Best Friend

DEC 1, 2017

Christelle called me her best friend today.

She was talking to Adi and mentioned me as her best friend. This. Honestly I have nothing else to say. This is it, the highlight of this week. I feel like I’ve seen snow fall for the first time. I am someone’s best friend. Christelle considers me as her best friend.

I’ve always said to Gabe (boi who ships us so damn much) that Christelle might not think of me as such because she has other friends. I’ve always said that she probably isn’t obsessed with me as I am with her. And while that one is probably true, our thoughts about what we were to each other don’t seem far of from what I thought.

All week, after being with her at the park, for some reason I had turned into this person who feels so lovesick without her. I had this strong desire to see her every day or at least have some attention from her. But since I don’t ever know when she is online, I rely on posting on IG for her to notice me. If she liked my photo, I’d feel so happy. If she talks to me on whatsapp, coming from a person who’s never online, It makes me so happy.

But anyway, this Wednesday, I became really excited to see her. And by excited I mean I really had butterflies in my stomach. I just couldn’t wait to see her for no particular reason. If I had to give a reason, then it’d be her smile, her laugh, her dorky expressions, her stuttering breakdowns–I was going to see and hear them again.

Maybe it was because instead of riding taxi as I usually did to practice, I waited at a bus stop for Christelle (along with her mom) to pick me up. I rode with them to church that Wednesday for the first time as her mother had suggested a week ago. Even though we all didn’t really converse much, the atmosphere in the car was chill. They truly felt like family and they kinda treated me as if I was theirs as well. Ahh, starting the afternoon with her was nice.

During practice, whenever everyone started talking and getting sidetracked from the practice, I would stare at her to help me get everyone’s focus back together. Without me even asking her to tell me, just by eye contact, she knew what I was thinking. Then after practice, she got really really excited when I played her favorite Young The Giant songs that she always says I should learn. It’s like a moment only for the two of us since nobody knew those songs. I guess that’s a big reason why she really loves me now, because I learned so much of her favorite songs just for her.

I also have such a good memory. Like I still remember how she didn’t celebrate National Day with her family at Ronali’s house last year because she was supposed to study, and it’s the same situation this year. She couldn’t even remember that, but I did, and she was so impressed. She seems to like how much I know or remember so much about her–how much I know her. It’s probably another big reason why she loves me.

Tbh it’s probably because I spoil her too much XD Or maybe it’s cuz I’m so chill that she finds the calm that she needs me since she freaking out most of the time haha

Recently I have been trying to hug her more and be affectionate with her more because I can’t take restraining myself anymore. I know it sounds weird if I say it that way, but really, it shouldn’t be. I’m just a naturally affectionate and clingy person and she kind of isn’t, that’s why I used to stop myself when it came to her. And honestly, having such a distant image from everyone now, I haven’t been as upfront with it as I could be. But now, with her, I try to go for it when I can. Do you know how happy I was being able to hold her hand for such a long time today? We played the pulse game in Wildfire today and I was able to intertwine my hands with her, and for once she didn’t have a sweaty hand xD. I’ve always wanted to hold her hand, hug her arm, lean on her, or any of those intimate shenanigans for no particular reason, so I guess that was somewhat doable. But anyway, after the sermon ended, I was able to hug her by her waist while I was sitting and she was standing, and it was in such a weird position but she went for it anyway. It was so unnatural but intimate that I liked it.

I feel like it only started to show now how much she considered me as her best friend. When Jessica was gathering people in a straight line for the pulse game so that everyone could be grouped into two, I was one of the last people to get in line. She was already in line when she called me so excitedly, and she told me to go in front of the guy in front of her so that we could be grouped together. I don’t know if she was ever like this towards me before today but I just started to notice now and haha… I guess we are best friends after all. Cuz I mean I thought she would want to do that with Alicia too, but no, she only told me to do that.

Hm. I still remember the last time this kind of thing happened,

“….I felt absolutely hurt by the way my friends were acting (I guess that’s why I wasn’t the most cheery going home). In the morning, it was all good, but after rehearsals and everything, I started getting the feeling that I was slowly going back to the lonely person that I am. Sure, I have friends, and I can joke around with them every now and then, but it seems I can never have one person for myself, one person who I can share anything with, who would always choose to stick by my side. When Chris said that we were going to be divided in groups of two, my two most beloved friends told me to sit between them so that they can be paired in the same team. They probably meant no harm with that, but I was just offended.

Little things like that depress me. I want to be with them as much as they want to be with each other but I guess I’m never anyone’s best friend. I just have no idea what I’m doing wrong. Is there a problem with me? Am I not trying hard enough? Am I not giving them enough attention? I would like to think that they do care about me, but what is that at this point when neither of them has ever read the story I wanted them to read so badly? And they go to me just to jam songs, like I’m nothing beyond my talents. I want to know them and I want them to know me, but I guess this is my fate in high school after all… I’m never anyone’s best friend.”

This was just back in March 2017 and it was about Christelle and Jessica. This really hurt me a lot then. But now. Hah. Did God just… wow. Man, He knows me too well. Seriously, those thoughts feel like a thing that occurred so long ago even though it only happened this year. How greatly things have changed.

If I told myself in the early months of 2017 the things that are happening now, she probably wouldn’t believe me.

