Chapter 1: Summer’s Day

-First-

In the red-roof house, which shined like a sore thumb in this neighborhood of auburn roofs. Inside, I was playing a game of Eternity, an RPG game on the hardest difficulty. The living room was connected to the dining room. The dining table was to the right of me and coffee table was in the front. The gaming console was with the wall-mounted, sixty inch, flat screen TV that Mrs. Wilson bought the day after yesterday. The air conditioner was on and it kept the room cool. The kitchen was oddly in another room where the door was closed. Well, it was pretty nice since it kept the odor away from me. The floor was covered by a deep blue carpet with a beige wallpaper. Though I had taken my shoes off at the front door, I placed my legs up on the coffee table and gotten myself into a comfortable position.

It had been about a month since I met Juliette.

“Jaiden, can you come here for a second?” Juliette’s mother shouted for me. “I need help with something.”

“Then why don’t you ask for Juliette?” though I questioned that, I went to the kitchen either way. And— “Oh, she’s already helping.”

I never even realized that she was gone, damn her video games! She chuckled at my disclosure. “Can you get the flour for us?”

If they asked for it, then it was probably up somewhere really high where they couldn’t reach. In other words, the two of them were idiots and decided to place it up really lofty. I was taller than both of them, which made me a monster. Hahaha, I’d wished. I was only taller up to the point where Juliette was  up to my neck height. Her mother was shorter than Juliette and I didn’t know where her father was. I never saw him for all the days I had been here.

I was a terrible person when it came to timing. “Where’s your dad? I haven’t seen him yet.”

“He’s on a business trip,” Juliette replied.

“Ah.” At least it wasn’t the usual, “They split up.”

“When will he come back?” I had to bring up some kind of conversation while I tried to find the flour that they never told me the location. “Cause I’d love to meet him.”

“Oh, no you wouldn’t,” was from her mother. “He has no patience for anything. Whenever he comes home, he always goes straight to bed, then eat, then repeat until his next trip.”

Sounds like a cheater. Oh, there’s the flour. It was at the peak of the left cabinet. Grabbing it with one hand, I handed it over to… “Who wanted the flour?”

Juliette’s mom came over and grabbed it in a hurry. Currently, they were cooking dinner and her mother decided to start baking some muffins. “What are you making?” I posed a query.

“Vanilla muffins.”

So simple yet delicious. “Sounds good.”

Then I left the kitchen with no other intention of helping. I wasn’t all into cooking anyway. Besides, I needed to get back to playing.

After thirty minutes or so, I finally became bored with the game and shut off the console. Juliette came out from the kitchen and sat beside me on the couch. She sighed, saying, “Mother told me to take a break.”

“Good for you.”

I gazed at the ceiling with my mouth opened, and I was beginning to doze off into space. Though she pulled back as fast as she could. “You’ve been eating here a lot lately.”

“I guessed it’s because I like your food better.”

She was a bit flustered by the thought, and thanked me. “Although I just help, really. My mother’s the one who does all the work.”

“Which reminds me, why is she making muffins?”

“Because I was mentioning how you liked them the last time we went out.”

“Wow. How nice.”

Juliette grinned, suddenly grabbing my arm and pulling it. “Can I come to your house once in awhile?”

“Nope,” I immediately responded.

She pouted, “Why not?”

“Just cause.”

“Then how about you come with me to an amusement park?”

“What kind of question is that? How does this have to do with my house?”

She watched my reaction, still holding on to my arm. Ah, she was waiting for me to answer. “No, I wouldn’t want to go to an amusement park.”

“Why not?”

“I can’t stand amusement parks. I mean, unless you take me to a water amusement park.”

“You like those types?”

“Yeah.”

“Then how about we go to one?” she smiled.

At this point, I wiggled my arm free and scooted away. “If you’re the one paying.”

Sure, I had a job and had money, but I wasn’t going to waste it on something like amusement parks. I’d rather waste it on games, or upgrading my computer. It was selfish, but somehow, Juliette didn’t seem to mind. She was alright on paying for the both of us. And I thought it was a trick, because it made me feel guilty. “At least I’ll pay for the entrance fee.”
But where were we going exactly? When? These questions were later asked due to the fact that her mother came out with dinner readied. I went straight to the dining table while Juliette went to help her mother carry out the food. I couldn’t say I was lazy… okay, I was. Although I didn’t lend a hand unless it was needed.

It was still summer, just two weeks away from ending. It was still hot, so I always came here in any shorts I could find in my wardrobe. Though I tend to always wear baggy black shirts whenever I had the chance. Due to my shirts, I had trouble pacing this five minute walk without sweating like a pig. And because of that, I used their bathroom to cool myself down. For some reason, the weather decided to take a sudden change from seventy to one-hundred. I had deducted that the weather was being fair because it wouldn’t be summer without the heat wave. Today I wore a hat for protection. It didn’t aid me in my journey to Juliette’s house.

