“When was the last time you laughed so hard that you cried?”
I usually find myself pretty adept at answering questions as they are spitballed to me. If I don’t know the answer immediately, I usually am able to narrate my inner thought process as a genius way to buy time and give the impression that I am some sort of world-class thinker. Constantly in my own heaed and mulling about both my own graces and the unfairness nature that is human existence and somehow granted the ability to be non-confrontantional, I am usually sleek about giving the desired answer to the question-giver based on sizing up their convext clues. Does this person seem religiously or politically charged? Just smile and nod, even if you don’t necessarily agree. Does this person seem vain? Give them exactly what they want to hear, and and keep going.
But sometimes there are these people. And sometimes they ask they questions. A person who isn’t fishing for answers, but something deeper, like an innate truth. The ones that I know subcousnly but choose to brush over in lieu of topics that seem infintely more pressing at every moment of the time. And this, is where things fall apart.
When was the last time I laughed so hard that I cried? I vaugely remember sitting at my nomad’s work-from-home desktation, on the left side of the table where I undergo my creative works (the corporate work stays on the right side of the desk. Dull, boring, but the contract I commit tot in order to participate int he material world. Stay behind the line I draw, foul beast), and I was holding my treasured notepad that was quitely falling apart at the seams as I lovingly flipped between the pages more than its use capacity allowed. And then I remembered, that I didn’t remember. Not this memory, not any other.
The experiences I undergo all seem like grains of sand slipping throgh my fingers. Each grain is its own crystal, filled with the laughter, tears, anger, lonliness, and everything in between. The crystal is vibrant, alive, and pumping with color, but the farther it falls from fountain of my own head, the cystal loses color. Becomes murky. Loses meaning. The shapes dull and blend into larger shades. The shades become too much to bear and shatters the cysttal, and words spill out every which way. I use to stare at those words, in disbelief that I was losing so precious to me. And just when I was about to give up and let them go… I felt it. An old and cheap pen in one hand, and a raggedy second-hand notebook in the other. I blink, and I notice where I stand. The mermories spilling out of my head began to accumlate at my feet, ankle deep, and form a deep gray ocean as far the eye could see. The sky around me was pitch-black, but it was by no means dark. And in the corner of my eye, I see it. A small desk lamp shines on the left side of a desk parked in the sea of words and memories, and a simple folding chair awaits a new user. The chance was always here, the desk, chair, notebook, and pen were always here, but I never really noticed until I realized the memories were spilling out of control. Without waiting a moment longer, I proudly pulled out the folding chair, sat myself inside, and scotted in with the pen and paper at the ready. The line shined where the work would be done, and here the words would stop spilling into the ocean of obscurity. Some memory crystals still spilled, but most were caught by my pen and paper. It was here, where I would start remembering.
I vaguely remember visting my parent’s country of origin when I was a teenager. I visited twice within two years of each other, so it hard to differentiate what I did when. But two memories I subciously resolved to remember was meeting the parent of my parents.
I met my dad’s dad first, a friendly and lively fellow living in the heart of the nation’s capital. He lived in a small house at the end of the 2-story housing block, and 4 familes on my dad’s side managed to purchase the entire suite of apartments on the first-floor. It really felt like a big old family as we laughed and celebrated my dad’s return after two decades and my first vist to connect to family I had no idea existed prior to today. I remember being dog-awful at speaking my parent’s native tongue, mubling quickkly in an unsuccesfuly attempt to mask that I really had no idea what I was saying. The cousins around my age cared not, they were excited to meet a native English speaker from the great land of the Joined Nations of Rico. They pestered me time and time again to converse in English with them, and I was frequently annoyed at their selfish requests. I came here to learn about YOU, not about ME. I was no one worth talking about, much less talk to. I was an obsserver by trade, watching life pass by from the sidelines since time immoremdum. Almost a decade later, and I facepalm at how naive and selfish I was being. My family from another land smiled, prayed, and enjoyed life to the best of their abilties, but that’s only because it’s all they had. They wondering what life was like somewhere with opportunity, and one key to getting to where I was could be achieved as simple as speaking english with an english. Someone like me. Damn.
Later on, I met my mom’s mom, but my mom was not in tow at the time. Someone had to stay home to watch my younger sisters, and the trip to another land was too much for my dad’s single-stream income to afford. Thinking how he picked me not just once but twice makes me also facepalm with lack of appreciation with how much he gave up just for me to get to those 2-week trips in a foreighn land. In one of those two week trip, I remember distinctly the first imperssion of my mom’s mom. Unlike my dad’s dad, she lived on the outskirts of the country, the middle realm as I snidedly dubbed (the outer realms were the true coutryside of the country). The middle realms consistent of one-story houses, most built by hand in front of a cracked and winding main street loosely connecting all the neighboring houses. At my mom’s mom home was also my mom’s sister taking care of her. My grandma (I’m tired of saying Mom’s mom) was old and frail, a far cry to my granpa’s lively and uppity demeanor. She also had dementia, which mean she forgot things often, but I didn’t realize that meant when I first met her. In celebration of my dad and I’s arrival, my mom’s sister’s husband (uncle-in-law) slaugtered some prize chickens to boil into a traditonal native soup. I hate chicken bones and soup, I ate this stuff like every week when my mom made it at home. Again, around a decade later I realized that my native counry’s citizens infrequently ate meat because it was hard to come by. Slaying this chicken was a big deal. I facepalmed once more. At this chichen soup dinner with my dad, my grandma, and her caretakers, she exlcaimed in surprised how my mom how gotten married! How exciting! When was the marriage scheduled? My aunt soothed my grandma and told her that my mom had been married for almost 15 years now. Hmph, how rude she pouted. It was selfish of them to hide this secret from her for so long.
