Cozy

The Dream Girl Alchemy – Part One

Log Line: On the same day, a divine intervention is granted to two strangers that catapults them to spiralled challenges of their lives. What's the powerful mystery working behind it? Genre: Drama/Magical Realism

Rain of The Dream Girl Alchemy
Rain

Sunday 23 June 2019

Yet trust. Just trust.

That the magic

is already happening.

Between us.

Wherever you may be.

Right now.

– Rain

Dear Dream Girl,

Today I met you in my mind.

But you did not appear alone. I also met all the other beautiful and amazing wonders of life – of the promise hidden in this charming universe – of love and passion.

How did I know that in an instant? Out of a three-second flash. I didn’t, really. I just felt it. I felt it rushing through me like a lightning bolt, leaving behind a wondrous white light, radiating around. With its warmth, kindness, and bliss enrapturing my heart that went beyond my human grasp.

All of a sudden, devoted desires keep me afloat. One after another. I’m having a hard time keeping up, but I will accomplish them according to your wishes.

I do not have to question this mystery anymore as this has been given to me for a reason. I do not have to look for you either as I know, oh I know, that we will find each other along the way. I do not have to worry about you – regardless of how you live your life, what your home looks like, whoever you love at the moment, where you are, and when I can hold your hand – because you are being guided through our journey as well.

I distinctly remember everything about you. Your hair, your smile, your eyes, your clothes, and even your mystic necklace dangling down against your top.

I am awakened.

I am changed.

I am worthy.

My name is Rain. I have turned 28 years old today. It was not my birthday wish to meet you at all. Perhaps, the charming universe must have felt sorry for me since she has known all along what my heart has been praying for. Don’t be sad. I’m not. It’s all part of the divine plan.

The divine plan of our fated love. For our story had already been written the moment we were born. It sounds silly now, but the truth will lead us to the magic of it all.

This magic. Our magic. You and I. Together.

Everyday, I will record the progress. I will keep all the mystical details here. In this diary. And by the time we meet, I will surrender it to you. As proof. That magic truly exists.

That your intrusion was already magic. That all the enchanting feelings overflowing inside of me as a result of it are already magic. That the love that awaits us is already magic.

I live in Toronto, by the way. It’s pride parade here now. But I have escaped from the swashbuckling streets instead. Into my home. A bachelor’s suite lurking around midtown. I live alone. To be honest, loneliness would pester me once in a while. Not anymore.

For I know it will illuminate soon. With your presence. With your love. With all your beauty.

Yours truly,

Rain


Ash of the Dream Girl Alchemy
Ash

The Master Missions. Day One.

Mission #1: Meet the Master of Beauty.

And it’s an absolute done deal!

Ash

The ultimate validation of my worldly magnificence.

Is this what we all humans desperately strive for? How embarrassing!

I don’t want to be a part of this human circus! At all! Please! Spare me!

And so they love it. The manuscript. Packed with rage, chaos, traumas, twisted lies, and fears. Oh, they are just ramming it all through their ‘human fascination’ atoms as if every thought bouncing out of the storyline defines love wisdom, when it all just sums up to a popular acronym – BS!

The menacingly critical eyes, prowling around my literary circle, believe that my psychological thriller possesses a magical ticket to a lifetime dream.

Blah!

My brazen heart captures me away with a warning.

Because something even more profound is felt all of a sudden. Something unknown – a more powerful unknown – that lingers around, pounding my soul, waking me up. An energy, snagging me away to a completely different route that I am clueless about. A mystery, bearing a loud noise, screaming to be purged out.

The lifetime dream. Vanished. Without even saying goodbye. Instead, it has transformed into something else. And my intuition tells me that this something else – whatever it may be – brings the truth of all truths. The truth of all truths that I have yet to seek.

My heart has a voice now. I’m taken aback to hear her thoughts whispering around, pleading to jump into my life. She’s asking me to do things that make her pump like she never did before. She wants to lead the race. She’s ready to make it happen.

I’m calling her swoosh. And we’re supposed to go through this journey together. Discovering all the beautiful and fun joys found everywhere – wherever we go, whatever we do, and however we decide to act on certain things, circumstances, and connections. Proclaimed all the way in this sanctified journal.

My new lifetime dream: meet the master of beauty.

The beauty that I have never noticed before. The beauty that I may have probably been looking for. The beauty of everything. The master!

This. After the validation of my worldly magnificence. It’s one word that I have always ignored. The one word that deserves to exist. Beauty.

Swoosh, let’s go! It’s an absolute done deal!


Monday 24 June 2019

I know I must confront

this pain at some point.

And I will.

Someday.

Once I’ve found you.

Once we’ve found

each other’s hearts.

Because I know,

you are,

and will always be –

My courage!

– Rain

Dear Dream Girl,

Due to your magical intrusion, all the painful events of my past start to reel on uncontrollably by themselves.