And just to refresh my mind about God answering prayers, here’s a bit that I wrote somewhere in 2015:

“…Of course, if someone actually made the effort to try to get to know me or get closer to me, I’d be good to them and open up to them because I don’t want them to feel the same way I have been feeling for the past few years—ignored and treated as nothing special. But has anyone really listened to me and took the time to be friends with me? Hah, no… I want a friend of my own—a friend that I could call mine and a friend who would call me hers/his… I want to have a friend of my own.”

When I read this, I laughed and soon enough I had tears pulsing out of me. Has anyone listened to me and took time to be friends with me? Yes. Do I have a friend of my own? Yes. And I have more than one, which is crazy. But do I have a friend that I could call mine and that calls me hers? Well, I do now.

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Fond

Seohyun by YoMiatotToday, mom showed me the new website they’ve been working on for the past month. I haven’t really been that interested when they said they wanted me to help, but I see now how much help they need. First of all, the website looked terrible. It’s like an ad that I’d immediately want to close. Fonts were bad. Layouts were plain and boring. Titles were dull. And there were grammar defects here and there. Being an OC in making pleasing websites, it was pretty easy to point out what their business page was lacking. Mom wanted me help and I’d be fired up to do so because it just bothers me that it looked too much like an ad.

But anyway, other than the fact that I was pointing out their mistakes and not doing my actual school work, today was a great day.

The first thing great about it is that the morning I woke up, I had a message from Alicia asking me if I was going to come to the band. And she said “pls come :)” mind u she sent this text at 6am. Since there is gonna be a church out picnic thing, Wildfire was cancelled so our initial plan to lead the band was cancelled as well. But Jordan wanted us band members to just jam for this Wednesday. Now, I was never close to Alicia at any point before we started practicing for Open Mic. I only met her once before it, and that was when I found that she was the girl that was joining the spam in the wildfire chat group. It was even just this week that we actually messaged each other on whatsapp, especially cuz Christelle told us to lead band and plan stuff together. But anyway, that text she sent at 6am just made me feel so loved for some reason. “Are you coming for practice today? Pls come :)”  It seems she’s gotten quite fond of me. And for a person who likes emojis, she used a type text emoji, something that seems out of the blue for her. Or maybe I’m just thinking way too much into this. My main point is, her text made me look forward to jamming with her. It brightened my day and I only just woke up.

Around the afternoon, I got a text from Gabe and I was so happy to chat with him again. He has not had wifi for a few days so my nights were pretty silent. But seriously, I never thought I’d feel like my day wasn’t complete without his rush of thoughts. I got so used to talking to him everyday that when he was suddenly gone for a few days, I felt like I had to talk to someone, anyone (hence me actually joining Wildfire chat spam and also chatting up Alicia). But really, no one can beat him with his stream of ideas.

As soon as we started talking, he told me about this story idea that he had, like a fanfiction about him. It’s about a successful single business man who decides to adopt a girl. When the girl is at her teens, they argue about something big that the girl leaves the house and the dad goes looking for her, but he gets into an accident. It’s somewhere along the lines of that story and I was helping him shape it into a better and more detailed story. He said he doesn’t want to write it though and said that I can write it and make it my story if I want. Since I really like the idea and the plot, I will try to take some time to think and write about that. It’s funny though because since the guy was based off in him, I wondered what it’d be like if I put in myself, Christelle, Edwin, and others on the story. I even thought of Christelle as being a dead wife or gf of his from his past to make it all the more tragic xD.

But anyway, while we were discussing his views on what the guy’s reasons for adopting were, we kind of ended up on the topic of marriage. He’s always saying that he will stay single forever. And yeah I guess that is good if he really dedicates himself to God, but I doubt that he would not find someone to marry because he has such a history of falling in love lol. So i was just trying not to let him have bad views on marriage and was helping shape him into a man of God even though he still has such a long way since he’s so naive. I even sent him this manhood sermon my mom sent me a week ago. Idk if he listened to it but anyway, God will deal with him and his views relationships XD.

Since we were just jamming today, I brought my acoustic guitar. I didn’t feel like playing bass (for once in my life lol) and just wanted to jam and sing songs with everyone else. When I entered the room, Alicia and Christelle greeted me. It felt unreal that I got not one, but two girls, warmly excited to see me. I have two girl best friends now. This must be a dream, right? It was already unbelievable to me that God somehow keeps Christelle and I so close together. Now I have another friend I’m starting to care seriously about who admires me back? If I told myself 3years ago, or heck, just last year, that I was gonna have friends who I will love that will actually love me back the same way, I wouldn’t even believe myself. God is good.

Hahah, anyway, when were just taking out our instruments, Christelle decided to borrow Alicia’s guitar. She was so cute being so excited to play the guitar. I taught her how to play How He Loves cuz it only had 4 chords and she already got it down really well. Her strumming, although kinda uncoordinated, is very powerful already and if she practiced more, she’d be the next Ethan of this band xD.

