Do Rabbits Dream?

Despite not being pet lovers, my family has had it’s fair share when it comes to the variety of creatures that have had the fate of crossing our paths. When the lohan fish with its big forehead and promises of prosperity rose to popularity years back, my eldest brother brought home one. An odd creature it was. Not particularly engaging, and not a crowd pleaser considering how it was neither cuddly nor furry.

When the fish grew tired (or when we grew tired of the fish), someone did something to get rid of it. I cannot remember if we gifted him to a particularly superstitious relative who believed it would bring good look, or if we let him go in a condominium fish pond. Either way, the fish left—it was meant to—one way or another.

The second animal that entered our family doors came in on two feet. It was infinite times furrier than its predecessor and received endless showers of love while it was a baby. Well, babies. We had four chicks. Two female and two male. But as they grew from tumbling yellow balls huddling under a book lamp for warmth into fully developed roosters and hen that cocked and laid eggs everyday, fate had it that they would, too leave us. It wasn’t just the complains from neighbours (who by the way, took our eggs) when the chickens roamed freely in our backyards during the day. Neither was it because one time, a female fell sick and the helper had to feed it human medication (diluted paracetamol). It was just that someone did something to get rid of them—I cannot remember who and I cannot remember how. I only know that one morning, the roosting stopped and so did the eggs.

In between, I had a heart-attack hamster and a tumour hamster, both of which did not last very long. Until one year, my brother came home with a cage so huge it was fit for a dog, but with no dog inside. Instead, a grey ball of fur huddled in the corner, scared out of his wits.

My parents were never supportive of pets. We were never responsible nor attentive enough to deserve one. Most of the animals that were fortunate enough to make their way into our homes entered with lies. A “birthday present” or a “forced gift”. But true to his character, my second brother dropped the cage squarely within our porch and proceeded to announce that he had adopted this bunny, because his owner (an acquaintance) was leaving the country.

Despite her vehement protests and continual efforts in trying to get rid of him, the bunny slowly crawled his way into my mother’s heart. So today, while he stood on the vet’s table shivering from fear, I wondered what life would be like if it didn’t have him in it anymore. During the four years we’ve had him, he’s only been to the vet twice. Today was the third and suddenly he seemed much older than I know.

Do bunnies have dreams? Does he ever wonder what it’s like to run unobstructed, through miles of green fields and have hundreds of females by his side? Was he trying to head somewhere when he left home the day we forgot to shut the gates tight? Did he return because he agrees that there’s no place like home? Sometimes I wonder what goes through his tiny bunny brain when he sits in the car enduring one hump after another. It must feel like a giant earthquake for his tiny bunny body right?

We always thought love would grow and blossom after time. We’re not pet people by nature, but we’re not heartless too. I have to admit, your lack of affection and inability to withstand cuddles and pick ups didn’t help build the rapport we needed, but in the end, we still learned how to live together. There’s no great love, but there’s familiarity. There’s no inseparable pet-owner relationship, but there’s comfort in knowing that every day, after the endless work hours and the tiresome commute, we’ll come home to your big orange cage and the sound of scuffling feet when you come begging for treats.

I think what I want to say is that as children, we’re doe-eyed and hopeful. We naively believe that love will magically grow when fluffy animals are brought into the game. But when we become adults, we understand that love is not something that can be forced. Time cannot build love if it is not meant to be. The good thing is, we also have the capacity to understand responsibility and take comfort in knowing that some things are not as great as love, but they’re pretty damn great in their own way too. The amount of familiarity, routine, and heartwarming constants a tiny bunny can provide, is in it’s own way, a different kind of love that at the end of the day, make the vet trips, the surgeries and the endless poop cleaning worth it.

Chronicles of a Kitty Seeking Fanatic

imageThe title contains a factual error, because I do not seek a mouthless kitty that looks as though it’s been electrocuted and neither am I a kitty fan. However, having a title that reads “Chronicles of a kitty seeking fanatic’s disinterested +1” might seem a bit of a mouthful so I decided to settle on the erroneous title anyway.

I will attempt to chronicle my experience in queueing up for the limited edition “Singing Bones” Hello Kitty available at all McDonald’s outlets starting 12am (if it happens to be 24/7) this Thursday morning.

1115pm: Decided that since we’re stuck doing nothing and inspiration is not coming, perhaps a site survey of nearby McDonald’s might sound like a good idea. Especially since my brother made a pact to collect the entire set of Hello Kitties for his fiancé.

1120pm: Even before reaching the traffic light that’s closest to the McDees located at the Pasir Ris Sport’s Complex, cars with hazard lights on have already lined up till the bus stop opposite Downtown East. Why? They’re queuing at the drive through to get their kitty. Brilliant move, waste of petrol.