Same result.

Anyways, dinner was the last thing for me to do at her house and when I finished, I quickly left the house and rushed back to mine.

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Prologue

I honestly thought that weddings were terrible. Even ‘till today, on my own wedding, I still did. They were boring, especially when you weren’t the one involved in it. Sure, it was a happy day and you were supposed to be happy. Back then, I wished my relatives didn’t get married every year and didn’t force me into it. Right now, I regretted not skipping every one of them. Nothing good every happened at weddings, for me that was.

Well, there was one good thing.

Out of all the weddings I had been in, I decided to skip one of them. It was near my home, so it was easy to sneak out and traveled back home unscathed. At least I had thought of that. No matter, the wedding had taken place and everybody was in their seats, except for me who excused myself by heading for the restroom. Then, I left, they wouldn’t notice until the end. The way I dressed made it look like I was at a funeral instead of a wedding. Dear God, how many times had I said wedding?

It wasn’t my usual clothes that I wore every time at a wedding. This time, I had on a black costume. A dress shirt, cargo shorts, knee socks, and running shoes. The only thing that wasn’t black was my little tie, which was orange. I had to add at least a bit of color. My hair was tied up in a little pony tail at the top of my head, leaving the rest to hang on my shoulders. With my hands in my pockets, I jogged my way back home. Kept on walking straight, past the church and an apartment, and then turned left at the lights; straight again until I went by another street and averted the left at the stop sign. The first cul-de-sac was where my final destination was. Only about fifteen minutes. Ah, but I never made it home.

That was when she came.

“Excuse me,” she called out. “Do you know where this is?”

A dumb question. “Yes, if I didn’t I wouldn’t be here.”

She chuckled at my humor, and responded, “Ah, I’m sorry. I’m new here.”

“I can see that.”

The girl kept a smile that later on mended my heart. Though I had to admit, my tone was a bit rude at the time. Surely, I couldn’t help it, I was at a wedding minutes ago. This was the attitude I always gave whenever I was at a wedding. I was lucky that I didn’t start a fight at one point. For some reason, she gladly overlooked my attitude and asked, “What is your name?”

“Jaiden.”

“Juliette,” she said after mine. Then, after realizing that both of our names started with a J, she began a little laughing fest.

This girl appeared to be entertained by almost anything. So, back on topic. “What are you looking for?”

“My house,” was what she could puff out of her unstoppable laughter.

“You don’t know where your house is?” if she didn’t know where her house was, how did she expect me to know?

Juliette could say no more, and I had to wait until she could finally stop for at least a minute to reply. “I was going around the neighborhood to look around, and before I knew it, I got lost.”

I rubbed my head, frowning a bit. Bah, I wasn’t going to do anything at home anyway. I might as well use my memories as a guide. I walked around this place long enough to know if a somebody moved into a house or not. “Tell me, what does your house look like?”

“Red roof…” east side… “Tannish colors…” probably east side. “And there should be a giant moving truck somewhere.” Definitely east side.

            “How do you miss a truck?”

“Well, I was kind of walking without looking back,” she chuckled.

An air head? I sighed, and heading in the direction of east. “Come.”

She followed. “Does everybody call you Jaiden?”

“Does everybody call you Julliette?” I questioned her back. I found out that this was the best way to counter back at her later on in our life.

“Well… not really, they usually just call me Julie.” Like I had expected, she completely ignored her own question.

“Ah, Julie, huh? That’s pretty nice. Though I prefer to call someone by their real name.”

“Really?”

It was a five minute walk from my house to her’s. Juliette’s house was like how she described. Red roof, tannish colored house, and a huge truck in front. The back of the truck was opened with nothing inside. “They’ve finished,” she said.

With that she thanked me and asked, “Do you live near here?”

Do you always ask stupid questions like this? “Yeah, we’re five minutes apart.”

Juliette smiled, saying, “Can we be friends?”

“Aren’t we already?”

A gap opened between her lips. “Oh.”

I stared at her for a bit, before leaving for my house. “I’ll be seeing you then.”

“Y—yeah…” she waved.

It wasn’t a sudden meeting, not very exciting either. Whenever I thought about our first encounter, I wished I had done something better. But yes, it was the beginning. I had nothing else during the remaining of the summer, so I ended up visiting her every day. Even after summer, I had found out that she had gone to the same school as I. It was a heartwarming relationship, and I really had no intention of going further.

