Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Charmbracelet

It is easy to be ungrateful but it is hard for us to appreciate things that we have now. We rarely appreciate things until they are gone. Everyday in life, we tend to want something more. Each day brings us a step forward of wanting new things. What we had yesterday will probably be forgotten and we will gladly move on towards something better. Something new. Something that is not in our possession yet. Day after day; the story continues. We long for something new. Always. Our focus is always on something better until we lose sight of the best things in our life that has always been with us for years, perhaps even forever.

MTV’s Sweet Sixteen is on. Watching it is a soon-to-be-16-year-old-Lisa. Her eyes are glued on the TV screen, watching it tentatively. Her thoughts are focused on the dresses, the photoshoots, and the ambience of the party. Deep inside her thought, she wishes to be that girl on the TV. She wishes to have her own sweet 16 birthday party. The show came to an end, ending it with the lucky girl jumping beside her brand new Porsche follow suit by her 100+ friends praising on the party.

*CLICK*

Lisa switches off the TV and her gaze goes to her mother who is in the kitchen; doing dishes. An idea in mind, a wish to be approved, she carries herself towards her mother. Lisa hugs her from the back, kisses her cheek, and gives out the sweetest smile yet. Her mother who knows better takes a quick look at Lisa and asks.

“What is it Lisa?”

Lisa gives out a shy smile, knowing that she could never trick her mother.

“Well, my birthday is coming up in two weeks.” Seemingly less interested, her mother gives out a light nod. “And I was thinking that maybe I could celebrate it with my friends?”


Mother stops and stares for a while. Looking intensely at Lisa’s face. Making sure that her daughter is not joking.

After a while, Mother speaks, “Well, I suppose you are big enough now. A small dinner with a few friends wouldn’t hurt anyone I guess. Where would you like to have it? Here? I could cook your favourite dish and we could invite some people over. Only the ones you are closed with. That’ll indeed be lovely isn’t it?”

Lisa is baffled. Her idea of having it with her friends means celebrating it in a club, with music blaring on the stereo, a 4 foot tall cake, expensive foods, and dance floors—not a dinner with her friends at her house, with her mother’s cooking! No, sir!

Lisa takes a deep breath and tries to stay calm. Obviously, her mother’s idea and her idea contradict each other. It’s okay, all she needs to do now is keep calm, and explain to her mother what she originally had in mind.

“Mom, no you got the wrong idea. What I meant by having it with my friends is to celebrate it in a club where there’s music; the kind that I listen to. An enormous cake, dance floors and food that is not from you. No offense mom, your food is great but if it’s for a party then I think that maybe we should need something less homemade.”

Lisa ends it with a nervous grin.

Uh-oh, Mother’s look is changing. Lisa knows that she is in trouble now and she knows that her mother does not like her idea.

“In a club? Dance floors and my food are not allowed? Oh no, oh no, oh no! You’re tuning 16 not 26! You don’t need to have it in a club. As a matter of fact, you can’t even get in to the club. You’re underage. Your friends are 16 too. No Lisa. I’m sorry but this is not happening. This is not happening. Not on your 16th birthday, not on your 17th birthday, and not even on your 18th birthday. This is not happening while you still live under my roof.”

Lisa’s cheeks are burning, and she can feel it turning red. Her eyes are watery and she can feel that the tears will come out any second.

“I’m 16, mother! All the other kids in my school have had their birthday in the club. You just need to pay the owner extra and you’ll get in. I can have my own party there—16 or not.”
She is right, the moment she said her last word, her tears fell.

Ignoring her tears, Mother lets out a deep sigh, “You are not like the other kids in your school Lisa. All of us have a different way of living our life. This is not the way we live ours. And suppose I say if we are having this party, where do you suppose for us to get the money to pay the club? I suppose you have some savings that I don’t know about?”

“Well, Daddy can pay it. Daddy will. I know he will! Just you wait mother, when daddy gets back, I’ll talk to him and he’ll agree; without even thinking about it.”

Lisa storms her way out of the kitchen, runs upstairs to her room, and lies down on her bed. When the clock strikes six, she could hear her father walked through the front door. Lisa leaps out her bed, and goes straight downstairs. Father looks tired and dirty too. All the work from the site may cause him to have some dirt here and there. Lisa takes one look and thought that maybe she’ll give her father some time to clean himself up. She’ll tell him after dinner instead. It’ll probably be better then.

