Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A Case of Curious Coincidences (Part 7)

Crystal’s lips stretched thinly as she emerged at the arrival hall of Adelaide Airport with her luggage. She resembled a zombie with her pale complexion and swollen eyes. She gulped with sadness when she saw a crowd of people waiting with exuberance to embrace their loved ones and immediately turned away. She took a deep breath to stabilize her emotions. The scene reminded her of her last night in Edmonton and how she turned down her roommate’s request to send her to the airport. If she didn’t exercise self-control, this could spiral into a full blown crying episode and it was in her best interest to avoid it. Her body was already in urgent need of sleep, especially after she endured cross-country flights that included brief stops in Vancouver and Sydney, two time zones, and a severe jet lag waiting to pounce on her.

“I am out of my mind,” she muttered under her breath.

The last four months or so that she spent in University of Alberta opened her eyes to a new horizon, but an important question lingered. How was she to resume her studies in Adelaide after this? She had panicked the moment she received the momentous news as it meant that there was no turning back. But her common sense had prevailed. A semester without Ryan’s presence would allow her to think and live a portion of her dream, which was to further her education in Canada. Make that two semesters - since he would be in good ole Auckland this time.

She stole a peek at her watch at this thought, which read that it was already hitting noon, and patiently indulged in her book while she waited for her mother to collect her. Thank God classes start in a fortnight, she rationalized. Or I’ll be a dead woman walking.

*

Her head ached with the fury of someone deprived of sleep the moment she neared the tutorial room for her core course. If she thought that she was able to mentally snap back into shape in a fortnight, she was proven wrong. The obstreperous volume of multiple conversations between the students flowed into the hallway. An indication that most of the students were present and waited for the tutor to show his or her face. The sight of a table and desktop computer welcomed her as she made her way in. It was a smaller room with little space for movements without trampling over each other. She instantly recognized a couple of faces in the crowd and fixed a smile with her focus on Trace, who was seated at the far end of the room and doodling on her notepad. It didn’t matter if she was a familiar face to them either. To her, they were all students churning their own grades.

“Trace,” Crystal greeted.

“Hey,” Trace replied and transferred her bag to the floor. “Thank God you arrived on time. I was worried that you’d be late… especially after such a long flight.”

“Oh, I was already back since a fortnight ago. It gave me enough time to recuperate from the jet lag. How’s things?”

“Quite okay. How was Edmonton?”

“Yeah, it was manageable. Experienced my first and only snow. An eye-opener of all sorts.”

“You know, Fate threw me in the same tutorial as him for Administrative Law.” Trace shook her head with a sigh. “The poor chap looked like someone extinguished the fire in his candle. Couldn’t help but think that you were the reason.”

“Oh, please. As if.”

“You never know…”

*

Her hands shook with trepidation the moment she entered the law building for her final semester. A few more months, and she’d be done with the entirety of her degree. But there was something else waiting for her at the finish line: the prospect of running into Ryan at the graduation ceremony. She hadn’t given him much thought during her sophomore year, but Fate served her with ideas of its own. Her smile was wiped off her face when she caught sight of Ryan entering the room with his mate. She hunched over and discreetly hid her face behind her Mac, pretending that her concentration was on her computer screen. History part two, she thought. Fate is definitely screwing with me again. Tracy will have fun with this. For sure.

She knew that she needed a change of plans when her tutor entered the room with a large folder. An indication that class was about to start. She decided to give Ryan the cold shoulder and feigned that he was a stranger to her. It was a tactic that he once used on her and she accidentally snapped in his face with the same method. She focused on her own things … until he approached her during the tutorial break.

“Hello, Crystal. It’s a surprise to see you here.”

Crystal forced a laugh. “Yeah, I wasn’t expecting to share a class with you again either. How’s Auckland?”

“You remembered. It was better than I imagined. There is something comforting and welcoming about the aura that makes you want to return again.”

“I know that feeling. It’s a smaller country, but you won’t feel constricted.”

His eyes widened with shock. “How’d you know?”

“Come.” She gingerly closed her laptop and rose to her full height. “We’ve another eight minutes. Let’s continue this conversation outside.”

It was moment later when they were out of earshot that she answered Ryan - although he noticed that she folded her arms and crossed her legs as she leaned against the wall for stability. “I’ve lived there for a while.”

She was uncomfortable, but over what, he was unsure. “Too bad you couldn’t be there then,” he muttered. “You’d have been the perfect tour guide then.”