I still have no idea what the title of this should be. Help? xD

Way to be Anti-Climatic

So I was watching this Vietnamese-dub Korean drama for about two minutes. At first there were these two dudes who were calling each other and they were talking about how the other should go to sleep. My thoughts about them was… “Were they gay for each other or something?” because it seriously looked like it. Then came the mother, she saw this green envelope with money (in checks) in it. She went to her husband and was like, “Look, honey, our son didn’t know what to give me so he ended up giving me the money instead! It’s about $300,000.”
Then the man was like, “No, it’s not $300,000, look again!”
Then she looked again (awesome writing skills). “Oh~!” it was actually $3,000,000. Then she read the letter with the checks. It was about something about death, lol. Didn’t pay much attention. The mother began to cry and it was all emotion and sctuff.

The most hilarious thing happened after that.

While she was crying, it looked like somebody had edited in these words from the window movie maker (it was in a pretty horrible font and color). It just said, “End of Chapter 40.” And they literally stopped the show right in the middle of where she was crying! There was no stop motion, no credits, nothing. Oh, man, that was pretty hilarious. So anti-climatic!

Physical and Mental Discipline

Let me go away from those two posts down there :L

In some countries, teachers still have the rights to hit you if you did something wrong. In some countries, it’s illegal. Although it’s illegal, some teachers still do that.

I’ve faced both physical and mental discipline, and let me tell you how it works on me.

I’m emotionally fractured. I’m afraid of pain. Yet, when it comes to a certain type of pain, I’d rather be hit than yelled at.

When I was back in Vietnam, teachers used to slap me (with or without a ruler) for any and every mistake I did. Of course, I was a child back then, I would make mistakes. Even my brother, who goes home every day with a bruise. Life back then, was simple. You or another classmate didn’t do your homework, well, everybody got spanked. I lived in fear of a teacher.

And I tell you this, in kindergarten, when I was tracing those letters, the teacher there threw the paper away because she said it was messy. Then she told me to redo it. Man, that’s harsh.

The teachers are one of the only memories that I remember back in my little Vietnamese childhood. One actually bit my ear because she was so “happy” for me that I got into first grade. I don’t know why, but she had some razor sharp teeth! Another one to tell was that during preschool, there was a nap time. Of course there would be a nap time. Although it was a forced nap time. You had to sleep on a table (I shit you not) and if you talked, you get spanked. Hahah, wow…

Well, for this physical discipline, it worked quite well on me really. I wrote nice and neat, I did my homework, I read good (lol). However, it doesn’t have a long lasting effect on me. Once I moved out of Vietnam and got myself into the other side of discipline, I forgot whatever those teachers back then had said. I now write messy, I can barely read Vietnamese or write it. For me, it was good for the present, but not as I grew up.

For mental discipline, I guess this is what hurts me the most. I don’t like to be hurt mentally, then again, who would? Oh, wait, people who don’t like physical pain. The teachers here in the place that I lived didn’t hit you, but rather, they scold you for whatever bad things you had done. And I was not used to that kind of thing. So in the end, I learned from that a lot more. There isn’t really anything for me to tell you about my mental discipline, really. I was a good stupid. And yeah, I said I was a good student. Somehow, not anymore when I went to high school. Woops, there went my beautiful clean record.

In ninth grade, I got a referral for being “caught” cheating.

In tenth grade, I was arrested for having a stolen object.

And then that’s it. Hahah, you expected more? No, I was a child of good behavior… Okay I may be lying on that. But I didn’t do anything bad like those examples up there. Sure, I was a bit talkative when you put me close to a person I knew, but I never (been caught) cheated or stole stuff. I literally had this one chance to obtain a free flippin’ ipod touch. Then… I was being a goodie-two-shoe and a person I knew took it instead. Now that I’m here to this day, I regret it. A lot. I wanted a frickin’ ipod touch! It was just laying there in the restroom! Whhhyyyy???

By the way, the AP (assistant principal) that I have is quite the hypocrite.

The day of my Prosecution(I like to call it that) in the Office: I think this girl should get all the maximum punishment for what she’ve done!

The Day After (with my mom and brother there): Don’t worry, she’ll be fine. She’s a good girl.

lolwut.

So basically, mental discipline works better on me. Since I do remember it and I learn from my mistakes (not as much).

Skipping the Banquet

It’s actually called the wedding reception.

I went there an hour (or two) early. Ate the two meals given, and then I left.

I feel an awful lot better actually after I wrote down a poem before the banquet (still calls it that anyway). I had this sudden pulse to cry during the whole thing, but I kept on muttering, “Can’t be sad, need to be happy.” For some reason, that works for me. Anyways, I just came back early since it usually ended at 11 PM or 12 AM.

Here’s the poem if you were wondering:

There are walls that bind me to the ground,

Hey,

I want to ascend the mountains too.

I want to be part of the climb,

Yet,

This wall prevents me from taking my first step.

 —

I cannot scale it on my own,

The walls are too steep,

There was no way my fingers could dig into the

Brick walls.

 —

I heard voices all around me,

They were people I know.

Hey!

Don’t leave me!

 But no one dares to turn around

And help.

I am just a parasite,

No one would notice

If I’m gone.

