutant actually started dancing! I started to walk towards the opening when Aaron grabbed my wrist.

‘Stop. This might be a trap. Jake was made to do one thing only. And that was to gain your trust to bring you to Baltazar so he can have you destroyed.’

I was starting to get tired of their bickering.

‘Explain to me this. Why does Baltazar even want to destroy me? What have I ever done to deserve this?’

Aaron’s grip on my wrist loosened and I could see in the periphery of my vision that he was biting his lip. Obviously, this was something I wasn’t supposed to know about.

‘Well, uh…it’s complicated–,’ he began.

‘Come off it Rodgers. She has a right to know. Look, if you don’t believe that I’m on your side, look at this.’

Jake turned around and grabbed the hem of his shirt. The shirt was then pulled up and on the bottom of Jake’s spine was a hatch door for what could have been a battery. The hatch door was the same colour of Jake’s skin. Inside was a bunch of muscles and a few wires, which didn’t seem to be in any coherent order. They were a jumbled up mess, save for the few wires that looked to have different coloured wiring strung together.

‘See? I’ve rerouted the instructions to my system. I am my own man now.’

Not having been too familiar with standard robotics, I was still equally confused. Aaron, however, seemed to find this an acceptable response. After a moment’s silence, he walked outside of the cell doors.

Following suit, I got out of that cell.

Aaron was busy studying the door on Jake’s spine.

‘But how? I mean…’

‘I guess what Baltazar never counted on was his pets getting real human feelings.’

I continued to stare at the two of them.

‘So Trisha, you were asking about why you were important to Baltazar.’

‘Jake, don’t,’ Aaron said.

‘She should know why they want –,’

Before he could continue, there was a long piercing shriek. It was inhuman in nature and seemed to make Aaron and Jake tense up. The mutant started getting more animated next to me.

‘Shit!’ Aaron exclaimed.

‘Trisha, we need to go. Now!’ Jake barked.

The noise had come from the tunnel to our left, so Jake turned to go out the right one, Aaron following suit.

I turned to follow them, but the mutant grabbed my arm; its claws digging into my flesh. Jerking my arm back and forth, I tried yanking myself away from the mutant, to no avail.

‘Trish!’ Jake yelled. He tossed something small into the air. I extended my other arm out and caught the object. It was the Hypno Ray.

‘How do I use it?’

‘Push the green button and tell the mutant what to do.’

I pushed the button and told the mutant to let go of my arm. It didn’t budge.

‘It’s not working!’

‘Keep doing it. Baltazar’s voice is getting through his circuitry. The Hypno Ray will need extra power to work because of the pull of Baltazar’s voice.’

I kept my finger on the button and repeated what I wanted it to do. After a few minutes, the resolve on his face was breaking. Its hands started to lose their slack on my arm. Eventually I broke free of the mutant.

‘Go to sleep,’ I told it. Lucky for me, it followed my command.

As I followed Aaron and Jake, I began to feel a chill creep onto me. I hadn’t expected to enter chilly weather when I woke up that morning. The corridor we were running through was dark, save for the torch on the wall every five feet. I could still hear the noise from behind us, but it got fainter as we got further in the cave.

After a good ten feet, Jake yelled back at us.

‘Found it!’

I was so focused on getting farther from the cell, I hadn’t realised that they had stopped, causing me to bump into Aaron.

‘Oomf! Sorry! What did you find?’

From the faint glow of the torch a few inches next to him, I could see Jake’s hand go towards a chord in the wall.

‘This.’ A hatch opened up in the ceiling, revealing some light.

‘How did you know that was going to be there?’ Aaron asked. With the light above, Aaron’s expression was visible. He clearly didn’t believe this stroke of luck that led us to safety.

‘I stole one of the cave plans from Baltazar’s desk before I came to rescue you.’

‘You made it into his chamber without detection?’ Aaron asked.

‘Well he hadn’t figured out I went rogue till just now, when he discovered the bodies. The room’s security system okayed me entry because of my DNA.’

In the distance I heard barking, growing nearer and nearer.

‘Guys! Let’s figure this out after we get above ground!’ I yelled.

Memoir writing: a rant

Memoir writing is something new I’ve been tackling for the past year. And I am happy to say that it all stemmed from writing this blog. What got me into memoir writing was the piece I wrote for my grandma. I looked at it and thought, “what if I could use this for my portfolio?” So I started turning pieces of it in to my workshops for class. I did a fairly good job at keeping my classmates interested in what I was writing. After that, it’s all I’ve been focusing on, except for the few times I write my novel.

I really don’t like non-fiction novels. I would much rather read something fictional. However, through discussions with my supervisor, I think I have my own story to tell. I thought that maybe because I am only in my 20’s that a memoir wouldn’t be appropriate, but it fits me better. I haven’t read many memoirs and so this whole subject is new to me.

For memoir writing, I feel like the story is there, I just have to dig deeper to find it. It’s a different technique than writing fiction. At least for me. There are truths that I want to put down, and there are truths that I DON’T want to put down. So getting those ones I don’t want to put down is very hard. I can write two paragraphs and not feel like writing for a week because it was hard to put those words on paper. Or the screen.

This is a new area for me and I feel like it can either go well for me, or it could very badly. I will take this to wherever it may lead me.

I know I haven’t been blogging that much lately and I apologize. I truly want to keep up with this blog, so I will post an update every Wednesday about my life, reading and other bookish things.

Nana, eleven months has gone so fast

It’s apparently been eleven months since my grandma passed away. There has been so much drama since it happened. I think it’s typical to happen since there are five siblings.  I keep hoping that things would blow over and that everything will be okay. I still remember when my mom called me to say that she was in the final hours. I couldn’t believe it was happening. How could a person who means so much to you be taken away so fleetingly? I’m shocked at how time flies. I miss my grandma so much. I wrote this piece as kind of an ode to what I’ve been experiencing throughout the three months I’ve been in Wales. It seems haphazard but I think it kind of speaks for itself.

That time that guy said he could see Lara Croft’s boobs in Tomb Raider so he could impress you. Or that time someone jumped from the slide and got send to the hospital. Or when a kid got his forehead bashed in playing kickball. His teeth were inside his head. Or even that time a wild dog strolled into the elementary school campus. These moments play an interesting part of my young life. Moments that sit in my head like honey. I sit and watch the world go by; all while walking down from the store. The ocean dances into view as I take the hill down to my house. Moments of pure innocence, the only kind I ever want to think about. Watch me drift into the void of space and reality, while still holding my head high. I’m searching for this object of infinity that I won’t find at the store.
Now, three months later after writing this and after traveling many miles, I have figured out that I’m irrevocably fucked for life. I will always be on the precipice of being one of the group and the odd one out. I’m the American, Californian, Asian, the mutt and the short pale girl. I’m sure one day I’ll look back on this time in my life and laugh at all the drunken nights spent in some random Guy’s arms or in the bed of a trolley. I’m forever converting dollars to pounds and making sure I say underwear instead of pants.
A year is a long time to change one’s fate and to start life in a new country. What was once a daunting adventure is now a fun experience that I would not change for all the gold in the West. I’m still haunted by moments that make me sad and upset, but the ever presence of time is a good remedy. My first experience of grief has pushed me forward and has reminded me that life is precious. It’s been eleven months to the day since she passed and there has not been a day that I don’t reflect on the impact of her life. It’s like that Doctor Who quote, “The day you lose someone isn’t the worst. At least you’ve got something to do. It’s all the days they stay dead.”
Nana, I wish you were here every day and I know that your life mattered for everyone. I think when you’re out of your mind you experience the most clarity of your life. I miss you so much.