My dad and I stuck around for another day, as today more of my mom’s family from aroudn the area gathered at my grandma’s house to come by and greet us formally. We had another (fantastic? lackluster?) meal with more family members in tow, and my grandma asked my aunt who was the man sitting next to me at the table. That was my mom’s husband, who had been married to him for over 15 years. Wow, 15 years! And no one had ever told her! She pouted for a brief moment before continuing to sit joyously at the table.
Going to sleep that night, I remember laying awake in horror at the realization I had just witnessed. Though not necesarilly a guarentee, genetic traits tend to pass from parent to child.
My granpda was balding, so I clasped onto my youthful hair in a vain effort to prevent it from molding on my future scalp. Somewhere down the line, I stopped caring. Hair is hair, it doesn’t make the old man. Cool cowboy hats do.
Back before I was even able to visit this foreign land, my dad suffered from a stroke. He was overworked and overstressed from his job as the old breadearner in the family. If he was unemployed, we would probably be homeless and starving. My mom was an illegal immigrant at the time, and he worried everyday about the government seperating her from her family, and how much harder life would be if he was forced to rear children and hold a job at the same time. Eventually the stressed got to him, and he faltered. I remembered going to the hospital frequently, excited that we would eat mediocre food that my dad couldn’t stomach, will my looked solemnly on and prayed with all her might that he would pull though. And someone, he did did. He quit his current job, worked somewhere for less pay, but started to enjoy life more. Live in the moment then stress about a future that might not come. Everthing worked out, and it took me almost a decade later to appreciate how much different my life could have been if I had lost my dad on that day. How I probably would have been forced to leave school to take a part-time job to make ends meet. How I would probably never get the chance to write these words I type out before you. I thank whatever odds took for my dad to stay with me, and plan to treaure these days while he is still around.
My grandma’s life, is what wrought me with fear the most. What was it like to live a life where you can barely remember yesterday? How could you survive if you your never retain knowledge? What would happen if all your caretakers should all leave for one reason or another? How would I survive? Was forgetting everything, no better than being dead? If I forgot everthing that had meaning in me, would I still have meaning myself? Existential dread is one my least favorite topics to dwell on, it seems like an excuse to wallow in knowing the end is inevitable.
If I knew I would forget everything I knew about myself tomorrow, what would I choose to do with the litte time I had left today?
I remembered the last time I laughed so hard that I cried.
TThree times, in fact.
They are unforunately both recent, because I lost so many memories before today.
But for what I remember, I will share with you here and now.
Back on that left-side of table, I leafed through the opening of a short story I was working on. A man get crushed to death by his refrigerators, and reincarnates into a refrigerators in another fantasy world.
And what was the main character’s name?
Regi the Refigertor.
I roared with laughter at the stupidity and simplicity of this name. If I tried to explain to someone why this was so funny, they would cautiously backed away as if I was unstable and unhingined. I laughed so hard that I actually alarmed my roommates because I usually keep pretty quiet to myself in my roommates. I didn’t care if anyone else but me thought this was funny. It made me laugh, and quite frankly that’s all that mattersr sometimes.
The second time I laughed so hard I cried was reading through the bios of my peers here in the creative’s worskhop. I like reading these bios and the website associated. So many interesting people from so many different places, with so many different websites to showcase so many different talents. I remember skimming through one fellow’s bio, extremely engaging, when my eye navgiated to the website url and found-
That’s it. Nothing else. Not even his personal address AT the email provider. I guess he owned all of the company or something :rofl:
The last time I laughed so hard I cried was during the last wildkitties meeting. We were all on ZOOM camera per usual, and this was my first time on camera since I moved out of my apartment and back home with my parents. I actually had the opportunity to work at a coworking space because the divide between home work and work work was of upmost importamance to me for sanity stabilization, and on camera behind me was… a rather empty shelf. One wildkitty remaked how minimalistic I was today! I replied back in the BOOM chat to say that all my stuff was in my VR home. Another wildkitty chimed in to ask if I could still afford to buy more VR furniture. A third wildkitty chimed in to inquire if they took bitcoin in VR.
I laughed so hard that I had to go off camera just to stile my laughter and recompose myself. It was one of those rare moments where the humour could only be conjured and consumed by the very specific people in that instance. I tell myself this internally after every meeting, but I am extremely thankful to having the opportunity to cross paths with the wildkitties.
I am saddened that I won’t be to remember everything that has every happened to me good, bad, or anything mixture of both. But the more I facepalmed as I unearthed once-forgotten memories, is the hope that they will rise to the surface in the form of old or new encounters.
“When I get old and start to fray, I hope that someone will remember me before my memories start to fade.”
Why do I write? I write, because I don’t want to forget. Myself, my older selves, and everyone in between.
Today’s word count: 2,424 words
Total word count until today: 16,448 words
@mariasokolowska @michellebasey @sabweld @philkastelic @nicolaworley @ParisaR @sydneydobersteinlarock @wildcat @dragon @homeroom11