under the cherry blossoms: dream

It might just be because I have watched too many Japanese dramas, but I want to watch cherry blossoms bloom in Japan. Seeing the skies flood with these beautiful pink flowers is a sight to behold and it symbolizes so many different things: new life, a new year, and new opportunities.

When I started Featherlight, it was meant for me to better understand myself post suicide attempt. I used writing to help me cope with so many different kinds of pains and losses inflicted upon me by people who quite frankly were a waste of my time. But this post is not going to focus on that sort of negativity. I made my one jab and I’m moving on from that. I’m here to talk about cherry blossoms and new dreams.

In an ideal world, we can wake up every morning with a big, bright smile on our faces. There would be no need for negativity or bringing others down. When problems arise, we would simply face them and not make bigger deals out of them: situations would never escalate. Life would be simple but pleasant. With the bloom of this year’s cherry blossoms, I can finally say that I see the ugly side to ambition. The stress of taking on too much, it drives us mad with insecurity, exhaustion, and stress. We rub it in to others that we are doing more, as a facade masking how pained or shaken we really are. We are human beings, not robots. Trying to do so much may look good on paper, but it drives away a good portion of our humanity. It wears on our stamina and it makes us unpleasant to be around for a plethora of reasons, namely that we create insecurity and uneasiness with such reckless or bashful behavior.

I don’t want anyone to ever feel like they are not good enough. We all have the privilege of living life, and nobody should ever tell you that you are not good enough or make you feel insignificant in this world. You have been given an inherent purpose by being born a living, sentient being. Use that sentience and allow it to guide you to where you want to go. Don’t be worried if you’re not getting there as quickly as the person next to you. With enough dedication at a pace that befits you, you will arrive at your destination. For me, that is in Japan, owning a bakery, and being able to watch the cherry blossoms every spring. Even if it takes me until the age of 100, so long as I can get there before death, that is all I ask.

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How it is: Chapter 19

“How was your day?” Tarou turned to see an exhausted Valerie re-enter their room. “I’m just shot. I’m going to bed.” She yawned, dropping face-first on the mattress. The Japanese boy, deciding it was best to continue doing his homework elsewhere, left the room, turning off the lights as he exited. “Goodnight, Val!” “Goodnight, Tarou.” She murmured before drifting off to sleep. The boy decided to finish his homework in the hallway, just so that he would not disturb her. He was grateful to Valerie for housing him and did not want to do anything to agitate her or potentially compromise his ability to live there. It’s been a couple weeks at this point, and Tarou was already adjusted to living with her. The two knew that being a romantic couple was out of the question at this point, given how both of them were emotionally, and how Timmy would be affected if something like this were to happen. Finally saving his paper, Tarou closed the window and looked at job openings for the summer. The summer was close, so he needed to start thinking about what he would be doing then. “Huh? A modeling gig in Tokyo?” Tarou noticed an email sent to him from the agency. “Summer job, will be modeling for the summer edition of Vogue’s Menswear Collection.” He read aloud, intrigued. “Will need basic Japanese speaking skills and prior modeling experience preferred.” The more he looked into it, the more Tarou wanted to apply for the job. At this point, he had nothing to lose. “Hell, let’s do it.” He submitted his resume onto the site and closed his laptop entirely. “It’s 2am already. I’ve got to go to bed.” He sighed, going back into their room.

It was the next morning, and Tarou and Valerie were eating together in the dining hall. “How was your paper? Are you done now?” The pastry chef looked at him. “Yeah, I’m done with it! I also applied for a modeling job in Tokyo for the summer!” “Oh my god! That’s amazing! If you get it, send me pics! I want to see and live that experience through you vicariously.” She giggled. “How about you? Any news?” Tarou smiled at her. “Well, I got this in the mail.” She pulled out an envelope. “Wait, what’s in it?” The Japanese model looked at her curiously. “You won’t believe it. I actually didn’t myself.” She opened the flap and pulled out the letter. Tarou quickly scanned through the contents. “Dear Valerie, we are going to be holding a special Warrior Chef: All Stars edition, where previous finalists and contestants from all seasons will have a chance to redeem themselves. Since you were the runner-up in our most recent season, we in the Warrior Chef team would like to cordially invite you to compete. Please contact us at wcascasting@gmail.com if you are interested in competing again and hope to hear from you soon! Victoria Clark, Executive Producer.” Stunned, he just looked at her, awestruck. “So are you going to take it?” Valerie just smiled in response to that question. “Well, what do you think? I’m a previous runner-up! I need to represent!” She beamed. “Thanks, Tarou. You helped me regain my confidence, and I will try my best to win this one for you.”

