Innocent wishes and boundless imagination, with a touch of hopefulness — that is what childhood dreams are made of. Funny how we don’t remember most things from the past (let alone last Monday’s dinner), yet a childhood dream will always have its place in a precious storage box, tucked inside the mind.
To all my fellow hopeless romantics, love is full of expectations and disappointments. It can be a dream come true, but just remember that all fairytales come with constant ups and downs and plot twists. Are we really ready to experience realistic love?
This pair of words, no matter what background you are from, may have elicited some sort of image or reaction from you; perhaps it’s a ‘helicopter mum’, or a pair of harsh and strict parents who disdain the arts and force their poor second-gen immigrant children to become doctors, lawyers or engineers. Maybe it’s the generational trauma passed down each line on the pedigree chart, a theme we have been seeing a lot in our media, depicting the stories of Asian immigrant families and the dynamic between traumatised parents and cultural freedom-seeking children.
I have two really good friends who I cherish very much. One will FaceTime me for five hours straight as we talk about the minor inconveniences we experienced that day in immaculate detail. The other calls me and we talk about career crises and trips to London over the summer holiday. I try to catch up with them often, but when life gets in the way and we don’t see each other for weeks, it feels like I have a gaping hole in my heart. For me, these two are my biggest soulmates. And this piece is dedicated to all the things I hope will come true for them.
December 2019. I’ve made plans with my friend, Tom, for a very late celebration of my 18th birthday. 18 doesn’t feel all that different from 17 — I am pleased with the prospect of being able to drink, but a little disappointed that I will no longer be able to scream the lyrics to ‘Dancing Queen’ with as much personal conviction.
The last time we saw each other, your feet were perched on the seat as you smoked a cigarette in my car. I tried to hide my grimace as the lights of passing cars played shadows on my face. The tobacco was bold and all-consuming. As I spoke about the turmoil of my schedule, I caught your bored gaze, wandering eyes and pursed lips. You wanted to keep talking about yourself. A heaviness latched inside me as I realised that I was not your friend, but merely a confidant. A sister. A therapist.
Unfortunately, we can’t all be forced into karaoke at a New Year’s Eve party with a stranger and have that person move to our school when the term starts. Alas, life is not an excellent musical film by Disney Channel, but anything can happen when you take a chance.