Howls of the Wind II
It truly is suffocating.
The door slammed shut as the girl decided she had been held captive in her own toxic house for too long. It was time to be freed. She didn’t know why, but her feet took off to someplace inviting: the park.
The girl listened to the last person’s footsteps fade behind her second after second. When she heard nothing but the wind, she closed her eyes and inhaled deeply, enjoying the relaxing sensation. The howls of the wind were the only sounds of nature she heard. There was none of that barking business from the dogs running across the plain field of grass, nor was there the sound of bottles clashing with water. There was nothing to disrupt the peace.
The girl opened her eyes once again, her electrifying blue eyes reflecting the glistening river. All around her were tall and leafless trees, the patches of grass that seemed to be dancing with the wind, and a big river traveling under the bridge the girl stood on.
She had her bony hands wrapped tightly around short metal horizontal bars: the border that separated her from the river. The breath she had held in for so long escaped her lips, shown by the colorless cloud forming before her eyes. Her gaze dilated to the moon, the breathtaking moon. She let the beauty sink in before she shifted more weight onto her hands as she lifted her legs above the bars. The cold night wind rushed against the girl’s face. She settled down on top of the bars, looking at the view below her swaying feet. A heavy-hearted smile appeared on her lips. Below her was garbage floating along the beautiful river.
She felt her left foot come to contact with something light. A small candy wrapper that matched the color of the girl’s eyes came into view as it flew down in air beneath the girl’s feet. The girl shook her head disapprovingly, but she knew it would camouflage with the water anyway. She watched the wrapper sink into the river, moving along with all the other trash. The wind tugged the girl's skin even harsher as if it was pleading for help.
And that is the story that Mother told me. She would always tell me stories, and all of them were fairy tales--all but this one. Ten years ago, when I was only in first grade, Mother told me this story, which was quite different from a fairy tale. At the time, I didn’t understand why she was narrating something sad to me all of a sudden. I would have never guessed that this story embodied her last advice to me, nor would I have guessed that it was about her.
Mother once told me that if I wanted to go, I could go. Mother told me that if I wanted to be free, I could. All I had to do was spread my wings and never turn back. I haven’t that yet, and as I haven’t, I have encountered the beauty the world had to offer. I also discovered many unsettling episodes.
After a long process of filing papers, making calls here and there, I was lucky enough to move to America and live with my aunt here. I loved it here. I loved the ice cream trucks that spun around the neighborhood. I loved going to the nearby public pool and meeting new people; I loved it all. There was just one thing missing: Mother.
I never really realized how lousy it was not to have a mother around until I was in second grade. Sure, my aunt was fun and all, but she was never like a mother to me and would never be a mother who would listen to my sorrows, one who would attack me with her love and her kisses. My aunt always asked me how my day was. I would answer, “It was fun.” She would give me piggyback rides, offer to take me to dance class, tickle me, but that was the extent of her role. She was an aunt, someone whom she would never try to take over the role of Mother.
The first time I felt alone was when my school held a PTC (Parent Teacher Conference). When my aunt and I entered Ms. Carter classroom, my teacher greeted my aunt with much energy.
“Mrs. Park, it’s so nice to meet you. I’m Ms. Carter, Jackie’s second-grade homeroom teacher.”
Ms. Carter reached out to shake my aunt’s hand, and my aunt couldn’t help but reciprocate the same energy.
She smiled as big as she could (a sign that she liked Ms. Carter already) and said, “Well I’m glad to be here, Ms. Carter. I’m Jackie’s aunt, and I’m glad that I can finally meet her homeroom teacher.”
The problem arose when our meeting was over, and another kid came in with his parents.
“Hello, Ms. Carter. It’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m Walter, this is my wife, Sidney, and we’re Jacob’s parents.”
When I first heard that, I felt a surge of jealousy. I was also disheartened because I knew that I could never have that. I could never have my parents, my biological parents whom I loved so much, go to one of these conferences anymore. I couldn’t tell my teachers that my aunt was Mother, nor could my aunt, and that pained me. I hated not having Mother beside me whenever I saw that everyone else was holding their mother’s hands. It was something that I never got accustomed to.
It was a tough ride without Mother. Sometimes, when I think of Mother and am grief-stricken, I beat myself up for being so weak. For so long, I have harbored my feelings, putting up a front whenever my aunt asks me how my day was. I always answer that I’m fine when I’m not. My friends around me have their parents to look up to as their role models. I look up at the expansive sky. As I look up, I sometimes wonder if Mother’s watching me. I ask the sky if Mother’s there and if she’s sad when I cry. Occasionally, I let out a dejected sigh. I let out a cry every now and then, but I do it alone. I’ve learned how to keep myself from tearing up when my aunt’s around and I have no friends I trust to listen to my story.
Right now, I’m outside at the park, watching these parents chase their kids around. It’s been ten years, but I still feel lonely. I’m tired of this lonesome feeling when I have a supportive aunt. I want to close my eyes and have the wind carry my old thoughts away.
I want to rest from this cycle.
I want to be free from this suffocating loop.
But it’s been ten years, and my cries have been drowned by the howls of the wind. I’m betting I’ll never be free.