At dinner, the chirpy Lisa becomes awfully quiet. Trying her best to avoid her mother’s gaze and trying her best to act normal in front of her father. After dessert, Lisa goes up to her father who is watching the news. He seems in a good mood. Lisa sits beside him and looks at him with her hopeful eyes.

Father turns his gaze towards Lisa, “What is it sweetie pie?”

Lisa cringes a little inside. She used to love it when Father calls her that but now it just sounds almost wrong. Lisa shrugs that feeling off and tells her father her plan of having a party. Father listens and listens patiently. Lisa is surprise by how well her Father takes it all in. After a full 5 minutes of explaining, Lisa stops and waits for her father to response.

“Honey, I’m sorry but that is impossible. We are a little tight this month. I still have some unpaid bills, the mortgage, and the bills just won’t stop coming. I’m sorry honey but that is out of the question. There’s no way to it.”

Hearing that, Lisa’s hope vanishes. All sad and gloomy, Lisa stomps her way to her bedroom. That night, Lisa cries herself to sleep. All she wants is a birthday party with her friends. Instead of the usual family dinner at Bubba Gump, she wants it to be in a club. Instead of having her family with her, she wants her friends to be with her. Obviously, the little wish Lisa wants has no hope to come true. And so she sleeps, crying herself into her dreams. That’s all it ever was; a dream, a wish.

Lisa woke up the next morning with soggy eyes. Her head hurts she can barely move. Still, she walks her way in zombie-like form to the bathroom. She washes her face, brushes her teeth, and takes a shower. While she was dressing, a light knock comes from her door. A second later, Mother comes peeping in.

“Morning Lisa, are you all ready?”

“Ready? Ready for what?”

“Why dear, don’t tell me you have forgotten about it. We are supposed to go to the mall today to buy your present. You said you would like to choose the present yourself this year. We’ll go after you have some breakfast okay? Come on, now!”

Oh no, Lisa has forgotten all about it. She was too upset last night until she forgets everything about this shopping-spree. After what happened last night, Lisa hardly wants to get out from bed. She feels so tired after all the crying. All she wants to do is stay in bed and get some more sleep.

“Lisa, come down now! We’re leaving in ten!”

Mother’s scream made Lisa realised that she could never get out of this. So effortlessly, she goes downstairs and goes straight to the door. Lisa does not feel like eating. She is too upset to even do anything. All the way to the mall, Lisa didn’t say a word. So did Mother. After a full twenty minutes of silence, they have reached the mall. 


Out of the car, Lisa goes straight inside to the mall without waiting for her mother. She goes up and goes into the Ladies’ section. Sparkling new shoes are everywhere; brand new clothes are hanged in every corner. There are so many choices to choose from but not one of them catches Lisa’s eyes. She’s bored and tired of all these stuffs. She wants something that she can no longer have and it kills her. 


Lisa continues strolling through the clothes’ section, then the shoes’ section, followed by the handbags’ section. But nothing grabs her attention. For someone who loves shopping, it is weird for Lisa to just stroll around the mall filled with lovely things without even stopping to look at them.

Suddenly, something from across the room catches Lisa’s attention. Lisa walks directly to it. It’s shining and very sparkly. Finally on to it, Lisa grabs that peculiar thing. Up close, Lisa can see that it is a charm bracelet. With butterflies clinging on to every ring. Such a common bracelet, but somehow it is so beautiful that makes Lisa to want to have it right away. 


Lisa grabs it and looks at the price. Hmm, only twenty bucks? That’s a very reasonable price. Lisa holds on to the bracelet tightly, afraid that someone else would have wanted it. Now what she needs to do is just go and find Mother. As Lisa walks, she keeps on admiring the bracelet. On the bracelet, Lisa realises a gold tag. Lisa looks at the tag, wondering that is it is a price tag or the brand tag. Lisa flips the tag from front to back and back to front. No words are written on it. Only a blank gold tag.

“Lisa! There you are! Where on earth have you been? God, Lisa don’t you ever do that again--"

“—Mom, chillex. This is only the mall. Besides, I have found what I want. Can you just please pay this up so we can all go home and save me from this misery?”

“Oh? You did? This is what you want?”

Mother looks at the ordinary charm bracelet and looks at Lisa again.

“Are you sure Lisa? You don’t want anything fancier?”

“Oh yes, I do want something fancier. Maybe a birthday party in a club? How’s that for something fancy mom?”