Perhaps, for closure, freedom, and understanding. Or the inexplicable desire to find value in every single wound that has still been hurting me to this day.

I am going to knock them all out from my childhood. One by one.

First off, I have no family drama to share. I have come from a good-hearted and loving family, raised in a comfortable home. Not ‘rich comfortable’, but comfortable enough for us to get through days. I have a little brother, who still sits in ‘little brother throne’, though he is now eighteen years old.

And all the more boring truth?

Our parents would always spend time with us and nurture our hearts with all the kindest things in the world. We never got spanked and yelled at for once as they would rather speak to us with warmth and fondness. They live in Halifax, and I talk to them every night before I go to bed. Though my little brother, Ryan, barges through my phone countless times everyday. Just don’t mind him. He’s sweet that way. And I bet you, he will keep his ‘little brother throne’ for the rest of our lives. No matter what happens.

So there you go. There’s my family drama, I suppose. Nothing interesting to share. It may look and sound like a perfect family.

It isn’t. It is far from it!

Because I have been lying to them all through these years. They’re too good and too kind. I’m scared to hurt them.

I don’t want to see tears rolling down their eyes. I don’t want to disappoint my father, especially, for he is the Pastor of our church. We are devout Seventh-Day Adventists after all. Soul-pervading devout!

And this is one of the reasons as to why I left home. I already broke their hearts once, and I can’t give them another heartbreak anymore. The heartbreak of my inner truth. Of who I am. Of who my heart desires.

I can’t tell Ryan either, for he is all about God and the Bible. Adam and Eve. Masculine and feminine facts. Male and female. Man and woman. Only.

And this subject was never discussed at home. It had never been brought up over breakfast or dinner, during worship forums, and even on pride parade days.

Maybe I’m just overthinking it or underestimating their worthy hearts, that’s why fears wrap me in.

But – no! I can’t hurt them. I have no right to hurt them. It would kill my heart if I dared myself to do that.

Must I dare myself to?

Yours truly,

Rain


The Master Missions. Day Two.

My inner life is a total mess.

I don’t know who I am.

I don’t know what I want out of life.

I don’t know my worth.

Ash

How and where to find it?

Okay, swoosh. Let’s wallow in limbo land, explore it with utmost curiosity, acknowledge its wildness, go mad over its contexts, and just – desire, desire, desire for truths.

Yup. Teaching job, a goner. Why?

  • My purpose has been accomplished. Seeing my lovely students’ smiles is already enough for me to know.
  • It has been a decade since I have dedicated my heart to my profession. Now I deserve to dedicate my heart to me.
  • I am a 36-year-old infamous sapphic lass who cannot keep a relationship, does not know how to love, treats women like a short-time fulfilled fantasy, is nonchalant about her partners’ feelings, and is an egomaniacal animal. Just because she is privileged enough with ‘beauty’ to do so. Embarrassing!
  • I feel financially secure. Whatever that means. But I know my figures, and I have nothing to worry about. For the time being, at least.
  • The passion for change whacks me into a dungeon of ‘get it going already or else -’!
  • I’ve realized I’ve been alone pretty much my whole life. Don’t even get me started with family affairs. (Guilty!)
  • I’m exhausted with seeking for everybody’s approval when it comes to my ‘personal work’ – my literary love.
  • I have been surrounded by peers who have been subconsciously abusing me due to their insecurity strikes.
  • My outer life looks like a doomsday aftermath. Get out of my washroom. Seriously!
  • I am always critical about myself and all the other worldly concerns. Including trends. Like, who cares, really?
  • Despite the ‘remarkable reputation’ I have built within my professional environment, I am a hypocrite! Ouch!

Now! Let’s get on with some personal business here! Already!

All right, Swoosh. Stay in Toronto or escape to New York? How and where exactly can we find it? The – it! Our mission. To meet the master of beauty.

Toronto or New York – Toronto or New York –

Whaaat? No! You are not whooping us down to India or China or any other countries with consecrated temples! No!

Oh oh!

Sorry. I thought – Ah, okay. So we’re stuck here then. Toronto it is. Home.

Toronto is home? (Guilty again!) Nope! Huh?

And for what? What on earth are we gonna do? Binge watch nostalgic sitcoms?

Yeah, I know. There is no way for me to write another psychological thriller BS. I should find beauty in my craft, too. Right? That’s the whole point of all this – right?

No? It’s the last thing I should dwell on? So what you’re basically slapping on my face now is – my writing is not that important anymore?

NOT AT ALL!!!

FINE!!!

Show me what to do first! What should I do first? How do I kick this off?

Right. I’m already aware. Since I have already humiliated myself by slamming down all my ego here. That’s a good ‘go’. Gee. Thanks.

Okay. Cool.

And it’s an absolute done deal!


Tuesday 25 June 2019

Regardless of the distance and time.

Wherever you may be right now.

I want you to know,

I am creating my truths.

Before.

Oh, even before.

Meeting you.

– Rain

Dear Dream Girl,

It’s a lovely sunny day this morning.