Anyway we sang songs so loosely and I just loved it. I was so happy every moment of it. We even sang Vapor but with a full band and mashed it up with With Everything like the time Christelle and I lead before. And even though I got a lil off singing on some parts, I didn’t care. I was just so happy and I felt so free. Ive felt so lethargic all week at home that I suddenly had such a rush by being around people. And maybe it’s because we had a perfect set of members that I was so carefree. Sebastian, Alben, Gabe, John A, the Alicia, and Christelle were like my ideal peole for the band this year. It’s kinda disappointing that there wouldn’t be Wildfire this week but oh well, having fun with them was great. And we were all so close and made jokes with each other. We were really like a family. It was awesome to be around them and I am so thankful that they are in my life. And I am so overwhelmed that we are able to gather and play music well for God and sing our hearts out. It was an exhilarating jamming session (at least for me).

When Christelle and I were finally going home with Gabe via taxi, she asked how I come to church on Wednesdays. I said that I ride taxi. She then said that we should ride together every Wednesday. Apparently her mom suggested that so I wouldn’t have to spend 22dhs every Wednesday. And Christelle loves the idea as much as I do cuz we get to go together. Gosh, I swear, her mom is so thoughtful. And it’s like she never misses an opportunity to get me and Christelle to be together. She’s like the mvp or president of our ship. She makes things happen for us XD. I somehow feel the pressure of being a better friend to her now since her mom always seems to be watching over us.

Anyway, after that, she asked me if I know how much taxi rides we’ve ridden together. I never really counted because it happened so often so i said i didn’t know. Still, it blew her mind how we’ve come such a long way mostly with taxi rides. She then asked me how it started and I said that I remembered that she asked to ride with me and my dad and that was the first night we ever even had a conversation with just the two of us. She remembered that as well and even remembered that I was playing an Ed Sheeran album on the car. I didn’t even recall that but yes, that was the time my dad bought an Ed Sheeran CD. So it seems she remembers it as clear–if not–clearer, than I do. And after that, since Gabe was there listening to everything, we told him that I knew her ever since she was 7 but never really got around to know her till she joined the band. We laughed about how we never really knew each other because of the age gap we had when we were young. We even included Jess, Prasanna, and Keziah in the mix and how I saw most of them as babies. Oh Awana days… It was so fun to know that Christelle and I were at each other’s midst for so long not really knowing each other but now we’re basically best friends.

But then again she says, “but soon you’re gonna leave me”

I think I said something a long the lines of “No, dont say that, c’mon” with a slightly annoyed tone even though in my heart I said it in such a painful plea. In my head I was just like screaming/singing 그런 말은 하지 마 제발… 그 말이 더 아픈 거 알잖아 ㅠㅠㅠ

Image result for iu producer sad gifAnd so she laughs and I laugh trying to brush it all off. Then Christelle says to Gabe that this is how it is–how we never speak of that goodbye until it is the right time. My emo brain just looked at her and thought, “Well then why do you keep bringing it up,” and shaking my head. I guess she cant help it. I cant stop thinking about it too so I cant blame her. But anyway, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to that bit of silence after that conversation ends. That small second of utter torture knowing our time together was so limited wont ever stop and it will only get worse as time passes. But I think that has made us acquire a skill of quickly changing topics now. Even I find the most random things to say and make it interesting just so that those silent moments of torture wouldn’t engulf us.

But even with that, we had this conversation where I was saying how I try to spend as much time with friends on Fridays. I said that it’s because friends are like my medicine and I have to take that for my kinda antisocial lifestyle. After I said that, she was relieved that I said that because she thought I was gonna say it is because my time is limited here. Yes that is partly true, but I didn’t bring it up because we just talked about not bringing it up like a few minutes ago. She seems to have a hard time getting it out of her head or at least keeping it in every time it’s just us in the taxi. It kinda makes me dread the day of parting even more…

High Ho’s

At the day of Open Mic, I took a taxi to Christelle’s house because my mom didn’t want me to walk in my denim outfit that afternoon. I arrived at exactly 4:30 as planned, and when Christelle opened the door to her house, she was still doing her hair. She wore a denim polo and black overall as planned. I watched her fix herself up and it was very interesting to see her do her spacebuns. Then she put on some makeup and asked my opinion about her bawse lipstick. I, having zero care in makeup, said a very indifferent answer. She didn’t look bad, in fact, she looked pretty. Or maybe it’s because she looked pretty in anything to me. So I just shrugged saying she looked fine. Apparently comments like that are never enough to women. It’s hilarious how displeased she was with how I didn’t have a clear comment and opinion. She swore to herself she would never ask me about makeup ever again. In the end she ended up taking her lipstick off because of how bright red it was.

As we were about to go, her mom scolded her to bring a jacket since it was going to be cold in the domes, but she didn’t obey because she already had a pretty nice outfit. She also got scolded for taking so long in putting on her shoes. She always get scolded for so many little things and I get dragged in as her role model almost every time—like I’m some favored older child. Every time that happens I just laugh. They have really adopted me as her older sister, huh?

We then went to pick up Jessica and Alicia. We stopped by the bus stop near Jessica’s building, which was the Andoks building in Airport road. When they got in the car, I scanned Alicia immediately and asked her about the guitar. She didn’t have it with her! Because of that, Jessica had to go up her house again to get Alicia’s guitar. If I didn’t remember it, we wouldn’t have played our gig and it would’ve been chaos.

