LIGHT OF HOPE
13 MAY ’96
I slide and swim around inside this watery bath. It’s been quite a while since I’m here, no one is saving me. I don’t want to be stuck here any longer. Even though it is fun and soothing to swim and slide along the slippery walls, I’m tired of having the same routine everyday. There is no smell and no light is shining on me, I can only rely on my other senses to survive. My stomach is growling like a lion, just in time, these weird substances fill my tummy through a tube. I can’t move much because of this tube, it’s like a leash for me. I feel like I’m in prison and this is the tiny cell I have. I get so lonely at times, I don’t have anyone to talk to. But sometimes, if I try hard enough, I can hear the outside world. They keep saying ‘Stephanie’, I wonder what that means. Melodies and catchy rhythm fills my ears at noon, the tunes are different each day. Every time those beats stings my ears, I close my eyes and let it capture me in awe. I’m tired and bored of being in this tiny damp place for too long. With these two small things on the side of my body and two other things at the bottom of my body, I make my way down as low as possible. This leash is tight up to me good, I can’t go any further. I’m starting to lose hope. The walls are slippery, but not enough for me to swim further easily. With as much energy I have, I keep pushing myself to keep swimming in order to find a light of hope. I kick in every direction. Wait a minute, I can hear something. Someone out here is saying “breathe, slowly, push”. My tiny mind question the identity of the person who is saying that. I feel like I finally have a motivation to survive. Someone out there, whoever it is, wants me to swim and get out from this dark place. I swim as fast as lightning. The voices just get louder and louder. I can finally see a light of hope shining. Finally, light! I am awaken from darkness. I look back and it’s pitch black, there’s no turning back now. The leash is pulling on me as strong as a dinosaur but I don’t care. I finally have a motivation to live and I’m going to go after it!
13 MAY ’96
I’m stuck, I need help! The walls aren’t as slippery and wide as before. It’s so tightly packed. I can’t push or kick myself towards the light, I can’t even move. Desperation starts attacking my mind. “Come on, a little more now,” the familiar voice repeats. Right away, I wake up from desperation and strive for success. I use anything that I can to push myself up. The light is getting bigger and the voice is getting louder. The next thing I know is, I’m moving like a fish. I’m so close, I bet I can touch the light now. But these two things in the side of my body are stuck. Without them, I can’t make the last push and enter the outside world. I try every trick to do my last push but each time I only move a millimeter. Suddenly a push came from beneath me and out I go. I wriggle around these hands that are holding me. I haven’t quite make it to the outside world yet. These things that stick to the bottom of my body, legs I think, they’re stuck. It turns out that I’m only halfway out! What should I do? The warmth from the giant hands pull me and my legs out of the dark hole. I am now in the outside world with colors and music. The leash isn’t a problem anymore, it’s gone. And I’m FREE!outside world yet. These things that stick to the bottom of my body, legs I think, they’re stuck. It turns out that I’m only halfway out! What should I do? The warmth from the giant hands pull me and my legs out of the dark hole. I am now in the outside world with colors and music. The leash isn’t a problem anymore, it’s gone. And I’m FREE!
Magical white glitters As I step out to the cold asphalt, I’m just wishing that tiny white glitters would decorate the sky. The soft freezing white snow spill all over the ground of this sushi loving country. Footsteps are found all over the white landfill. Screams, laughter and pure joy from the kids around me stings my ears. The streets are crowded and slippery. is it just me or these boots are just not made for walking. Every time I step into the snow, the harder it is for my tiny feet to escape from its bite. “You know what’s perfect? Snow angels!” a high-pitched voice strikes my ears. I’m not holding anything back. I jump to the cozy thick snow with my extended arms and long legs in an up and down motion. I don’t know how long it takes to form a general snow angel. I’m new to these things. It’s my first time having these magical white glitters all over my body. I figure it’s time for me to wake up from this snow angel dream. “Hey, mine’s all messed up. What’s up with that?” “Haha! Mine isn’t!” The high-pitched voice seems to sting my ears even more, as it is added with a sprinkle of irritation. The voice is so familiar to my ears, it’s my little sister’s. Little sisters will always annoy you no matter what. And this particular little sister’s name is Jessie ‘the annoying’ Tania. I bend down to feel the tiny white glitters. I stare at them as they melt and as the sparkles of water run down my arm. I’m lost in my own world watching and touching these delicate white glitters. A cold round ball hits the side of my head with a thud. The world suddenly starts to whirl around me. Blackness starts to fade into my mind. “Well what are you waiting for? Throw one back!” Colors begin to bleach my mind again. The coldness of the snow attacks my body. I’m using both of my hands to form my first snowball ever. It’s not round and perfect, but it’s good enough. I take a leap of faith and throw the small white ball to Jessie as hard as I can. Joy is all over my body, I’m ecstatic. Honks of cars break the joyous atmosphere around me. A calm and soothing smell is coming from a grocery store near us. I can’t help but let the smell swoon and sweep me off my feet. I close my eyes and let the smell control my body and fly me off to the grocery store.