I am sitting in my balcony, sipping coffee and feeling the glow of sunshine. Reflection, that’s what it moves me to do. I have been in a zonked-in whim since the unforeseen revelation of my family dilemma. I thought I might have already made it certain – that having you with me – for real – would give me the courage to come out. But why does the sunshine tell me a different truth instead?

Universe, please, give me a sign! Give me the truth! Show it to me!

I close my eyes and smell the aroma soaring out of my cup. It’s something that I haven’t done before. The subliminal enticement that I would only catch on ads and billboards, which would cringe me away as I would always think of it as silly and an exaggerated blur of brainwash. For whatever reason as to why my subconscious impulse has put me through this simple experience, it works like the glow of sunshine.

Something glows out of my consciousness.

The aroma gives me a calming thought. Its serenity sways down into my heart, making peace with myself. Making peace with the truth. The answer.

I am preparing for our meeting. For our hearts to unite. For our lifetime love.

First, I have to make sure all is well in my life. If I don’t act now, I’m only blocking our connection. It would never happen. We wouldn’t meet at all. And I would spend the rest of my life dreaming of us instead.

The glow of sunshine. It’s the now. Taking a risk. Shoving away from the dark clouds. Light up. Bask in warmth and peace.

The coffee aroma. Obey the triggered thought. Relish the outcome. Feel the blissful freedom. As if nobody’s watching.

Should I take some time off from work and visit home? Three days wouldn’t be that bad. Or should I video call them and drop the truth instead? It would be more convenient that way.

However, I want to give them hugs and kisses. No matter how they would react to it. No matter what they would feel for me right after. No matter where it would lead our love to.

I would still long to give them hugs and kisses.

The hugs and kisses for the hearts who have done nothing wrong, who have shaped my character and principles, and who have defined love through their own genuine ways.

Your magical intrusion has already given me courage to do the unimaginable. When this whole time, I thought I was already content hiding away for the rest of my life. It was a lie. You have guided me through this one truth. And I will always be grateful.

I would also like to apologize for not acknowledging you deeper enough. That you have already been with me. That you already exist in my heart. That we have already found each other’s souls.

Yours truly,

Rain


The Master Missions. Day Three.

I have been swooping in and out of here,

believing that you have

some value in my life.

What is up with my

spasmodic self?

Embarrassing!

Ash

Un-freaking-believable!

Here’s what happens when you live in glorious independence.

Stuff! Stuff! Stuff! Stuff! Mmmooorrreee ssstttuuufff!!!

Stuff everywhere that you don’t even know where to put your keys on anymore.

How on earth did I accumulate a bulk of trash all through these years?

Oh, and the sink! The washroom! The couch! The side tables!

Wait! Why do I have – one, two, three, four, five – FIVE! Five side tables? Seriously! For whaaat? Oh, and they’re all stuffed up! Like they’re completely suffocated and just desperate to be yanked out!

Swoosh, come on now! Let me take a breather for a bit. I’m just –

I know! I know! I haven’t even started yet, and I’m already whining away like my entire world is crashing down to relics.

Well, look at that! They all appear like rubble – the doomsday aftermath! Goddammit!

Yes, I deserve to swear. Let me cuss this out. It would probably make me feel better.

Rubble. Rubble. Rubble.

The war is on!

What am I supposed to do with you? And I cannot believe I’ve just seen you now after all this time!

Swoosh, I’ve just had a serious talk with the rubble, but we haven’t come to a conclusion yet. So what do we do now?

First, ask myself. How can I breathe? Oh, yeah. Let’s talk about energy. Why am I blubbering about energies all of a sudden? Are we dealing with some Feng Shui issue here or what?

No. This is not a Feng Shui issue. I don’t even know how to make it work, for crying out loud. This is about my rubble! This is about my doomsday aftermath! This is about me!

Leave energies out of it. And Feng Shui. Oooh. Don’t scare me off anymore. I just need to get rid of it all.

I mean, all! All of it! The rubble! The doomsday aftermath! The old me!

It’s time to segregate.

Segregate what?

Let’s start with the mugs, coffee machine, and – and – and –

What else? Look around. Keep looking. The essentials must stay.

I don’t see other essentials. Except for two mugs with half-heart carvings on them and the coffee machine. And maybe even other pairs – plates, spoons, forks, and wine glasses.

Wait. Why do they have to stay in pairs? Why does one feel the need to have – its twin beside it? What’s going on?

And why am I more worried about my kitchen utensils, anyway?

Yeah, okay. It’s a start. Thank you, swoosh!

Oh, gee. My old life is set to be dumped into a massive donation bin. It’s easy, isn’t it?

The cleanup. This major overhaul.

So what is my emotional attachment to this couch?

Swoosh! One at a time! Please!

Oh, sorry. That was me.

We need a whole bunch of garbage bags and boxes!

And it’s an absolute done deal!