She raised an eyebrow. “What’s that?”

“It’s nothing,” he backtracked. “I was just thinking that if I knew that you visited Auckland before, I would’ve asked you for recommendations and tips.”

“Oh.”

“Since it’s just us, can I ask you something?”

“Shoot.”

“Can we start over as friends? My time in Auckland has made me realized that we weren’t exactly fair to each other. For all of the grief that I may’ve caused you as a burro estupido, I am sincerely sorry.”

It meant stupid donkey in Spanish. Why he, as a French speaker, would refer to Spanish words in his apology was something she didn’t understood, but one thing was clear in her mind. Now that he made the first move of admitting his sins, she was more than willing to bury the hatchet and start over.

“Apology accepted. And I’m sorry for what I’ve done too.” She offered a handshake. “A truce?”

He took her proffered hand - smoother than tofu - in a heartbeat. “Yes.”

“Let’s return inside then. I don’t want our peers to frown at our late return.”

“Sure.” He pulled the door open and held it for her. “After you.”

“Thanks.”

Monday, August 21, 2017

To do or not to do, that's the question

It’s only Week 5 of the semester … and I honestly feel like I’ve bitten off more than I can chew with the placement of tutorials. Or maybe I’ve arrived at the stage where I’m forced out of my comfort zone. You know it spells disaster for a perfectionist when she feels inept and incapable of doing anything right. Nope, I’m not whining - just stating an obvious fact about me. I’d rather divert the complaints into the hauntingly emotional songs that I love. It’s not just that; I’m easily agitated and annoyed to the point where I’m not keen in spending more time on campus (unless it’s necessary, such as group projects/meetings or extra classes to catch up on the course content).


The recent holiday exposed a lot of uncertainties in my future plans that I’ll need to resolve asap. I’m having second thoughts about staying back for a postgraduate in creative writing. Someone will be happier than the shining lights if I do. More chances of spending time together. But my heart wants to leave. It wants to let the brain recover from the continuous pressures that I’ve subjected it to. At the rate I’m going, I don’t even know if I want to continue with the creative writing degree. No matter how much I love creative arts, stress will impede the creative flow. Looking at my current state of mind, I don’t think being a barrister could be a viable option either. I mean, the advocacy that I did as part of the course last semester left me wailing under the weather. Imagine if it has to be done on a professional basis. Barristers have to persuade the judge with their arguments that are referenced to statutes and case law. Something that I’m not a 100% confident in. You see, the last I debated with an acquaintance - in English class - in Taylor’s, emotions were thrown into the mix. I understand that it’ll be good to continue with the chambering, but the lights are dimming on it. It’s not helping my case that I’ve a couple more months before final year rolls around. And scaring me with the prospects of entering the workforce in a foreign place.

Should I be relieved? Yes and no. I can’t wait to be done, that’s for sure. My studies have definitely caused some personality changes. But in the event that things don’t go as planned, what am I to do? Rot under the sun and curse my luck? I’m a firm believer in that action will lead to changes. Not complaints. Just not sure if it’s true anymore.

Should I be apprehensive? A resounding yes. A lot is at stakes now. Miss one step - and it won’t just be me landing on my face in tears. (Okay, that could be an overstatement, but it is a possibility.) It’ll be my GPA who’ll accompany me this time. I must’ve buried my intelligence and common sense somewhere in the Malaysian soil before my university studies. Otherwise, I wouldn’t feel like I’m a stupid child running head first into an obstacle. A sign that I’m not in the right environment?


Believe it or not, the fact that I’ve crammed my Tuesdays with tutorials has upped my stress levels. It’s on the verge of testing my patience. I’m okay with the chosen courses, but it’s the timing that I’ve an issue with now. If someone warned me right after Administrative Law that things will slide at a rapid level and test my patience to the maximum, I’d have heeded the advice and approach penultimate year with caution. Can’t cry over spilt milk, can I? The only way around it to take the bull by its horns and ride with it.

From the way I look at it, this arrangement has led me to jump head-first into a sinkhole and a divine arrangement in more ways than one. Us breathing the same air again is not a mere coincidence - when it’s happened before and repeatedly. Truth be told, I think we’re exhausted from seeing each other’s faces all the time. It’ll be a matter of time before we snap each other’s necks in irritation. No wonder they said to be careful with what you wish for - because the opposite can happen instead.