Hot lemon tea in a cold breezy weather is just amazing. The hot tea warms my throat and goes right down to my stomach. The hotness jitters and spreads around my body. I am now energized. I step outside the grocery store with my thick clothes wrap around my body like a cocoon. I soon catch up with my sister, realizing that she’s in a process of making a snowman. I just notice that I can’t even make a snowman. I don’t know what kind of TV shows my sister watches, but she learn how to make snowmans from them. I don’t like the fact that my little sister is trying to boss me around, but for the sake of these tiny white glitters I’ll do anything. I try to imitate what Jessie is doing by rolling these tiny white glitters until they form a huge ball. I’m not even sure if humans can sweat in a cold breezy weather like this, though I’m positive I am. With a massive amount of hard work, I finally finish making the most beautiful inanimate creature ever. Playing with these tiny white glitters are one of the most fun things ever in my life. I’m in love with them. But if someday I get frost bites, it’ll be one of the worst things I ever play with in my life!
My little monsters and beasts “Come on now, get out of the car, will you?” my mom’s stern voice echoes my ears. The sky seem so dark, the clouds are roaring, a gloomy monday morning it is for me. I don’t know what to expect. New faces, new buildings, new atmosphere, new everything. After ten devastating seconds, I manage to grab the soft door handle of my car and slowly open it. As soon as I open the entrance door of the building that seems to be a metaphor of a new life, coldness of the new clean steel handle shocks my fingers. The ceramic tiles seem to make a loud unnecessary noise when I step on them. Lots of things are running through my mind. I don’t want to hold my mom’s hand because I don’t want to make a first impression of a baby to my supposedly new friends. Step by step is torture, as I get closer to what is potentially a living hell. My mom tries to give me a pep talk about happiness, rainbows and unicorns or something like that. I wish I believe her, I really do. I’m just seconds away from arriving to a dark room with beasts that will determine if this place will be a living hell or heaven. When I open another door, the coldness of the steel handle just seem to bite my hand even more. A drift of nervousness stings my body, my legs will not move. The atmosphere change in a split second. The air conditioner touches my skin like snow flakes, which freezes me ten times more than before. Same goes for the ringing of the ceramic tiles. Goosebumps attack my skin. I am now face to face with what seems like the beasts. “Why don’t you take a seat there?” Those are the first words that reach my ears, they are said so soft and calmly. It’s as if I can see a light of hope that this won’t be a living hell. The tension rises while little monsters that will determine my destiny are staring at me with their beady eyes. The breeze from the air conditioner strokes my skin. The rough carpet invites my steps onto a hard grey chair. Christabel, Audrey, Danny. Those are the names that strike my eyes.
