The Third Wave

Wow, just… wow.

The third wave came. Grief comes in waves, big and small. I’ve occasionally experienced them in the last few months. Before Easter, my last one occurred three weeks earlier. I found that things became a lot more manageable after that. I thought it was the last one. When it happened again, it was hell. It felt as if my entire body was burning on the fire. Sadly, rolling on the floor wouldn’t even help me to survive the smoke faster. It took me a while to even open the doorknob. When I did, I was weaker than dust. All right, I’ll stop writing metaphors.

Here’s what happened recently.

When Theo’s mother told him that she had held onto their old quilts, I knew that I was emotionally doomed. I couldn’t contain myself anymore after the moment I laid my eyes on their soft-fleeced quilts. I was overwhelmed with grief when I listened to their private conversation. It was an echo to the earlier conversation I had with my mom when we unpacked my childhood toys for donation. It was a big send-off to that era.

I had to run. From everything. For a little bit, anyway.

My purple canvas shoes took me through their sleeping neighbourhood. It was after midnight. Every single thing, including the owl statue, had a ghouly appearance. When I saw the street sign on the road, I had goosebumps on my arms. It spelled ‘Safe’. Was someone trying to tell me to be careful? It was purely a coincidence, I’d tell myself. I would end up in a school’s backyard, which was partially filled with pine trees. My heart skipped as I got sucked into that otherworldly night. For one second, I’d believe that dead souls were walking through gaps between the trees. Nevertheless, I would reassure myself that my mind was playing with me. It was pure bullshit. Here I was, sitting on the swing, alive and alone. As I pushed myself back and forth, I noticed something even more creepier. It was indeed true. The only most bright light I’ve seen was the moon. It wasn’t only about third-fourth full, but it was also pink. With that sight, I couldn’t shake that fear of mine. I would start imagining being in the local newspaper for being kidnapped. I didn’t want to get chopped like meat and thrown into some lake. No, I couldn’t let this happen.

This experience contrasted to the one I had when I turned eight. I would fondly remember that summer as a wonderful coming-of-age adventure. My first canvas shoes came in a deep violet purple. I also loved that they came with zippers. I would wear these shoes everywhere. They were there when my father planned our first family trip to Buffalo. They were there when I was laying on the sidewalk, drawing my imagination away. They had taken a liking to sticky carpeting floors that you’d see in theatres. Most importantly, it was the time when I peaked. Picnicking in Webster Falls, more than anything, had a significance on my growth. As my sister and I basked in the sun, she would give me few pointers on how to swing myself. Everything just clicked in that moment. Before I could say anything, I was already doing it! The first image from that experience that came to my mind was my canvas shoes. I would then remember how the sunlight would filter through green leaves. I also have my sister’s blurry face pressed into my mind. I’ve had my first taste of freedom.

As I landed my feet on the ground, I vowed to find that strength back. While I didn’t feel winning the lottery in 2017, my pain itself was temporary. It still is. Like the ocean, grief comes in waves. It can be unpredictable. Learning how to choose waves to ride is an invaluable ability for us to possess in our lives. In that moment, I’ve decided to ‘swim’
all way back to the house. No, it didn’t get better like that.

However, I knew I wouldn’t be alone. That was plenty enough.

I Can See You Clearly Now

img_7551
Blossoming Before Your Very Eyes

Watching ‘Only Yesterday’ had me fuming recently. Before I could explain further, I have to emphasise that my anger did not appear out of the blue. It was so relatable that I had to live through the middle school years again. Yet, the mother in me wanted to protect Taeko fiercely. I had to grit my teeth as I watched her go through puberty, which was dreadful enough. Takeo’s male peers did not only assault her about her changing body, but they also subconsciously shamed her for being simply curious. It didn’t help the fact that she had to deal with girl-on-girl drama.

Fortunately, Taeko grew up to become a well-rounded woman. She was quite humorous, generous and insightful about life in general.

Where am I going with this?

