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Storm

I’ll consent myself to the use of the word crazy (synonyms: wild, passionate, fanatical, mad, extreme, foolish, unwise), for life truly is crazy, but most of all unfair. Things happen every now and then, without at first seeing its purpose, even after you perhaps have learned your lesson you wish things were the same as before, but we all know that we cannot go back in time. It’s as if life changes as clearly as night and day. Things start spinning; what was there before seems to disappear and what you thought you knew no longer is, but fades away like the wind, among the fog and like a great fire that dies down after having roared with fury. Only a troubled sea remains after that rattling storm has passed.
Drifting,
Slowly, morosely,
Down the river of life,
Changing, tumbling,
Awakening to reality,
‘Tis but a dream.


Thursday afternoon, a stunning spectacle; a beautiful picturesque sunset decorated the ocean’s horizon, but it rained steadily; one of those extraordinary occasions when one could see the phenomena of rain and sunshine simultaneously. The dark ocean’s blue water was the most exquisite sight, tumbling, swaying, with massive ripples. The raindrops were falling on the glass sills as almost tenderly caressing the transparent wall with hands as soft as silk. An amazing creation that was to be my house, perched right in front of the sea, as if they were meant to be side by side. It is in this dwelling that life unfolds once again and new paths are opened to its dwellers that in a matter of a limited time learned that their dream of perfection was merely an unfounded vision, flawed with no apprehension of what true life holds in store. To blame one of your parents for their divorce is nothing but a defensive way to shield yourself from being hurt. You are trying to shun that immerging fear that lures, and keeps calling you. Concealing untamable anger, but it boils inside. Everyday it becomes your struggle, weighing you down, like weights of steel hanging to your sides. There comes a time when you wished you weren’t alive. Hence, you forget that you’re still in earth and there’s still a God, whom you know exists, and are present in your mind. You no longer pray, but hide yourself from the eyes of others. You burn and sting; yet you are quiet, secluded, and life goes on outside your walls. Then you shed tears at night, away from all. In your corner there’s nobody who can see you, who can see your weakness and your disgrace. Day after day you imagine things; you observe your environment gradually change. You dread the day when everything collapsed. You chant for your life back the way you knew it. The whole thing is like a muddled vision, your knowledge, your education, your values, you feel that you’ve become useless and that there isn’t the smallest trace of hope left in you. Burned up like a candle stick; the glow that illuminated exists no more. The world crumbles at your feet and you are incapable of stopping it. Feebleness pervades the very marrow of your bones.

For a fleeing moment you know nothing. They excuse themselves by calling it a mistake, yet their pride is much too high to ask for forgiveness. They suffer endlessly, but there’s no repentance, they’re arrogant. “Yes Mother, No Father” was not good enough, or nearly sufficient. Why? Pain and absurdity ensnares the mind. There’s one whom you can talk to, but hardly does everything get out. You are blind; absolutely everything turns into a pessimistic hallucination. Life becomes like the stench of a rotten fish, unbearable to the last breath, a chain of lies. And now I turn back into those last days when earth was no more, and life wasn’t one to be called life, but my tears fell, as salty as the sea. I vividly recalled what was going on, when life was somewhat what I described...When my world changed, it was that night. When my life for a second was my nightmare, my torture, and my shame…

It rained heavily. I tried concentrating on the slippery road to restrain my thoughts on how my family had disintegrated over the last few months, slowly, but unquestionably shifting. We had broken into tiny particles. The concept of family no longer symbolized safety, but an approaching storm that would soon give way to destruction. It was like a cloud; visible, but intangible. Father had moved out early in the game and we were left alone; all by ourselves we had to deal as best as we could. We continued to live as normally as we could, as if nothing had ever happened. Father visited frequently, and had always done so. Nevertheless, we had changed drastically. Mother converted her radiant smile into a permanent scowl; instead of going out she stayed home roaming about her room and garden. Her countenance was quieter, and gaunt; her customary witty nature succumbed to the new rhythm, a lethargic and gloomy one. Some days she would give the impression that she had had enough of it, enough with sleepless nights, those days were the scary ones; she wouldn’t do anything. I knew confused thoughts ran her mind every second; she was ready to give in. She found no reason why to keep on breathing; her intensive years of sacrifices amounted to nothing. It wasn’t till those last few days, those days when I knew something was about to unravel, that she seemingly brightened. As for Father, he tried to look as best as he could, nonetheless I could still tell his uneasiness. He was being bothered by some constant thought; now that I brood over this and recall his countenance I can say it was his remorse. He had lost weight, and I knew like mother he had spent many nights in thoughts and tears.