“Umm.. what do we have to do?” the words I’m trying to pronounce stutter against my mouth. My lips are too tense to curl and form a delicate smile. A voice as gentle as a butterfly whips my ears, “We have to draw a map of the school.” I soon find out that the name of that little monster’s is Audrey. Audrey seems nice, but looks can be deceiving. The tik toks are louder every second. The recess bell finally rings, freeing me from the dead cold prison. Whispers, chats, and screaming stings my ears. Children’s footsteps echoes the cold marble floors with a speed of 100km/h. It’s horrifying enough that I don’t know where to sit in the cafeteria on the first day of potentially a living hell. “Hey come sit here!” That voice again. “Aww thanks Audrey” My stomach is grumbling as loud as a lion’s roar. Though, I have butterflies in my tummy, they don’t want me to feed them. The spaghetti bolognese and fried rice smells like prison food. I don’t want to be a risk taker on a day like this. I choose to feed the butterflies in my tummy some fruit salad. “Back to reality, huh Audrey?” “Yeah, we have to head back.” The hard grey chairs, wooden tables, rough carpet and of course, the beasts awaits us. “Now now, it is half day today. You can go home. I hope you had a great first day”. “More like the first day of living hell”, I whisper to myself “I had fun with you today. This place ain’t that bad. We should definitely sit together tomorrow,” the gentle voice is starting to be familiar to my ears. Maybe she’s not a little monster after all. Maybe they all aren’t little monsters. Maybe those aren’t beasts. And maybe, just maybe, this won’t be a living hell.
The Giant Eiffel
I step out of the taxi with layered clothes on, immediately the breeze whistles and the wind howls loudly at me. Goosebumps attack my skin quicker than lightning. I look up and realize that I’m face to face with a giant monster made of steel. The head of the giant is too tall for a dwarf like me to see. I think to myself, what a wonderful creature it is with its majestic features. It’s an old creature but a strong one at that. As I walk on the path towards the elevators, the cold floor echoes my excitement. With steps as big as a dinosaur and a wide curve on my face, I press the up arrow elevator button. I tilt my head to have a better view of the elevator. The elevator goes down as slow as a snail. The glass door opens right in front of my face; I promptly move my long legs and step inside the mouth of the giant snail. Soon a crowd follows me and the giant snail is full of bodies. As the giant snail takes us up to the first floor of the monster, I slide my hand over the steel monster. The coldness of the grey colored steel bites my skin. I look up and realize that I’m conquering the giant monster. I look down and enjoy the view of people as tiny as ants, now I feel like a giant myself. The stench of people’s perfumes mixes and forms the odor in the giant snail’s mouth. Ding Dong, the sound of the elevator rings in my ears. I’m so anxious; I’m the first one to get out of the mouth of the giant snail, before it eats me again.
“Mom, we’re having lunch right?” “Yes honey” my mom replies in a soft sweet voice. “Table for five please,” says my dad to the waitress. “Bonjour, follow me please,” The busyness of the kitchen distracts me from following my family up a long staircase. The smell of chocolate cake and wine lingers around me. I close my eyes and let the smell sooth into me. The next thing I realize is I’m flying towards the location of where the smell is coming from. A pat in my back shocks me to death. My older brother pulls my hand while I look back and pierce my eyes at what seems like food heaven. After it takes me ten years to go up the long staircase, I sit beside my little sister in our table of five. I look at the long list of food in the menu. Even glancing at the name of the food attracts my attention, oh the dilemma. But after some hesitation, I pick the duck seasonal salad, seared salmon fillet and risotto with broad beans, and last but not least the Eiffel cake with praline and chocolate. I purposely pick the window seat. I stare down and think this is what it feels like to be as tall as a giant. I contemplate for too long, and I don’t realize my food is already on the table. It smells incredible, the smell of chocolate and salmon slaps my face right away. The food looks scrumptious, I take the spoon and dig in to food heaven without hesitation. WOW the first bite of the duck salad stings my taste buds, in a good way though. It’s so mouthwatering. The first few bites of the seared salmon and risotto is finger-licking good! And don’t get me to start about the chocolate cake. The dark chocolate melts in my mouth, the crunch of the praline gives a texture to my taste buds. I wash all the leftover taste in my mouth with a drench of soothing hot tea. As I get up from the chair and walk down the staircase from food heaven, it hits me how much I’ll miss the extraordinary lunch up there. Now I have to enter the mouth of the giant snail again. Back to reality.
