Thirteen was the year Harley first decided she wanted to pick her own clothes instead of having her mother buy them. That was the year a shadow fell on Mrs Quinn’s heart. She felt pride that her little girl was growing up, but it was happening so fast, oh so fast. Suddenly Harley didn’t fit into those cute little skirts and ribbons, she was wearing jeans and tees, her face lost it’s smooth egg-white texture and the first sprouts of puberty manifested in the form of tiny red speckles on her forehead and cheeks.
Harley was growing up.
In spite of that, Mrs Quinn wasn’t too worried. After all, they were very close : almost best friends. Harley was young, she needed guidance. She was at an age where friends were dangerous, where drugs and smoking and sex were ever omnipresent. She would stray if Mrs Quinn wasn’t there to guide her through these difficult years. And they always say Mother Knows Best, didn’t they?
I’m not smothering her, I am protecting her. Because there is so much bad out in the world and all they would do is hurt my baby, hurt my baby, they would hurt her oh hurt her so bad. 
She didn’t know when or how, but her daughter grew. And with each passing year, she grew not only physically, but  mentally and emotionally.
Harley had become a stranger. She would have different opinions, DEVIANT OPINIONS, and they scared Mrs Quinn how different they were from her own. Surely it must be the devil at work. How her daughter was spiralling into a world where she was an outsider. Those good for nothings she hung out with – they always seemed so.. what was the word for it, spaced out. “Stoned” was what Harley would call it. Just the word gave her a sense of intense dislike. How she know berated her own mother when she talked about people on the street. “Look at that man, what big tattoos. Must be a hoodlum.” she had pointed out at this man with huge dragon tattoos running down his forearms.
And Harley had talked back, talked back to her dear God, “Mother, you shouldn’t judge people on their appearances. And it’s rude to point like that.” She had felt a chill run down her spine, like she was falling through a deep cataclysm. Little Harley, talking back to her mother over some man with tattoos whom she didn’t know, who was highly likely what she had said – a hoodlum. Talking back to her over a hoodlum.
When Harley graduated from high school, Mrs Quinn had set out a safe path for her. It was for the best – she would make good money, marry a good husband and have beautiful cherubic kids and a nice little home. So imagine her horror when Harley told her she wanted to be a writer, god forbid, she would be eating scraps with that kind of job. Why couldn’t she listen to Mother?Because Mother knows best. And a doctor or a lawyer would guarantee a secure future. Never mind that Harley didn’t like it, it was safe. Harley would learn to like them. After all, she hadn’t liked what she studied in school, it was only because her parents made her. Yes, Harley would have to learn. Her daughter was getting so in over her head these days, almost like she had a mind of her own. She had feared this since Harley was a young child. Oh dear sweet God why couldn’t she remain a child forever? She used to be so sweet, so obedient. If momma told her she should stay away from those hobos on the street she would nod quietly and do as she was told. Not now. Harley was a stranger in her house now.
Mrs Quinn’s heart was seized with a fear so great, she felt breathless every time she thought of it. Harley didn’t need her anymore. Mrs Quinn had never been so afraid in her life. She had always thought Harley would be her little girl forever, that she would always listen to her and say yes, mommy in that 5 year old voice.
“I love you, mum. But I can’t live with you. I need a life of my own. ” Harley had said gently, and Mrs Quinn had screamed at her like a banshee, you ungrateful little bitch,  is this what I get for bringing you up, oh you ingrate you’ll burn in hell for these things you’ve said to your mother –
(I am not smothering, I am protecting) 
“I love you, mum. But I gotta grow up, you gotta let me go. I can’t stay forever. I will always love you but you have to let me go… let yourself go.”
(I was only protecting – ) 
Harley had walked out of the door that day: the click of it closing was like a death knell to the heart. For twenty years, Mrs Quinn ran from the fear and loneliness which ate away at her. She turned Harley away whenever she came visiting, whenever she called – not because she didn’t miss her, but because she couldn’t find the strength to let go if she came back. It was best for the both of them, and Mother always Knows Best, even if other people or her own daughter, didn’t believe that.
In a way, she was letting go by not letting go.
It was Christmas, a quiet one as usual. Mrs Quinn sighed as she checked the oven to see if the food was done, her graying hair tied back into a bun. A simple meal, another quiet Christmas.
A gush of emotions crashed over her like a tidal wave as she looked at the television blasting Christmas songs – she imagined little Harley sitting in front of the set, carefully unwrapping Christmas gifts. Harley had always liked writing, and Mrs Quinn thought it wasn’t such a bad hobby either so she had gotten her a neat pen – the one which could change colours by clicking different buttons. Recalled Harley’s happy face as she held the pen up into the light like it was some sacred Mayan treasure, a crystal skull holding magical powers.
Mrs Quinn had known back then. She had known when Harley was in high school, had known it when she
The pen was Harley’s sacred Mayan treasure – it had been an escape from the tyranny of real life, spilling it’s guts into paper. “I’m not a good writer, mum. But I try. I do try. So let me do this.” Harley’s whisper echoed down the hallway of time like it had been uttered just yesterday, the day she had left home.
A knock on the door startled her out of her reverie. She trudged over to open it. A cherubic little girl stood at the doorway, her pretty face framed with a curtain of thick black hair. She was bundled up in a jacket – and behind her mother and father stood. The little girl turned up at the woman and said in a shy voice, so like     to Harley’s when she was little – is this grandma?
The woman nodded, then turned to Mrs Quinn with twinkling eyes, eyes that had never aged a day beyond five except for the crinkling crow’s feet around them. “I’m back, mother.”
Mrs Quinn stared.
“Welcome back,” she whispered.
Note: Currently reading The Shining by Stephen King. So far it’s been pretty awesome. He has a real way with words to make horrors jump out at you in nightmares even long after you’ve closed the book.I particularly like a phrase in the book –“This inhuman place breeds human monsters.”
Now, on with sleep. 