And it did, sigh.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Case of Curious Coincidences (Part 6)

The topics of ethical issues in a fair trial was the choice that they wanted for the class presentation.. Because it was a complicated topic that required countless research, the other groups dropped this in favor of other ones. This allowed Crystal and Ryan to work as a team with another two students on this.

Once their presentation was done and dealt with, she breathed a sigh of relief and returned to her seat. She felt the nerves strangling her throat and shaking her alive towards the end of her piece, as if she could’ve engaged with her materials in a confident manner. It was after the tutor announced that the seminar was done for the weeks that she slid to the front and gathered the handouts that her peers left behind. It would’ve gone to waste if she didn't bring it home with her as rough papers.

Her breath caught in her throat when she spied Ryan loitering outside the smaller lecture theatre. He was waiting for someone. It’s just that she didn't know who. She rearranged the folder that she carried like a baby and tried to pass him unnoticed. Dealing with him on academic matters was alright, but she ensured that she was out of his way whenever they were out of class. She rationalised that it was probably a friend he waited for and lowered her head, not wanting him to notice her. It was their final week of classes and he was probably relieved that he’d see the back of her for the semester.

“Crystal!”

She stopped in her tracks when she heard her name. With a deep breath, she turned to face him with a smile. “Hey, Ryan.”

“Thank you so much for making the presentation a success. You were the last presenter and the execution rested solely on your shoulders.”

“Thanks. You weren’t too shabby either. In fact, you did better than myself.”

“You think so?”

She nodded. She finally saw him for who he was in that instant. Behind all the facade and seriousness was someone friendly and warm. The air of tension that wrapped him melted into one of easiness, as if they were friends since young. The notion that he called her name was indicative of it. It dawned on her that he allowed her to see another side of him - one that only his close friends know - without the presence of their friends. He wore a grin that not even a scouring pad could wipe off. His eyes were softer and friendlier although it was in the direction of the staircase behind her. “Let’s make a move.”

“Sure.” As they walked down together, he continued speaking. “There’s something I am curious on.”

“Okay?”

“What made you bolt out of the lecture all of a sudden? You looked as if someone dipped you in hot sauce.”

She sighed. Although he didn’t explicitly refer to a certain week of lectures, she knew which one he referred to. It was the only time that they sat in close distance, almost side by side. She moved a couple of seats away from her original one when it was occupied by a straggler. He sat towards the back row and in the middle seat. She never expected him to have noticed her quick departure. By this time, they arrived at the ground floor foyer, where he continued to wait for her response.

He sensed her hesitance and in a crowded area like this, she would never spill. “It’s okay,” he whispered, “if you don’t want to talk about it.”

She saw the concern etched in his eyes, but she never spoke of it. Not even to Trace. “It reminded me of a touchy situation,” she simply replied. “I’ve a brunch date to catch, Good luck for the exams and I’ll see you around.”

“Thanks. You too.”

She nodded again and took her leave.

As Ryan watched her rushing out of the building faster than lightning, he couldn’t help but shake his head. The more he thought that he finally understood her, the more she never failed to amaze him with another side of her. Although her Instagram and Twitter accounts illustrated nothing negative in her life, she flinched when he innocently scraped the surface of a scab. It must’ve been something bad or she wouldn’t have signed and paled.

He had to give her the credit. He never could decipher her true thoughts in their limited time working together. It was as if he was looking at his reflection in the mirror, which only fuelled his desire to know the Crystal off-campus. He craved to know her core courses next semester because he wanted to be in the same presentation group as her. There was no motive there; in fact, it served as mutual benefit due to their familiarity with each other’s work ethics.

*

His lips curled into a smile when he saw her sitting on the table near the locked doors of the exhibition hall six weeks later. Papers were strewn around her with a folder in front of her. She frowned with annoyance and stress at the prospect of a difficult paper. Although she looked like she wanted to be left alone, he gambled with the risk and headed in her direction.

“Excuse me, Crystal. Can I have a word with you?”

Crystal looked up at the voice in front of her. “Yeah, I guess. Let me push the papers -”

“It’s fine, i’ll be quick. Are you taking any core courses next semester?”

“Wow. You really can’t wait.” A half-smile emerged on her face. “Sorry to disappoint you, but no. I’m doing my electives abroad.”

A flash of sadness swept through his face. “Oh, okay. Where, if I may ask?”

“Edmonton, Canada.”

“That’s half a world away! You should have considered Auckland.”