When I was about twelve, I wanted to chop my growing breasts off. Yes, you heard me right. No, it had nothing with my gender identity at all. In fact, I wanted to be a girl. I DID NOT want to be a woman. I was pretty pissed that I had to bloom a bit earlier before everyone in my classroom. I did not ask to bleed on my recently-washed underwear for the first time. I didn’t ask to see my armpit hair growing. I felt queasy when I came out in my swimming suit.

In a nutshell, I WANTED TO DO NOTHING with anything puberty-related. For this particular reason, I refused to wear bras. I also shaved my hair in liberation. I would only wear loose pants and t-shirts. It’s notable that I also refused to shave my legs. Like many pre-teen boys before me, my hygiene was questionable. While I settled on pads, I would often hide them in shame. When I got a slightly older, I went through the black phrase. Much to my parents’ dismay, I eventually became moody and withdrawn. Like Taeko, I was taunted for simply growing up. I couldn’t even look anyone in the face when I took my last sex education class in eighth grade.

How could I? I would never forget how someone of higher authority would dismiss my discomfort and forced me to put a condom on a wooden dildo. Everyone was watching. I was told to get over it. I was naturally scarred for life.

Now that I’m twenty-six years old, I feel it’s my duty to embrace my womanhood. I can now see that it has been given as a gift. It just took me a while to see that. This is why I’m becoming verbal about the importance of birth control, female empowerment and self-care. It is only my hope to spread the message of hope among women of all ages. I would love to see us develop a strong bond together.

I know that I owe that to my twelve-year-old self. Feel free to join me!

*Added: I also would like to thank my parents for not pushing me when I wasn’t ready. I was lucky that they allowed me to grow at my pace. That had somehow made a small difference for me at the time. Admittedly, I was a brat. But still, I knew I was safe.

*Me again- here’s the link for some info on ‘Only Yesterday’:  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0102587/

Juggling Christmas With Divorced Parents

christmas_1

It’s the time of this year!!! The moment we see our first frost, it means that winter is coming. It is also a reminder that we have to slow down to enjoy what this season has to offer us. Now that I’m a “full-time” student, I might not have much time to shop for gifts and watch a Christmas marathon. I still got it made, you guys. When I’m busy writing for my artist statement at school, I would probably tune to ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ as well. I have already made a gift list. Most of them will be bought online. Thirdly, I’ll have my mom bake her delicious buttery shortbread cookies. That would eliminate my baking time. Can you give me a high-five?

What we find quite challenging is dividing our time with our families. Since we both have divorced families, we usually have four Christmases. Talk about exhausting! My experience tells me that we cannot just use one approach to make this work. What works for us may not work for you. Every family is different. Anyway, here are my few pieces of advice for you.

1. Budget your time with your spouse. For me, I want to take time for myself during the holidays. For Theo, he wants to eliminate switching beds. Now that we have two cats, it would be easier for us to reserve an one day to visit for each family on my side. Visiting his families can be a bit tricky sometimes. However, we have already made arrangements via email. When we stay with them for four days, we’ll enjoy winter serenity. We need a break from the city, anyway!

2. Discuss with your spouse about what family holidays mean to you. We both agreed that we would spend a majority of our time in our living room. We’ll just fart under our covers and giggle as we binge on drama-filled films. We also will catch up with our much-neglected housework. Indian food, anyone?

3. Ask your parents how they’d like to include you in the holidays. My mother, for instance, has emphasised the importance of having a Christmas dinner. My father usually has a combined birthday and Christmas celebration at his house in the afternoon. Luckily, they often fall on different days. When I was growing up, I was used to celebrating Christmas on a random date. We normally visit Theo’s family for New Year. It is a bit different this year as we’re visiting them earlier.

4. Discuss with your siblings about what it is they want. As for my side, we’ve had a sibling agreement on our new gift-giving policy via Facebook. We decided that we were too old for gifts and would opt for making food for the brunch instead. Each one of us had a role. One was responsible for making bread pudding. While another one was frying bacon, I was busy making fancy yogurt parfaits. On the other hand, Theo’s sister plans to visit us in Toronto for few days. We’re beyond thrilled about this! We can hardly wait to share a festive meal with them in our own home. We can even skate together.