The dicey road wound for miles to come. I wouldn’t be arriving home until nightfall. That afternoon the drive home was mind-numbing and ominous. I knew we would be having dinner together that night for that was one unbroken tradition that united our family, even after all of this. That night the rain fell out of the sky with no sign that it would cease any time soon. I could feel my body slowly quiver. For an instant a cold air passed through my body, it was a sensation like no other. I felt my hand stirred from the steering wheel to touch the windowpane. The frigid window glass was refreshing; it reassured me that it was bitter cold and that I wasn’t going insane. For a moment I believed that I was truly going out of my mind. The anger I had kept to myself, my sea of troubles, and everything else I had bottled up inside rapidly exhausted as of late. I was going too far; I felt as if altered any more I would blow up; all my irrational thoughts would flow out and wash away. The way I had been trying to handle things was becoming loosely undone; I had exhausted every inch of strength in me.

I entered the driveway leading to our house. I remember taking in a photographic shot in my mind of how everything appeared that night, our house, and the gardens that we had worked in springs past, the driveway, and my childhood in those lawns. Putting it into words is much too hard of a task; to explain how intricately, and well taken that picture was requires more than words can put it. How the lanterns’ light illuminated the rain and the gardens with blossoming flowers, the front of our white mansion, my home, the supposed place of happiness and the key to our harmony; it wasn’t merely a beautiful house it was more than that; it was the foundation of everything I believed, my values and my inner persona, the key to my only happiness. I parked my brand new sports car, which Father had given to me as a gift early that year, around the fountain’s curvature as we all did. I ran from the car into the porch where I dug into my satchel and took out a chain of keys to open the front door. “Aahhh…,” I breathe in. The smell of rain, I can smell it now, and I can’t imagine a more soothing smell, like that of earth, water, and life, yes life, the tranquilizer of my spirit on that dire night. Now rain to me means more than just a precious gift from God, it symbolizes a lot more, such a satisfying delight, a delicacy, to be thankful for.

I swiftly ran through my set of keys spotting the right key, I inserted it into the keyhole where a second later I found myself inside the house. Mother had heard my shuffling around the door, and so she and Paul, our butler, were waiting for me. “Good evening, Mother, Paul.”

“Hello Dear, You must come in immediately. The weather is not agreeable for one to be outside too much,” mother said in Chinese, for mother as well as all of our family excelled at speaking a respectable amount of languages. Her distinctive tone rings in my mind; a tone that she reserved for her children, only that night its resonance recorded itself uniquely on my mind.

Physically mother was an enticing person; her lovely features gave her a stately air. She had dark black hair, emerald green eyes, upon the whitest and softest skin. Her tall and slender figure made her a rarity. Of course, mother had been raised in a very upstate and strict environment in Japan, though she was not just Japanese, but also Chinese, and French. The way she was raised, methodically contributed to the way she had raised us, her children.

“Hello my dear Claire Li,” Paul gravely spoke. Paul was our adored butler who kneeled at our every wish. Honestly to all of us, including Father and Mother, Paul was our best friend; he pampered us exceedingly, I guess that’s why we loved him so.

I had arrived in perfect timing for dinner was announced ready the minute I walked through that door. We were all called to the dining table where we would take our meal. Upon seeing Father I immediately said good evening and on his well being by means of saying, “How are you Father?.” I said hi to Etienne, whom I always try to maintain a fairly balanced relationship for he could be a devoted ally, or my cunning enemy, albeit our ideas hardly ever clash, and we have what I could call a respectable friendship. To me Father was the main figure of authority. He dressed neatly in a suit everyday; his countenance was held in a manner of importance; he was a man of great power, British and Swiss by culture, but the best American business man one would find.

The maids served us our dinner. The dinner was superb that night, a very well prepared feast that left us wanting more. I unmistakably bear in mind that night, the chandelier presiding over the dining table. I could see its detailed cut. When I was a child I had always admired that chandelier. I always took time to observe it, to see its delicate carvings broken into thousands of fragments by the twinkling light. As we approached the end of dinner, Mother incited something to Father in the bland manner that she had adopted to speak to Father.

With a reverential tone, I inquired upon Father what the matter at hand was. Although I was already expecting to hear something undesirable, what I heard coming out of Father’s mouth hit me like a thousand bricks falling all at once.

“As I know children, we’ve been going through an uncomfortable situation that neither of you deserve to be in. Your mother and I have both discussed what would be the most appropriate thing to do in order so that you two continue in a stable environment where you won’t lose your focus of your priorities, and what we have always taught you. Although you might not think this at first,” Father hesitated for a second. He continued, “What we are going to do is for you two’s benefit, and in order that we may have peace of mind. When you Li,” Father looked at me, but upon seeing his eyes full of pain I turned my gaze and lowered it so that I could see the marble floor, “When you are old enough to make decisions for yourself, which is not too long from now, you will be allowed to do whatever you please, as long as what you choose to do does not violate what we’ve taught you. By all means choose what you like, you’re in your liberty. I do want you to know that both your mother and I have very high expectancies of you and Etienne.”

“Now,” Father paused, he swallowed and with a broken voice went on, “I hope you youngsters don’t hate us for this, but you two are moving to Japan with your grandparents; there’s no more discussing. I reiterate that this is for the benefit of all of us, and you two in specific. Your lives will be nearly the same. The country is not bad off at all. I have arranged that everything be done the way we did it here.” I can see it now; I had never seen Dad cry but his hazel eyes welled up with water, his visage had a disturbed appearance and it was then that Father had grown old before my eyes. His youthfulness had vanished with everything behind it. Now he had crossroads, which to pick from as if he was young again, debating which path he wanted to take in life.