That was my first choice, she thought. You made a decision for me without me even having a chance to say anything. “Well,” she answered. “I did, but …. I figured since it was only for a semester, it’s alright to live a little on the dangerous side. Hence the choice of Edmonton. Why, are you going to Auckland?”

Her answer threw him off-guard. “I -”

“It’s okay, Ryan. I overheard your conversation with your friend. You’re going there next year.”

“I didn't expect our conversation to be that loud."

She forced a laugh. "It's hard not to ignore when it's so close to your ears."

He sighed. "In that case, I think I better let you return to your revision. Keep in touch via Facebook, yeah?”

“Will do.”

“Good luck for the paper!”

“Thanks.” She smiled. “All the best!”

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Welcome back!

Hello guys, I’m back!

Never will I consider an early morning flight again. I understand that it might be much cheaper (the difference is minimal; what’s more important is the timing that you purchase it), but I'm just not an avid lover of it. It took me longer than expected - my entire weekend!!! - to recuperate from the sleep deprivation and time difference. Imagine that I almost missed my first tutorial because of this!

I personally don’t have any issues with the hours spent on the flight (well, only the narrowed space) because I know how to entertain myself. My peeve lies with selfish passengers who either forgot their manners or treat the seat like they own it. Paying for it doesn’t mean buying it. The passenger seated in front of me decided to invade my space by reclining his seat to the maximum. This conduct almost knocked me on the head because I was using the tray for my notepad, grr. Like dude, I understand that you want to catch your beauty sleep, but … limits! You wouldn’t like it if I confront you on this, so please spare a thought for neighbor behind you on your next flight.

If there’s something that I’ve learnt from my frequent travels, it’s never to drink beer or wine without food. The alcohol percentage went straight to my brain and knocked me out cold… to the point where I sprained my neck while I slept. I didn’t even know it happened until the cabin lights shone at me. (It didn’t help; the effects were worsened the minute I left the airport. To cut a long story short, I slept. And slept until mid-afternoon.)

The short time spent abroad was alright. Three weeks is not enough for a relaxing holiday. I don’t do well when I’m cooped up in boredom. I won’t say that it melted all of the stress in my cells. In fact, I dreaded the return flight for reasons I can’t divulge. You could probably say that I want to run from my responsibilities. There’s too much on my plate this semester (no thanks to workload and familiar faces) and I don’t know if I’ve the patience to deal with everything. I intentionally skipped the first week of lectures due to this… and I wasn’t even bothered by it. It was enough to minimize the scope of the stress levels, I guess. I’ve to think thrice about following my heart when it comes to traveling. It’s not fun at all…

So, here’s to hoping that the semester treats me well and I don’t land on my face!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Layered Dream

Okay, this was a dream that occurred a couple of weeks, but I forgot to write about this because my head caved in from the stress of exam results. A lot rode on my performance on the paper… and it led me to alternate between fear and relief. Fear of failing. Relief at being done with another semester.

I dreamt that the three of us were in a room, attending either a lecture or a tutorial. There were no specific indicators on the location. The person who spoke wore glasses… and resembled a lecturer. My sister and I were seated together in the middle row. As he rambled on the weekly course contents and nature of the topics with the speed of a bullet train, I struggled to transcribe each word that was thrown at us. My heart froze when I spied the caricature of someone familiar behind us.

It wasn’t until the break time that I gained the courage to turn my back and sustained a loss of speech. It was him. The person I never expected to meet again. Even my sister repeated that it was impossible. He leaned against the swivel chair and adopted a relaxed aura as his focus was on something else. He looked exceptionally carefree. This revelation made me uneasy as I didn’t want to be in such close proximity as him. Whatever crap I did on the screen, he’d be able to notice.

In the next scene, I loitered in a shaded area as other people minded their business with grocery shopping. A wave of awkwardness washed over me when my phone pierced the simultaneous conversations with its cries. I had left it with the cashier to borrow her phone charger while I killed time. I muttered my excuse and apologies for the interruption. My eyes furrowed when it was a notification, informing me that a friend shared ‘something from the past’. What past, I didn't know. I didn’t have the privacy or time to take a peek at it.

Although the person’s identity was revealed in the dream, I’ll not name him on the public sphere to accord some protection to him. As I later found out, it was indeed a premonition of what was to come. The stranger is in the same stream of core course as me and we’re bound to cross paths again. I had my suspicions late last year… but I guess it is what it is now. Plus, he’ll only know about it on the day itself.