5. Be open to traditions that aren’t yours. Theo, for instance, found it strange that he had to buy a gift for my family members. I’ve assured him that because he’s a part of the family, he had to participate in the Secret Santa exchange. We have thanked our lucky stars that this tradition was done with this year. Our hosts will still get little gifts, though. When I visited Theo’s side, I found pleasure in learning how to play games like Rummuki and Cards Against Humanity.

6. Make a holiday budget. We have established that we have to pay for our transportation, babysitter fees, gifts, and event tickets. Planning ahead makes it easier for us to afford to see our families.

7. Cherish every little moment you have with each other. I know it can be hard when you want to strangle each other’s necks. Yes, really. 😉

May your holidays be filled with less tears, boogers and drunken mutters. I sincerely hope that you will laugh so hard that you wet your pants. Tell your family that you tolerate them.

I know I will. Sort of.

Yours Truly,
Luna

 

Embracing My Imperfect Body

image (1)

 

When I came across Sara Benincasa’s latest piece, I knew that I had to write something. I was also asked several times why I gained weight three years ago.

I’m writing this for thousands and thousands of women who are bombarded with the media’s idea of the “perfect body”. It’s not your place to understand my own personal journey. It’s mine and mine alone. I won’t get into every single thing that happened in 2014. But I will tell you this. If you see me in the nude, you would notice that I have stretch marks on my hips and breasts. They appeared when I rapidly gained weight. While I may have healed on the inside, these scars will never fade away. They remind me that the past is real.

I remember the first time when I was asked if I was pregnant.

What was supposed to be a fun family reunion turned out to be a disaster. My poor misguided 23-year-old self cried on the inside when Theo told me that his mother thought I was pregnant. To make matters worse, Theo got silently questioned about my changing body in a restaurant. The table was filled with family members, including his cousins and aunts. On the other hand, I was still standing outside the bathroom door. I was waiting for this message to sink in.

When I did, I got upset. Our conversation went first like this:

Me: How could she think I was pregnant? I must be fat!
Theo: No, she doesn’t think that way. She just noticed that you had certain food cravings and got tired easily. She also assumed that you had morning sickness when she saw how you just recently ran for the bathroom. Please keep in the mind that she was just concerned about us.

I had to pause for one minute because I was strung by the truth. Every symptom he listed was true. However, it wasn’t pregnancy. I basically neglected myself too long. My insecurities were itching to get out. I hated every inch of my body. I would whine about how my flabby stomach looked ugly. In my mind, I was still the skinny girl who could fit into these cute clothes. Well, not anymore. I was still in the denial.

When I look back, I couldn’t blame her for thinking that. She was and still is a nurse. Of course she would come up with that conclusion. But with my denial, I didn’t think anyone would notice that I was changing. I definitely thought that I’ve hidden my suffering very well. Who am I kidding? I was never good at keeping my poker face on.
Theo’s mom wasn’t naive at all. She knew that just because we were both sensible in the bedroom, it didn’t mean that we would never get knocked up. Fortunately, we were extremely responsible with our birth control usage. Being protected, however, didn’t stop us from having few “pregnancy scares”. In a way, my boyfriend’s mother freaked us out. It was when we suddenly realized that we could be THAT couple.

What happened next was unforgivable. When we all got into the car, Theo and I fought like mad. I decided to push his buttons so we could scream at each other for not being mature enough for such “adult” things. This was my pathetic attempt to avoid my weight gain struggle like plague. He was scared about the big ugly world out there. Sadly, our silly fight had deeply hurt his mothers. Their eyes were widened with sadness. When we tried to assure them that everything was okay, they wouldn’t believe us. My heart was a bit broken at this moment.

I recall when I tried to cover up our fight, his mother would tell us to go on. She said that we could as well as speak Chinese. She wouldn’t understand a single thing we said. But it was exhausting. I didn’t want to be mad anymore. So, I let out a deep breath. This part, she understood.
“Welcome to the real world, you two. It takes two committed people to communicate their true feelings”, she said. She was right. It’s not only a good habit for us to develop on a frequent basis, but it’s also a good reminder for myself. I had to start listening to my body. It was time to ensure that my health was my top priority. It was time to give my body the treatment it deserved. It took me a few months to become ready to claim my body back.

