And so it was written

After much fuss over where my mom’s garden would need decomposed material the most at the end of the rainy season, we finally buried Elvin. The ceremony was short, I said a few words and so did my mom who had organized the special burial and spoke more of the sacrifice her flowers took than Elvin’s inspiring life. Elvin wasn’t just a hamster; he was an extension of me just like my mom with her flowers. I must say, I found her case rather illogical; flowers die almost every day making it impossible to keep lasting connections with them. In my special case, I was not surprised when I felt a wet particle trickle down my left cheek. I was not going to wipe it away, but instead let it serve its purpose and live to the extent of its limited liquid state until it dried off. It was not the raindrops anymore; I had shed a tear. With all the emotional turmoil I had experienced in the 16 years of my life, a few brought tears to my eyes but with time I had learned that crying does not indicate weakness, from birth it has always been a sign that I’m alive. My mind and body were now made conscious of the inevitability of my own decay as I said my last words of good-bye to Elvin. Jacob stood a few feet away pacing on one spot and making a meal out of the end sleeve of his military jacket. If it were any other circumstance he would not have stayed long enough to wet his sleeve with abundant bodily fluid but I had made him promise to, for the whole ‘formal’ procession. “This is torturous! You know I can’t stand death and wet dirt,” he had said when we went into the garden after it had just rained.

We walked back towards the house slowly, each of us consumed in our own selfish thoughts. My mom began flowering in the living room and asked us not to disturb her as she would later meditate and speak to dad. She was routine in the activities she took part in during the day but the burial had obviously ruined her schedule and so she had to make extra time for dad that day. Dad had died two years before during an earthquake that occurred three days before mom and dad’s fifteen-year anniversary. He had been traveling to business conferences around China and it turned out to be a case of right-place-wrong-time. To this day I’m still curious whether dying from a natural disaster should be considered a ‘natural’ death and to this day my mom still believes dad ‘talks’ to her through her flowers. I’ve always had a fascination in the negotiation of the subconscious in manipulating the decoding of external stimuli; in mom’s case her subconscious is obviously playing tricks on her, either from guilt or a way of adaptation to the change. This is because dad used to send mom flowers when he was away from home for more than a day, it goes back to when they were still dating. After dad died, mom became a devout florist. Unlike mom I had more, how can I call it… sane coping methods, like sleeping with my dad’s socks on whenever I missed him. After the burial I spent the afternoon in my room with Jacob whom I’ve known since he peed his pants in kindergarten. I was known and ridiculed as Nappy-pants and he was Jake-Leaker; we were the perfect match, “…and so it was written,” he always said as though we were characters from the comic books he always read. On most days we got on like ‘a house on fire’ or as I like to say, wax on a surf-board, but this day was different. The day I buried Elvin, I had buried part of my soul with me, the happy and hopeful part.

“Attention. Earth calling constipated face, over? Okay, that doesn’t seem to work. You do know that it takes 43 muscles to frown and only 17 to smile, right?” Jacob negotiated, gazing at me expectantly in attempts to divert my morbidly depressed state. I didn’t need to look up from my sketch pad to feel that he was still watching and expecting affirmation or any kind of reciprocity from me.

“Come on, dude. You can’t carry on like this forever. I know you’re grieving and all but in your life-time, these few minutes are like hours, even days. Cheer up, it only takes 17,” he pronounced insistently.

“I’m sorry, but you must have mistaken me for someone who gives a flying rat’s ass” I said with intended sarcasm hoping it would do the trick in shutting him up, but there was a disadvantage in being friends with an ADHD sufferer, even if his was a mild case.

“I’m really getting into the hang of Facebook. It’s practically impossible to be socially awkward there. Unfortunately, I find myself scrolling on it and thinking: ‘Don’t care… don’t care. Attention seeker. Your life sucks. Instagram hipster. Inside joke? Needs a therapist.’ Hey, what are you drawing there anyway? Let me see!” Jacob persisted like a needy five-year-old, getting up from the sofa facing my bed, and peeking over my sketch pad that leaned on my raised knees.

“Did you know that 83.5 percent of sketch artists are more likely to get a girl from doing portraits of them than song artists, video artists or make-up artists?” he said it as a statement of fact rather than a question that needed an answer.

