Last month, I whined about being forgotten by my high school friends, and then suddenly, as if the universe read my sorrowful blog post, a video call came crashing into my phone two Saturdays ago followed by another one today. The calls were sudden, like strong waves rushing in, sweeping an unsuspecting, sleeping beach.
Our faces appeared inside small boxes on my screen, like 2×2 ID pictures. There’s not much difference to our faces then and now, except for some weight gains and losses.
We tried catching up with each other’s lives, starting with weather checks. Those who are in Germany, Ireland and Canada showed off their winter outfits while the rest of us who are in tropical countries donned our usual summer shirts.
The wide gap between us created by years of separation, of careers and family life, made it difficult for us to talk about our present lives. Hence, the topic always goes back to high school days, where a flash flood of memories comes in, setting off a stream of laughter.
Among those living abroad, I am the most detached because I have been out of the country longer than all of them. I wanted to tell them a lot of stories. A lot. A lot. But I don’t know where to start and I don’t know if they will be willing to listen.
These are the people I grew up with but now we’ve all grown apart.
I cannot tell them that I love writing now as much as I hated essay writing in high school. I cannot tell them that I have been running a blog for eight years now and the readers of my blog probably know me more than they do. I cannot tell them that I started writing short stories about witches and talking cats because they’d probably laugh at me if I do.
There’s a lot I’d want to tell them. But I cannot. Because even if I do, they’d probably not have a clue.
I’m sure they have a lot to tell too. The places they’ve visited, the countries they are living in and maybe a lot more than I do. But there’s just this space in between and maybe they can feel that too.
I found this post more difficult to write than all the other posts. Usually, the words come out easily, like river, they overflow. But not today. And that’s okay.
And by the way, it’s already autumn they said, in countries with four seasons.
Time for autumn drinks. Pumpkin Spice Lattes and all. I wish I could have tried those kind of drinks when I had the chance.
Time for change. A transition between seasons. When every leaf is a flower, fiery, sunburnt in crisp October air.
I’m writing about autumn even though all I can see is summer everyday because it was the last prompt of the weekly short story writing that I’ve recently joined.
I am excited to share about this new ‘thing’ I’ve been busy with but I could not be proud of my stories yet. HA HA. Well, I am always proud of myself upon completing a story and clicking the submit button. But then I’d see other story submissions and then the weekly winner’s story. I’d want to run and hide. My stories are so amateurish compared to them. I feel like I’m writing stories for the ten year old me. HA HA.
Anyway, I am so surprised that I’ve written two short stories about talking cats and witches already. To think, I don’t like cats. Not that I hate them, but, I like turtles more than any other animals. Also, I am not a big fan of fantasy novels and stuff so I don’t know how these things are getting into my head whenever I write stories.
This weekly short story writing is a good exercise. I don’t expect to win (there’s $50 prize for the weekly winner haha) at all. I already know where I stand, alright. But I’ll keep writing and submitting because by doing this, I don’t just increase my vocabulary and improve my writing skills, I also discover more about my innerself (char) and I keep pushing the boundaries of my imagination, which I found very limited.
Anyway, if anyone has a lot of spare time and would like to write short stories with me every week (ha ha), let me know. Let’s write together and maybe critique each other’s story and improve together (ha ha).
My post is a bit too happy today. There’s a lot of ha ha.
Autumn image from Unsplash by Aaron Burden