So far, I’ve experienced occasional weight gain in the last two years. I have developed tools to keep up with a healthy lifestyle. I decided that I would only lose weight for myself, and I did. I have more energy to become active in life. I also want to protect my body from any possible disease. Seeing both generations on my maternal side has diabetes, I would be likely to get it if I’m not careful. My family history included cancer and depression. Taking of my body would benefit me in the long term.  If I’m lucky, I would lead a long and happy life.

That’s my long answer for you.

I hope my story reminds you that women are also people. We’re flawed like everyone else. We shouldn’t allow the scale to calculate our worthiness. Our bodies all have scars. These scars remind us that history repeats itself. It is up to us to break the cycle. As mothers, daughters and sisters, we have so much insight to share with the world. It is only my hope that we can bring a female future!

 

To My Younger Self

13923571_10154461974728987_7812679667927367718_o

Hey you!

Yes, I’m talking to you.

Fear not. Your future is shining from where I’m standing. Can you believe that I’m writing this in 2016? I know that looks very far away, but it’ll go by quickly. You’ll see pretty soon.
Is there anything you want to know? Ask away!

  1. Yes, you can ask anything.
  2. Yes, I will answer your questions like this.
  3. Because I was quite inspired when I came across Mara Wilson’s letter to herself. I thought I’d do the same thing myself.
  4. Yes, that’s the same Mara Wilson. She writes various personal stories and gets involved with small independent projects time to time. She plans to launch her autobiographical novel in the fall.
  5. She grew up pretty. Please keep in the mind that it’s not that important. She has grown to be a fierce and independent woman.
  6. You? You’ll be still awkward, but you will be grown into your looks.
  7. Yes, you’re still short. There are times when you wished that you’d be a bit taller, but you wouldn’t trade it for anything. Except for a homemade veggie burger.
  8. You’ve outgrown your dislike for patties. You’ll like them chewy and flavourful.
  9. When you don’t eat black bean burgers, you would eat portobello mushroom burgers. While they’re still delicious, they’re cheaper. It’ll be handy when you’re out of the town.
  10. They can be marinated with red wine vinegar, pressed garlic, herbs, and oil. My mouth is drooling as I write this.
  11. That’s okay if you’re not familiar with these terms yet. You’ll learn in the upcoming few years! You’ll have a blast.
  12. Of course, we have to declare that cheese is the best part. It will always be.
  13. That’s a hard pick. At this moment, I’d choose soft goat cheese!
  14. Yes, you’re still friends with Missy.
  15. Not as much as you’d like. You see each other whenever you could.
  16. I saw her recently in June, and we visited the Rocky Mountains. It was awesome!
  17. You’ve travelled plenty since you’ve moved out at 22. You’ve visited New York, Vancouver, Washington D.C., Cyprus Lake, Calgary, Saskatoon and Montreal.
  18. With your boyfriend mostly.
  19. Yes, you will have a boyfriend. He’s not exactly what you pictured, but guess what? He’s waaaay better than that!
  20. He’s blond. He sports a handsome beard.
  21. Yes, he’s pretty talented in drawing. He has a good eye!
  22. He’ll be a year older than you.
  23. Honestly, I don’t know where he is now.
  24. You’ve only dated one guy. It may seem weird, but it made sense when it happened.
  25. His beard will tickle your face when you kiss him.
  26. Pick one? It’s impossible! There are too many.
  27. No, his parents are not together.
  28. Yes, you will have five Christmases. I can promise you that it won’t be like when Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn play an unmarried couple who attempt to escape from their divorced families during the holidays. The film will come out in 2008. By the way, it sucks.
  29. Oh, no. It’s way more intense. It’s beautiful.
  30. You’ll see a lot of your boyfriend in his parents, grandmother and sisters. It’s just not their facial features, it’s also their mannerisms. It’ll blow your minds! It’s painfully beautiful.
  31. I’m not supposed to say this, but I’ll break the rules once. Before he came along, you didn’t believe that you could ever love a person that much. It’ll come as a wonderful packaged surprise when you’re ready. Just be prepared for what you will feel when you meet his family. Your heart will slowly grow bigger a million times. They’re the ones who moulded him into the person he is. You will be grateful for that everyday.