You Got My Ears Itching

You know a song is indie when you can’t even find it’s lyrics on the net.
I’m back to writing after a long hiatus. Things have been so full of shit recently, I don’t even know where to begin. But it’s okay. I’m picking up the pieces.
It’s the Lunar New Year again. A new year means a new beginning. Unlike most people, I don’t like going back for the holidays. Each year, the town seems a little deader. Streets are emptier. There’s none of the hype you see on TV : no firecrackers at every street corner, no lion dances, no screaming children. Old folks linger at coffee shops, staring morosely out at passing cars that pass them by like glimpses of dreams. This is Ipoh, once a gem in it’s heyday. Now it’s just another forgotten memory, slowly but surely fading away.
I dread going back every year. Reaching home on New Year’s eve, greeted by the sight of a house full of old people, can be a little depressing. When you’re young and full of life, death seems so far away. But to the old and weary, death is just a knock away. Grandpa’s 85: he’s senile, and he wets his bed. Watching him spoon mouthfuls of food with a shaky hand, watching Grandma totter around on her cane to go the bathroom, makes you wonder why we were created this way. Why does the body have to degenerate before we die? Why not just drop dead when you reach a certain age? That way you’d do everything you wanted to do before your body leaves the world.
You’re born, you live, you get old, you die. Life is a cycle.I believe in respecting old people because one day I too, will grow old.
Which is why the actions of some of my relatives really pissed me off to no end. During reunion and the customary ‘lou sang‘ to symbolize prosperity and advancement, my grandparents were jeered at for wanting to partake. “Let the younger ones do it, you people don’t have anything to advance anymore, anyway,” was what one of my aunts said. Seeing my grandma put down her chopsticks in disappointment, even if I wasn’t her granddaughter, would have stirred pity in any stranger with a heart. Imagine bringing up a daughter for so many years, only to be repaid with spite and annoyance. A few of us younger kids felt uneasy and we said it was okay for the old folks to join, it was just a symbolic thing anyway. If I’m gonna do well in life it’s coz I work hard for it, not coz of some ritual. But said aunt insisted that the old folks were not to take part.
Life’s a cycle, aunt. Do not forget. One day you’ll be old and you’ll be the one shoved aside, being left behind, being thought of as a nuisance like how you think of your own parents. And nobody will be there for you if you continue in this frame of mind. Nobody’s gonna be young forever.
Another thing about new year’s…
New Year’s to me is like putting yourself up on a petri dish, to be scrutinized in microscopic proportions under the looking glass, subject to disapproving comparisons to better first cousins, second cousins, and relatives to the fourth degree.
“So and so is doing so well as an accountant overseas now.. earns (insert 5 number figure in foreign currency here) each month, lives in this big-ass apartment with 2 dogs and an even richer boyfriend… “
“So and so is taking her bar exams now, going to join a prestigious law firm soon I guess…”
“Oh, so what do you do Ris? You work for a magazine?” (raises eyebrow) “What do you do there?Write? Ah, uhm, that’s good.”
“Writers don’t earn much, do they?”
“Must be tough.”
“Can you afford the loan for a Myvi with your salary?”
Make no mistake, I don’t feel inadequate. I knew when I took this path that it was never gonna be easy. In an Asian society, or any other society for that matter, writers (unless you’re award winning, a best seller or filthy effin rich) are never looked highly up to. We’re not lawyers, we’re not doctors, we’re not businessmen. People think of writers as dreamy people, lost in their own world, lost in the words they love so much. We earn MYR 2 for every page of material written. Yes, being a writer won’t earn you big bucks, a bungalow, or that brand new Porsche.
Unless maybe if you write about emo vampires that sparkle in the daylight?
But I write because I love words. The first thing I grabbed in my chubby little baby hands was a pen. I might not be the best writer out there, but I love what I do. And I’m happy, even if it means I forgo what modern society calls luxury and comfort. I don’t need a 10K mattress, I just need 2 or 3 comforters and a pillow to keep warm all night.
Why do we feel a need to compare ourselves with others? Only the insecure do that. Being an academically inclined person in high school, I was always living to the beat of other people’s expectations. Straight As for Mom, straight As for dad. After graduating, I was to take an accountancy/law course of some sort. That was one of the times we had a big fight. I’ve always listened to what my parents wanted because (I’m Asian) respecting elders is something that has been drilled into me from a young age. But this was just one thing I couldn’t compromise. I didn’t want to hate them for the rest of my life for making me take something I would be miserable doing in future. Even today, mum still thinks I made the wrong choice. “You have brains, it’s a waste you took this course.” When even your own parents have this ‘writer’s are shyt’ kinda mentality, it’s hard to feel encouragement. It feels like the whole world is against you, like they’re waiting for you to screw up even more royally than just the ‘bad’ choice you make, so that they can thumb their noses in your face and say I told you so. But here’s the thing: if you’re talented and you work hard for what you want, I believe that you can be great at what you do no matter what you studied in school. School’s a playground, the real world is ruthless. Studies are nothing when they throw you out to be eaten by wolves.
One day I just woke up and decided IDGAF anymore. Being the best to someone else was always so tiring. All my life I’ve been trying to be someone to somebody else.
I want to be myself, for once.