For the second scene, I’d like to think that it's a case of randomness. Knowing how notifications work, you’re only informed if you’ve been tagged or if it concerns you. ‘Something from the past’ could be anything from the sun to the moon… unless it’s years in the future when we’re reflecting on our past and friendship. If that’s the case, then maybe it’s the group hangouts that he might be missing. Again, it’s vaguer than a tinted window for me to interpret.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

A Case of Curious Coincidences (Part 5)

The new year may’ve been celebrated with the beautiful display of fireworks and resolutions, but it brought more challenges for Crystal to conquer. Not only was she emotionally drained from the intensity of working and studying, her academic timetable was in tatters. Accommodating her job, classes, and social time required her to devote more time than she desired on campus.

Her heart sank three feet further into her stomach and she buried her face in her hands at the revelation that Fate threw her and Ryan into the same tutorial yet again. It wasn’t the respite she hoped for because it strained and wore her patience out to have dealt with him for the entire year. Sure, she went to extreme lengths to convince herself that Ryan didn’t harbor any grudges against her. His erratic approach towards her was the result of his temperament and the continuous stress of excellence instead. But what was she fearful of? Her application for a study tour was approved and she’d be setting sail to the far east - to the snowy grounds of Edmonton next semester.

“Screw the bugger for choosing Auckland,” she had whinged once to Tracy. “He’s making me jealous with all of those pictures of Queen Street and Mount Victoria in Devonport.”

“You could still continue with your plan of studying a semester in AUT, though.” Tracy raised an eyebrow. “It’s not as if you’re doing in at the same time or campus as Ryan.”

“Come to think of it, I think I’ll be adventurous and head off to Canada instead while experiencing my first and only white Christmas.”

With a cheery smile that lit up the sombre aura of the room, Crystal made herself comfortable as she waited for the rest of the students and tutor to float into the area. Breathing the same air as Ryan for the umpteenth time made her nervous because there was a chance history would repeat itself. She sighed, recollecting that this was the same location for their morning class last year and how his guts almost spilled on the carpeted floor when he saw her neutral expression as he entered.

Snap out of it, a little voice reminded her. Just be yourself.

Little did Crystal expect the cards that Ryan would throw in the fire.

What made the class experience worse for Ryan was the fact that all of the students were required to present a topic of their choice from the course content. He was alright with class presentations, but his friend, who promised to join him in this course, withdrew at the eleventh hour for another subject. His friend’s decision left him in a dilemma because he didn’t have an alternative subject to enroll in and he didn’t know anyone - or so he thought. He breathed a sigh of relief when he spied Crystal minding her own business in the class. She must’ve been fixated on something because she hadn’t heard his entrance. He secretly observed her conduct for the first half of the class time and satisfied that she, like him, was a stranger to their peers, he swallowed his pride and went against his wishes. He gingerly approached her and asked whether she’d be willing to collaborate with him for the presentation as they were already familiar with each other’s work ethics.

His request must’ve shocked her into silence because he saw her eyes dilated with a mixture of shock and surprise.

“I guess it’s alright.” Crystal found her voice. “It’d make our lives easier if we work together again and there wouldn’t be any glitches.”

“Awesome! What topic would you like to do? I’ll leave the choice to you.”

“I’m alright with anything. Do you have something on mind?”

He rattled a couple of options. “Then again, it’s dependent on what the other groups have chosen.”

“We’ll see how it plays out. Who knows if we’d be lucky to nail the first option?”

Thursday, July 6, 2017

7/6/17

It's a wrap for me - or at least I'd like to think so.

Now that I've a limited form of freedom, it will allow me to tackle and digest the disappointing piece of news from home. Approaching it from a third party's standpoint would be better for my emotions, but there's too much at stake for me not to care. I can hear my heart cracking whenever I find myself thinking of it - with regrets, unfortunately. It almost knocked me off my feet when it first landed on my doormat, but I chose to mask the shock with the exam revisions (for my benefit). It's the season - where revision week has the ability to drown everyone in extra doses of stress. And I don't need heavier shoulders, so to speak.