Wednesday 26 June 2019

And it’s all because

of your magical intrusion.

You. My one true love.

My dream girl.

Wherever you may be.

I hope all is well

with you.

Dear Dream Girl,

I am bound for Halifax this Saturday morning, then fly back the next day.

I have faith that before Saturday is over, I have already achieved my freedom. My immense fear is how it would affect my family’s dynamics. I just don’t have clarity in my mind yet as to how I would approach them about it. Should I announce it over lunch or dinner? Should I call for a serious meeting? Or should I have a talk with them one at a time?

Out of all three, I am more worried about my little brother. Would he loathe me? Would his admiration drop to the lowest end? Or would he abandon his ‘little brother throne’? There’s the greatest risk of all. The little brother who brags about his big sister all the time. Even to strangers, like grocery clerks. The little brother who consults his big sister about every decision he has to make. From haircuts to which book to read. The little brother who cries to his big sister over girls. Ryan. My adorable Ryan.

And he blares through my cell phone, “Hey up, big angel!”

“What’s happening, apricot?” I blast through the mouthpiece. Apricot is my endearing nickname for him because it’s the only fruit he devours since childhood.

“I’ve gotta pick up a birthday present for Leila. Any suggestions?”

“What’s she like?”

“More like you. Caring, thoughtful, beautiful smile – Beautiful girl. Kind. Everything. You know what I’m talking about. Anyways, I was thinking of – white orchids and a spiritual book. On a scale of one to ten. Ten being the highest. How would you -?”

“Apricot, I think you need to stop dating girls who are like me.”

“Pardon me?”

“I just want you to learn more about love – and life – outside of my shadow.”

“And I just wanna make sure I’ve got the real one here. What’s wrong with that? I mean, what’s wrong with me dating girls who are like you?”

“You will find the real one in your own perfect time, and you will know it right off the bat. So don’t fuss over it for now, and just have fun getting to know her. Enjoy the wooing, the walks by the waterfront, and all the youthful energy. Make it – beautiful – that way. You understand?”

“Well, it might probably take quite a while for me to grasp this – big angel lecture – so – I don’t – I’m not – Um – I just – I can’t really -”

“I’m sorry, apricot. I didn’t lay it out there to hurt you. I just thought I had to be honest at some point here. And that’s what a big angel is all about. Hammering you down with complete honesty. Right?”

“Yeah, for sure,” he says in a soft tone. “I just – I miss you so much!”

“I miss you more, more, and a lot more,” I reply. “But I’ll surprise you this weekend coming up. How’s that?”

“For real?”

“For real! Feel better now?”

“Cloud nine better!”

“Good! Love you!”

“Love you like a cloud nine love!”

My greatest risk. It may even be a sacrifice. My adorable little brother. Apricot.

Yours truly,

Rain


The Master Missions. Day Four.

I may not understand this now,

but I just know

that they’re not for me

anymore.

They are not me

anymore.

I don’t see myself

being defined

by such glamour

anymore.

Ash

Swoosh! Have mercy on my soul ‘cause – seriously – I’m about to have a heart attack now!

Slow down, for god’s sake! Why have we been rushing? Why do you keep on hurrying me up? We’ve been packing up and smacking crap away into loads of boxes and garbage bags since yesterday! Where’s the time going? Are you working against it? Or with it? How could you have possibly made my bones and adrenaline run like a frenzied storm? I don’t understand your delirious desire to get it done – RIGHT AWAY!!!

Like, excuse me, I need a washroom break – NOW!!! And don’t poke me to rip that disgusting corner apart – YET!!! I deserve a little me time here, and I need to eat, too! Yeah, I’m worn out! But your momentum still stirs on, and I can’t help it! There’s nothing that I can do but follow your commands!

You’re goddamn killing me, swoosh! You’re goddamn killing me!

I know. We’re halfway through it. Whew!

Kitchen is done. Living room is done. Five boxes and four fat garbage bags are all set to go. It’s ridiculous how much mails, flyers, and stupid magazines – oh, and receipts – whaaat? – yeah, folks! Receipts, even coffee receipts – I have kept all this time!

Ugh! Let’s not do the bedroom yet! Please! I need a rest! I need food delivery! I need to crack a funny bone. No? Okay, some type of bone. What would it be?

A spark of inspiration!

Yeah. I’m already inspired. This is why I’m in panic, dumping away my old life.

No! We can’t talk about what to do next after clearing off this rubble and the doomsday aftermath!

Swoosh! Hush! Please!

Can we do the bedroom tomorrow instead? I don’t want to touch anything yet. There’s a stubborn prickle rasping through for now. And I don’t wanna take a peek either.

Emotions. Gee. Why do emotions get attached to things, anyway? They’re just things. Solid objects. Proud and ignorant. Meaningless. Lies. Just for masquerades. According to society’s demands.

Though I know – they all have to go!

Simplicity splashes in. Another new desire. Another new me. Another major overhaul.

