Thursday, July 19, 2012

Mr H (part 5)


“That was incredible! Bravo bravo!” A thundering clap and an unfamiliar voice echoed from the far-end of the stage. It was the director himself, Daniel Collins; a third year who’s been directing plays ever since he came to the school two years ago. “That was utterly brilliant! That song and your voices; how did you two manage to come up with that?”

He walked up towards us, looking very pleased with what we did a few moments ago. Yes, it was Daniel Collins in flesh and blood. I was always a fan of his directed-plays (He used to date Viv), but at that very moment, I was really second-guessing my decision. He was now standing before me and H; his eyes wide and his face happy. “You are right, Vera. We all have underestimated your abilities as well as Haru’s choice. I truly apologise on behalf of my production crew members if they were being harsh on you, but they were right for pushing you. You did well.”

“Really Daniel, your words are very kind but I do not intend to continue on assuming such a role. I was merely stating my point and just proving to everyone that I am really not another goth-chick who knows nothing. For starters, I’m not even label-able.” I snapped rather quickly at him before making a mental map of the complex; trying to figure out potential escape routes. This was my chance of running away for good! “Why, aren’t you Kuhn-Kaioh’s all the same? Rebels with beautiful faces; awkward with popularity?” Daniel held my wrist rather swiftly before I could make any further moves; forcing me to confront him myself. It didn’t help the fact that I was already blushing from that idiot H’s doing; now to face a person I’d admired? 
Geez, what did I ever do you wrong, God?

So I got my gameface on as soon as possible and turned towards him. “And what are you trying to do, Mr Collins?” “Trying to stop you from making your exit. I can’t let the star of the show walk-off just like that, yes?” “Well, I’m still quitting. Good singing won’t help a poorly written script. You, of all people, should know that better; Danny C.” Upon listening to this, he let my hand go.

At that point in time, I thought I’d won. Like, come on, the director let go of me after he heard my perfectly reasonable reason for quitting such a wretched play! Oh boy, I was never more WRONG!

****
The next few weeks went by rather swiftly, with classes in the morning and practice in the late noon. It was practically tiring and of course, soul-sucking. Me and my big mouth! If only I hadn’t said anything about the play; I wouldn’t have been in this position of having to juggle between studying, doing my own thing, acting. (The director changed everything and decided my opinion was right) And then, of course, there was that other issue: Spending late evenings/nights over at H’s place to rehearse.

Look, I am not complaining now the fact that at least people see me as an individual that’s not label-able, but honestly I am just uncomfortable about having to spend more time with another person than myself, especially not with the guy who became the sole reason why you were in this mess in the first place.

Yes, I admit it; I have to spend at least 2 hours practicing privately; just me, him and our singing. I needed extra practice-sessions with him as our voices didn’t really have the sort of beautiful-we-finish-each-others-sentences kinda chemistry; it was only present during our first spontaneous practice performance.

And it really didn’t help that we’d started on the wrong foot when tackling our problems; especially with his over-powering voice and my rather shaky lower-chest voice during the singing parts of the play. There was this one time we’d basically lashed out for outdoing the other and taking too much of the spotlight instead of sharing the stage; we both had wanted to own it. Funny, I thought I’d met a guy like him once back in The US. Perhaps I’d gone totally bonkers as a result of too much interaction with other people or it might just be that my own body was undergoing withdrawal symptoms as a result from not getting enough time for myself. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.

So it was Daniel who suggested that me and him get together to spend more time rehearsing. It was only natural to decline and oppose of such a terrible idea, but when we tried singing over and over again, the cracks became bigger and we were running out of time. So, there. That’s the story.

The end.

Okay so no, of course the story doesn’t stop there. Okay, okay. I’ll be real now; and so this was what happened when I decided to run off to ask for a favour from H about the practicing.

It was during recess that I decided to go look for him at the usual table number 6; the cool kids’ table in the cafeteria. Yeah, whatever that means. As I came closer to the table, the whole bunch suddenly went all quiet and everyone turned to look at this alien who’d never spoken to any of them nicely, walk up to them to ask for a favour. I must be really desperate then, for me to actually walk up to this disgusting lot! But I was already here, so might as well just get to the point, right?

“Where’s...H?” I asked in the ugliest voice ever; sounding almost like a plea.