I don't know how I performed on the paper. It's been a while since I've approached an exam with a resigned fate, so I don't know how I should react. I've either caught myself shaking with panic or crying to death the moment they allowed us out of the exam hall. For this particular paper, all I felt was ... relief. I didn't have any pre-exam stress (where I soiled my cheeks and exam paper with tears) either. Inasmuch as I need to let the body and brain take a couple of days off, I have to deal with it soon, sigh. I’ve hung on by a thread since the end of the semester. My concentration and patience were stretched to the breaking point by unwelcome distractions at ungodly hours. It’s a wonder how I managed to stay awake with about only 2-3 hours of sleep until after I was done with the exam. Oh well, it is what it is. It’s all done and dusted. Time to temporarily abandon my social media accounts and do my own thing until next semester.

Just as and when I am penning this post, a flashback from my sojourn in Taipei has returned to visit me. I can’t remember the street names, but we ventured far from the hotel to land ourselves in the subway stalls and a large shopping mall.

I’ve scheduled a couple of posts in my absence. I’ll try to visit and leave comments on your blogs - but this is dependent on the space in my schedule.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Borrowed Time

Time is slipping through my fingers. I can feel it. Being with these two lovely amigos will always remind me that we’re hanging out on borrowed time. Depending on how I play with my deck of cards, there is a chance that we’ll have limited face-to-face contact in the future. It makes me sigh whenever I think of that day. I don’t know what would happen or how things would be, but I don’t want them to send me off with raw, rimmed eyes. Including me. Trust me, it would be embarrassing when the flight passenger next to me taps me on the forearm with a tissue.



Why such a somber note, you may ask. The reason is this. In my years of undergraduate studies, it’s hard to find true friends who will have your best interests. I’ve hidden beneath the rigid facade to avoid landing on my face. These two lovely amigos strove in their own ways to ensure that I don’t fall back on my mask. We have an implied agreement to bask in each other’s presence as a group of three - and this involves all topics under the sun.

It is with this in mind that we arranged for a burger date. Yes, you read that right. A burger date, but with three stressed and sleep deprived musketeers in the middle of exam revisions. I was a tad bit hesitant on this because their exams were much earlier than mine, but we went ahead with it since we had our separate after-exams plans. As we entered the cafe, my brain had a laugh when we snatched each other’s floor and said the same thing at the same time. It’s like we read each other’s mind and I thought I heard my sister’s faint chuckle at the coincidence. I remembered the awkwardness that descended upon me. It was a moment of silence before he answered my question, but I narrowly and gently pried my way out of answering it. I guess I was thankful that I didn’t turn cherry red, thanks. I don’t need to be a walking tomato in front of them again, lol.

I know I craved for burgers. I’ll be happier if someone transported me to Big Hug instead. But I’ll be satisfied with what I have. A cheeseburger. Truth be told, I struggled to finish the one on my plate - and we’re talking about a burger the size of my palm - when my hand stole French fries and a basket of sweet potato fritters. Okay, not steal per se. More like pinched. Call it habitual. I love French fries but things did not turn out well the last time I ate an entire box of it. God knows what he thought, but moments after I pinched a couple of fries, he offered us - my sister and I - his plate. I suspected it’s because he was aware that both of us have no qualms about eating it.

It doesn’t matter whether we’re catching up over lunch or on campus. It is always with these two that I laugh the hardest. I laugh until I whimper with tears… and it’ll be tough for me to maintain a straight face. A mere glance at either one of them is enough to send my stomach rolling with glee. I don’t know why; a sense of warmth is what I feel with these two. It’s like i feel the most relaxed with them. Sweet like oranges, they are but what I admire the most about them is their spines of steel.

This is something that I will miss, regardless of whether the day of my departure arrives.

If I play my deck of cards with the right amount of accuracy, time, and luck, I might be able to maintain the frequency of our hangouts. Heck, we could have those Friday dinners after work monthly!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

6/21/17

I dreamt that I was revising for an exam while having lunch at a cafe. I chose the table facing the wall for better concentration and I don’t have to look at faces. Scattered around me was my textbook, a folder of notes, and sticky tabs. An acquaintance from Criminal Law came over and scared the lights out of me when he slid on the empty chair next to me. He pulled my leg with a joke, which caused me to lightly slap on his shoulder instead. I then placed my head on his shoulder as I welcomed the temporary distraction. The camera then panned to someone else - a female whose jaw slammed to the floor in shock at our conduct.

He then wrote my address on a half-completed envelope that bore my name. I have to admit that he had a beautiful handwriting, much better than mine. It was after this that he excused himself and departed the cafe with his pal. 