As soon as we entered the Domes, I immediately felt the chill of the room. It was really cold in there and Christelle started to regret not bringing her jacket with her. Even Alicia who wore a sweater wished she wore something warmer. But that’s not the only thing I noticed about the Dome. I remember it being bigger for some odd reason when we held illuminate there so the small set up took me aback a little. I expected Open Mic to have as much people as the illuminate before, but nope. We were going to perform to a much smaller audience and I was kind of relieved.

We were approached by this girl in an orange hoodie named Zoe who had a camera with her. She was taking videos and photos of everyone that was performing. She was very flirty and somewhat talks like a valley girl. She was very funny and friendly to us. She made us introduce ourselves in front of the camera. She also told us to go outside of the dome and practice so that she can take great shots of us. So we came out and tried practicing one last time. Doing this helped the three of us lose some of the tension that was building up. Because of that practice, we were getting pretty confident to do our thing. But seriously, I wonder where that clip of us went. I haven’t seen it anywhere yet. Maybe I should be friends with Zoe somewhere?

After practicing, we waited for the event to start. During that time, Christelle started to get super nervous. Alicia started to get nervous as well but it doesn’t really show much. I wasn’t nervous as long as I had Aly’s guitar with me. But man, you could obviously see that Christelle was having an internal breakdown. She conversed normally with everyone but when she started sitting down with me, she would just stare into nothingness with a very serious expression. I tried to assure her that it was gonna be fine and that helps quite a bit but she was just frozen, or maybe it was the cold.

When the band of the church from Al Ain finished rehearsing and all of the performers finally arrived, the audience was forced to go out for a while so that we could all rehearse for a bit. We saw every performers go up and down the stage to get sound check for a few minutes. It relieved me even more when I saw what the Open Mic performers had in store. Even though we didn’t want to see this event as a competition even though it was, I couldn’t help but feel good about ourselves. There weren’t many performers that reached up to my standard. Well to be frank, there weren’t any at all. There were a few who were fairly good enough, but not seriously refined I should say. I was really looking forward to see some mind-blowing talents like the talent show two years ago, but seeing everyone, I knew it wasn’t going to be that kind of night. Even though I didn’t voice these thoughts out, every time Christelle and I looked at each other to evaluate how someone was doing, we knew we were thinking of the same thing. Vapor Lights will definitely be better than most of this.

After every other performer were called and dismissed for the sound check, we were called last. Apparently we were last on the set list. It was a strange but satisfying arrangement of events because before that, we discussed just among ourselves when we want to perform: start, middle, or ending. I took pride in saying we deserved the ending position because the best is always for last, right? And what do you know; we were actually placed as the last performance of the night! That’s probably because we sent our forms on the last day you could submit them. It was a gut feeling that it would happen—or maybe just a dream that I wish would come to life and fortunately enough, it did.

When we rehearsed, we had about a minute or two to familiarize ourselves with the set up and the stage. The blinding lights that I remembered from Illuminate were still very much present and I was glad I chose to wear my hat that day. If I didn’t, I would’ve been blinded. Nevertheless, the lights helped very much. Since we could barely see the audience, it took a lot of pressure off of us. It made me feel like I was going to do a normal gig at church. After getting somewhat used to the volumes and the equipment, I felt like we could easily do this. I wasn’t nervous at all. My girls felt somewhat better as well after that.

And so, after the rehearsals, the doors were opened again and the event started. The event opened with the band from Al Ain to sing some praise songs. Then they introduced the judges. Since the three of us were at the last row of seats, we were still rehearsing some of our parts and didn’t focus for a while. That’s when the first act came to the picture. The first act was a girl from the same band from Al Ain and she started singing a song that didn’t sound right. I didn’t at all want to be judgmental of her performance and I tried hard to understand if the song she was singing was supposed to be sung like that, but seriously. She sounded off key. She didn’t sound out of tune but she sounded off key if that even makes sense. It just confused me so much. She was off key and somewhat off beat, or maybe it was just me. Wait, no. I’m sure it wasn’t just me. Even Christelle was very skeptical of what was going on because what she was hearing didn’t make sense either. Something just sounded so wrong.

The next to perform were two girls. I forgot their names but they were fairly okay. They harmonized and they sang an indie-like music so it was pretty nice. But since I was still looking forward for others to be better, I didn’t really pay that much attention lol.

The third act was Jessica and man, we cheered so damn hard at the back. It was so exciting to see her dancing happily with confidence by herself. I was so proud of her. And the fact that she choreographed and remixed all of it made me even prouder. When the part from Body Gold came on, I lost my mind because that part was my favorite, but to be honest, everything was great with her performance. Even the judges thought so, too. Her energy was amazing. She had a great stage presence.

Then there was Sebastian and Alben. I expected them to be good but oh my, I kinda cringed at what they did. Some parts of their performance were fairly fine but they didn’t impress me. They could have had better songs prepared. If anything, I actually expected them to sing one of Sebastian’s literary pieces, but they didn’t. Anyway, since they were from our youth group, we still cheered hard for them.

There was a girl who sang Tori Kelly’s unbreakable smile. During the rehearsals, the moment I heard that song playing I just lost my head and had super high expectations. Since I know all too well how awesome Tori Kelly sings that chill-groovy jazz song, I expected her to at least sing it in almost the same level. But nope. Not even close. It’s like she was just doing karaoke and was so off tune at many parts—her diction isn’t as fast and clear as Tori’s either. I was expecting to hear that song at least being sung in the level of Aantuu, Vida, or Tino but… I guess talented singers are rare here these days. Either way, I cheered for that girl since I respect her for even having the guts to sing a Tori Kelly song in front of such a crowd. And while she was singing, I was playing my guitar at the back so I still had fun on my own lol.

