The long ombre hair, the vibrant matte lips, bohemian kind of clothes, and round white-framed glasses. It is like I am looking in a mirror. The differences are that she is six cm shorter than me, more slender, and not prettier than most women. What she says is what I said, all the things she does are what I did in public, but whatever she feels will not be the same feelings that I have. She can copy me or either way. But my life will always be mine and she can never take it for granted. If she can copy me but still cannot be me, what’s the fun?
There are two kinds of people on this planet;
- The one who’s expecting the unexpected
- The one who just lets the unexpected happens
I am both, I guess. I chase opportunities. But when they take some times, I usually back away slowly but leave my whole heart on the way hoping it will come again. Then boom, the unexpected happens when I am almost losing all hopes. I don’t know what God has planned, but mostly He writes my story with so much minor plot twists. They twirl my world a little bit too much in here and there, making a small hurricane without the storm.
You can imagine how much the life of a 22 year old has gone up and down. It fluctuates every five minutes. One minute she feels lucky, the next minute she is attacked by the series of unfortunate events. It can be anything! From the moment she opens her eyes and even before she takes the first breath, something will change quickly. Maybe she gets a text from a cute guy blessing her morning, or maybe even a break up text.
One night, the haunting hour has not yet passed by. The phone in my hand kept ding-ing with the multiple texts from three people at the same time. One text full of jokes, gossips, and curses. The other text full with recalling back happy memories. The last text full with one-sided arguments and recriminations.
I cried and then laughed. Then when there were spare times away from them, I’m brooding. Looking up at the ceiling, staring at the flowery beam around the lamp, thinking I might end one of the conversations, having enough plot twists for one night. The texts of jokes, gone without closure. The texts with memories, never been opened since. So I decided to finish the arguments instead, anyway I never like it to sleep with a head full of thoughts.
A small plot twist. The arguments turned into my breaking point where I no longer believe in the future. One thing that flipped it upside down, the proof of a chance to find a long lost human being that was once my whole world but a tornado blew him away. One future closing up, another one coming in ahead. Maybe, just a 0.50% maybe because it had to get through a bumpy road up and down some hills.
Another small plot twist. The arguments continued without ending, even after ignoring seemed ruthless. A small pop-out on my screen turned the frown right-side-up, creating a heat that caused blush. In a single click, I know what I had to do! To make more plot twist, but this one was the biggest of all. The major one and I knew my life would change forever. I threw away the only toxic in my life and I could feel a load of burdens lifted up from my chest. If you are a woman, you would probably know how it feels. You know that feeling of freedom and relieve when you finally take off your bra after 12 hours? I know right?!
Then, yes I took small and careful steps to take the risk. I am not the kind of person who is scared of being alone. I rarely crave for a relationship, I am the other wise. I always have been in chains longing for liberty. But I still considered gambling to win the war I had lost once, seven years ago. I have had taken the same chance when God cracked open the door a little, but my move was reckless and aimless. I hit the door instead of entering, he was gone again by the time I stood back up. Then, I waited… waited… until God opened the door big enough for me to slip in smoothly.
“Hey, how are you? It’s been so long since the last time we talked.”
I knew it, waiting patiently would finally make everything worth in the end. God is opening so many doors and behind each of them are the plot twists you can make your own self. Big and small. The biggest plot twist in my entire life (yet), the return of a missing human being. It sounds simple, but if you know how I had lost all of my hopes but still leaving my whole heart with that person, this is a triumph almost like a lifetime achievement. Well, because it takes a lifetime for me to be able to reach for it. Once I have it in my hands, it will always remain there.
So, hold on to the unexpected. Hold on to your dreams. When you almost lose all hopes, back away a little, slowly, but if you think your heart belongs there then leave it somewhere along the way. Someday it will find the way back to you along with the dreams you almost gave up on.
Be both kind of person. Expect and let it happens when the time comes.
That sound whispers loudly once again through the small gaps of ventilation. It echoes in the dark.
I don’t recognize his voice, but why does he know my name? He is not from the Fantasy world I suppose.
“Jill, it’s me…” the voice continues. “William.”
Should I trust him?
William, my dear best friend in the orphanage. He came to this orphanage two days after my arrival. We were 10 months old then, we grew up together and became the closest friends in this house. Nothing could separate us, beside the moment when I took the murky passage that led me to Fantasy world and went missing for years. How many years? I suddenly can’t remember.
“Jillian, I know you’re in there.” Will says. “Please, do come out!”