My Mom waited outside the cafe and asked why I wasn’t in college for the revision. I replied that I decided to kill two birds with one stone - I was hungry and didn’t want to waste the time returning to the building. Plus, I couldn’t study in the air of stress radiated by the frazzled students. I asked her to pick me up from the cafe because it was closer to the place where she was and easier to exit the bottleneck suburb of ours. 

It was later that evening when I decided to indulge in my favourite TV drama. The plot for that episode included a couple with a boy. I presumed that they were a family as they were discussing about something. Their dog was sitting on the chair like a regal next to the mother. A girl burst out of the bush in ninja style with the goal of delivering the fatal blow to the dog, but instead stabbed the mother in the neck. The boy chased the girl away in horror. The dad asked what happened when he noticed the deathly silence. The mother looks at the boy with despair as she tried to stop the bleeding by applying pressure on the wound. 

For the first part of the dream, I’m baffled as to why I dreamt of that specific person. I mean, the way he took the chair was indicative of him, but the context does not make full sense. We’re not friends in real life. I don’t think we’re even acquaintances either. It is possible from the online interpretation that I’m seeking consolation from someone. This is possible because I didn’t obtain a distinction for one of the courses, but I’m not disappointed. Just resigned to my fate. Alternatively, it might mean that I need someone to hear me out after I received an unexpected news from home.

Me laughing in the dream can be defined in two manners. One is the elaboration that it could be a sign of chest-deep stress for either myself or a close friend. Alternatively, it could be me looking for an outlet to express the pent-up sufferings.

Seeing the envelope, I believe, might have been the result of my anticipation in real life… or the fear of knowing the truth.

For the second part of the dream, I don't think I want to decipher the context of the dream or interpret it. It is onerous and leans towards the dark side of things.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Case of Curious Coincidences (Part 4)

Although there was nothing different with Crystal in the way she carried herself, Ryan couldn’t help but suspect that something changed within her. It was as if her confidence grew over the summer break, making her prettier than the sunset. Her hair was also cropped to a length that fell below her ears. When she walked past him on her way out after the tutorial ended, he observed that a smile crept on her lips at something on her phone.

He kept his breathing steady as he exited moments later. Her conduct made him jealous, even worse than when he saw her in chatters with their mutual course mate last year. It was eating him that she barely cracked a smile in his presence yet her face was now coated with exuberance. Her demeanor confused him more than he wanted to admit. He thought that the summer break was long enough for him to simmer over his impression of her. Sure, he admired her professionalism and her honesty. Unbeknowst to her, he arrived at this conclusion that she knew how to wriggle her hips and have fun outside campus after stalking her Instagram and Twitter accounts for an insight into her life. A particular picture posted to her Instagram a couple of weeks ago - before the commencement of a new semester - irked him to the point of annoyance. There was nothing to incriminate either one of them but he felt himself turning green with envy. It was a framed photograph of her and another guy - whom Brendan reckoned was a friend from college or a university peer - at a Christmas event. Each of them held a glass of alcohol and had their hand on each other’s waists while they grinned for the camera. What was worse, for him, was that there wasn’t any accompanying caption to distinguish if these two were lovebirds or close friends. No matter how much it irritated him, he wasn’t a buddy of hers.

When Tracy caught up with her over the weekend, Crystal looked as if someone dragged her through the lower levels of Hell and back to Earth in one day.

“How was the first week of classes?”

“Ugh, Trace, I don’t know.” Crystal shook her head. “Don’t even get me started.”

Tracy raised an eyebrow as she sipped her long black. “Why, what happened?”

“Do you know who I bumped into in one of my tutorials? Ryan. We’ve even collaborated for a group presentation again.”

“You don’t sound enthusiastic about it. If you analyze it from a different perspective, it’s good that you two are working together for another time. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that it’ll increase his chances of being closer to you, if that’s his ultimate wish, but there’s a sense of familiarity and trust between you two. You don’t have to chase him down North Terrace with a hammer, shooting requests for him to pull his weight. He wouldn’t have to do the same either.”

Crystal sighed.

“Tell me something. How’s the fellow’s conduct? Still the same? Or, has he changed?”

“Well, based on what I’ve noticed today, he’s… softer now. He seems approachable, like he’s lowered his guard towards me. His eyes are friendlier and no longer suspicious of my presence.” Crystal gulped her flat white. “So yeah, I guess that means there’s a change.”

“Only time will tell, my dear.”

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