After some performances, there was an intermission. It was a time to eat. Since I didn’t want to pay 20 dhs for some crappy and greasy meal before we sing, I didn’t eat and just jammed with Christelle. Since Alicia wanted to eat, she got in line. She didn’t want to be alone and we accompanied her on the line while jamming. One of the songs we sang were Relentless, and while we sang that, people eyed us but I didn’t care. It was a time to relieve the tension off us so it was great.

There was one time while we were just goofing around on the line and Christelle said she felt like punching someone because of how nervous she was. I, being the stupid sucker that I am, let her punch me on my left arm. Bad idea. I really thought she was going to go easy on me, but she really gave a full blow on my arm and IT WAS PAINFUL. Like I swear, it took a while for my arm to feel fine, but the pain felt so good since it was from her. She had to massage it for a while for it to come back to normal. If she didn’t do so, I probably wouldn’t have been able to play our song properly. But I’d do anything to make Christelle feel less nervous so it’s all good. Gosh, I’m an idiot.

Before dinner time ended, we practiced our song one last time at some part of the dome where no one was and we were straight up trying hard not to laugh at this point. Even though we were hitting our parts like it’s second nature, we couldn’t look at each other because of how much we’ve been practicing even at this time. It’s funny though how after we practiced and all (or maybe before we did), Christelle’s mom came up to us and told us we were going to be great and better than everyone who played before us. Since she knows music theory as fine, if not better than we do, that raised my ego a little bit. She has also heard our song many times before so I’m sure the comparisons she has done in her head are not far off from what the three of us were silently thinking while the event went on.

After the intermission, a group of dancers came on the front. They were called the Heartbeat dance crew. Again, as a connoisseur of fine-cut SM choreography, I was very judgmental of their overall performance. They choreographed the dance themselves which was pretty cool, but their coordination weren’t as fine cut as I hoped to see them to be. I guess it’s forgivable since they’re just a bunch of teenage girls who probably goes to the same church or school and not exactly under an official agency that trains and lives off dancing on stage. But anyway, I still liked Jessica’s performance better—probably because I wouldn’t really know if she made a mistake since she was the only person dancing (especially with much confidence) unlike the crew who needs much coordination and expression training for it to look satisfying as a whole.

The next one up was Mark and his friend Raymond. This is another one of the performances that I had high expectations for since Mark was from our dear youth group. He’s that introverted guy that has his shoulders up and tense and awkward most of the time. We tell him to sing and join the band sometimes because he claims he can sing. And while Stella, Aly, and I were practicing outside as I’ve mentioned before, I saw Mark and his friend Raymond practicing near a tree as well. With that image in mind, I thought they’d be dope but… Straight up, I was very disappointed. My expectations were way too high and they were straight up butchering basic music structures. They did some skit at the beginning which was super cringe-y and awkward, and they did a mash-up of songs that weren’t arranged very well. It could’ve been better if they had an actual musician to help them fix it all up but oh well, fine-cut teenage musicians seem to be rare these days.

The second to the last performer was Ana with the ukulele. She had this very british-indie vibe to her singing and was fairly good, but her song of choice was pretty boring. We couldn’t understand most of what she was saying either.

To be honest though, we couldn’t fully listen to her performance because we were at the back slightly panicking again because we were coming up next. We silently practiced for like the hundredth time that day and constantly kept assuring each other that we were gonna do great. We reminded ourselves that since we were singing a praise song, we should treat it as such—a song for God—and not for the audience that came tonight.

In no time, Ana’s performance was over and the lights grew dark again. The ads started rolling and we got called up to the set ourselves on stage. I went on stage with confidence and behind me followed Alicia and then Christelle. I plugged in my guitar and adjusted the microphone to my height. I didn’t pay much attention to the two while they set up so that I’m completely sedated and sure of my own set up. I made sure that I had enough space to move around because I just know that I’m gonna be feeling this song tonight and work my whole body off this song constipation.

The lights flashed back on and I tried hard not to focus on the audience’s faces. Paul, the event organizer, introduced us as Christelle, Alicia, and Mia. It was a little sad that we weren’t able to give our band name to whoever takes them after much debate for it, but Vapor Lights is not our main highlight anyway.

After all the introductions, I looked at Christelle and Alicia to see if they were ready and they nodded to let me start. As soon as I started, feedback from my mic stars blaring and I moved away a bit. That caught me a little of guard but I forced myself to focus and bring my mind together to give it all that I’ve got. When I got through the intro, I immediately darted my head to Christelle just to make sure she won’t miss her part. As soon as she started singing, I felt comfort in her voice as it took me back to her room. It was as if we were recording it one last time before we go home. Even though I was conscious of where I was supposed to face, I naturally had my whole body angled towards my right—towards Christelle and Aly.