Swoosh! Stop it! Let’s not get into it yet! Let’s rip the washroom apart now!

Ew! Ew! Disgusting! God! I’ve just realized I’m a slob! And what is this container for? Seriously!

Oooh. And the thought of seeing the new me. It makes me smile.

And it’s an absolute done deal!


Thursday 27 June 2019

I want you to know that

I will hang on to us

like a magic wand.

As I am preparing

for our meeting.

As I heal.

As I daydream.

Of you.

Wherever you may be.

Please.

Think of me.

Too.

– Rain

Dear Dream Girl,

I have been shrinking into my wired senses as my beautiful family’s faces keep on swarming through my thoughts, interrupting my morning routine.

It reminds me of the time when I tortured some ants. The overwhelming remorse made me pray like I never prayed before – and cried so hard that my eyes blobbed the next day.

It was because right after I did the evil act, the other ants crawled back and found them smashed to death. So they gathered around to grieve, and it was as if they refused to leave. As I witnessed this phenomenon, I ran to my parents, bawling! I told them what happened, and they struggled to pacify me. Then they gave me a piece of ripe papaya to offer to the rest of the colony – a token of forgiveness. And these tiny living creatures, with their broken hearts, feasted on the fruit like it was heavenly sent. Despite their acceptance, I still wouldn’t stop crying. And it was when my dad gave me a ‘heart lesson’. He said, “You were meant to do it to teach you the pain of guilt. And it’s never a good feeling, is it? But the important thing is – you’ve seen the impact of your action that your heart can’t take, then magic happens. Your heart will never be the same again. It’s now brand new. It’s full of light and beauty. So the next time you see ants, you look at them as if they are a part of you and you are a part of them. Only you and them share this understanding. No one else. That’s the magic right there.”

And the other magic? I will always remember every word of it. Even the feeling of how he wiped off my tears. The dreamy smell of eucalyptus oil that filled my room. And how my heart began to warm up.

I was 7 years old.

The pain of guilt. I had never revisited it until today. Though it would take a glimpse of my life time and time again. But not this way. Not in the way that you have hustled me through. Like magic. All because of your magical intrusion.

All because I have faith in us. That you and I are bound for magic. That our fated love is magic. That my heart is brand new. It’s full of light and beauty. It’s full of you. That only you and I will share this understanding. No one else.

Yours truly,

Rain


The Master Missions. Day Five.

I see their sad faces.

I see my smug smile

as I find delight in watching

their tears pierce down.

I see them pleading

and asking for forgiveness,

though they haven’t done

anything wrong at all.

Ash

Swoosh! How are we going to accomplish this?

The closet is jammed with a gazillion of repulsive dresses that – once upon a time, during my pompous and flashy days, which have just been recently put to an abrupt end – I thought were me. I thought they exuded ‘human prominence’ out of me. I thought – I thought –

Goddammit. How low could I be? How my ego could fly up this high? How ugly I viewed myself that I would have to compensate it for – these – suckers?

Oh, I wore this dress to lure a beautiful woman for a one-night-stand. And I wore that one when I took Lucy to dinner to break her heart. And this – when I went to a jazz bar to entice a stunning married femme who wouldn’t leave me alone after her first sapphic experience spurted her out to a hysterically sexual awakening. And that -?

Stop it! I can’t stand this truth anymore! This truth must go! It’s disturbing enough for me to puke up!

How many of these vulnerable hearts I have hurt over these years? And why am I afraid of a karmic lesson all of a sudden?

Swoosh! Please! Stop scaring me already! I don’t want to squeeze the K word into my consciousness – yet! Please! Have mercy on my soul here! I know! I know I was evil! I don’t deserve to be with somebody anymore! But please – oh god – I can’t believe I’m feeling their pain right now – ALL AT ONCE!!!

Let me cry it out. Let me purge it all out. Let me hate myself this much.

I AM SO SORRY!!! FORGIVE ME!!! PLEASE!!!

Swoosh, I can’t move. My chest is wracked up. I can’t breathe. No, I’m not done crying yet. I can’t stop.

Why did I do that? Where did that come from? What turned me into evil?

No! Let’s not delve into karma yet. Let’s shake off this torturing truth. For now. Because I know I wouldn’t be strong enough to face it once it hits. I just know it. I would rather die than go through the extreme torment of rejection. Of being dumped by a heart who illuminates mine. No!

Okay okay. Shut up already! Stop grieving over the K word! It hasn’t happened yet. I’m not thinking of love yet.

The love. The most vulnerable heart. The fear.

Let’s dump these repulsive dresses now. All of them. Even the lingerie. These! The old me! The vain and insecure me! The evil me!

GARBAGE!!!

Let’s get on with something brand new.

Now this is exciting. Well – ideas, ideas, ideas. Simplicity shines. It does really shine.

Yeah! Swoosh, I hear ya – I hear ya. Gee. Calm down, for god’s sake. I’ve already got the garbage bags ready here.