  32. Yep, it’s just like the ‘Grinch Who Steals Christmas’.
  33. I’m happy to say that you will not accept only one hug a month anymore. You’ll graciously embrace people you care about. When you do, you’ll hold them tight to your hearts.
  34. Yes, you will feel very vulnerable. But guess what? You’ll feel better afterwards.
  35. No, I don’t know why yet.
  36. No, you will never have your s*** together. Who does anyway?
  37. Yes, you do pay your bills on the time.
  38. No, you were never homeless.
  39. Your apartment will have one bedroom and a den.
  40. You will turn the den into your own personal art studio.
  41. Your neighbours cook tasty momos.
  42. You will eat them fried with their spicy dip sauce.
  43. Yes, you’ll have a roommate for two years and half . Please be patient with her. You’ll see that she’s a wonderful human being.
  44. Yes, you’re still in touch with her. She takes care of your handsome cat when you’re away longer than one night.
  45. His name starts with S. Yes, it’s a boy!
  46. His favourite activity is playing laser. He also loves wet food.
  47. Of course, he’s quite an affectionate cat.
  48. I don’t know the answer yet. I’ll leave it up to the fate.
  49. You will live in Toronto.
  50. You will be lucky enough to appreciate Toronto’s reliable transportation. Well, it is what it is.
  51. Biking can be hard, but you will get confident over the time.
  52. Your university is an 10-minute walk.
  53. Your major is sculptures and installations.
  54. I’ll come back with a certain answer when I start this fall.
  55. You will have wonderful interpreters, and they are very supportive.
  56. Just follow your instincts. You’ll see.
  57. The last course you will take in your first year is painting. You will love it!
  58. Yes, you will be challenged to change your religious view.
  59. You’ll find that eating pizza is your true religion.
  60. Will you be? A little bit.
  61. The best advice I can offer is live your life to the fullest.
  62. At least you’ll know that you won’t die a virgin.
  63. No, you are also not going to be a virgin on your wedding night.
  64. No, you’re not married.
  65. It’s unlikely that you will get married. Who needs to declare one’s love in the papers?
  66. You will for sure keep your surname.
  67. Yes, you will be playing house with your man.
  68. That’s right. You’ll be like Mom and Kevin.
  69. Yes, you both have talked about the possibility of having kids someday. You still aren’t ready.
  70. I don’t know. We’ll see when one comes along.
  71. Yes, you are still close to your mom. She’s doing marvellous!
  72. Your dad’s hair will be long and white.
  73. His jokes haven’t stopped yet! You’ll learn that you both are similar in some ways.
  74. Yes, you will have a nephew. Another one is on the way in my time.
  75. His name starts with N. He’s gorgeous! You will fall in love with his loud personality.
  76. Yes, you get to enjoy occasionally spending with your siblings.
  77. Look, it’ll get better.
  78. Things are MUCH better. You’ll be happy that you’re not in high school anymore.
  79. Yes, you will have a bad-ass tattoo. You will not regret it.
  80.  I’ll end our conversation with some useful advice. Here it is:

Please worry a bit less! You’ll see that things will happen when you’re ready. If something awful happens, it means that something big is about to be born. Don’t EVER rush yourself. Follow your instincts. Try out new things. You’ll learn a lot about yourself. Be prepared to be surprised.

Your Friend from the Future,
Luna
** I’d like to credit Mara Wilson for this idea. Read hers:
http://marawilsonwritesstuff.com/answers-for-my-younger-self/

 

 

Naming Sirius

 

IMG_4460

I realized the older I became, the harder it became to name pets. With this being my third, I thought it would be easier. I was apparently wrong.

In our case, our cat didn’t look like an “X”. He had a face of an old-soul. When I first talked to her foster mother, she implied that he was quite delicate. She said that he wouldn’t hop on the couch without my permission. So, that name was out.

We liked his birth name, but I felt it was too much for a cat to bear. I firmly believed that a pet’s name reflected its owners. So, we decided to come up with a new name for him.