Mother takes the bracelet, gives Lisa a glare, and heads towards the pay counter.

After paying, they went straight home.

As soon as they arrive home, Lisa storms her way up to her room. She does not know why but something about the bracelet makes her all agitate. Though it is just an ordinary looking bracelet, she just can’t wait to wear it. Lisa closes the door behind her and quickly takes out the bracelet from her handbag. She stares at the bracelet once again; admiring it. Lisa looks once again at the gold tag. On it, suddenly there is some writing. Well, that’s funny. She could’ve sworn that there was nothing written on the gold tag. She checked it for a dozen of times when she was at the store. There was nothing written on it—only gold tag.

“Do not despair, do not fear. Close your eyes and make a wish. Count to three and your wish shall come to true.”

Something about the wordings on the gold tag made Lisa feels chills running down her spine. There’s something eerie about it. Lisa chooses to ignore it. She tries to take off the gold tag but to no avail. After a few try, Lisa gives up and lies down on her bed. She takes another look at the bracelet and decides to wear it even with the gold tag on. 


Bracelet on her left wrist, she re-reads the gold tag in silence. Wondering if the gold tag is just some cruel joke or if it could be true. Lisa suddenly remembers about her yearning wish. How she has always wanted to celebrate her birthday with her friends. She thinks for a moment and decides to wish for a birthday party. She figures that if this thing turns out to be a fake, then no harm can be done but if it turns out to be true, then that will just be wonderful right?

“Do not despair, do not fear. Close your eyes and make a wish. Count to three and your wish shall come to true.” After reading it out loud, Lisa closes her eyes and makes her wish.
“I wish to celebrate my birthday with my friends; only my friends for this year and for the rest of my life.” Lisa counts to three and after a split second of hesitant, Lisa opens her eyes.

“SWEET RAINBOW ORPHANAGE FOR GIRLS.”

The sign in front of Lisa is clear enough to tell her where she is but Lisa is left confused and scared. “What? What is going on? Why am I here? Where am I? Help! Anybody?”



Suddenly coming out from the big gate is a girl with French Braid running towards her. 


“There you are! Where have you been? Come on, I have to show you something.”

The French Braid girl without listening to Lisa’s cry grabs her hands and starts running.

“Wait, where are you taking me? Where am I? Who are you?” Lisa cries but none of it seems to sink in to the French Braid girl.

“Come on Lisa, stop kidding around. Can’t you just follow me without any noise this time?” Lisa gets more confused and confused.

Before she could continue with her cry, the French Braid girl pushes a big door and—“SURPRISE!!” a surprise yelling comes out from a very big room filled with kids in Lisa’s age. All of them starts gathering around her and they were singing.

Lisa could barely hear them as her thoughts are screaming in her head; making absolute noise.

“What is this? What’s going on? Who are they? What are they singing? Is that a happy birthday song? Why are they singing happy birthday song to me? Oh my God, birthday. Birthday.”


Lisa seems to have finally figured out what is going on. Before she could even think any further, her body shuts down and she fainted. Lisa opens her eyes to see a friendly motherly face in front of her. “Mom?” Lisa speaks with her dry voice.

“Oh, now, now dear. Close your eyes and try to get some more sleep.” The soft voice orders her.

Somehow, Lisa is too tired to argue and she is too tired to think, so she immediately gives in and shuts her eyes back. Morning arrives, and this time Lisa is waken up by the sound of chirping birds. All she can see is a white room with steel beds with white sheets. A lady seems to make her way towards Lisa.

“What is going on? Where am I? Who are you?” The Lady looks taken aback.

“Why dear, you’re at home. This is the nursing room. Oh, you must’ve hit your head so hard. Poor dear.”

“What? What are you talking about? This is not home. I live at Ara street. This is not my home.”

 Once again, The Lady looks taken aback. The Lady looks at Lisa curiously as she sits down beside Lisa. “My dear, you’ve been living here for almost a year now. Don’t you remember? We had a surprise party for you last night. All of your friends came. But I guess we must’ve really surprise you huh? You immediately knock to the ground after the surprise yell.” The lady chuckles to herself as if that was the most amusing thing.

“No, no. That can’t be. That just can’t be. Why am I here? This is an orphanage. I’m not an orphan. You must’ve mistaken me for someone else. My parents are very much alive. They are still alive for God’s sake! Call them now! I want to see them! Call them!” Lisa who is losing it yells.