There was some things that happened for some reason. Like my aunt’s sudden saying, “Why do you speak like that? You’re Vietnamese, don’t go and speak like a foreigner!”

It kind of hurts me since my Aunt Loan never says things like that to me. Only the aunt that lives in the same house as I.

You can’t expect me to know Vietnamese after ten years of living here. I came here when I was five and I’ve been learning English for ten years straight without a single class of Vietnamese. And you expect me to talk like you? I’m sorry, but I was still not a good speaker back then either. You expect a five year old girl to know the whole thing of a language? You expect me to know how to write, read (I can read Vietnamese), and speak properly? Seriously, it’s hard to teach a child that when the teacher’s hitting them repeatedly for every single mistake.

Weddings and Banquets

[3:06:19 PM] austin oreo: YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
[3:25:28 PM] Thao Do: :O
[3:25:30 PM] Thao Do: o hai dere
[3:26:39 PM] Thao Do: I got to skip the wedding xD
[3:28:33 PM] Thao Do: uuggghhh I’m forced to go to the banquet ._.
[3:33:25 PM] austin oreo: lol that’s the good part about weddings though
[3:33:29 PM] austin oreo: ALL DAT FOOD
[3:33:31 PM] austin oreo: : D
[3:33:46 PM] Thao Do: I hate the banquet
[3:33:51 PM] austin oreo: so you got to ski[ the boring part everyone hates
[3:34:02 PM] austin oreo: i like the eating part (inlove)
[3:34:04 PM] Thao Do: lol
[3:34:15 PM] Thao Do: the banquet is the part where it makes me realized that I’m out of touch with my family
[3:34:25 PM] austin oreo: eh
[3:34:34 PM] Thao Do: :L
[3:34:43 PM] austin oreo: still
[3:34:44 PM] austin oreo: FOOD
[3:34:57 PM] Thao Do: bah, I rarely eat a fourth of it
[3:35:47 PM] Thao Do: that’s why one: I don’t go to family party/banquet because I get headaches from too many people.
[3:36:14 PM] Thao Do: I’ve realized that even though I have a family, I don’t know anything about them. So basically, it’s like going to a place full of strangers.
[3:36:27 PM] Thao Do: Because I have a border that keeps me out of touch
[3:37:40 PM] Thao Do: But I shouldn’t be all melodramatic, I’ll probably bring a PSP there and stay outside 😛

 

Today is my cousin’s wedding, and to be honest, I could care less. If she’s getting married, then good for her, but why are you trying to drag me into this? Is it because I’m part of the family? Is it because she lived in the same house as I do and I have to go because that’s where the first ceremony is being taken place? Probably both. I don’t want to go to weddings, I’m sick of weddings.

But in actuality, weddings aren’t what I fear the most. It’s the banquet at night for the newly weds. I hate it. Sure, it’s free food, but I rarely eat at a banquet. I can barely eat due to the fact that I’m surrounded by so many people. This is why I don’t like parties or anywhere with over a dozen people. I get choked whenever I’m enclosed by strangers. Although this is a family banquet and all the people around me are family, I don’t feel welcomed. As one could see from the top where a conversation was copied and pasted, I’m out of touch with my family.

It’s like being in a family that has already been bonded with each other and I’m the parasite that lives off of this family.

I am stopped by a wall that I cannot climb.

So, even though I didn’t go to the wedding, I’m forced to go to the banquet at night. There would be nobody home, but I don’t care. My brother said to turn off the internet if I was to stay here, and I say yes to that. I don’t care if the internet is off, I have other options. It’s not the end of the world for me if the internet is gone. I can still write, I can still read, I can still play games, and I can still sleep. And if I’m forced to go, then I’ll probably stay outside of the banquet. If I’m going to ruin your day by staying outside or not wanting to go to the banquet, then I’m not sorry. You had a choice to leave me be. I refuse to participate.

Maybe I’m stubborn, maybe I’m that troublesome child. Maybe I sound extremely whiny and bratty right now.

It’s supposed to be a happy day. At least for the newly weds and their parents. But why should I be happy for them when I can’t be happy for myself?

If you’ve read that partial part of The Mindfully Ill where I talked about how I had a depression during my 7th to 9th grade year, banquets were one of the reasons. Well, I recently found out today that it wasn’t depression, but rather loneliness. Ah, what a lovely day for me to find out that my condition was actually worse than I suspected. I’m sorry Natasha, I don’t know if you can pull me out of this one. I thought I had gotten myself out of it, but it seems that I’ve fallen further than before.

It is quite hard to write this, and I am not joking when I say that I need a towel, or at least some tissues. Using my arms hurts my eyes after a while.

Well, I shouldn’t be all sappy anymore. I need to be ‘happy.’ I need to follow the rules. I shouldn’t be such a bother anymore. Because that’s what my family wants me to be.

Happy.