“You just made that up, didn’t you? Why would any of those other artists draw portraits anyway?”

“Valid point. But it doesn’t matter. It sounded sensible when I said it in my head. Point is, this year is our year, your year! You could get this girl so easily just because you’re ‘gifted’ in art, it’s clearly inscribed in your genes,” and for the first time in seventeen years, Jacob was starting to make sense.

“You mean I could get her in the sack before I expire?”

“Whoa, hold on there horse-y. I’m no neuroscientist but I do know the biochemistry of sex is just dopamine in our brain that is released through synapses causing pleasure. Stimulate your hypothalamus with a rod and you’ve got yourself an orgasm just as satisfying. I’m just saying, trying to get the girl to notice you exist is all right here in front of you,” Jacob was suggestive. I was to expose my freaky nature by showing her a sketch book that was dedicated to endless pages of thumbnails of her; the side of her face, the back of her head and largely, scribbles of typical teenage boy infatuation.

“Sure a white mouse’s brain chemistry is closer to ours, same can be said about a banana’s DNA and a pig’s orgasm but what are the chances of successfully shoving a stick through my ear to stimulate a part of my brain just for an orgasm? Let’s be realistic, I’m willing to catch her attention but I wouldn’t dare go as far as showing her my stalk-ish drawings of her. There must be another way,” I figured. I was well aware that Jacob and I were entering a territory that we couldn’t possibly navigate even with the abundant resources of knowledge that we were all too familiar with. We sat for a while in silence as it slowly sunk in that we didn’t know much about the human condition or how to follow conventional ways of courtship behaviour, we were never the socialites, you see. Except, we had done some reading ages ago out of interest on observational studies in the mating of primeval homo-sapiens carried out by Anthropologists in Papua Guinea. In effect, this situation had officially gotten us dumbstruck.

“To save us from further awkward silence, know that I’m perfectly comfortable with us changing the subject matter of this conversation,” Jacob said, showing defeat. I sighed in affirmation.

“You could always ‘Google it’!” he finally said in a tone of a familiar phrase we often heard spoken by incompetent fellow classmates. And that is how it all started; the chase, the risks and the spontaneity. I was going to make Maya notice me and I was going to win no matter what obstacle stood in my way. I had purpose once again and nothing, even no-one was going to take it away from me. It was my time.

“Time for breakfast!” My mom yelled from downstairs as I got ready to leave my room with my school bag on my back and PT bag hanging from my right hand. Mom had made the usual; eggs, toast, bacon, omelettes, fish-fingers, fruit salad, mango juice and apple juice. She always wanted to give me enough options but I always went for my Milo cereal that I ate with a fork so I could drink the chocolate milk left from the bowl.

“A little birdie told me today is a big day for you. I’m so proud to see you bloom my little hibiscus,” she prompted me to pause my chewing for a second then continue inattentively. “So how are you planning to woo her, this girl that has splashed your face with a colourful palette?” mom insisted on continuing the conversation or rather monologue until I finished drinking my choc-milk, “Thanks mom, I just ate cereal that had lost all its molecular integrity. Did Jacob tell you about the conversation we had in my room?”

“Of course not. Your father told me that today was going to be big for you. I’m just trying to uncover his cryptic point of note,” she said getting up from the dining table and taking my cereal bowl toward the kitchen. I got up to follow behind her, “Mom, were you eavesdropping on our conversation yesterday? You were not really ‘meditating’ were you?”

“Oh, daisy. Sometimes you come up with the most outrageous stories, your father would be very disappointed. You better leave for your mistress before the bus leaves you,” she chortled and winked before turning her head away.

I walked into gym class with a spring in my step, not just because my training sneakers had shock-absorbers but because I had a concrete plan of exhibition and web-research had shown it to be successful 9 out of 10 times. The key was confidence and I was going to add the ‘cool’ factor of my artistry to the mix. I saw Maya standing with a group of girls that weren’t even half as pretty as she was; they had obviously experienced an unfortunate mutation in the gene pool. I put my bags down and began stretching in a manly way. My chest was pushed out but not too obvious as my physic could not possibly match that exaggerated upper body muscle, but I still looked manly and confident, I believe. Class was going to start in seven minutes, there was much time for me to make an impression before the session began. I bent side-ways to touch my shoe and groaned as I got up, she glanced my direction and carried on in conversation. “I must be really hot. This is awesome,” (please note that this was my head speaking).