As the new me smiles.

And it’s an absolute done deal!


Friday 28 June 2019

Until I met you in my mind.

And it became the climactic point

of my healing process.

Wherever you may be right now.

I hope you can hear me say –

Thank you for saving my heart!”

– Rain

Dear Dream Girl,

I was nine years old.

We welcomed a new family into the church. A beautiful family. Rich, generous, kind, warm, and just – beloved by many. The lovely married couple had two gorgeous teenage girls. The first born was a musical prodigy. She became the youngest pianist in our church history. She had the most enthralling smile that would melt my heart down into my stomach, agitating all my vital organs each time she would bestow me with one. And it would linger in my mind for the rest of the week.

There would also be nights when I would have a hard time putting myself to sleep that mom would make me drink warm milk before bed. And I couldn’t wait for Saturdays to come. Saturday was the most special day for me, not because of religious devotion, but it was because of this inexplicable hysteria to see her and be closer to her. I would be plotting my moves.

Should I come up to her and strike up an interesting conversation? Should I sit beside her at a given moment? Should I compliment her about her dress or her piano playing?

However, I would shy away whenever she was near me. I would duck off, and my nerves would start to shake terribly. Then I would look for an opportunity to excuse myself and pretend to engage with the other kids instead. By the end of the day, I would feel hatred towards everything.

I would resent my heart. The heavens. God. The angels. And Saturdays. Because – if my feelings for her were righteous enough, then I would not be afraid to make friends with her and even tell my parents about what was bothering me inside. If she were just another girl, then I should feel comfortable around her. If it were a sisterhood kind of love, then I would have fun doing things or activities with her.

These fears snapped me into a lot of thinking. I knew what I was feeling for her was wrong. It was against our religious teachings, as I might have understood. Therefore, it was against God’s rules.

When this awareness caught me, I hated myself even more. As I had sinned. Though I still wouldn’t understand as to why I felt such staggering feelings for her. My thoughts, my heart, every vein – it was all about her. Just her. And I would feel guilty every time my parents would find me glaring at nowhere – in an entrancingly pensive mood – along with a worrisome question, “Sweetie, are you okay?”

I endured it for about a year. Until at one social night, she sat beside me and held my hand. She said, “Rain, I know. Because I was like that, too, around this girl in school. But don’t worry about it. It’ll pass. But if it still wouldn’t go away until you grew up, and if it felt right, then you shouldn’t be afraid of it anymore. Because after all, love will always be kind.”

We became best friends.

Then years later, our friendship emanated into a passionate relationship. Hidden away meticulously. In perfect order. In beautiful yet tormenting silence.

Until she died of pneumonia. It was five years ago. Then soon after her funeral, I left home and ventured out a new life here in Toronto.

She was my first and last love. And I never fell in love again.

Yours truly,

Rain


The Master Missions. Day Six.

Once the new look is found,

I can meet the world

with a confident delight.

As it reflects my inner truth.

As it is a testimony of new hopes.

As it articulates out my fresh principles.

Ash

Swoosh, I’ve still got these funky-looking pants and tops left.

Ew! What was so trendy about them, anyway? Did I feel alluring wearing this grotesque fashion flash? Ew! Alluring. I hate the word. Alluring. Sounds slutty and begging for attention. Allu – God! The word rings down my spine with a warning – “Garbage!”

Wait. Before I sweep them into the boxes, I have to find inspiration for my new look first. The fireworks have already been cracking around, burning down my old entity to embers. As if it has just been cremated.

My fresh principles:

  • The number one privilege is pleasing myself all the time.
  • I’m only keeping the things that mirror my heart’s desires and needs.
  • I live for me. I am my own servant.
  • What I love to do to keep my heart and soul full is none of other people’s business.
  • Happiness is found within me. I must take full responsibility for it.
  • Loving myself means understanding love.
  • Loving love means understanding life.
  • Loving life means understanding my purpose.
  • Loving my purpose means understanding all beauty.
  • Loving all beauty means understanding creations.
  • Loving creations means understanding all truths.
  • Loving all truths means understanding –

THE MASTER OF ALL!!!

Swoosh! We’ve got it! We’ve cracked it!

We have met the master of beauty!

Oh. Almost.

As we are yet to find a new look.

The new look. Where can it be?

Whaaat? Meditate? In the middle of these boxes and garbage bags laying around, waiting for wasteland and donation bins? Why are you telling me this now? I don’t even know how to meditate, for god’s sake!

Right. Watch videos. Learn.

Does meditation really help? Would it give me a clear understanding? Would it show me the new look?

No. I’m not gonna learn that yet. I’m starving. I’m craving for sushi.

Sushi. It comes in handy when you say it. Just two syllables. Sushi. Yet it doesn’t come in handy when you make it. There’s a whole lot going on there. You can’t just say its name, then expect it to be an easy job. It’s done carefully and meticulously. With a lot of passion and dedication. Just to make sure it’s all placed together in the right and perfect order – dried seaweed, veggies, and a bit of fish. On the side – tamari, pickled ginger, and wasabi. What would sushi taste like without these side things? I bet it wouldn’t be defined as sushi anymore. Because the spice, the appetizer, and the sting are a huge part of its creation.