“Oh dear. I haven’t realised. I mean—you were just getting fine. Just a couple days ago you were all excited about the party. Oh my, I should’ve realised something. Oh dear, I am sorry. I didn’t realise. Forgive me dear. I should’ve known. After all, it was this time around when your parents—well, when your parents.....”

The Lady could barely continue. She knows that mentioning the word death in front of Lisa is not going to do her any good. All she could do now is look at Lisa with sympathy and pray that Lisa will get through this. 


Meanwhile, Lisa’s eyes starting to build up tears. Lisa puts her hands on top of her mouth. She knows what the lady is going to say. She knows it too well. Lisa is crying so badly ‘till there’s no sound that could come out from her. All she can do is chocked on her tears and cry more. She still has no idea how all of this happened. She may have a bit of clue, but Lisa is trying not to believe it. Lisa is in denial.

The Lady speaks again with a careful tone. “I thought that the party was a good idea. I thought it could take your mind off the tragedy. After all, you’ve always wanted to spend your birthday with your friends right?”

Lisa looks at The Lady. Something about the words she had said sounded so familiar in Lisa’s ears. “Well dear, I’ll leave you alone now. Here is a change of clothes for you. Eat something and take some more rest if you want to. Come down to the hall whenever you feel like it. Perhaps, we can still celebrate your birthday later tonight.”

The Lady stands up, smiles a pitiful smile to Lisa and walks away. Lisa is left alone. There’s no point of denial anymore, Lisa knows exactly what has happened to her. It was the bracelet. It was her wish. She wanted to celebrate it with her friends and now she’s got it. Her wish did come true after all. 


Though she got her wish, but this is not how she wanted it to happen. Lisa doesn’t feel like sleeping anymore. Her head is all dizzy from all the laying down. She wanted some fresh air. She looks at the clothes The Lady had brought in for her and put it on. She goes up to the nearby sink and washes her face. Without taking any breakfast, she goes straight down.

The stairs there are huge. One look and Lisa knows that the place has been here for years. Still, it is very beautiful. Lisa continues to walk down the stairs. Finally reaching down, Lisa sees two huge doors upon her with a sign that reads “The SR Hall”. This must be the hall that The Lady was talking about. Lisa pushes the door with all the strength left in her body. Heads turning, distant voices come to silence. Every faces in there are staring at her.
“Lisa! Oh, I’m so glad you’re okay.” It was the French Braid girl.

Lisa gives her a weak smile and follows her to their seat. To be honest, Lisa is too tired to argue on this situation. She might as well go with the flow until she can figure out how to undo her wish; if that’s even possible. Sitting across Lisa is a girl with dark hair. The Dark Hair girl stares at Lisa. Lisa ignores her and tries to concentrate on French Braid girl. But the Dark Hair girl’s stare is just too deep making Lisa lose her concentration on French Braid girl. 


Lisa looks at the Dark Hair girl. Analysing her just like she is analysing Lisa. Suddenly, Lisa’s eyes goes to her left wrist. A beautiful bracelet is on her left wrist then it pops to Lisa’s head.
In the midst of all the confusion, Lisa has forgotten all about the bracelet. How could she have forgotten about it? After all, that bracelet is the reason why she is here. 


Lisa looks down on her left wrist but her bracelet is not there. Where could it be? Hey, wait a second. The Dark Hair girl’s bracelet does look pretty familiar. There’s no way she could have steal it right? Well, Lisa was knocked out last night so yes; she could have probably stolen it. All of the sudden, Lisa’s temper is up.

“You—you stole my--”

“—Come with me.” The Dark Hair girl stands up and walks towards the door.

“What?”

As confuse as Lisa is, she stands up and follows the Dark Hair girl. “Hold on a second, I need to go to the bathroom.” Lisa said quickly to French Braid girl. “Umm, okay.”

Lisa walks faster and faster. Trying to catch up with dark hair girl. Lisa opens the huge door and suddenly feels a touch on her shoulder. Lisa turns around and there she is.

“Okay, you need to give me my bracelet back.” Said Lisa furiously.

“Oh, is it now? Didn’t you get your wish honey? I think the only thing you should do now is thank the bracelet and me. Isn’t this what you wanted Lisa?”

“How did you—how did you know my name? And how did you know about my wish? Who are you? What is going on? Now you owe me an explanation.”