“Tarou!” Misaki ran up to the model as he exited the changing rooms. He had finished another session and was getting ready to go home. “Misaki! What’s going on?” He looked at her. She was exhausted from running. “Hold on!” She put her hand up, panting. “Catching… my breath.” She sighed, getting up and looking at the slightly amused teen. “What’s going on?” “It’s Timmy. He wants to talk to you.” She lied between her teeth. “Wait, what?!” Tarou could not believe what he was hearing. “Yeah. Hold on, come with me.” She led him out of the building. Misaki was determined to make these two at least confront each other. Whether or not they remained friends was another subject entirely, but at the very least, she wanted Tarou to be able to put that frustration behind him, while on Timmy’s behalf, she just wanted him to live a life that did not involve hulling himself away in his room. Nobody deserved to be robbed of their youth like that, in her eyes.

“Here we are.” Justin looked at Timmy. The software engineer lied to Timmy as well, telling him to meet up with him in front of the Muji at Noho so that they can go get food together in the area. Misaki was going to be taking Tarou to this location as well, so that the two of them could leave the ex-friends and roommates confront each other. “Hey, Justin!” Timmy sighed, looked around fearfully before walking up to his friend. He was terrified that somebody was going to verbally assault him. “What’s with you? Don’t worry, okay? These kinds of issues and problems, they’re not going to be around for much longer, alright?” Justin assured him. “What makes you so certain about that?” Timmy frowned. He was scared at this point. What did Justin mean by that? How could he assure that nothing bad was going to happen. “I just have a gut feeling that no matter what happens, you’ll come out of this stronger. And that’s a big reason why I wanted to meet up with you.” He grinned, although Timmy was still visibly disturbed. And this uneasiness would only escalate within a mere few seconds of Justin’s last statement. “Timmy?!” The Taiwanese boy’s shoulders shot up at the beckon of his name. He was being called by a very familiar voice. Turning around slowly, he knew who this was. It was none other than a very dumbstruck Valerie Ang.

Deciding that it was something to celebrate over, Valerie decided to go to her favorite store, Muji in Noho, to buy some stationary. She was running low on sketchbooks and liked the simplistic design of the Japanese notebooks that Muji sold. She was excited. Even though just a few months ago, losing the competition had gotten her down, Valerie was determined to do this competition, and prove that, even if she were to lose, that she could be a gracious loser. Going to Muji, she was skittish. She needed to continue brushing up on different recipes, dishes, ingredients, and mentally prepare herself to be going head to head with some of the best chefs in the competition’s history. However, in that very moment, Valerie’s shopping spree was cut to an abrupt halt. Describing her feelings in that moment, it was difficult. Rage, frustration, irritation, complete anger, a linger bit of pity, and ultimately, disappointment. Timmy Li was standing in front of her favorite store, not only blocking the entrance, by ruining what could have been a wonderful day for her. Without thinking, the pastry chef found herself blurting out his name, in disbelief that she would bump into him. His very presence made her bury the urge of holding him underneath a tub of water, before dropping a toaster in said bathtub. Timmy, uneasy, turned to her, shaken by her unexpected appearance. “Uh….” He trailed off. Just knowing that he called her a slut made him feel an overwhelming sense of guilt. But the words “I’m sorry” could not come to him. He just found himself awkwardly standing there, staring at her, mouth agape. “Uh…” Justin did not anticipate Valerie’s appearance either. “Alright, so I said to meet up here!” Misaki ushered a still hesitant Tarou over to the front of Muji.

How it is: Chapter 9

In middle school, Timmy’s feeling for Valerie just continued to grow. Before, it was just because Valerie chose him and Tarou over their female classmates. But even during puberty, Valerie just blossomed. “Ugh, you two are so lucky you don’t have to wear a bra.” She groaned. “These things are like sandbags on my chest.” She was awkwardly referring to her bosoms. Both Tarou and Timmy were at a loss of what to say. Timmy was the youngest of three brothers and Tarou was an only child, so neither of them ever had to hear about bras, breasts, or periods before talking to Valerie. And since Valerie had very few female friends, she would just complain to them about her puberty-related predicaments, much to Tarou’s visible discomfort. Even then, Timmy was still intrigued by her. To him, she was always such an interesting person. At first, it was because she was the only girl who was not his mother who was close to him. But then those feelings, they expanded when he got to know her better. Hearing about her dreams and goals, and seeing the lengths she went to so that she could accomplish them, it was inspirational.