The Biggest Regret
Screams attack my ears even before I step out of the car. Just as I predict, the screams stings my ears even more after I open the cold door of Nadia’s car. I can feel the tension of the amazing crowd and I haven’t even gone inside the stadium yet. Three of my friends and I are hoping for a big spacey stadium, and a great concert where we can sing along to. But what we get instead is a massive crowd. Strangers’ sweat are sticking to my skin and I’m not even in the stadium yet. I’m still queuing up to get inside the black hole. I patiently wait until it is my turn for the crew to check the authentication of my concert ticket and to be let in the stadium. Me and my friends desperately try to stay close to each other, linking arms trying not to separate. With a million tiny ant steps, and just what I want, we arrive in this big spacey stadium. In less than thirty minutes, I’m going to be crowd-to-face with one of the singers I look up to since my elementary years. I can’t bottle up my emotions anymore. I jump up and down, screams bursting out of my mouth, hitting three of my friends’ arms. There is a crowd waiting for us to join with open arms. Though, we can’t stand too close to the stage because the crowd is as big as a dinosaur. In a few minutes, we are apart of the dinosaur-sized crowd with more people around us than before. It feels like a century, and every time I take a peek at my watch it realizes me at how slow the time is passing. It’s been thirty minutes already, 7 o’clock just pass and the concert is suppose to start. The crowd is growling. Just when we think the magnificent Avril Lavigne is running to the stage and going to entertain us with her amazing music, it turns out that it’s just the stage crew testing out the musical instruments. The noises that comes out of the musical instruments gives me a glimpse at how awesome the concert will be. But with every beat, echoes a thump in my head. My head is beating me up, my legs are wiggling, sweat runs down my forehead to my neck.
“When is this concert going to start? It’s past 7 and I’m dying in the midst of this massive crowd!” “You think we’re not?” Christabel answer with an upside down smile in their faces. It’s been two hours since my legs are planted on this wooden floor. With hard work, I turn my head to the back and what I see is not only a dinosaur-sized crowd, now it triples! I lay my head on Nadia’s shoulders hoping to find comfort and to stop these thumps in my head. The difference it makes is as tiny as an ant. A stranger’s sweat lingers on my skin. The crowd is so tight that the stranger’s hair beside me is sticking on to the sweat on my arm. As I’m struggling to pull away from her hair, I bump to another stranger’s back. So this is what it feels like being a patty in between buns. “Water, please!” a stranger’s voice in front of me stings my ears. It only takes two seconds until everyone chants for water. The crew is giving out water to the crowd. Christabel takes water for me and Carissa because we’re both dying. Touching the bottle feels like I just reached a peak of a mountain, oh the relief and joy. With anxiousness, I gulp while trying to open the lid of the plastic bottle. With the little amount of energy I have left, I bring my hands up just enough for the bottle to reach my chap lips. The colorless liquid fresh my dry throat, I gulp and gulp and gulp. OH NO. The mineral water turns to poison in my body. I’ve been holding it well but I guess not well enough. The mineral water together with my lunch is going up my intestines 100km per second! Christabel quickly notices my nauseousness and calls for the crew to save me from the crowd of animals. With pushing and shoving, I finally get to the fence that stands between these animals and freedom. One of the crew guys pull me up the fence into what I believe is freedom, no more animal sweats and hair sticking on my body, no more pushing and shoving, just pure space. I space out and forget that I’m about to vomit. Getting to the clinic is going to be tough work so I vomit in a dark corner where the animals won’t reach us because of the magestic fence. “If we stay here long enough, maybe Avril Lavigne will finally come out and it’s gonna be like we’re getting front row VIP seats!” my nauseous friend Carissa turns out to be behind me. “We just vomited and that’s what you can think about?” “Dude, I didn’t pay that much money to just come here and vomit in a dark corner!” “We’re going to take you to the clinic now. Just follow us and we’ll guard your path towards the exit” one of the crew says. As I hesitatingly enter the crowd of animals, I do it anyway. Just when I’m about to touch the cold handles of the exit door, I suddenly hear the beats of a bass and thumps of a drum. A pretty skinny figure runs in to the middle of the stage waving her hair left and right, holding the mic gracefully saying “Are you ready Jakartaaaa?” “WHAT? NO!” Bam, exit door shuts.
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