I remember watching Produce 101 S1 and watching that part of Yeunjung and Juna being scolded at for not looking at each other when they harmonized. The instructor told them they should look at each other because it helps connect or tune each other out to one voice. I was always skeptical of how that worked because every time I did that with Christelle or anyone before that night, I would lose my focus and go off key since I’m used to focusing only with my ears. But at that moment on stage, I understood it completely. A clip of TaeNy doing so when they harmonize in Cater 2 U as SeoHyun sings melody flashes in my mind as well and everything starts to make sense. It really wasn’t just a thing with ships. It isn’t a fan service either. It is when to singers come together as one. Because when I looked at Christelle as I harmonized with her during the first word of the first chorus of Vapor, I felt a great sense of stability and thought, “This is it. We got this.” We were able to match our harmonies and diction as if it was one voice just because of one look. And I remember glancing at Alicia as well while she did her ad-libs at the first chorus with her eyes closed feeling the song. It’s like we completely lost all of our nerves because this is it—this is a song we’ve worked hard on together, and it was a song to God. We felt no obligation to impress anyone because all of our hearts became sync for Him. And the fact that we were doing this together and that we trust that we’d all do well just helped us forget that so many people were watching us.

During the interlude after the first chorus, I made some slight mistakes while I was changing the chords. It wasn’t very obvious, but since the three of us pretty much know what quality everything should be in by now, the two gave me a few glances. I tried hard to keep my head low so that the audience wouldn’t see how I smiled at my mistakes.

I focused again and then glanced at Alicia when it was time to sing her part. When I heard Alicia’s voice fill the dome, I was soooo satisfied to hear it. I was so happy to hear her voice and glanced at Christelle. We both had that proud mom look in our faces. Maybe it’s because her voice has improved so much. And honestly, I just had butterflies in my stomach hearing how much feels her voice contained. She even had her eyes closed. You could totally see how much she had that song running in her veins.

Then the three of us harmonized at the second chorus to the bridge. At this point, we didn’t even have to look at each other. The whole dome was filled with our voice that I could just feel the two of their voices in my whole body. The blending of our voices moved our hearts so much that it didn’t feel that we even had audience at all. It looked like we were all facing the audience clearly, but we saw nothing but the bright light that was shining right above us. It was like we were confessing our hearts to God. And as I see the videos now, the three of us definitely showed it.

On the third chorus where it’s just me and Aly, I started my words with more air than I could’ve controlled. The “p” in “possible” came out stronger than it should’ve been. My nerves must’ve sparked up a bit at that part since that part is really low and I need to focus a lot on how I breathe in and how the words come out of my mouth without shaking or going off tune. On the “everything rising” part, I gave it my all to be strong and hit all the right notes without losing breath, especially the part when I slide my voice down the key. It was very satisfying when I did it correctly. I then catch my breath and jump right in to harmonize for the “Oh” parts and the 2nd bridge. We nailed those parts really well that after all the singing, Christelle and Aly looked at each other and smiled widely. Since I was in charge of the outro, they then had their eyes on me. I smiled back at them and went back to focus on my chords. BUT THEN, after finishing a G chord, the last E string suddenly snaps. That’s probably because I’ve been playing that guitar all day non-stop. I’ve probably tired that guitar out haha. I can never forget Aly’s shocked face. It was like I dropped her baby especially since it was her guitar. I just laughed it off since I can’t do anything about it while the song wasn’t done yet. I can’t risk stopping abruptly. I had to finish the outro properly. Besides, I didn’t need that string anyway. When it finally ended, I just laughed and said sorry to Alicia for breaking her string.

Since I’ve lost my mind because of how I broke the string, I didn’t even realize that the judges already started talking. But anyway, even though I didn’t really care what the judges had to say, as I was twirling the broken string to Aly’s guitar, I listened. Here’s what they said.

Woman judge 1: Guys, you know this is the last act, right? But I just so enjoyed hearing you—the melodies, the harmonies, the blending, the voice modulation—so good. I really love it! Thank you.

*cheering*

Woman judge 2: That was beautiful. That was really beautiful. And one can see that you enjoyed yourself. You enjoyed, you were comfortable, and I loved the way that you looked at each other and listened to each other sing. It was beautiful.

“Thank you,” Aly timidly says. I say it as well but in a very lol I knew it whisper kind of thank you.

Jordan: I’ve heard you guys sing a few times before but I’ve never heard you all harmonize like that so, very creative use of harmony, and I expect more of it in the future.

The three of us laughs and then everyone cheered. Then as Christelle puts her microphone down, it gains a whole amount of feedback and startles the three of us on stage. Christelle later on tells about that part the most lol.

As we got down the stage, everything started sinking in, or rather started feeling like a dream. I felt so high like everything that just happened wasn’t real. We were done, we were finally done, and we did well. We even got great feedback from the judges. They used to give advice, judge, and slightly criticize the previous people, but we only got praise. We were so happy.

While the voting has finally started, the three of us ran at the back of the seats and hugged each other in pure joy. We were finally done. It was over. And we did well. For me, it was pure dream come true.