Valerie wanted to be a chef since she was really young. She used to travel with her grandparents throughout California, eating at fine dining restaurants, such as The French Laundry. By the time she turned 16, she was interning throughout her summers at a variety of restaurants. First, it was a local country club in Queens, where they all lived. But then, she started commuting to Manhattan to work for Mario Batali, and spent an entire summer in Chicago with her uncle, working under chef Stephanie Izard. Timmy still remembers that summer. It was before their senior year and Valerie was away the entire time. They would call every week, just to catch up. “So, how’s Chicago?” “It’s really cool! It reminds me of the city in a lot of ways, and I just love it.” She confessed. “I’m surprised by how not-homesick I am. That’s probably the biggest shock.” “Well, that’s great to hear!” Timmy was relieved, knowing that she was happy. “Hopefully, we’ll all be going to college together like we planned.” She laughed at them. “Definitely! Going to NYU with you and Tarou, it’ll be the best four years of my life.” He chuckled in agreement. Spending any time with Valerie was fun. She was a loyal and loving friend, and Timmy greatly appreciated that.

“So, I’m going to be competing on Warrior Chef, but that means that I’m switching to online courses to finish my education.” Valerie was sitting down with Timmy and Tarou. It was their senior year of high school, and she just heard back from the casting crew of the show. “Wait, really?!” They both looked shocked. While Tarou was excited, Timmy felt a little sad. He would not be spending their graduation together with her. But Valerie had already heard back from NYU, and got in with early decision. “I’ll see you guys on the other side of this experience, okay?” She smiled at them. “I can’t wait to hear about it!” Tarou grinned at her. “Unleash hell! Let them see what Stephanie Izard and Mario Batali taught you.” The Japanese boy chuckled. “Good luck, okay?” Timmy beamed at his crush. “Thanks, you two. I’m going to be sad that I won’t be graduating with you guys, but at the same time, this is really exciting and I can’t wait to compete! I want to make a strong impression in this competition from the get-go.” “Knowing what you can do, those other teenagers will not stand a chance. You’re going to be Warrior Chef. I know it.” Timmy assured her.

The concept of Warrior Chef was that high school students with an interest in the culinary field would compete in several challenges to determine a winner. In her season, Valerie was one of 16 high schoolers, and one of eight girls, to be competing. Much to her delight, she was able to start the competition on a strong foot, the entire first round and more importantly, the respect of everyone in that season. Everyone knew that Valerie was the strongest female cook. In the end, she wound up winning a total of eleven challenges. Valerie had the entire summer to work under Janice Arrington and slowly forget about losing the competition. While it was hard then, what helped her get over the pan was not thinking about it. She did not have the entire nation harping her on social media over her decisions at that point. Reliving the rounds going up to the finale, it actually bolstered her confidence. Valerie felt that no matter how she was portrayed in that final challenge, she would have enough fans and support to keep her going. But it was just comments of disappointment and judgement. Everyone thought she was an idiot. Nobody supported her decision to stick to dessert.

The one person Valerie would really want to speak to was Tarou. Since they were young, she always felt like she could relate to him. Then seeing him transform from what he was into an aspiring model, that was when her feelings turned romantic in nature. Tarou came off as confident and capable, but since they grew up together, Tarou was never nervous or afraid of her. He supported her as much as she supported him. Valerie knew that a relationship with Tarou, it would only help both of them grow as individuals and as a couple. But she did not want Timmy to feel uncomfortable, especially when the three of them were friends for such a long time. It was a major factor for why she always refused to confess her feelings to him. That, coupled with her fear of him rejecting her. Especially in the state she was right now, the last thing she needed was for yet another person she admired to tell her that she was not good enough.

Meanwhile, Tarou finally returned to the room from his event. “Hey, can we please talk?” He looked at Timmy, whose eyes were still red from crying earlier. “No. I don’t want to.” “What?” “I’m not ready yet.” He shook his head, before going back to ignoring the taller male. “What the hell do you mean you’re not ready yet?” Timmy did not respond. At this point, he felt like Tarou was being emotionally and verbally abusive to him. The constant yelling and screaming, it was beginning to take a toll on him emotionally. Just looking at Tarou, it made him uncomfortable. “Well, alright then, you fucking baby.” The model was already exhausted, and the last thing he needed right now was for Timmy to, per usual, treat him like shit or an obstacle. He did not need to be this protective of Timmy, and at that point, he decided it was for the best to keep his distance. “Hey, Alex. I just wanted to let you know that even if I do get the event coordinator position for ACU, I have to decline.” Tarou sent that message via Facebook to the president. “Oh, thank you for your honesty.” Alex sent back. The mode knew it was burning a bridge, but he did not care. The last thing he wanted was for Timmy to feel even more suffocated by him. Timmy was an immature brat who needed time to adjust to everything. Tarou was starting to realize just how inexperience the smaller male really was with life compared to him and Valerie. And a lot of that inexperience came from the Japanese boy smothering him with protection.

