Fiction #9

continued  from Fiction #8*

I had never felt this new, this shiny and different I stuck out, I didn’t dress like anyone, I had a plain t-shirt and jeans on, my hair was pulled back in a bun, I hadn’t worn makeup since the service in Manila, my eyes were permanently puffy, raw and tired. I walked into the homeroom, 30 people stopped moving, 30 pairs of eyes stared at me, making me feel so very visible.

I was motioned to take a seat in the back beside a guy with black eyeliner, black hair, and the wildest pointy shoes I had ever seen. He looked at me curiously, I tried not to make eye contact, I just wanted to get through the day. The principal was making announcements over the P.A system, I didn’t understand what was going on, until everyone stood up at once, the national anthem began to play. I tried to stay still, to block it out, but tears began to fall, as the anthem began. I hadn’t heard the anthem since the service, I began to shake. I needed to move, to run, but I was terrified to bring more attention to myself. As soon as the anthem stopped, I sat down, and brought my backpack to my lap to hug it. I didn’t know how I was going to get through this.

The day dragged on, I got lost in the halls a couple of times, but managed to make it to every class. I had no idea what class I was going to and from, it just seemed to bleed into one, and it was all the same, everyone stared, but no one spoke to me. I just wanted to run home, only home was an ocean away, and home was no longer mine, and there were no parents to great me. My feeling of nausea came over me again, it would be a feeling I would know too well, and would never really go away.

I had been sitting drinking my coffee with Elsa, recalling those first moments of being stripped of everything I knew, and having to somehow be Canadian. I spent a year at a Vancouver highschool, I had been lucky, I was able to skip ahead, and leave as quickly as I came.

I looked up at Elsa, and told her “I never knew you and Andrew wanted me to stay with you, Aunty Pam never told me. She was so desperate for my to stay with her, she tried everything in her power to hold onto me, but she was never Mum. As soon as I could, I ran to University, and only called and visited when I knew I had to. Henry and I had to cut off everything diplomatic to survive, me more so. Funny enough, I ended up writing the entrance exam almost as a joke, and when I got called in for an interview, I thought well, maybe it is meant to be. Almost like I have been patching things up ever since.”

Andrew came in rambling about needing coffee, he looked around and looked at the empty coffee pot with a sour look on his face. He quietly began to put on a fresh pot, and then turned to us, his sour face broke out into a smile. He threw the newspaper at me and said “did you read this drivel this morning, can you imagine?” I just looked down and realized another political scandal had been splashed on the front page. My eyes were tired, and my brain hurt from thinking about the past. I got up and stretched, I smiled at this weird, but familiar kitchen routine. I quickly excused myself and went back up to my room and pulled on some jeans, a sweater and wellies. I made it out of the front door so quickly, I didn’t see the dog follow me out the door. I just needed to take a walk. I walked around, and followed the stream that ran behind the house, my earphones blasting once more full of music.

I must have lost track of time, or was off in my own world, the moment Will came up beside me and touched my arm, I jumped back to quickly, tripped and ended up sitting in mud.

“well, you haven’t changed much, still scare easily, and once again, you have sat on mud.” Will stood over me, laughing hysterically, giving me his hand to take. I grabbed it, got up, took my leg, bent it around his knees sending him into the mud. His laugher quickly stopped with a snort of surprise. It was my turn to laugh at him, and point out “well, I have learned a few tricks along the way.” As I laughed, he grabbed my arms and pulled me back down laughing.

We both sat in a massive mud puddle, laughing hysterically until we realized how cold we were getting.

We slowly got up, and made our way back to the house, we saw a flash of muddy dog run ahead of us, our laughter was quickly met with an angry Elsa at the door, screaming at us to go to the back door. We went around the back door, Elsa held out a laundry hamper, extra dressing gowns, and ordered us to turn away and strip off our muddy clothes, and stop acting like children. We turned away from each other, and did as we were told. She then began to berate us for behaving like we were 5, to go upstairs and have showers, and then come back down when we were appropriately dressed because they had company on their way over for brunch.

I broke down and began giggling again, and couldn’t stop, Wills kept looking at me shaking his head, trying to disguise the smile he was trying so very hard not show his Mother. Elsa looked at me with an eyebrow raised, looking at me with a disapproving look, but couldn’t stop herself from smiling either, we were all having a deja vous moment, Wills and I were always coming back to be scolded by Elsa in the exact same fashion.

In that moment, I realized, I was home.