Swoosh, I cannot believe you’ve just made me understand sushi right now.

And it’s an absolute done deal!


Saturday 29 June 2019

Wherever you may be.

I hope you have already

found peace.

In your heart.

Before.

Oh, before.

We unite.

– Rain

Dear Dream Girl,

Halifax, Nova Scotia.

My appetite struggles over lunch.

Mom and dad notice my nerve clutches while Ryan can’t stop blitzing in with questions about Toronto, the basketball raves, and the worst – my love compartment – wondering as to why I haven’t introduced a man yet as he has been looking forward to having a ‘big brother’. I have simply told him, “I can never find one at all!” And an awkward mood breezes by. Ryan’s brows wrinkle, flustered. At once, mom and dad exchange looks, nonchalant, though with an invigorating dash of understanding, which confounds me and makes me wince even more.

As mom and I clear the table, dad sits still to read a devotional book, and Ryan runs upstairs to answer Leila’s call. It’s a relieving breath to just be alone with the old folks as my little brother’s energy is strong enough for me to plunge into a nervous breakdown any minute.

Dad murmurs to himself over what he’s reading. It’s one of his funny quirks, and I used to imitate him when I was a kid.

Mom and I finish the kitchen task, then make tea. We talk about work, Toronto, and some amusing daily life episodes. It cheers me up a little as courage starts to mount. I haven’t prepared a speech. I just want to be straightforward and get it over with.

When a pause crisps in, I take the deepest sigh of my life, and – “I’m gay!”

Instantly, mom and dad tilt their heads towards each other. Then mom releases a quiet ‘ugh’ while dad simply flips a page. I look at my parents, discombobulated, with a fired-up question torching inside my chest – what does this mean?

“Mom, dad, didn’t you hear me at all?” I ask.

“I thought it was never gonna happen,” mom says.

“Never gonna happen what?” I reply.

“Yup,” dad says, glancing up at me, “we know!”

“You’ve known all this time?” I say.

“Yup!” Dad browses through the book, then sets it aside and grins at me.

“So I flew home to drop my secret truth,” I say, “my already wide open secret truth!”

“Yup!” dad replies. “Looks like it!”

Now I have a nagging feeling that they knew about me and Jazzelle. My first and last love. To honor it, the past should just be left behind as a beautiful memory buried in silence.

“Talk to your brother,” mom says. “Whenever you’re ready.”

“He’ll be fine,” dad assures. “He’d probably cry a little, but – no – I don’t think so, though. I think he’ll be fine. Just be a little creative about it.”

My wide open secret truth. How could I ever doubt my parents’ hearts? Yet still – here I am – doubting my little brother’s respect, admiration, and enormous love for me.

Yours truly,

Rain


The Master Missions. Day Seven.

The new inner-me holds

its mighty sword and shield,

ready to combat all the worthless!

Human pride

is self-love.

Ash

On the seventh day, I have accomplished and realized some impossible:

  • Donated away my old life. Dumped the rest into wasteland.
  • My new home looks and feels barenaked – oh and sparkling clean, too! With Jasmine scent sprayed around all corners. In the name of my skinny yet herculean bones, I have achieved my cleaning pride – for the first time! Gee. I’ve just caught myself again. Skinny. And it’s supposed to translate – what? Swoosh, can we talk about this later? I’m listing down some mattering much extravaganza of my transformation here.
  • I have whooped myself into the worst minimalist ever existed on the planet. And it even feels a lot more revitalizing than a luxurious spa treatment.
  • Minimalism knows insignificant life wisdom. Well, maybe a little splash of it.
  • My senses recognize the refreshing energy flows. It moves me to meditate.
  • The unknown power within me begins to jump into existence. I’m sure it will reveal itself in time.
  • Stripping off the old me directs me to a peaceful mind.
  • There is a sense of special preparation flaring in. What am I preparing for? Swoosh, guide me through it.
  • There is also a sense of joy cheering inside. I’m happy!
  • There are three different life phases: before, during, and after the awakening. Yet all of them lead to one ingenious truth: the alchemy of all masters.

Swoosh, shut up. That’s enough for today. Don’t you think my progress seems a little more far-reaching yet? Gee. I can’t even believe I’m in tune with myself now. I can hear you, my heartbeat. I can distinguish and filter out emotions. I obey my stomach’s cry for good food. I value my body’s nutrient needs. I value my moods. I value everything about me.

Oh. Yeah, okay! I see them! God! Stop shouting!

The dishevelled couch. The five side tables. Can we keep the sofa chair? It still looks good, doesn’t it? And it’s for my restive reading retreat.

Okay, great!