Fame

A small town girl. The big city was in the distance, along the horizon. She wished to be famous. She craved being noticed. She wanted everyone’s eyes on her. Grabbing her guitar, she strummed the strings to one of her own songs. She sang with her window opened, in hopes of being discovered. Closing her eyes, she imagined the crowd, cheering her on. She was on the stage, microphone stand in front, guitar in hand. The spotlight was shining on her. Opening her eyes, the girl frowned. It was just another dream. Getting up, she donned her uniform. It was time for her shift. “It’s only temporary.” She assured herself, opening her apartment door. It was another day behind the counter. Another day as a cashier. It was like this now, but she knew that she was destined for greater things. At least, that was what she convinced herself. She wanted to prove her parents wrong. Dropping out of college, turning her back on biomedical engineering, it was not a mistake. She knew it was not. Burning that bridge was hard, but it needed to be done. She needed it to be done for her to be free. She wanted to find happiness in her own way. She wanted to be famous for her voice. The world would know her for her singing, not for her accomplishments as an engineer. It was her destiny. She will do whatever it takes to be famous.

Stronger than you: dream 31

The inspiration behind this post stemmed from a cartoon, Steven Universe, where Garnet, a character voiced by Estelle, sang a song titled Stronger than you. Yes, I watch cartoons even though I’m in college. I also watch Adventure Time, but I find that Steven Universe‘s themes are a lot more relatable to me. The song itself talks specifically about how Garnet is the metaphorical and literal representation of a same-sex relationship and how she is more than just a gimmick or a phase. Garnet is a “fusion” of two female characters, Ruby and Sapphire. Typically, fusion is temporary, and it happens between characters with that are named after the same type of Gem; Garnet is usually fused together at almost all times, and she was made of two different Gems. Because of this, many characters are initially uncomfortable with her controversial existence. Regardless, in the song, Garnet speaks about being like a feeling, therefore never-ending; regardless of our own life spans, every human being is entitled to feeling sad, happy, excited, angry, and more analogous to Garnet herself, love.

A lot of the song actually dealt with Garnet fighting the villainous Jasper, who looked down on Garnet for being a fusion; Jasper saw fusing as a cheap trick to become stronger. Specifically, Garnet speaks about how Jasper will always be alone compared to her, because Jasper refused to combine forces with anybody else. Then Garnet speaks about how since she was made of the love between Ruby and Sapphire, and how through it, she will always be stronger than Jasper, who has no love in her heart. That’s why the song is called “Stronger than you”, simply because Garnet’s love will always help her overcome any obstacle or challenge that it presented to her. My personal favorite part of the song was when Garnet stated that she was more than just Ruby and Sapphire. She also stood for everything they cared about, and that she was Ruby’s fury, Sapphire’s patience, and ultimately, she was a conversation between the two of them. She is symbolizes synergy between these two lovers, which is why she will always be more than just the sum of the two.

The song itself just helped me get through a really rough time in my life. Coming back to college after almost trying to kill myself, I was extremely nervous. I was afraid that other people would judge me or look down on me for having that period of darkness and weakness. But this song reminded me that I can be strong. If I fill myself with love, specifically for myself and what I personally represent, then I can overcome any misconceptions people have about me. Love is more than just romantic. It can be platonic, it can be symbolic. In this situation, the love I feel for myself is supportive. I want to be my own biggest cheerleader, just because I want to drown out the noise from the surrounding world, and just focus on me. Even now, I know that I face judgement from certain people, who think I am better off dead, but I just ignore them. While they are busy looking down on me and writing off my potential, I will be busy realizing it, starting by standing behind what I represent.