Then we went to the voting booths. We could vote for places 1, 2, and 3. Since Christelle and Aly want to be humble little shits, they didn’t vote for us for the 1st place. They said to vote for Jessica, Seb and Alben, and whoever else we thought was good. I, however, thought of it carefully. I wanted to be honest with myself. Who deserved that 1st place? I couldn’t think of anyone but us. No one coordinated our clothes so well but us. No one calculated every little damn detail in the song but us. No one seemed to have as fine-cut of a performance as us. We were the only ones who even sang a Christian song in an event held by Christians. We deserved the first place. And that’s just not me being way too proud of myself, it’s the truth. Besides, it wouldn’t make sense if anyone else but us got it. It just wouldn’t seem fair performance wise. So I voted for us for 1st place. Then I voted for Jess for 2nd. I don’t remember who I chose for 3rd place—maybe the girls who had a duet. Anyway, that wouldn’t really matter.

As the counting process for the votes started, they played some beats and we all took photos and danced. We were all just so happy to be done with everything and we didn’t even care about the votes at this point. There were many times when Aly dropped her broken guitar string and freaked out because she didn’t want to lose it. She said she wanted to keep it for remembrance. It’s such an iconic moment to break the string while the show is going. I would honestly keep it myself if it was my guitar lol.

When the votes were going to be revealed, all of the performers were asked to come up to the front. They then declared that there was actually no third place, but there was a tie in the 2nd place. So they instead decided to give two prizes for second place. The first one declared for 2nd place was Jessica and we were all very happy for her. She was given a 200 dhs gift card. Then they declared that heartbeat dance crew won 2nd place as well. However, after a few seconds, they took it back and said that there was a misunderstanding, and that the girl who sang Tori Kelly was in fact the true 2nd winner for 2nd place. We were all very bitter of how that happened because we saw how much the dance crew members’ faces lit up only to be switched off by their careless announcement. Besides, they deserved it much better than the girl who sang Tori Kelly. She did not do Tori Kelly’s song justice so I’m not very satisfied with her position. I guess her win was purely popularity. Her Al Ain friends were too many there at that event. But then here’s where my wack of a brain comes in. I don’t know what I was doing that I wasn’t paying attention, but when they said our names as “Christul, Aleesha, and Maya” and had party confetti explode at our faces, I didn’t grasp the situation fast enough. I thought to my stupid, trying to be humble self, “Wait, did we get third place?” Because of the weird Steve Harvey-moment with the two 2nd place, I couldn’t quite trust their voting process. I was wondering if 3rd place was ever really canceled. That’s why I was confused asking everyone if we got third place. But of course, Christelle shakes me back to reality and says while freaking out that we in fact got 1st place. And so I started laughing because of how unbelievable believable it was that we got 1st place. See, people who voted for us knew that we had a different level of performance compared to the others. Or maybe some people are biased towards us as well—I’m pretty sure Gabe is one of them lol. And so, they gave us a 500 dhs gift card. Alicia and I held up this big ass card saying so and the people there started taking photos of all of us who had won the prize. And so, after the event finished, we started hugging each other again and saying “I love you” to each other repeatedly.

I then rode home with Christelle and Aly. We were going on about the things that happened at the event. We also discussed what the other performers did and Christelle’s mom was very vocal about how we were the best overall. She said that our performance was like “an anointing” because of how spirit-filled it was. We all agreed. No matter how humble we try to be, it’s true that we had the best quality performance that night.

Man, that day was such a high. It was really like a dream. It was like a TV show or a movie. It’s like something you see or read about only in stories. We worked our butt off for one song, bonded and created a strong friendship, got the last slot to sing for the event (like it’s the best for last), and even won first place for something we didn’t even really ask for. It was a typical plot that I wouldn’t really write about because of how unbelievable it is, but living to see how amazing every feeling concerning it actually is, I might just convey it into a story someday. God is way too clever at this story game, you know? It was already such a dream to be able to form a band with friends who I love and loves me back. Now I’ve won a singing competition with them as well. If you told me this would happen probably less than a year ago, I wouldn’t have believed you. It’s so crazy.

 


 

 

The very next day after Open Mic, I was really tired. Other than the fact that I stayed up late when I was already feeling exhausted that night, I could not move my left arm without it feeling hurt. It felt somewhat paralyzed. It must’ve been because I was holding and playing Alicia’s guitar all day during Open Mic. I’m pretty sure all of its effects worsened because I took a piercing blow from Christelle as well, hahaha.

 That Friday, I met Alicia by the courtyard and was really happy to see her. We still couldn’t believe that we won and felt like what happened last night wasn’t real. I also showed Laura, girl from Awana, our performance because she wasn’t there. I kinda hung around her because I couldn’t find Christelle then. I kept calling Christelle but she wouldn’t answer. I really wanted to see her and talk about last night with Aly, but she wasn’t anywhere to be seen.

Anyway, I went up to the Wildfire room and hung around by myself and helped the guys playing to set up. That was the first time that I wasn’t going to be in the band but still be at Wildfire. It was really weird to go around the place and not exactly know what to do. The youth band was my way of socializing (or avoiding socializing) with people, but now I actually have to go up to people and strike a conversation. Ugh. Good thing while I was helping the guys set up, Christelle finally shows up.

While we were getting food, I don’t remember who asked, but Christelle was asked to sing into the mic for sound check while Jordan wasn’t there. Since I couldn’t bear to hang around people just to eat and converse, I followed behind and helped coach the boys with their music. Soon enough, everyone was asking Christelle to sing this week even though she didn’t practice whatsoever, and even worked out on Open Mic the night before. She was feeling pretty tired as well but she agreed anyway. I picked up my shaker and played with the band on the side because I don’t want to stand and be an audience. I think I’ve gotten so used to being on the band that I just can’t bear being an audience in Wildfire.