1130pm: Parked the car and decided to try our luck at the physical store anyway. Realised it looks like the entrance to a concert at the Indoor Stadium. We were told coupons have already been given out, and that if you would like to wait (in the hopes that someone would buy less than the limit of 4 kitties), feel free to do so. We left.

1136pm: Picked a friend who wanted to join us, headed over to (outlet name concealed so nobody will know who we got kitty from), convinced that because it is inaccessible and has no residential areas nearby, we stand a chance.

1138pm: Queues look longer than when freebies are being given out. Thankful for the relatively cool weather.

1140pm: Coupons given out! Crowd seems to be dispersing and disappointed faces whip out their phones to capture a sign that states “Hello Kitty sold out” — we’re assuming it’s a form of proof to angry girlfriends, and for boyfriends to proof their sincerity. We didn’t get a coupon. But managed to secure a spot as the first people to get a non-couponed kitty while everyone was snapping photos and heading home. Score.

1145pm: The wait is boring, we make small talk with others in the queue with us. Senior couple behind us hopes to buy 4 kitties for their daughters. Cute.

12am: Release the kitty! Queue isn’t moving, all I want is my Mcspicy really.

1230am: People are carrying bags and bags of kitties, will you guys sell them?

1235am: Just for fun, whipped out my iPad and scribbled “WTB @ $25”. Proceeded to put said iPad on my head and wait for offers. No offers, just weird looks. Consider STOMPing myself to get a $50 remuneration.

1245am: Transaction spotted! Old uncle selling kitties for $50! Supposedly a fair price since he queued for 3 hours. Too free?

115am: We’re near the end. The situation is tense. Wait, did someone say no more kitties? What about those with a coupon? I hear someone’s voice breaking. She’s crying. Over a mouthless kitty. Lord help humanity.

117am: “We’re sorry no more kitties, only those with coupons have kitties. 7 coupons? Last 7 kitties left.” We wait patiently. Meals are dispensed without kitties (hallelujah McSpicy!), but hold on a minute. Didn’t you say no more kitties? Where did that one come from? Don’t think you put in paper bag we don’t know ok!

130am: Request to chat with the manager after I am settled with my McSpicy — I honestly just wanna know what he thinks of this horrific kitty queueing frenzy and the magic behind conjuring up kitties when they supposedly have none left.

135am: Manager has great service attitude. I think he should switch jobs and become a PR instead. I’m impressed! He asked if we really wanted a kitty, but desperate woman sitting next to us screams ” IF THEY GET IT I WANT ONE TOO!”. We reject politely, saying that if we get a kitty now, we’d be starting a war. I’m happy with my Mcspicy anyway.

145am: Everyone says we should get the kitty from the manager. I buy Mcwings and proceed to whisper in the manager’s ear while pulling serviettes out from the brown box “If there are extra kittes, you know where I am.” I think I may have sounded too breathy. Manager says ok.

230am: We’re done with the food. Manager is missing. We insist on collecting our kitty when the lady next to us leaves (in case she reports us for coercing the manager into giving us a kitty.)

235am: I head to the counter unabashedly. “Your manager said he will give us a kitty when the rest of the people leave. Can I have the kitty now?” Manager is taking a smoke break, staff heads out to find him.

240am: SCORE, we get one kitty for $4.60. It looks ugly. Even the box is black. We carry it back with us in a paper bag.

3am: I am back to work, inspiration finds me. I wonder if the kitty blesses me. Nah, I think it’s the nuggets and fries that’s fuelling my brain cells.

330am: Brother texts to say the sister-in-law is at Funan queuing up for kitties. They only open at 7am. Insanity takes human form in girls who have a kitty obsession.

2pm: Receive text from school musical committee saying we should sell kitties for 90k to raise funds for our musical. Realise kitties are being sold at $1000 now.

230pm: I lose faith in humanity.

Too Close For Comfort

Sometimes I wish everything were easier. That toothpaste magically capped themselves back after use and that tissue boxes never emptied. Sometimes I wish everything were easier. That hearts didn’t get broken and friendships never faded away. Sometimes I wish everything were easier. Maybe sometimes, more than sometimes. Every moment, I wish things got easier.

I can still hear the familiar tone of your laughter reverberating in my ear. The high pitched, semi laugh-semi giggle that erupts from your tiny frame whenever you’re amused. I remember how you used to lie on my shoulder and tell me your darkest secrets, as though my reputation as the class loud mouth were nothing but a lie, and that you were able to see through the layers of my shell and into my loyal tightlipped core. There is a photo of us on the corkboard hanging on my wall. The one where our hair was still short and your head was so close to mine we could pass of as Siamese twins. The one where we were both lying on the table, the one where we were both smiling like we had everything we wanted in the world right next to us. The one where we were actually happy together.