Garnet stands for Ruby’s fury, Sapphire’s patience, and both’s love. I stand for determination, hope, and love. Through this song, I was able to realize how I have every right to be fearless and that no matter how bad things get, so long as I love and support myself, nobody can stop me from achieving my dreams of opening that bakery. People might see me as somebody to be ashamed of, but as Garnet herself has proven, strength comes not from what other people think, but what we see in ourselves. So when I close my eyes, and think about who I am, I know that those people who act condescendingly towards me are mistaken. They do not know what I am capable of. For me, I have just the faintest idea of that too. But I know that if I push myself hard enough, I will be able to achieve my dreams. I will  be stronger than them. In a world of my feather-light dreams, everyone will naturally find that strength from within, and live life loving themselves.

 

ENTJ: dream 28

This time a year ago, I tested ENTJ on my Myers-Brigg Type Indicator; it stood for extroverted, intuitive, thinking, and judging. I was really proud to be this because it meant to me that I was an outgoing, confident, and independent person. But then, one cultural club-related traumatic experience later, and I found myself becoming INTJ; my extroversion became introversion. And it was not like a borderline thing. Out of 21 questions on introversion versus extroversion, I tested 20 in favor on being an introvert. In short, I hated people. I was constantly stressed, frustrated, angry, and it caused me to feel very drained whenever I talked to everyone. My mind was preoccupied with the cult(ure club) that I was stuck in and it took a toll on me socially.

I stayed introverted for a while and it just had to do with me being stressed out and exhausted constantly. Living with my mentee who was on board with the cult(ure club) with me was the worst thing I could do; I could never escape the cult(ure) club because I essentially lived with it. Because of that, I remained an introvert, suck in this state of being perpetually fatigued. Mentally and emotionally, I had very little left in me. I had to keep convincing myself that it was the right thing for me that I did not like people and that I needed alone time to be energized; introverts by definition need time away from others to re-charge so to speak. I did not understand why I was an introvert, because I usually enjoy talking to others: it was because the people I was in direct contact with were those officers from the club, and they all challenged the hell out of me. So naturally, I hated being around people, even though social recluse is actually how I wound up getting depressed to begin with.

By feeling really alone and on top of that, constantly having to interact with people I did not like, it made me feel abandoned and left behind. I felt like I had nobody left. But when I finally cut myself out of that circle, I found myself growing and flourishing again. I became the person I wanted to be once more. Not only in that I became an ENTJ again, but in the sense that I know now what I am capable of and what I am capable of. I joined the hospitality industry because I love meeting people and making an impact on their lives. I love being able to make their experiences something that they can remember forever. I love being around people who can make me smile and laugh with their stories of travel.

The reason why I transitioned back to being an extrovert is that I changed the people I surrounded myself with. The circle of friends I have now are all encouraging, supportive, or relatable to me, therefore, I feel more empowered whenever I am around them. I feel more capable and valued. Because of this, my extroversion came back. I was once again the person I felt happy being. My name is… going to remain anonymous, but I am officially an extrovert, once more. In a world of my dreams, I could surround myself with only people who will nurture that upbeat side of me. That will make me happy and excited about living. That would be an ideal place to live in.

Cut loose from time

The gears turned. The hands ticked. The pendulum swung. The clock tower was the perfect place to hide from her troubles. It was gargantuan, ancient, and labyrinthine: getting lost was a high possibility when you entered it. Getting injured from the fragile structure, even more possible. The tower dwarfed the entire town. Everyone would know what time it was, whether they cared to or not. A girl, no older than ten, walked up the stairs, ignoring the warnings. She smiled, when she saw her friend. A snow white owl, hooting back at her. They were inside of the clock itself. “How do you do, Mr. Owl?” She curtseyed. The bird hooted back in acknowledgement of her greeting. “I wish to fly free like you. In a place where I am not always reminded of time.” The owl spread his wings, and took off through a crack in the ceiling. How badly the girl wished to be a bird, and join her friend. How she wanted to fly in the air, and feel unshackled by responsibility and urgency. But alas, she was not born an owl. She was born a human. Time worked against her. As she grew, she was held to a higher standard, because she was capable of more. Her life got more difficult to live as expectations of her continually rose. But this was the hurdle she was born with. And this is the challenge she was taught to constantly overcome. To continually rise to the occasion. To never back down or run away when she had to try harder or dig deeper. Every step forward in life was scary. It was uncertain. But all that mattered was getting it behind her. The girl knew that she could one day be free of these responsibilities and expectations. With due time.

Miterwort: dream 26

“Will we wake up, when they clear up, all the Miterwort, in our dreams?”