Warmth is blanketing all of my body every time he says my name. William knows my hiding place, though I never took him in. He always pretends he never knew to protect me. I also never confronted him for keeping my hideout a secret, to protect him , to protect both of us.
“I won’t hurt you,” he says once again, pleading me to do what he says.
I take a sudden deep breath. I wasn’t breathing this whole time, was I?
William’s voice is different from the last time I heard it. He sounds deeper, calmer, and more mature. How long have I been missing out his life?
I try to crane my numb legs, but they hit the wall so hard. William and I both startle from the sound.
“Jill, come out now please before someone wakes up!”
What should I do?
What if it is the Minotaur who talks to me all this time? Pretending to be Will. But how did the Minotaur knows who my best friend is?
“Don’t be scared,” he says that again. “I miss you Jillian. Please come out!”
My tears sting so bad in my eyes.
I miss him too.
I push my self forward and screening the illuminating light through the ventilation gaps. There I found his blue eyes with widening pupils, staring back at me.
It’s him. It’s William.
I push the small door ever so slightly and shift my body out slowly. I close the small and invisible door behind me.
He’s there fifteen inches away from me, staring at me with disbelief.
I can feel his warmth and minty breath from the toothpaste we usually share.
I don’t really recognize his face anymore. He hardly looks similar. But that smile, those blue eyes, that satin smooth hair that is now so much shorter. They are all the same that the old William has, my dear best friend.
The rumbling sounds come closer now.
The Minotaur is already crashing the front gate!
My body jolts upwards and so does Will. We stare into each other’s eyes. We know what we need to do next.
My instinct tells me to hide.
I am once again back in the orphanage, where I have spent all my life here. The only place that is giving me nightmares every night, the only place that gave me this bad insomnia. I have always been scared both to sleep and awake. But now, I am back. I know it’s just a place for hiding. I can still sneak around and run back to Fantasy world when the Minotaur has already gone. Will I ever be able to do so?
I have tried to hide and run away from here several years ago, but I kept failing until I gave up. Then when I had stopped trying, there was where I could finally disappear for good. It was the moment when I discovered the murky passage that led me to Fantasy world.
Someone is tip-toeing the wrong footing somewhere. I remember just well how one of the wooden tiles in this building, especially in several steps of the stairs, are not concrete that make squeaking sounds when someone steps on them.
My instinct is yelling now. I look around the dark and humid room to find a small opening. I know where to hide! I run as quietly as I can but fast enough to reach the spandrel closet under the stairwell. This small closet has never been used or opened before. Because just like me, we are oblivious. I used to hide here when I didn’t want to be bothered. They never found me.
The small door does not seem so apparent, that’s why everyone doesn’t notice it that much. But somehow, for me the small stripes of ventilation on the wooden door are the most visible in this house.
I hook one of my fingers to one of the ventilation and tug the door out, making a small gap just for my body to get in. I have to fold my legs and hug them to my chest now. So, I’m taller now since I went missing? Because I still could sit straight the last time I hid here.
Someone is whispering loudly from the bottom of the stairs, just meters away from where I’m breathing.
I cover my mouth with my hand to hide the sound of me who is suddenly panting.
“Is anyone there?”
The footstep is getting closer to where I hide.
He sounds scared. We both are.
“Please, come out!”
His voice is now right outside the spandrel door.
“Are you in there?”
I can see his eyes wandering in the darkness.
They are so blue.
I gasp. My tears suddenly appear. My heart suddenly thuds and then stops beating. My hands are cold, but sweats spurting out from my forehead.
He knows my name.
He knows where I hide.
Who is he?
Where do I go now?
The passage is murky, it gives me chill.
What time is it? The cold night wind penetrates through my olive skin.
I’m scared, but I need to keep going.
I have to run away before the Minotaur captures me!
I was finally sleeping after fighting my insomnia for a year. The Dryads helped me with their song.
Yes, I was finally at ease. Until the Minotaur came to my wigwam and scattered all my books, as usual looking for an answer that is never there.
The Dryads didn’t give me a warning sign before their arrival. I was hiding under my blanket, until the Minotaur gave up his search. Minotaurs are blind at night, they don’t see very clear in the dark. That’s why I need to keep going further this passage. I don’t know what’s on the end of this passage, but I keep on going.
Rumbling sounds came from behind me. Like a tractor lost control in a corn maze, trying to swallow and cut everything in its way.
I swipe away my newly coming tears with the sleeve of my pajama. I cuss in between my breath, why didn’t I remember to put on thicker pajamas during Autumn nights? It’s almost winter!
I keep running deeper than the passage itself.
