So I just felt like blabbering about my life and how words in all kinds of forms have shaped it so much. Maybe it’s not so much about “how” but I think you’ll see when you read it since it’s become part of who I am.

The child within screams,
“Tell me a story! Any story!”
But I had to settle with bad dreams
for I wasn’t fortunate to have bedtime tales.

I’ve always loved stories. Any kind of stories. Fairy tales, fables, myths, name it! I admit, I’m not a fan of horror stories, but in my defence, it’s because of my vivid imagination. But I’ll save that for later.

I’m an early reader. My mom used to work at a small bank that had a magazine stand in front of it. Dad used to pick her up from work when we only had one car, and I loved to tag along because then there’s a good chance she’ll buy me a magazine. My favourite, as many kids’ are, was Bobo—a blue, green-haired rabbit. I barely remember a thing about it now, but that’s my starting point to where I am now.

You see, I used to have nightmares almost every night. I remember them even now. They’re always the same. I wake up in my bed and see some kind of scary creature beside my bed—vampires, skeletons, monsters, kuntilanak, pocong, name it. (If you don’t know about the last two feel free to Google them since I don’t want to discuss the two. Ugh.) Then I wake up for real.

Anyway, these nightmares kept happening to the point where they bore me. I remember one time I actually sighed because I was already fed up, then I looked to my right and saw a dancing skeleton. I guess that explains my lack of fear towards it now, huh? Well, there’s a silver lining for you.

But these nightmares gave me vivid imagination. Sure, they’re scary—even now I can imagine freaky stuff with my eyes wide open—but in time they helped foster my love for stories. It’s freaky, but true. To tell the truth, I’m fine with watching horror movies most of the time. It’s when night comes I get anxious. You see, I’ve been sucked into movies in my dreams. It’s happened dozens of times. But who’d want to be in a horror movie? They never turn out to suck in my dreams; always manage to keep me awake at night. So, yeah, that’s it for how I got my imagination.

So, back to my early childhood—reading kid magazines. I’m a curious person. Was then, still now. I wanted to know what the characters were saying, the explanations to the pictures and illustrations. I often asked my nanny and parents to read them for me. They did, but were soon fed up with me. I kept asking questions, I kept asking them to read more. They said they were busy and tired. So I learnt how to read it myself. I only asked for words I didn’t understand.

(But my parents are great with that. No matter how mad they are at me, even when they’re cursing at me, I can always ask them about any kind of word I don’t get, and they’ll answer me. It’s kind of cool, really.)

Here’s something I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone: I was shit lonely. I didn’t go outside and play with other kids for some reason; it’s too long ago and I was too young to remember. All I had were my fairy tales. My parents spent time with me, sure. But they never read me any bedtime stories. I wanted them really bad. The closest thing to a bedtime story I got was my grandma’s stories.

My grandma lives out of town, but when she comes to visit, we’d sit together on the terrace of my old house and she’d tell me all kinds of adventures about Hengky, my neighbour’s pet monkey. I don’t know where the hell they got him from, but he’s there. He’s a cheeky one alright, so they keep him on a leash that’s long enough so he could move around, but short enough so he won’t jump into the houses to the left or right and steal stuff.

Oh, damn. This is depressing for me, you know? The trip down memory lane. It’s just… it’s the reason why I spent so much time with my grandma. It’s the same thing with my sister. We both loved stories as kids. Only, she grew out of it, while my love for them only grew. Hengky’s probably long dead now, but I still recall his stories and how my grandma makes funny sound effects just to make me laugh. When she’s around and I get scolded, she’d make the stories extra happy just so I’d smile again. Ah, I miss those days.

Well, that’s it for now. ‘Til next time, folks.

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