Miterwort is a song by Trass that I embarrassingly enough, admit to listening to when I am taking baths. It is a really relaxing and gentle love song, almost like a lullaby to be honest, about watching the rain fade, as light creates rainbows in the sky, and fairies collect the water and light, and from that, create love. Miterwort itself is a plant, also called the bishop’s cap, and its leaves resemble little hearts, so probably a symbol a love. This song reminds me of my most recent trip to Japan, because that’s around the time I downloaded Miterwort and the rest of it’s album, Cerulean Mono-Rainbow. And when I was in Japan, I spent a lot of time in the hot springs, so you can imagine why I have that correlation between this song and bathing now. Hey, it can be romantic. But I am a tub hog, so probably not.

The song itself talks about clearing Miterwort from dreams. I’m assuming that it means something to the effect of becoming less naïve and that the two people being referred to in the song realizing that they do love each other. Or that the fluttering feelings are settling down, and that these two people will come back to whatever reality separated them in the first place. Sorry, devil’s advocate/pessimist speaking. But probably the first one because this is apparently a love song. Unlike Koda Kumi’s song, which explicitly states otherwise. I love Koda Kumi and the hilariously inappropriate themes she stands for. Expect a post about her soon. But back to the talk about heart shaped leaves and love songs and me bathing in Japan.

What I appreciate about Trass/Harmonicblend songs are that they are so simple, but beautiful. They paint entire worlds just from the music. Miterwort will be one of my favorites because of the gentle melody, which just reminds me of the hot springs in Japan. The peacefulness of it, plus the beautiful vocals, you really can feel yourself relaxing. I can imagine myself in a hot spring, but I’m sure if you don’t have that connotation like how I do, I can also imagine playing in a park, then stumbling upon that one true love of yours, in a large green meadow full of miterwort. Then you two spending time together, picking and kneading the miterwort into little flower crowns to place on each other’s heads. I swear to god, I need to stop reading shoujo manga. It is slowly killing me inside. No, Yumi! Kamiya-kun isn’t worth it! Daisuke-senpai is the one you need to fall in love with! NO! Yeah, that’s hopefully not from anything, because I just made it up on the spot from how many of these damn shoujo manga I have read over the years. Oh, shush. Internet, you cannot possibly judge me much more than the fact that I am already writing about Japanese-type songs for RPGs. I AM ALLOWED MY WEIRD MOMENTS!

So in conclusion, Miterwort is just a song that relaxes me. I just feel myself, drifting off to a place where I can relax and not feel scrutinized or pressured whenever I am listening to it. It invokes simplistic innocence for me. And then there’s the fond memories of Japan, which are a huge plus. I’m still doing research to see if this is an edible plant or not, because if I can make a Miterwort dessert, that would be pretty awesome and I’d be so down to do it. Anyways, music can be such a great way to relieve yourself of stress and anxiety. Miterwort did that for me to a large degree, so hopefully you too can find a song that will help you make your life much more feather-light.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sky Bird: Chapter 15

“Okay, are you guys ready?” It was Monday afternoon, and Kendall, Megan, Sophia, Carly, and Fanny were in the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills, filming some of the scenes of their movie project. Sophia was wearing an elaborate chut thai, which is an outfit in Thai culture made of a variety of cloths and sashes. “Yes! Can we please hurry? I borrowed this from my grandma and I don’t want to ruin it!” Sophia was nervous for several reasons; she was wearing a family heirloom in public and she hated being recorded. “Okay! 4, 3, 2.” Fanny turned on the camera. The scene was that Sophia was checking into her hotel room, and Megan and Kendall were going to come across her; Fanny’s character in the movie, his father owned the hotel, while Kendall and Megan were supposedly exploring it out of curiosity. “Oniichan! Sono hito wa Ngam Thaimee-samadesu, ne?” Megan looked at her brother excitedly. “Hontou ni Ngam Thaimee-sama, da!” Kendall tried to act as surprised as he could; acting unfortunately was not one of his strong suits. Essentially, their exchange translated to them being excited about seeing Thaimee Ngam, Sophia’s character. “Ngam-sama! Hajimemashite! Watashi wa Howards Elenadesu!” Megan bowed as she introduced herself; her character was named Elena Howards. “Hajimemashite. Boku wa Howards Gregorydesu. Elena-chan wa boku no imouto-chan.” Kendall, going by the name of Gregory Howards, introduced himself as Elena’s older brother. “Alright. Looks like we’re good here.” Fanny smiled. “Good job, you guys! And Sophia, you are killing it in that outfit!” Carly cheered her teammates on.