New Layout.

New layout.
Although it wasn’t created by moi, it still took forever to get it right. Proves my ‘skill’ at HTML, huhuhu.
Currently doing a translation assignment on oxymorons. *roars*
I just realised that my English is getting sucky, because I never use proper English when I blog. What with all the rojak and lahs and mahs.. and I never read books these days, unless it’s comics.
*deep sigh*.
I’ll try not to use Manglish so frequently next time.
This resolve will probably last for less than two posts, and then it’s back to the Manglish.

Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head

There will be an outage on blogger at 4PM! I better do this fast! 🙂

Last night you felt?
. Frustrated.

Who are all the people you have text messages from in your phone?
. Mostly hubby.

Who was the last person you talked to on the phone?
. Me pops

Ever been kissed in a car?
. Nah. too public.

If you’re being extremely quiet what’s it mean?
. I’m in one of my thundercloud moods.

Have you ever kissed someone and never saw them again?
. Yeah. And I don’t want to see them ever again either.

How are you feeling right now?
. Relieved that the stupid assignment is done

Are you drifting away from someone you were close with?
. Yea.. my bestie 😦 Haven’t seen her in a long time.

Last time you laughed?
. During translation class. Because of the “kemewahan kerongsang yang melekat pada baju awak

If you could seek revenge on someone,would you? and who would it be?
. I would. As to whom, I shall not reveal it here for fear of foiling my evil plans. *evil smirk*

Last argument?
. I’ve forgotten, really.

Have you ever stripped for money?
. Nope.

Last nap?
. I haven’t napped in ages. T__T

Would your parents be mad if you got pregnant today?
. I wouldn’t know, coz I’d be dead.

What were you doing last Saturday?
. Sleeping at home.

Excited about anything?
. Life is a constant bore.

Who was the first person you heard this morning?
. My brother.

Is there someone you’d like to fix things with?
. Yes.

What’s a happy time you’ve had in the past week?
. Never happy. I’m full of teenage angst.

Who do you feel most comfortable talking to about anything?
. Hubby. Grace. Myself.

Do you believe that everything happens for a reason?
. Not everything.

Have you ever liked someone that treated you like crap?
. Yeah. To hell with him.

Has anyone disappointed you recently?
. Yeah. Someone close.

What are you listening to?
. Tiesto.

If someone likes you would you want them to tell you?
. Yes, straight to my face. Don’t be a chicken 😀

Do you believe in celebrating anniversaries?
. Yes.

How do you feel about the person who texted you last?
. Aishiteru !

Who was the last person that made you cry, why?
. Myself. I was frustrated at something

Have you ever had a difficult relationship?
. Yes

Have you ever stayed in a hotel?
. What cave do you think I’m from? Of course yes.

Have you ever dated someone who was not good to you?
. Yeah. He was like cigarettes. Bad for you but addictive.

Would you hug your ex again?
. Depends if we ended on good or bad terms.

What is in your pocket?
. Handphone

Where would you like to be right now?
. By his side.

Ever told someone you loved them and not mean it?
. Yes.

Ever been told you were loved by someone who didn’t mean it?
. Yeah. Karma, babe.
Most important part of a relationship?
. Compatibility

Have you ever been cheated on?
. Well, only like a kajillion times.

Do you think someone is thinking about you right now?
. Maybe? 😐

When was the last time you spoke to the person you like?
. Today.