I found myself running into Steep Hill in Lincoln. I can run up or down there! All I have to do first is to look for an open shop and knock, but in this matter I need to burst in before the Minotaur gets here!
But it’s dark! All the shops are closed, somehow the pubs are out of business tonight. Where do I go? Up or down? Either way, I can’t find a place to hide. At least, not soon enough.
Without thinking twice I continue running down the Hill to Well Lane.
Wait, how do I still remember the name if this street? I feel like I’m home. But this is not my home, but I know I’m back to somewhere I used to belong in.
My home is in the Fantasy world! This is England, I suppose? Did I come from this world before I was lost in the Fantasy world? They’re two different worlds.
In Fantasy world, there will be no darkness allays the living creatures. There will be stars and bright full moon. In this world, the sky looks…sad and empty.
I need to stop wandering around, I need to hide!
Oh, I know just the right way! I remember this road. It will lead me to somewhere I can’t recall. But I know this place, I remember what it feels like to be living in my own nightmare.
I remember I’d always hated this place and wished to leave. I did! But why am I back here again?
Was that the passage I took that led me to the Fantasy world?
Why is it so easy to find, yet I’ve been living there for 10 years? Did I forget where I’ve come from?
The rumbling sound is now coming closer to me. It follows me back here!
Run faster! Go hide!
I don’t have to think about which turns I should take, or where this Hill will take me to, because I know where I’m going. I’m familiar with the street around me. The houses and street lamps. The silence. Everything is like in the back of my head in an instance.
I’m almost there.
Straight ahead, my old nightmare.
The place that gives me goosebumps. The place full of horror. The place that leaves the outcry in me. The place I will never forget.
The black gate is still standing tall, even a tornado won’t take it down. None can tear that house apart from the ground.
It is scary. I don’t want to go back inside, because once I set my foot inside I will never go out again.
The roar of an angry Minotaur is echoing from above, all the street lamps burst into flames.
I need to get inside.
I push the gate open without force and it’s already cracked open. I run inside and close the gates carefully behind me, trying not to make a creak sound. I continue running deeper into the house.
The scent of violence burns my lungs instantly.
Suddenly, I am taken back into my darkest times. I can’t run back outside, but I am scared to keep on going further into the house. What should I do? Where should I run now? Where can I hide?
When heat meets cold, one of them dies. When You and I are together, one of us is biased. I am the cold, with an arid ice, lethargically firm. You are the heat, with a raging fire, blithely intangible. The cold always loses. Yet the heat deprecates what’s claimed.
I am breathing heavily. Smoke is coming out of my lungs.
“I know what you are going to commit,” a hazy of entreat look deplores across your face.
“Define it,” You unsettle the heedless secrecy in you.
“Come with me!”
I sally in to the dark within your grasp. You follow submissively. We travel far into the forest. The deeper we get, the more I get my power. Your fire starts to dim, your heat starts to dwindle. I don’t care, because that is my purpose all along. You don’t seem to waive. I treacherously abet the enemy. I take your hand in mine and we continue marching in a whim.
We come across to what seems like a misty lake. I let go of your hand and face you.
“Let your fire burst this forest into ashes.” such an omnipotent command that sounds.
“You know I can’t,” a prickle of fire sparks catapulted from your fingertips. They look like stars, yellowish red almost orange, they sting when they touch my skin. I don’t flinch. Not even a little bit.
You notice. Mirthless, your eyes.
“Take my hand!” I beckon the deference of your obedience by offering you the bridge to my power. I know whenever our power interacts to one another, a great explosion will occur inside each of us.
“But if I take your hand,” You are contemplating. “I am going to kill you.”
“Let me die,” I am writhed by the acrimonious remark of your condolence.
“I won’t!” You take a step back. My power kicks in and ice starts to grow around your feet.
“Do it,” I push the urge to curdle and battle your power I seek to get accelerated anytime soon.
“I said, I won’t!” You holler out the pain in you. Your body starts to tremble. The ice that starts to grow to your pelvis is melting rapidly.
“I know you want to let go of your power,” I smirk but I weep. “I am your adversary, fight me!” I hasten my power by entering the lake behind me.
“I will not,” You outcry the agony both outside and inside your body. I am killing you from the outside, and you are killing yourself from the inside. You seem to be obviating no option to die.
“Let it out!” I scream my mist out. “Kill me!”
You estrange whatever it is that you are scared of. The ice that I am growing up to your chin is cracking. You take slow and gentle steps into the lake. I whirl the mist into white clouds, shielding us from the damp dark forest.