“Good morning, my good fellow,” Jacob approached enthusiastically from my side giving me a high-five hand gesture. I followed suit.

“’Good’ what gave you that idea? Oh yeah, I have a strong feeling you might be referring to my epic hairstyle and good looks to charm Maya off her feet,” I was smug. I considered it an essential trait to seeming more confident then I actually felt that moment.

“The steam engine was a good idea, internet web systems were a good idea. Your vanity is definitely not and your hair looks like it’s trying to do stand-up comedy,” Jacob mused.

“Cool story bro. Do you want to hear mine? Once upon a time, nobody cared. The end,”

“Well, fine. You know, if you mouth the word “colourful” to someone, it looks like you are saying ‘I love you.’ You could always use that as a test run and if she runs scared you can tell her she heard you wrong and then she’ll look like an idiot. Although, with that Goku hair, it’s really hard to compete,” he said patting my shoulder then walking away.

What followed can only be described as covert ogling at its finest (side note: replace the word “covert” with “painfully obvious”). During the friendly game of volley ball which of course requires one to keep an eye on the ball, my eyes were on something else, someone else; the hottest brunette in my grade, a girl who was soon to be mine except for one problem. Maya had a boyfriend, Shaun Muller, a senior who played for my school’s A-team ice-hockey. Apart from the fact that I was a junior, ice-hockey was a big deal and Shaun held the rank of captain while the ‘coolest’ rank I ever held was President of the Neo-scientists Club. Quite prestigious, huh? Sure, except no recognition was ever given to nerds. In fact, we did not have to uphold any reputation in social structures because we were just cells that happened to exist amongst other socially evolved organisms. I had had enough, “No more social awkwardness or invisibility!” I told myself and was going to go in for the kill this time. I had my eyes set on her as I watched the indoor fluorescent lights marvel at her overpowering attraction. I’m sure I was blinded because the last thing I saw was darkness then heard a hard thump. Apparently I was out of it for a moment because when I opened my eyes I saw a blur of heads that circled above me whispering all at once like a hive of agitated bees.

“Dude, are you okay? You got hit really hard.”

“Do you think he’ll need brain surgery or something? He looks out of it,” another voice said, amongst the whispers.

”Everyone out of the way!” another louder voice commanded, “How many fingers am I holding, son?” the voice asked.

“Three?” I finally responded after blinking repeatedly.

“He’s alright. Okay everyone, back to the friendly game. Shaun, you sit out and see me after class.”

A surge of feet shuffled away and one pair approached and lengthened an arm. I reached for it and got off the floor slowly. I staggered before balancing to stand still and look at the face of the helpful hand. That was when the stars aligned, the harmonious angels sang and world peace began to… Okay, well, not really. I was still a bit disorientated when I realised it was Maya who had made the effort to help.

“Hey, you okay? I’m Maya,” she said, something I had known for the past three years of my adult life; her name was said like an entire musical in two syllables.

“Ca- Casio,” I finally stuttered as I started to feel the pain of impact throbbing on my temple and began to rub it away with the palm of my right hand.

“I’m really sorry about Shaun. He can be such a jerk sometimes. Most people don’t know this but I’ve been with him long enough to realise he’s actually quite insecure and slightly possessive. That’s why he threw the volley-ball so viciously at you,” she whispered.

“Ha-ha-ha,” I attempted laughter that sounded a bit forced. Evidently Shaun had noticed my covert stares at his girlfriend.

“I’m sure he didn’t intend to. But if you’re feeling guilty about it, you can have lunch with me at the cafeteria tomorrow,” the words escaped my lips so fast that I barely had the chance to stop them.

“Charming. Sure, why not? Most guys don’t even approach me just ’cause they think Shaun owns me. I dig your bravery, it’s cute,” it sounded as though she sang her words. She smiled her blinding gleam before heading back to the court. I was left besotted.

“And so it was written.” — Jacob Mosby

Writer/Poet | This is ancestral, past-life reading; this is meditation & prayer; this is future telling. Always becoming. The undying soul in a decaying case.