“You mean Hatsuharu?” A ginger-haired guy answered me casually as he continued to sip the Vanilla Coke.
I nodded, not wanting to make any further comments. I didn’t know any of these people, but I definitely recognise this guy; he was always hanging around H in school.  He had a particular aura surrounding his being. I can’t seem to predict what he’s about to do; just like that idiot H!

Everyone else kept a close eye on me, as if I am some kinda weirdo who’ve just came up to their table to ask for an application form to hang around with them. Really, do I look THAT weird? It's not that I don't have eyes or a mouth on my face!

Argh, contented brats!

The boy stood up; almost towering me in the process (he was slightly shorter than H but of course looking almost like a skyscraper to me), and before I knew it, he’d pulled me into a light embrace. My body, automatically, froze and tensed under this total stranger’s control. (Yes, I wonder up till today why I still get surprised when these crazy idiots do unpredictable things to me and still remain quiet-something TOTALLY out of character for me) But yes, he hugged me in the cafeteria and I did hear many, many gasps from the pretty girls table on my left and loads of whistling on my right. Social outcast, here I come! Not that I really care anyways.

We separated quickly as he pulled on my wrists; leading me out of the cafeteria asap. I was now even more puzzled; almost throwing a fit but then I’d remembered that tantrums won’t really help me with boys like this hugger and that Haru idiot.

The next thing I know; we were on level 2 in the gym; facing the indoor basketball courts where I saw H shooting hoops in his school uniform from above; or what is left of it for that matter. I was pretty much dazed at what I was witnessing. Somehow, H seemed...agitated and worried about something. He had a frown decorating his soft features underneath all of the controlled dribbling and constant perfect-shots. I wonder what it is.

“You’re very warm and your heartbeat’s really fast; just like he said.” This hugger was now whispering into my ear; he was standing behind me, his body weight supported by his hands on the balcony railings. I started to feel breathless and stuffy; I just didn’t like being treated like I’m a toy and I disliked people penetrating my personal space. It’s just...too much. I could feel anger overwhelming in my veins and I could feel my face redden with both angst and embarrassment.

“What is the meaning of this?” I braved myself to utter such words although fear resonated very clearly as I ended the sentence.

“You smell of fresh sakura blooms and lilies, Vera. H was right after all.” His right hand pulling a strand of curls and tucking it behind my ear, his left pulling on my waist and I could feel the warmth from his skin growing closer to my neck. I couldn’t move now; I didn’t know what to do! SHIT! NO! This wasn’t happening again!! NO! And...automatically, I screamed loudly, “H!H!H! Make him STOP, H!” Clear droplets were now streaming slowly down my cheeks as I fell onto the floor, knees weak and wobbly; the world was spinning rather fast and before I knew it... I felt the touch of those familiar long fingers before my world turned pitch black.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mr H (part 4)


“No! No! NO! Good God! Put more soul into it; put more feelings into it! Be afraid, be terrified! Jesus Christ, is that SO hard to do?” screamed the assistant director, Charlotte Branch. She kept telling me my walking style, my intonation were just all wrong. *sigh*

This isn’t anything new to me; this has been going on for the past few days since the practice for the play started. I’ve been dragged against my own will by some idiot guy who thinks he owns this whole school to participate in this stupid Spring play in which the script is POORLY written, the costumes designed to be too modern for its time and the production crew is just a nightmare to work with! I initially refused to work with everyone as a form of protest as I so adore the original book and so to have witness such a bad interpretation of a genius’ masterpiece is really killing me from the inside. But, unfortunately for me I’d counted my blessings a little too early and now here I am; playing the lead female character, Christine Daae, opposite that idiot guy H as Raoul.

“Really, Haru, she isn’t cut out for this role! Christine Daae is supposedly played by a beautiful woman who sings well, has a kind heart,...not a totally ugly goth-chick who doesn’t like people, can’t sing for shit and gets annoyed at the slightest of comments! She’s not even taking my comments seriously! And she either nods or just...space out! Are you SURE she’s the girl for this? Cause I’m beginning to second-guess your decision, Haru. ” The blonde snapped at H, who was sitting quietly at the grand piano in the middle of the stage. Everyone else had stopped what they were doing and were now looking at us. GREAT, just what I needed!

 As usual, the tall lad had a huge grin plastered on his face upon hearing such a complaint. “Have you ever considered asking her of what she thinks of this play?” He asked; sipping on the hot-chocolate he was holding in his left hand, eyeing me at the same time.