“Ugh, thank god! I can wear pants again.” Sophia sighed in relief, finally changed. They finished filming all of her scenes wearing the chut thai that day, so that they can return her outfit. “You did wonderful, Sophia!” Carly smiled. “Yeah, you and Megan honestly should apply for Advanced Theatre Arts.” Fanny agreed. “Kendall, on the other hand…” He looked over at the other male. “Shut up. I’m not an actor and I never will be.” “It’s okay, Kendall. You had to have lines in the movie, so you’re doing your best. Thank god he’s not grading on acting ability.” Fanny sighed in relief. “That’s probably the nicest thing he’s ever said to you!” Megan laughed at Kendall. “It’s sad because it’s true.” The Chinese boy snickered in agreement. “Ugh, you’re lucky you’re dating my best friend.” Kendall crossed his arms, ignoring all urges to punch him in the face. “Alright, so we’re done for filming today. I’m going to go do edits, but everyone, keep up the good work!” Fanny grinned, grabbing his tripod and heading to his car.

“I’m feeling so good about our project.” Megan looked at Kendall as he was driving the two siblings back home. “Yeah, we better not get an F after all the work we put into this.” Kendall, Megan, Sophia, and Carly all put in a lot of working doing the script while Fanny was in charge of editing and recording. “Well the plot is good, we all worked on the script to make sure that we had all of the grammars, and I think we are all doing a good job.” Megan admitted. “There isn’t a weak link in our group, and that’s a lot better than my English group.” She chuckled; they were studying the Italian Renaissance currently and had to do so in groups. Unfortunately for her, Megan was stuck in a group not only without Chloe, but also with people who have been consistently poor writers in the class. “But you just need to learn to roll with the punches, right?” She looked at Kendall, who was probably an expert at that. “Yup. Life might deal you a crappy hand, but you just need to learn how to play it right.”

“Kendall!” Mrs. Skye called out from the hallway. “Yes, mom?” The brunette walked over to his parents’ room. It was already 9pm. “Can you do us a favor?” “Sure, what’s up?” “Your mom forgot to buy groceries for breakfast tomorrow. Can you please get those for us?” Mr. Skye called out. “Okay, sounds good.” The 16 year old grabbed his keys and walked out the the apartment. Getting into his car, the brunette got out his phone and typed in the nearest grocery store. “Ralph’s? Okay. Let’s go there.” Pulling his car out of the apartment garage, he left for the store. “Alright,let’s just pull up, and… we’re parked.” The brunette stationed his car in the parking area, and grabbed a grocery cart. “Alright, so eggs, bacon, bread, milk.” He listed off, walking through the sliding doors. “Kendall?” The brunette looked up to see Sophia, who was with a small boy, no older than 7 years old. “Sophia! And who is this?” The brunette referred to her companion. “Hi, Kendall! This is my little brother, Jesse.” “Hi. You’re that rocket guy, right?” He looked up. “Oh yeah, I am.” The brunette chuckled. “What are you doing here so late?” The Thai girl was perplexed to see him here. “I was getting groceries for breakfast. My mom forgot to grab them so I figured I’d help her out.” “Oh, I see. Jesse has to contribute to his school’s bake sale, and he forgot about it, so we’re here grabbing some cake mix for that.” “That sounds like fun. I’ll see you tomorrow?” Kendall looked at her. “Yup. See you!” “Have fun baking!” “Later, rocker guy!” The two waved as they walked back to Sophia’s house.

“Okay, that should cover everything.” Kendall was proud of himself. He managed to grab everything for breakfast, and he was already back in the apartment and just finished putting everything away. “Kendall, are you going to sleep soon?” A drowsy Gil yawned. Unfortunately, the kitchen was directly connected to their room. “Yeah, I’m going to bed now.” The brunette stretched his arms as he walked over to their shared room. “Good night, big bro.” Gil closed his eyes. “Good night, Gil.” Kendall went to bed as well. Today felt like it went by too quickly. Then again, soccer season was officially over, and his classes were a blur, with no tests or particularly challenging projects presenting themselves as hurdles to him. It looks like things are starting to look up for me. Kendall thought to himself sleepily. The best moments in life were the ones that we want to last longer. Drifting off to another dream, the brunette pondered how many more times he will experience that sensation. That wish for life to go just a little bit slower, so that he can savor these memories.