But is there any way that we can hang on to them for a little while? Because the new look is already insulting my procrastinating kicks here, and I’m desperate to meet that outer side of me – now!

Greenlight! Zoom!

And it’s an absolute done deal!


Sunday 30 June 2019

Wherever you may be right now.

I hope you have already learned

what I have just learned today.

Love.

Is all truths.

– Rain

Dear Dream Girl,

There is nothing worse in the world than carving a scar across a loved one’s heart.

This angst has been convulsing around me – from my throat all the way down to my toes – all morning! When it comes to me, my little brother’s sensitivity and vulnerability would always jostle into one bright light. The brightest light of all that his heart can ever blaze on. And I’m afraid I’m about to switch it off. Today!

Over breakfast, I’ve told him about the ants incident, and he says, “Well, enduring the pain of guilt sucks. I wouldn’t want to feel something like that at all.”

“And I have still been carrying it to this day,” I reply. “Especially since you were little.”

“You mean, you’re still not over the ants yet?”

“It means, the pain of guilt gets even more excruciating when I look at you – because I’ve been lying to you all through these years.”

“About what?”

“C’mon. I’ll take you to my secret truth.”

We drive away to the cemetery to visit Jazzelle’s grave. Ryan quietly watches me as I caress the tombstone. I can feel his agitation, sliced with deep empathy. I can also feel his confusion, swept along with anticipation. I get up and face him, then we gaze into each other’s eyes. His apprehensive tears start to glimmer through. He looks away, and I hold his hand.

He understands.

“I’m not that naive and ignorant, you know,” he says. “So yeah, I was a kid, and I was 13 when she died, but why did you keep it from me? I could have probably seen it in different perspectives, even just by witnessing your connection with her from afar. I could have understood more about love. I could have learned something important. That love doesn’t hurt that way because the only thing that it truly stands for is its truth! And you think I’m blind all because you believe that I know nothing else but the books, the Bible, our religion, dad being the pastor, this family being devoted to God and all – well, guess what, big angel, I hear and see these things around me every single day of my life and my heart goes out to them because it’s their truth! And to me, love is all truths. Every kind of love is all truths. Leila shows her love for me, and it carries all the truths inside of her. Even when she’s frustrated about something, but it’s still a part of her truths – So you left home to grieve. But I don’t think you’ve been grieving over Jazzelle’s death at all. You’ve been grieving over yourself because you’d rather feel miserable lying to me, and to mom and dad. And you feel guilty because you did not share your happiness and truth with us. That’s what this is all about. And this is why you can’t find love. Because you can’t fully accept who you are yet, and this is why you’ve been scared. You wouldn’t be afraid of our acceptance if you had already fully accepted your truth, and that is why you lied. You lied to yourself. To yourself, big angel. Not to me, not to mom and dad. And you lied to love most of all. You betrayed it. Would love believe you next time? Huh? Would it? – I would only believe your truth once you opened your heart to someone. Now you’re making me want to recall all the fun times that I spent with you and her – all three of us – together – just enjoying life, the sunshine, the waterfront, every bit of it – the youthful energy – all of it! All of it!”

My little brother. My apricot. My adorable Ryan. Has just taught me love and its truths.

I was naive and ignorant.

Yours truly,

Rain


The Master Missions. Day Eight.

Black.

Death

of all

the worthless.

A rebirth.

Renewed.

Riveting.

Ash

Swoosh, here we are, hoping to stumble into a spark of inspiration for my new outer look.

Something that screams, “Ladies and gentlemen, here are my truths. Slamming out of one simple style. It may not be the world’s raging trend. But it’s my own raging trend. For it only thrills out my truths. No dramatic and erratic content roaring in from society’s fashion cries. Just my truths.”

Wait a minute! Why are we prancing down upper village plaza, anyway? It’s our neighborhood. It’s dull and boring and – and –

Slow down. Just look around. Enjoy the quaint stores along the way. Feel the pavement. Feel the light gust. Feel the strangers’ graceful movements. Rush has its limits here. People take their time. They smile. They engage with each other. They sit on benches. They walk with confident strides as if life is a waltz. They look patient and calm. They enjoy their day. They eat as if they’re having the best meal in the world. They sip their coffee and really savor it. They seem to be in love with life. Despite the never-ending constructions going on, the traffic, or their personal affairs, every moment appears to be a lovely life experience. How could I not notice this before?

I am loving my midtown joy!

And a giant poster displayed on a store’s window catches my vigilant consciousness.

A beautiful woman wearing a black top and a black hat on, with a black tote bag over her shoulder, strutting down with her long curly brown hair – poised, spirited, not caring about what other people think, focused on herself, and feeling all her truths!

Oh – my – god! Swoosh, I resonate with this look. My truths resonate with hers! I have just found – me!

Black tops – rolling up the sleeves. Black jeans. Black shoes – sneakers will do.

I am falling in love with myself!

Alrighty, swoosh! Let’s go shopping!

And it’s an absolute done deal!


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