Geez, now what? My heart grunted at the thought of Charlotte asking me such a question; but then I became even more frustrated knowing my answer would just trigger world war 3.

I watched Charlotte silently throwing a fit mentally before turning to me; face as frustrated as ever and finally asking me, “Vera, why are you being a total pain in the arse?”

I giggled hard. Rude? I believe so, too. But that really was the first time anyone’s ever asked me such a direct question instead of beating about the bush. She’s definitely got guts; this blonde girl.
“I believe that wasn’t the question you’re supposed to ask me, Miss Branch.” I replied calmly, looking her straight in the eyes. The blonde rolled her eyes as I ended my sentence, but before she could say anything more, I’d stepped in again, “But since you’d asked me such a direct question, I shall answer it. But I warn you; I am only responsible for what I say, not what you or anyone else in this hall understands.” The crew were now gathered around the stage, some nodding and some whispering in hushed voices.

“I am being a total bitch because number one, I was being forced to take on Christine Daae’s role by some idiot who thinks he can do basically anything just because everyone worships him.” Even more whispers and murmurs could be heard from EVERY angle of the place as it was an open secret that Haru insisted on Christine Daae’s role to be handed over to me.

 “Number two, I can’t take this whole play seriously because of this horrendous script; it is full of shit and the interpretation is just awful and depressing. Number three, the costume-designing department should really be sued for coming up with the most ridiculous designs as the costumes are just too modern for such a play. Number four, you’re not really the director, Miss Branch; you’re the assistant director acting like you’re in charge just because the director is sick.”

“Yes and when he is sick I am in charge!” Her screeching voice interrupted my speech; but of course, I had ignored her completely and continued on.

“And for your info, I am a trained singer, I have a beautiful 4-octave vocal range with a strong and clear chest voice and a sweet sultry head voice; and I have undergone a few training sessions for opera singing since I discovered that I could sing. I’ve been acting in theatres and plays since I was 3 when my family was staying abroad in the States, so do not underestimate me when you haven’t even given me the chance to do things my way for a change.”

The whole place fell silent. That was the first time in my whole life that I’d bothered to state my personal opinion out loud to everyone. I could hear faint whispers here and there but I couldn’t care less. As I turned around to walk towards the exit, I heard Charlotte’s voice telling me to “prove my argument.”
Fine. She wants a show, I’ll give her one heck of a show! My heart yelped as I stormed up to the grand piano; only to find that idiot, H casually flipping through the score sheets, showing of how oblivious he was about what I’d said.

“Can you play the piano?”

The tall bloke looked at me with questioning eyes, and made space for me to sit on the piano bench. He didn’t answer me and somehow it kinda made me feel tight-chested for some reason. But it really wasn’t the time for me to start caring about such a foreign feeling inside of me; I’d just wanted to prove everyone, especially Charlotte Branch that I am nothing like what she’d described before I take my absolute departure from such a pathetic stage. I should play the best version of The Phantom of The Opera song I could ever, ever play and sing my heart out.

With a long, deep breath, my hands touched on the keys softly, almost caressing the beautiful whites and blacks; a slight warm-up I always do before I start any piano playing. As I’d started to play the intro, I felt another pair of hands mimicking my hand movements before making their own dance routine, making the starting of the song sound even more haunting and so awfully emotional.

I started singing when the time came, and to my surprise, H sang along with me (during the male parts). It felt really....surreal. I’ve never had a singing partner before; and to sing with someone who could sing along and know my singing pace is just...beyond comprehension for me. His voice complimented mine and he sang pitch-perfect as well as having a beautiful timbre with an impressive vibrato that is well controlled. Okay now I sound like a freak but really, his singing is just mesmerising!

As we finished our piano/singing session, I found him staring deep into my eyes as he pulled my face close to his. If this was some chick-flick movie, this would probably be the time when the hero kisses the girl of his dreams and dramatic music comes into the background. But alas, this is my life-story so he didn’t kiss me, but he did compliment me; something I am not used to getting. “You sing well. I know I didn’t make the wrong decision about choosing you, V.” I felt my whole face burning up as he gently caressed my cheeks with his long fingers for a bit; rubbing his thumb constantly on my left cheek-bone.

Again, total silence filled in the room, though its presence right now seemed much more appropriate. And then, it happened.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Cowards vs Fighters


11:32 pm,
3rd July 2012,

I’ve noticed many of my flaws in the last few years; the betrayals and lies that have been exchanged between these lips and others.