_________________________________________________________________

With cultural appropriation in the mind, we had to be very careful in choosing a name that wasn’t either international or English. I personally think it’s silly to name a pet after something we have no clue about. Notably, not every baby name gets correctly defined on a search site. When we came across something we liked, I would study its meaning. Was there any pop culture reference that we were not aware of? Secondly, we wanted to stay away from religious names. While this wasn’t much of a problem, we also had another rule that filtered our name picks pretty quickly.

We had to ensure that we could find a name that nobody would name a human being. For us, that basically meant ruling out names like Sam or Jack. However, we wouldn’t name our cat ‘Marble Cheese’ or ‘Red’ either. So, we had to find something in the between.

The name ‘Sirius’ first popped into my head when we were on our way to get our laundry. When I first suggested the name, Theo gave a big yes right away! We liked that it meant the ‘brightest star’ in the earth’s sky. There was also a radio satellite named Sirius in the past. We also loved the fact that we could call our reserved cat ‘Sir’ for short. How cool is that?

But for a while, I have second-guessed everything. I was worried that there would be too much Harry Potter references. I also didn’t want to set him up for potential teasing as it sounds like Serious. Fortunately, I have set up a naming poll. Seeing that Sirius got the most votes,  we went with it.

When we were trying to find a first name, we liked the following names:

– Rubeus
– Magnus (Liked it, but someone else had a cat named that.)
– Kaius or Caio (Loved the meaning.)
– Aloysius aka ‘Loy’
– Sunlinus

Feel free to use them!

_________________________________________________________________

My previous two rabbits had middle names, so I didn’t want to leave this out one! To make the story short, it took us a WEEK to find a second name for this poor guy.

With many hours of research, I came across a Germanic word ‘Drei’. When I discovered its meaning, I was very thrilled. It has fit all our criteria requirements. I loved that it was exotic! It wasn’t something that would suggest we tried too hard to create a unique moniker. We also liked that it was a short name, which would be appealing with a hyphenated surname.

I loved that it was a nod to both of our ancestral roots. (It was really more of a nod to Theo’s family, anyway. He’s the second generation born in Canada.) It also means ‘three’ in German. For us, this was a perfect compromise. We replaced a virtue name with a foreign numerical word.

Before you ask, it wasn’t just because our cat was three-legged. In fact, it refers to a lot of things in our lives at this stage. For instance, Sirius was my third pet. We also have been together for three years. There is so much more, but this is pretty much the glimpse of our idea.
________________________________________________________________

We also have agreed that since I’ve came up with his full name, we’d put my surname before his. So far, we haven’t really received many Harry Potter references. My father also jokingly asked me if he was serious. Well, he is! 🙂

His energetic spirit shines like a star in the evening. After his daily day naps, he would step out to play with laser and fill his stomach with some delicious grain-free food. We would treat him to wet food twice a week! He would purr with excitement whenever we pet him.

He’s definitely a one-of-kind.

Behold the magic of our Sirius Drei Quinlan-Wolff!

 

 

 

 

 

Hello, Stranger.

Guess who's moving

After a cloudy week, the sky was finally a crisp blue. Our tree has already started to bloom in our front balcony. I could feel the sun’s warm embrace as it traveled through our high ceiling windows. It was a typical Saturday morning. At least I thought so.

————————————————————————–

When I looked around our now-empty hallway, the reality started to settle in. My roommate, Freckles*, was no longer there. She moved out. Whenever we pass her little bedroom, we could instantly smell her burning sage.  She strongly believed that this practice would help to cleanse the negative energy.  That was who she was at the core.  Underneath her sarcastic remarks, she was and is still the most resilient woman I’ve ever met.

Her little bedroom was now ours. It used to be filled with incense sticks, notepads, candles and blankets. If you entered the room today, you would notice that it has converted into an art studio. She has handed down her orange curtains to us. I always have loved how they could clash properly with baby blue walls. In many cultures, orange is associated with physical confidence and enthusiasm.  If you knew Freckles like I did, you wouldn’t be surprised to find that she’s an adventure-seeker. She thrives for challenges, which sometimes drove me nuts.  She’s an orange.

