Just thought it was a really cool street sign.
There’s a reason why I stray away from the idea of “best friends”, and would much rather refer to my good friends as the “close ones”. In my years as an elementary kid, I was everything but shy and reserved; I was constantly the one cracking jokes and laughing until snot came shooting out my nose. So, as you can see, it wasn’t so hard for me to develop a group of friends or the “neighborhood gang” to be exact. And through these friends and one crazy summer, I discovered Kelly and Jessica. Two people who would eventually become the “best friends” of my sister and I.
Growing up in a community with gates and all, it wasn’t too hard to convince my grandparents to let my sister and I out. And in the summer, during the hours before the sun dipped, we spent our time playing hide and seek in the little park that was our “territory”. Day after day, you could hear voices after voices of kids shrieking or screaming in sheer happiness as we tagged each other, trying to unfreeze another, or running to the safety zones. When we all got bored of that, and the sun was boring down our backs, we would fill water bottles from home and turn the our typical slide into a water slide. And when we’ve exhausted our imagination and needed a dose of energy, everyone would bring a little treasure from home and trade it in. By the end of each day, it was pretty fulfilling to know that all of us in a way had a little piece of each other.
During the heat of the summer, when the sun was unbearable and that all drove us indoors. My sister and I became especially close with Jessica and Kelly. As their mom was nice and all, we were constantly invited over to enjoy homemade popsicles and whatever her idle hands would make. At this
point, I considered Kelly more than just friend, she was my “best friend” and I was hers. But despite the sweetness of the popsicles coating my tongue, the aftertaste of bitterness lingered- but I didn’t know why.
Just as Kelly and I developed our friendship, so did Jessica and my sister. They had become so close that whatever we had was theirs and vice versa. But one day, a book that my sister had borrowed and lost soon triggered feelings of jealousy and despise between the two of them. I, being too young to understand, sided with my sister while Kelly with hers. Soon, what might have been a little misunderstanding blew up into gossip among the kids in the neighborhood. And of course, my sister and I were at the center of it.
After maybe a week of being tossed around as the “bad” kids and being shunned from the group, my sister and I threw in a backhanded move by visiting the sisters’ mom. There we went, taletelling on the sisters for “bullying” us with mean words and adding in details from previous mischief for emphasis. And oh boy did Jessica and Kelly get in trouble because the next few days, you can bet that they were grounded inside. Just as my sister and I were celebrating the fruits of our success, Jessica and Kelly came out. We’ve celebrated too soon.
As they threw in their fury with words that hurt the ears, my sister became heated and I too could feel my blood boiling. Although we’ve been taught that “stick and stones can break our bones, but words can’t hurt us”, the things we heard was enough to set my sister off who(I am extremely proud of to this day) threw in the first punch. I threw in a few cat scratches myself and pretty soon, their cousins had to come in and fight us because they were crying since we were too strong. Anyways, as soon as my sister and I realized we were no match for their guy cousins, we booked it back home and slammed the door. Baaaaad idea. Really bad idea. The next day as we were welcomed back into the group, Jessica and Kelly retaliated by making a surprise visit to our home and telling my grandparents about what we did. As soon as we got home, we were greeted by some broom whacks to the gluteus maximus, lots of yelling, and a good hour or more of us kneeling faced to the walls.
From that day on, our “best friends” were barely seen in the neighborhood. Although I continued to hang out with the neighborhood kids, my sister along with Jessica stopped. I guess as the older kids, they had probably gotten tired of the same games everyday. As the summer came to an end and the cold weather along with school drove the kids indoors, I guess I too grew out of our silly games. And as one by one, the kids in our group moved away, we all decided to disband without even a proper goodbye. Although I still see Jessica and Kelly every now and then, I think we’ve all forgotten or gotten over the incident that happened one summer so very long ago.
One day, when my teacher randomly announced that the day was National Writing Day, he told us to jot down a few reasons why we wrote in a creative way. I wasn’t too stoked about the assignment, yet as my pen started moving, the letters spilled out and all of a sudden, I didn’t have enough room to express my reasons. As I dug into the back of memory, I came to the realization that I wrote not only to express the emotions that I usually bottle up, but let the stress and pain that it causes me to hold it in. When I was younger, I remembered having pretty bad temper tantrums, but that phase somehow faded away. Somehow, through reading and writing, I had learned to love journaling. So even if the day was boring, I forced my myself to develop a habit of writing before I slept. Soon or later, this habit became a hobby that I learned to love and enjoy.
On a friend’s birthday trip, we all decided to visit Newport Beach and found this sushi restaurant on the way. At first, we were hesitant to enter just because the atmosphere felt almost too bougie and we were just a couple of kids. Nevertheless, we entered and were greeted by the sweetest hostess. She immediately tried to accommodate to our large number and had us seated right away. I guess the highlight of the night was honestly the beautiful interior of the restaurant. The walls were mirrored and everywhere were signs of Japanese culture. I particularly noticed that the workers were dressed in garments that I later discovered were were a combination of happis with the designs of a kimono. Overall, the combination of the two types of clothing made quite a beautiful combination that I would truly love to come back for the food and also see.
Among the many paintings that I see everyday, one of the most often is that of this Japanese flag called the Rising Sun. Before, I’m used to seeing this design in the back of my chemistry class and even at work, where the painting of it was no more than a well laid out white and red design. One day as I was gazing off into space, I questioned what it was and why was it such a big painting at my workplace. To my own amazement, I searched it up and realized that it was a war flag. Not only did it represent some of the many horrendous ideals of war such as sex slaves and having people chopped up for science experiments, but it was also a symbol of the peoples’ desire to separate themselves from Japan’s colonial and aggressive past. Although the flag is being seen more often in public, the people who are waving them around are ignorant to its history of war, tears, and bloodshed.
I’m not sure when I fell in love with the art of make up, but all my life, I’ve been surrounded by women who have inspired me to experiment with it. When I was younger, I remember watching my mom apply it every day before work and seeing how beautiful she was wearing it. And even before my mom, my grandma was a beautician who taught at a local college. Through her, I was able to collect the tools and palettes needed to start my own little collection.
Ever since I’ve worked at this Japanese restaurant, I’ve been more interested in Japanese culture more so than I’ve ever been in my life. I guess when my eyes landed on this piece of bun holding together equipment, I couldn’t say no since it does come handle when I have to wear my hair in a bun at work.