Even as I felt the anger rapidly flushing to my mouth, ready to vomit what I ate and scream at the top of my lungs, why? I stopped for a second. The faces of those around me couldn’t have been sourer and more filled with sorrow, anger, hate, and maybe within the seas of their heart a trace of love.

My wounded heart was erupting I didn’t care who I would hurt. I defied all those rules of respect for a moment of sheer satisfaction that I knew would lead to days of misery. I ranted, “For this, that I would have fancied to have been otherwise, to have perceived at least one word incorrectly, but no, I cannot say, “Yes father,” for it is my belief the fault lays within those who’ve spoken. You whom, I am to call parents have lived low, and sacrificed everything we had for hidden moments of pleasure, and now, when no longer able to get away with it you decide what to do. Your duties of nature are, but sunk with egoism.” Inside I hollered with throbs, “Unsettled, crude, arrogant beings! Hypocrites! You say things will be the same, but they cannot be the same as it was here. Our life has been tainted with mistakes that could have been diverted. Doesn’t dishonor fall upon you? Isn’t there such thing as a conscience somewhere within you? Your teachings of high standards, the best of qualities, where are they? How can a parents’ nature allow their offspring to go away from them thousands of miles across the sea?” I knew that second I had crossed the line. Why would they care? They were sending us away to the other side of the world, to a new hemisphere.

I stood up, and ran from the dining room into the rain, outside. Life drained out of me. The flow of blood through my veins slithered slowly as thick as syrup. The stagnant liquid drugged me down. I wanted to die. You might think it wasn’t enough of a reason, nonetheless I did. I sought after the end of the world to come. Praying, I said, “Oh God, help me.” Trying to control myself I sat under a tree. It was still raining, yet to me it was as if it wasn’t. Black, white, they were all the same. I was losing my mind; this time it wasn’t a product of my imagination, the voices. They were real and existent; they weren’t simply a fantasy. I couldn’t understand the world around me; whether I was oblivious of what I was doing or not, I don’t think so. I had become numb with the aching truth.

A moment like that only comes once in a lifetime, that ghastly night packed with pain left a scar like that of fire burns. I can feel the warmness of my tears coming down my cheeks right now. Now it is only a memory, part of the past. I must have gone into a state of unconsciousness under the rain, mumbling under my breath the impossible, stupidities that relieved the stress, the load on top of my shoulders.

The next morning I awoke in my bedroom, underneath my cozy, soft, and silky blanket feeling sick to my stomach. Mother coincidentally happened to be beside me. She stood up hovering over me and with a sharp strike, penetrating into my skin, slapped me, and said, “Stupid, foolish girl,” hastily. I had no energy or will to respond or defend myself because I knew I deserved it. No matter how bad the circumstance, I shouldn’t have ever behaved like that to, or in front of my parents. Now I think about it, and remember the saying of how one’s tongue can start incredibly big fires, and even burn down an entire forest.

That morning I could only think of having to see Father again. I didn’t want to see Father, I felt so lowly. I was mortified of the fit I threw; excuses wouldn’t help. I was not a little girl, and even then, it would only be in my conscience. I had to apologize for my naïveté, yielding down to my weaknesses. Humble myself for what I had done, having done it inexcusably.

Finally two days later I happened to have met up with Father alone. We sat and had a talk, at first embarrassed I asked for forgiveness, and soon Father and I were conversing. My mind kept picturing him with other people, picturing him the way I knew him, and then I also saw him furious, enraged, for no reason at all. I’m still incredulous that he was the one who pulled the last straw causing a domino effect, and eventually our downfall. Our conversation didn’t go very far. Speaking my true feelings would have been unwise. Whatever we talked were things I was not willing to accept at that time. Those things were intolerable, even to have to think about them.

That summer we were sent away to Japan with our grandparents. Our trip was delayed; perhaps it was do to my little show. Etienne, naturally missed Mother and Father at first, like I did, but soon got over it. He was smiling again. Somehow I believe that he not being able to fully comprehend what went on was best. It took me a while longer to dedicate myself to my new life. We regularly talked to Mother and Father through all mediums. We were doing well after a while. I say we adapted well to the new environment after a few months had passed.

Now as I trudge upon this beautiful sandy beach after a refreshing summer shower, I can say that like a log I have drifted into the ocean. I have fought my battle, and won that battle maybe not the war. I have weathered the storm; parts have of me have withered from the heat of the sun, but there’s I'm still alive with renovated strength to go on. I changed and I know that well. Life is now no longer a vision of perfection before my eyes. I still pray to God to take care of my parents, my brother, and to keep me sane. I write about the wind now, how life takes you to places. I listen to my music and play my piano, humming the melodies that closely follow me wherever I go. And time for me goes slowly, like that of a ticking clock going tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock…………endlessly.

Story Submitted by J.V(),

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