But like to every happy thing that happens in life, something happened. Oh wait. I’m wrong. Nothing happened. There was no spark between us anymore. For some reason, you stopped running to me with the latest gossip, murmuring excitedly about so-and-so who was attached to so-and-so.  For some reason, you stopped exchanging you-know-what-I’m-thinking glances with me when our gawdy looking literature teacher walked into the classroom. For some reason, you stopped wanting to curl up by my side and lay quietly as though my breaths were your favourite melody and my shampoo your favourite scent.

I miss you. I miss the way I was unguarded when I was your friend. The way I can probably never be now. I wish things could go back to the way they were, I wish we never grew up. I wish things could be so much easier such that when I look at your Twitter timeline, I could will myself into believing I was there with you during every update.

Life is difficult. Life is too difficult. You live everyday wishing you were dead, and you slowly die every day wishing you were more alive. Perhaps I don’t even miss us being friends. Perhaps you just happened to be the catalyst in putting together all the negative thoughts and broken relationships. Perhaps viewing your timeline on Twitter just served to make all the feelings of worthlessness, of loneliness, of utmost helplessness collide. Perhaps it was just time for me to realize that things were getting too complicated. That life, this jumbled mess we call life, is too difficult to ever figure out. That we are all just tiny specks of dust scrambling to discover the meaning of life, only to realize that this is a question with no answer.

I wish things were easier. Everyday.

Blurb: Conditionally Unconditonal

On the first day of Kindergarten, my dad had to physically wrestle me away from my mother. In the first few months of my Kindergarten days, I cried every single morning and ended up crying throughout the entire day till I got to see her again. She gave up her career for me, stayed home to baby me and never let me out of her sight longer than necessary. She was my first friend, and the first person I miss when I’m away from home. She loves me, more than I could ever love myself. She loves me unconditionally.

Parental love is unconditional. They’ll love you even if you had one eye, both, or with four. They’ll love you stark naked and fully clothed. They’ll love you even if it kills them, or you. They’ll love you through anything. But don’t be mistaken. Don’t take this undying, absolute love as a one way ticket. They love you, but it doesn’t mean they’ll always be proud of you. It doesn’t mean they’ll always be pleased with you. Sure, they love you, but it doesn’t mean that your actions don’t repulse them, it doesn’t mean that they won’t be embarrassed when you let out a belch at the dinner table. They’ll love you through the snot and the tears, the blood and the vomit, but don’t ever think for one second, that just because they love you, they aren’t the ones that caused them in the first place.

Risk Everything

Its annoying how I only seem to be able to recall what I wanted to write about after I shut down the computer, therefore resulting in my dark room being illuminated by a spot of light originating from my phone screen.

Today, while meeting a friend to pass him a portable charger meant for Bo to use in camp, I came across a scene that made me feel like we were all growing up too fast. For once, I turned up early for the appointment and thus had the opportunity of seeing the entire family tumbling out of a silver car only to spend a few more moments with the tanned boy who was about to return to Tekong island for a week. But what surprised me was that besides family, someone else stumbled out of the car looking a little less cheery than her normal disposition. Then it struck me. Wait. Did his girlfriend just step out of the same car his entire family was in? What happened to relationships being kept a secret from the prying eyes of nosy parents? What happened to parents finding out about a budding love story being its greatest kryptonite? Have I been out of this dating arena for way too long and thus not being informed regarding the change in dating protocols?

I used to think that love in high school was an idealistic but unrealistic dream. I admit it is a little too cynical for a child only 18 years young, but heck. What are you supposed to think of relationships when the ones around you only lasted weeks at length? A friend and I used to describe the dating patterns in school using the analogy of a football championship. Its basically a mass exchange between the competing teams. Well in this case, players. You play, you ditch, you swap. I must admit though, whether true love or fleeting love, the mere idea of being submerged inside it is amazing. The nights you spend on the phone contented listening to the sound of silence that puts a tangible distance between you and the one you love, the lubdubdub of your heart which you’re convinced is a special melody only played when you know the one you seek is within sight or thought, the eternal promises fiercely whispered to overcome all odds and be in love forever, that is not something mere mortals like us can resist. But what I witnessed today was more than the euphoria or the surge of adrenaline one experiences when a lover utters the three words we all long to hear.

In fact, there was no hand holding, snogging or even a word exchanged between them. Yet during the short moments I spent with them, I could barely look anyone in the eye before I awkwardly said goodbye and scrambled away. Perhaps it was how there was no hiding, no awkwardness between them that made me feel like I had walked into an intricately woven web and upset its delicate balance. And then as I walked away, I thought to myself; she’s not just his girl, she’s family.

I don’t know when it’ll be my turn to meet the family of a certain boy whom I’ll be able to call mine. To me, love remains at the stage where my parents should be kept in the dark and milestones were celebrated in weeks, not years. But the few seconds I spent with that family today really made me realise that as we grow up, the way we love changes too. Instead of playing a game of swap or merry go round, we’re looking for someone who keeps us grounded and as cliche as it sounds, someone to spend the rest of our lives with.

And that, is a very frightening thought.