Fiction #8

Continuation from Fiction #7

I boarded that flight from Manila to Hong Kong, my head held high, the cool recycled air was welcoming compaired to the sticky humidity I was leaving. I took my seat, and stared out the window. I was alone, so very alone and absolutely terrified. Nothing over the last week seemed to sink in completely, I felt like I had been constantly punched, harder and harder, yet I couldn’t feel anything. My eyes were burning from crying, my head pounded constantly. I looked out to a country I knew so well, and the only home I understood, I had no idea what I would find when I got to Vancouver, I had only lived in Ottawa, and my 3 years there in elementary school was my only introduction to Canada and its culture.

I must have slept walked through both flights and transfer, what felt like an eternity, also seemed to pass at light speed. I got off the flight and made my way to the meeting area. There was my Aunt, Auntie Pam, perfectly manicured, in a perfectly ironed red jumpsuit with gold buttons and a pair of pearls, her blonde hair was perfectly curled, she smiled tightly. She was everything my Mother wasn’t, she woke up perfectly manicured and ready to plan everyone’s life like the Stepford wives. While my Mother played the part of Ambassador’s wife in a wild eccentric way, my Aunt was quite demure, and the perfect White Anglo Saxon wife (WASP), my Mother was loud, brash, studied every language, volunteered, and had her PHD, she never conformed, and embraced every culture a person just as they were. My Auntie Pam  on the other hand, was controlling, very proper and reserved, without an ounce of imagination or humour in life, not to say she wasn’t full of love, she was, her children were everything, and she loved my Mother fiercely, she just didn’t understand my Mother’s lifestyle.

My Auntie Pam hugged me, holding back tears. She quickly ushered me out of the airport, the temperature was cool, and rainy. I had been there several times through the years, but it never left a lasting impression on me. I only had a suitcase, I had no idea when I would see the rest of my clothing, or furniture. The packers came and quickly packed up the house in Manila, but no one told me what would happen to all the things in storage, or when I would see anything that had been packed.

Auntie Pam spoke nervously and quickly. She had organized for me to start school in a week, the sooner I started the better off I would be in settling in. The whole drive to Tsawwassen (a suburb of Vancouver), my Aunt did not stop talking, I blocked out her nervous chatter and stared out the window. It looked so foreign in its neatly organized lanes, groomed lawns, and openness.

We pulled up to my Aunts house, only a few lights were on, it was pretty late at night. I looked at the house with its modern lines, beautifully groomed lawn, and felt like I was in the wrong neighbourhood. My Aunt ushered me into the house, her chatter non stop, she brought me to the spare room, where I had spent many weeks over the years, usually bored. It was a hospital white, with dark wood floors, a plane dark sleigh bed, white sheets and white comforter, a tiny white bedside table, and a small closet. There was a small en suite bathroom, which was a welcome relief, at least I didn’t have to share a bathroom with my cousins. The room was sad in its plainness, it had no personality, spark. It felt naked, just like me.

I didn’t know what else to do, but sit on the bed, hoping Auntie Pam would just stop talking and leave me alone. Auntie Pam finally stopped and looked at me.

“Sorry dear, I know this is overwhelming, we will figure it out, I promise.”

I nodded, making no effort to smile.

Auntie Pam left and closed the door, leaving me alone again. I stripped off my clothes got into the shower to clean up, I sat in the shower shaking, unable to cry. When I finally got out, I got into a t-shirt and sweatpants and sat by the window looking out into the ocean, an ocean that connected my old life with my new one. I must have finally noded off sitting up, because I woke up with my head on the window and a horrible pain creeping up my legs and spine. I got up and looked at the clock, it was 6am. I went to find a sweatshirt and running shoes.

I left out the front door, and began to run, letting the cold air numb my thoughts and focus just on my steps. I knew this route, it had been a savior during the boring weeks I had to visit family over the summer when we were abroad. The more I ran, the more everything went numb. I made my way back to my Auntie Pam’s house, where I found my Aunt sitting on the front step with a cup of coffee, looking perfectly put together. As I approached, she quickly told me that she had to drop off my cousins at school, and run errands. My uncle had left early for work, and would see me later. Auntie Pam asked if I would be o.k alone for a while.

I nodded. I was soaked from a mixture of rain and perspiration.

I walked in, went to my room and went back into the shower, crying and heaving. I didn’t understand this life or this world.

The week leading up to my first day of Canadian school was a blur. The only time I felt anything was at night, when my dragon would wake up and need to be fed. Every night, my dragon would keep me awake, hungry for my anxiety, and wouldn’t go to sleep until the morning I had to get ready for school.

Like a normal morning, I got ready for school, the routine was to wake up, get dressed, stuff my face and head out the door. This time, Uncle Tom was dropping me off, making sure I knew where I was going. I stood at the front of the massive charcoal grey structure, with a massive Canadian flag flying. It was time to put on a brave face, and become invisible, a skill I was good at using when starting a new school.

I walked in and made my way to homeroom, all eyes on me, fixed on me.