On the other hand, I’m a baby blue. I’ve been told that I was fragile like glass. I’d prefer to consider myself as a highly sensitive person.  Unlike Freckles, I tend to be very cautious when it comes to taking risks. I usually do not like walking into the land of the ‘unknown’.  Do you know a woman who bruised her boyfriend’s arm on a roller-coaster ride after she held her life on to him? I’m that woman.  But, it is often said that our weakness is also our strength. My cautiousness helps me to maintain empathy for the others. I believe that if I wasn’t busy dreaming, I could sense my beloved ones’ pain.  It connects us somehow.

When you encounter someone who has an entirely different philosophy from you, it is often a learning experience. It doesn’t matter if you’re a blue sky or an orange. You will eventually realize that you’re more alike than you thought.

There are many real-life scenarios entering my mind at this moment. I think about the times Freckles and I fought tooth and nail to settle our fuming disagreements. The floor would quake every time we slammed our doors. We have had said things that we later regretted. There were tears. There was sometimes anger flying in the air. We have apologized and got along until the next time it happened again. It was a continuous cycle for a while.

I still can remember the doubt living in my mind back in the early days. I shook with fear and worry every time when I thought I did something wrong.  Did I cross the line? Did I make her happy? I didn’t know how we could make it work. Thankfully, we were two adults who could swoosh their hands to express their emotions.  We found that if we couldn’t share our vulnerable and complicated thoughts with each other, it would be harder to develop trust. So, we did that. The result was numberless memorable nights that included takeout food. We had some fun in the daytime as well.

————————————————————————–

After hours of decluttering my art studio, I threw unused electronics into a bag. They were going to be donated, I told myself. To my much surprise, my boyfriend was able to plug my old mobile phone. It was the exact model I used when I moved in. While I have finally taken out the memory card, I was able to access my old conversations with numerous messages. The last message was from Freckles.

As I read the message, I couldn’t help but smile. I had a strong urge to read the previous messages. So off I went.  I’m glad because when I came across her frantic texts, I instantly remembered the day when her eldest cat escaped. My boyfriend and I have let her cats out one evening. Cham didn’t return the next day. It didn’t help the fact that our neighbourhood was holding its monthly festival, which was filled with noisy people. Cham absolutely hated being around strangers.  There was no way that he would return in the daylight. Cham’s disappearance also happened on the first day of Freckles’ 2-week vacation.

The timing was the worst for everyone.

The search was brutal. We looked everywhere we could think of! I’ve even tried to call the pet services to see if they have gotten him. Nope, they said. I couldn’t but think irritable thoughts. How could this happen? I didn’t want to report the bad news to Freckles over the phone, but I had to.  I had to be strong for her. This craziness lasted three days.

When we first saw Cham entering the window, we were overjoyed!  We were also pissed that he acted as if nothing has happened.  He was perfectly fine. He just didn’t care about how he has put us through a lot of trouble.  When this thought has passed, I hugged him hard. I told him that it will be okay. My heart was dancing with joy when I texted Freckles.  I can imagine how her heart soared with happiness that day.

I also believe that that day is when we had our first bonding moment.

————————————————————————–

I can say that living with a complete stranger in the beginning was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  When I look back, I feel as if I was handed down a human being in the adoption agency.  This time, it wasn’t a baby. It was a grown woman equipped with her own thoughts, dislikes and likes. She didn’t come with an instruction manual. Not that I would read instruction manuals, anyway.  I despise them.

To be fair, I didn’t come with an instruction manual either.

It’s amazing how living with a person can be quite an emotional investment. My heart enlarged three times bigger. My wrinkles are caused from worrying about her well-being and her struggles. I had to learn to be flexible so I could be there for her. I would be physically exhausted from trying to catch up with her. She was quite a fast walker!

I wasn’t ready for this. But I knew that I was ready to be her roommate. Because of her, I’ve grown to be a self-sufficient woman. I’d like to believe that I’m a lot stronger these days. I’ve aged quickly, but I’m okay with it. We had many tearful and funny moments together in the past three years.  IT WAS WORTH IT.

*The name has been changed for privacy reasons.