“You want this,” Our eyes meet. You rise before me. “I don’t!”
“Tell me why not?” I don’t shift my gaze anywhere but your eyes.
“I don’t want to kill you!” Your eyes, the shape of diamonds, crystallizing and that makes me startled. You cry lava, those crystals are mine.
“I’m not going to let you,” I am getting closer to you. “Let your power out! Burn this forest down!”
You take my hands and we merge into an embrace. We both close our eyes. I let my power to be the armor. The ground is rumbling beneath our feet. But the lake keeps us up from falling. I control the water to penetrate your skin and to blight the fear of killing me.
I can feel pain, joy, love, and war zone between us. Air pulls me away from you, but you clasp me in sealed.
Fire in the water, we become stronger.
You are panting hard, taking in and out oxygen. I kiss you, agitate your lungs with my cold air.
“You see?” I smile. “This forest haunted me for so long. Together we are strong. Let go of your power when you’re with me, I will protect you from harming us. You are the soldier, and I will be your shield. But you have to listen to me, and put your faith in me.”
“I thought I was going to kill you with my fire because cold…”
A pang of guilt comes across your eyes.
“My power is just as strong as yours. When you’re in my zone, nothing can kill me. Even if I let you to, I will die because of my own power. Don’t hold back. I am more powerful than ever when you’re with me, and so are you.”
The sound of thunder makes me shiver. The darkness inside makes me allay. The coldness all around makes me numb. Your presence makes me irate. I want to disappear. I want to go. I want to run away.
The room is starting to heat up without fire. The thunder has gone along with the dark. You are starting to fade away, but I become more concrete. One eventful moment as I am reaching for your hand but you’re not.
“Don’t go,” a laconic sentence that states the unspoken.
“Come here,” you are a lethal weapon that tries to deprive my existence.
“If I come near you,” I become a stone. “You will disappear.”
You are a lucid form of my dream. The best dream I have ever had.
“No,” you are lying. “I won’t go anywhere.”
“But you are not real,” I lower my head. “Not anymore.”
“Come!” you are masquerading as a motley creature. I don’t dare to touch you. But you are beautiful and I am hypnotized.
“Stop pretending!” I am half screaming in a nonchalant tune. You are stunned because of my sudden morose temper. “Go back to where you were!”
“But I’m here for you,” you look hurt. But I am hurt even more. I don’t want to waste another 8 years to just see you cease away again. But you came back out of the blue and I am scared now. “Reach my hand and come with me!” you want me to do something that does not even make sense. You don’t reach out your hand for me to take. What am I supposed to hold on to?
“What do you want?” a murky expression comes across my face.
“I want you to come with me,” you obviated the dark secret in you to allure me into a frenzy. “But I don’t want to be with you, too. But I loved you, maybe I still do.”
Such a paradox you tell me.
“I can’t go anywhere,” a reflection of his own pensive thought is pervading across my mind. “Not until you tell me what is your purpose to come back!”
You give me a slight peremptory pep talk, but then you stop.
“You are haunting me,” I start to tremble. “Three years and then another five years. You have always been haunting me, haven’t you? You love it to see me like this, don’t you?”
“What do you mean?” your feet are starting to touch the ground. I’m thinking you might be staying for good for a second, but I don’t want to conclude that fast. Because every damn time when I think of you might come back, I always get disappointed by my own paradigm.
“I am suffering!” I am screaming at the top of my lungs. I am standing in the zenith of mountains between us. “Can’t you see that?”
“Please, I want to feel the heat from your body because I’m so cold right now!” you are walking or more like floating towards me. “But your heat will kill me.”
“What exactly do you want?”
“I want nothing.”
“If you want me, say it!”
You are writhing in pain. “Stop!” you are in a great pain, but I don’t know where it is from.
“If you don’t want me, just go!”
“No!” you’re still clutching your temple. I hear sobs coming from you.
“I don’t mind waiting 8 more years just to find you coming back here in another form of ghost.” I am getting closer to you.
“Stay where you are!” You halt me with a gentle push.
“You want me to come, I’ll come!”
“Don’t come any closer!”
“You want me to leave, I’ll leave!”
You are angry. You are fighting with your own thoughts. I don’t care what they are.
“Just say it!” I demand. “Say what you want! Just say it!”
“I want everything and nothing at all,” you are crying but there are no tears on your face.
We are standing there, facing each other. One floating, one petrifying. One is a ghost, one is a stone. One is fluid, one is congealed. But we are both unsure for what might come next.
We will always be this way.