And I have come to a very simple conclusion; that in every situation:

1) Cowards run and hide; claiming pitiful votes from people who are weak and just as ignorant.

2) Fighters analyse the overall situation, accept, make changes and move on; despite of whatever others might say.

Please be aware that the conclusion I came up with above can be manipulated and extended to all sorts of situations that we face in life.

Why? We’ve been programmed to malfunction at certain points, but fret not; as we always have room for improvement. Improving one’s self is the best goal a person can ever have; and I hold on to that belief whole-heartedly.

I have been a coward countless of times; yes I shall plead guilty on such accusations. I’ve blamed everyone for many things; the worst is for my own faults way back in 2006. But when I have finally gotten my conscience clear, I see both sides of the story; both faults to the overall situation. So, in the end, I was just as pitiful, just as stupid and just as egoistic.

It takes courage and strength to be able to look and admit fault, just as how it takes a lot to say sorry. These are the things I’ve learned to do in the past few years; things that my 150-dollar-textbooks won’t ever be able to teach me.

The inner strength, the ability to have faith in the Divine, the willingness to say sorry, the courage to face the consequences, to be able to trust others and still celebrate this gift of life; that’s the challenge.

Blaming others, spreading bitter stories, all those behaviours are the easy ways out. To control one’s emotions, to keep one’s silence and hold your head up despite of the hateful looks, the hushed-whispers and the negative-aura emitted from almost everyone when present in the same room, that’s the real deal.
It definitely isn’t easy becoming a fighter. But it’s not impossible.

A fighter must be able to accept his faults, accept the situation and make the best of it for a better future. A fighter must be able to live on, forgiving and extending apologies when necessary, never letting his ego and pride cloud his judgements or poison his conscience. A fighter must live life in an even better way after such things happened; and still be true to his values and fundamentals. A fighter, too, must learn to draw the line between trusting his head and trusting his heart. A fighter keeps his emotions and logic separated far from one another, so that he wouldn’t ever be influenced by the former when making a decision.

Now that’s a fighter, along with a thousand other definitions and conditions I just can’t manage to extract from my head.

So, the next questions to ask are do I have all the requirements to become a fighter? and where do I stand between being a coward and a fighter?

Haha! That’s definitely a tough one to answer, but at the position I am standing now, I am a cadet; a cadet in the Becoming-a-Better-Person-Academy. Sounds funny? Sounds hilarious?

You may not take me seriously, but this time, I really want to become a strong, independent, determined fighter. I really, truly do. I am tired of going through painful heartaches, saddening separation, sour faces whenever I go to parties, situations. I want to become a better person, become a stronger person. Even if it means that I have to stand alone for some time.

I believe that I am my biggest enemy, therefore to become a full-fledge fighter, I have to train myself the way a fighter trains; strict, disciplined, determined and I also have to become a strong-willed person.
I must learn how to handle my emotions; I should learn how to accept differences in opinions. I must accept that not everyone likes chocolate and designer sunglasses; also some people may dislike the notions I introduce to the table.

I know what you’re thinking; you think that I’ll never achieve such things because I’m a rotten-hearted person, an acidic solution with the pH of 1.0 that will corrode anything and leave only sadness and crumbs behind. I know what all of you think about me, and, contrary to what I’d always say (I don’t care), I do care.

Okay, so maybe not to the extent of trying to please everyone, but I’d like to change so that people don’t get offended by my words and actions, so that people don’t get me wrong. Little things that I should pay more attention to, so that I do not sin for no reason. I think maybe these past few years, my attitude of not-caring-at-all has been repulsive to no end, and I should, I must and I am obligated (as a Muslim) to become a better person; hence the changes are necessary, be it as big as an elephant or as small as an ant.

I want to change; I want to become a fighter! A fighter who knows his personal limits and has boundaries, a fighter who’s willing to give it all out to celebrate this life that’s been entrusted upon him by the most Merciful One above.

So right now, in black and white, this is my letter of promise; to change and become a better person, insya-Allah. And I shall strive, everyday, to be better, stronger; a winner.

Thank you to those who’ve been standing tall for me, my guardian angels; especially Manissa S & Syafika Z. & Wan Zanariah who've never failed to leave my sight when my world became a dark, never-ending tunnel, and some other people; you know who you are.

And thank you to those who've helped me realise such things. It may not be easy at first, but I am at peace with everything and happy that I've gotten to realise all this.

XXOO,

Alia R.