Everyone was lined up at the graveyard, dressed in all black. Surprisingly enough, it was a sunny day with clear blue skies and not a cloud in sight. Exactly the way Kendall’s grandfather would have preferred it to be. Kendall was dreaming about his grandpa’s funeral. “We are gathered here today to celebrate the life of Darby Skye. Darby was a kind man. He served as a captain in the U.S. Air Force and was a celebrated aerospace engineer. He will be dearly missed. Darby will be lived on by his sons, Christian and Eric, and his daughters, Julie and Daphne, and their children.” An 8 year old Kendall sat there in the crowd, feeling numb. His grandfather had just taken him on a plane for the first time ever just a year ago, and then he died. A peaceful death, the nurses said. He went to sleep that night, and just never woke up. But it was fine. He was a widower anyways. Grandma died long before Kendall was born. At least grandpa will have somebody waiting for him on the other side of this. Somebody to welcome him with her warm embrace.

Mr. Skye was taking his father’s death surprisingly well. The father was more concerned about his own children’s feelings, rather than his own. “Everyone dies at some point. But it gives us more of a reason to live. Live for their sake. Live to carry out the hopes and dreams they had for us.” He explained to his three children. “Of course, I feel sad. He’s my dad. But if I were to get hung up and just be constantly sad about him passing away, then he wouldn’t be happy. Neither would my mom be, seeing me like that. I have to keep living my life and making a brighter future for you kids, for their sakes.” Gil and Megan were both trying not to cry still, but Kendall understood where his father was coming from. It’s understandable to have human emotions. It’s expected. But getting too caught up in them, it wouldn’t make the recently lost happy. They can’t just succumb to the downward spiral that is depression. That’s what the older 16 year old Kendall would later be able to vocalize with his advanced vocabulary. At that point in time, he understood the concept, but to the best effect that a 3rd grader could.

Kendall’s grandfather had always been a kind man. Whenever he would visit, Kendall would be excited; his grandfather would tell him about his stories as a pilot, and how exciting it was to be free. To soar like a bird. At first, Kendall was curious about this sensation, having never experienced it himself. But when he finally got to fly on the jet with his grandpa, he finally understood what it meant to be free. The sensation of flying, it was surreal. That feeling in your gut, as if something is pulling you up. Then you can sense the acceleration, as if you are becoming one with the wind. And then when you reach a certain point, your problems are so far below you that you can only think about one thing, and that’s feeling free to explore the world around you. To capture that experience and allow anyone and everyone to feel it, that was his goal. He wanted to help humanity soar in that big blue sky. The first plane he ever builds, Kendall plans to name it “Darby” in honor of his grandpa.

An ideal life: dream 3

When I think about what I am working for, it’s to help reassure me that what I am currently doing is the right thing. For me, a perfect life down the line would include being happily married by the age of 30, living in Japan and owning my bakery, while my spouse would also be doing some sort of non-hospitality job in Japan as well. For kids, maybe before I’m 35, because I don’t want to be so old that my children cannot relate to me at all. I would like at most two kids, since we as parents would also be preoccupied with our respective careers.

In my bakery, I’d be preparing mostly modern desserts. Think Reynold Poernomo’s concept in Sydney, Australia, Koi Dessert Bar. Actually, Reynold is somebody I aspire to be one day, and it’s not just because we are the same age. The desserts he creates, they take you away to a magical land, far far away from all your troubles. That’s what I try to do with my desserts as well. For the kinds of desserts, I’m probably going to do French-Japanese, because it’s something I love to do.

With my kids, I plan on raising them when I’m not working. I’ll probably go into the bakery early in the morning, just to get the operations started, and as my bakers come into the kitchen, hand tasks off to them to finish. Hopefully, I’ll be done early enough to pick up my kids from school and take them home. I’d expect my spouse to come back home maybe a little later, since most jobs are 9-5 outside of the hospitality industry, and then I can leave the house, come back to the bakery, and close shop. After closing, come back home, eat dinner with my family, and then go to sleep and start the day over.

For me, having a family to take care of makes me happy, because I am a naturally caring and nurturing person. The bakery side will keep me preoccupied with both my love of baking and storytelling, but also presenting me with challenges that will help me continue to grow as a person. Just thinking about being able to live that life, I want to work hard, just to make the steps towards achieving it feel more like leaps and sprints.

That sort of routine is enough to make me happy for the rest of my life. I have family, I’d have my own business, and most importantly, I’m doing something that I genuinely love. For anyone out there reading this, just know that with life, doing what you love makes doing the obligations you have now, such as school or jobs you don’t like, all the more worthwhile.