“I owe you nothing my dear. I grant you your wish. In fact, you owe me. Tell me, isn’t this what you wanted? Say it!”

“No, you’re wrong. This is not what I wanted. I never asked for my parents to die. I never asked for that. I asked to only celebrate my birthday with my friends. Not for my parents to die. Not for anyone to die.”

“Is it? Let me refresh your memory. What you did ask is that you want to celebrate your birthday with your friends for the rest of your life right? That is exactly what I gave you. How else can you celebrate it with your friends if your parents are still around? If they are still around it’ll be hard for you to celebrate it with your friends. Say it Lisa. I made your wish came true. You got what you wanted. Say it Lisa. Say it.”

Lisa starts sobbing. She knows that what the Dark Hair girl said is partially true but she can’t bear herself to say it. “Yes, I’ve wanted this but not this way. Not like this.”

“Then what are you going to do Lisa? Your parents are gone and you did that. It is all your fault. You never appreciate things Lisa. All you want is more and more. You have a father who works hard everyday just to give you everything that you wanted. You have a mother who always listens to you and never once she judged you for making a terrible choice or mistake. The only thing she did was loved you more. But did you notice that Lisa? No, of course you didn’t. You never notice ‘cause all you want is more. Never for a second in your day, have you thanked God for what you have. You had it all Lisa but you wanted more than all. You’re greedy Lisa. You had it all but you didn't realise it. Now, you have nothing. I took your all!”

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I didn’t know what I was thinking. I didn’t know. Please, I beg you. Give my parents back. I want them back. I’d give my everything to have them back. Please. Just please. I want them back. I want them back.” Lisa cries to dark hair girl. Hoping she could fix it. Hoping she could give back what was lost.

“Beg me for it! Say you’re sorry!”

“—I’m sorry! I’m sorry! Please, I beg of you.”

“Tell me you’ll appreciate what you have. Swear to me that you’ll want nothing more than what you are given. Swear to me!”

“I swear to you. Please, I swear.”

Lisa could not help but to swear to this Dark Hair stranger. She may sound stupid but all she cares now is for everything to go back to normal. When her parents are still there and when she is in her home. Where everything she needs is right there.

“Fine then. Now sit in that corner.”

Lisa did as she was told.

“Close your eyes.”

Lisa closes her eyes.

“—And count to three. But remember, you may get away this time but second time; there shall be no escape.”

Having said the final order and warning, the Dark Hair girl walks away. As Lisa hears the footsteps, she counts to three.

“One..........”

CLACK CLACK


“Two..........”


CLACK CLACK


“Three........”


Lisa slowly opens her eyes. Her view is a bit foggy. Her head is doing some spinning. But her hands are touching something soft. Lisa recognises the touch. Oh yes, Lisa definitely recognises the touch. Lisa wipes her eyes. When all things are clear, Lisa sees that she is back in her room—on her bed. Lisa smiles brightly. She hugs herself in relief. She leaps out of happiness from her bed and yells, “MOM! MOM!”


Mother who is resting on the swing, jumps out; startles. “What the heck Lisa? What is--”


“—Oh mom, I love you so much. I’m so sorry. I don’t want any party now. A night out with you and daddy is fine. More than fine actually. I love you mom. I’m so sorry.”


“Honey, that’s great. But, are you okay? Who are you? What have you done to my daughter?”


“Oh mom, I’m just so sorry. I will never ever take you and dad for granted ever again! If I did, you can spank me mom!”


Mother laughs and said “Oh well honey, if that is what you promise then I believe you. I don’t think spanking is necessary.”


Lisa smiles knowing that her mother will always be there to support her. No matter how 
stupid she sounds or how stupid her actions may be. The dark hair girl was right.


“Mother, you will never believe what had happened to me. The bracelet that you got me. It’s magic mom-” So, Lisa goes on and on and on about the experience she had. Mother only listens. She did not say a word. By the end of the story, Mother smiles at Lisa and said “Let’s get you some tea. After what you’ve been through, tea could help you.”


“But, you do believe me right mom?” Lisa asks and Mother nods. Lisa smiles and goes inside to the kitchen.

Watching Lisa from behind, Mother whispers softly to herself. “I believe you more than anything my dear. I’m just glad she brought you home quicker than she brought me.” A single tear falls from Mother's eyes.




1 comment:

  1. I'll do what I always do in LJ.

    SPOT! BRB reading~!

    ReplyDelete