That Wildfire had a very interesting guest. We had Pastor Aubrey over and he was a really cool guy. In fact, he was a rockstar back in the day. He showed us a clip of him rocking out with his bass in this old band that he was in called Moshka. He talked about how he came to trust God by going through low points in his life and now, he can basically quote a verse for any question we ask. It’s so interesting to see that a really metalhead guy like him rocking the stage with one day become one of the most inspiring Pastors I’ve ever met.

After Wildfire, in our usual easy going fashion, we as a group casually decided to go watch Justice League. Since Christelle wasn’t wearing that right attire for the movies, Aly and I accompanied her home to change. While we were walking to her building, she was rummaging in her bag and suddenly she freaks out. Remember that time I a few blogs ago about the sandwich that her mother prepared for us? Yep, it was in her bag the whole time FOR TWO WEEKS. Bahahaha, disgusting XD. Anyway, I borrowed her Garfield sweater and oddly enough it fit me. And as she was preparing, she shoved in a bunch of pads in my bag. Lol that took me aback but since she didn’t like bringing bags, I guess she thought I’d keep it well for her like some mom or something. And while Aly and I were waiting for Christelle to finish her business in the restroom before leaving, since we could clearly hear what she was doing in there, we ended up talking about periods as well lol. As I said before, when you start talking about periods with someone, it’s like a level up to our friendship and I guess Aly and I have become closer now bahahaha.

When we got to Al Wahda, we ate a quick lunch at burger king and talked a bit about tattoos on the way to the movie theater lol. When we got to the theater, we got the dreaded second row because of how late we booked our tickets. Man, I hated sitting in that row. But anyway, I got to sit with Adithya on my left and Christelle on my right so it was a bit bearable. It was the first time that I also found that Adithya and I have very similar humor and it was fun just making jokes with him throughout the movie. He was not bad of a guy as I thought him to be before so that was good lol.

But okay, let’s talk about the movie. First of, the movie wasn’t that good. The story was really slow and the characters were just annoying. Only Wonder Woman was bearable, but even she’s sometimes too overdone. Every scene with her face in it is absolutely in perfect lighting and make up that it’s ridiculous. Gal Gadot is super gorgeous, I’m not even gonna lie, but the cinematography for her is shaping her to be this super perfect being. I get that she’s basically a god since she’s wonder woman but any damn way… AND CAN I JUST MENTION her BUTT is showing in some scenes and we were at the damn 2nd row. The screen was right in our face so her ass was basically WAY HUGE AND CLOSE FOR OUR EYES. Anyway, we waited for a scene after the credits and fortunately enough, there was one.

After watching the movie, Christelle, Aly, Adi, and I went to get Argo Tea since Aly has been raving about it for a while. Christelle thought we were going to go to the Bubble Station (which is pretty much the cheaper version of it) but Aly lead the way to the somewhat expensive café. The three of us ordered Passion fruit bubble tea since Aly insisted us to try it. While we were waiting for our oders, Christelle made a dirty joke about balls and we all just died of how weird it was that Christelle made an inappropriate joke out of nowhere. She has also been so bold in saying shit recently that I’m a little taken aback. I guess she’s becoming a full blown teenager now lol. It’ll take me some time to get used to it.

We hung out for a while at the food court with others and then I rode home with Christelle and Aly.

Narrator

That same week of Open Mic, there was a conversation I had with Gabe where he was imagining storylines of him dying in front of Christelle. Since I’ve had those kinds of imaginations before, I was just playing along with him as he pleased. But anyway, that lead to me saying he was like some of my characters in AMNESIA. So I ended up explaining to him the plot of AMNESIA. There was a part when I said there was someone who had a crush on the main character, my beloved 15 year old Eunji, and he was named Key. I said I was recently basing some of Key’s lines on what he used to say before.

        “._. Wootttt? Woooootttt??? Why on my lines XDDD” Gabe laughed.

        “Because you’re a guy and he’s a guy and I can’t just base my lines on what I think guys say XD”

        “Homagah what’s he like? Usually my lines are for the serious types. I use them playfully but like they’re meant to be serious.”

        “He’s very friendly and he’s kinda like Edwin but also kinda like you. Idk a mix,” I said. Key was kind of the sassy, gossip loving type as Edwin was, but he also had this really energetic or really low and negative characteristic like Gabe. And to make it even similar to those two, Key had a crush on the energetic and confident 15 year old who can sing really well.”

        “I see. Kind and chivalrous while fun and carefree. Intriguing. As long as the 15yr old (Eunji) isn’t based off of Christelle, it’s not gonna be weird.”

        “Haha, no it’s not much based on christelle XD.”

        “Wdym not much? Like partially based or not based at all?”

        “The girl I wrote about is very confident and she’s never awkward.”

        “Christelle isn’t awkward with friends ._.”

        “Yeah but like there are many other times when she is awkward… And clumsy XD.”

        “I must be with her more often… But she’s kinda cute when she’s clumsy. It’s adorable.”

        “I know XD”

        “If the eyes really are the windows to the soul, her eyes sparkle with kawaii 1000000000% *sends anime gif*”

        “Tbh she doesn’t find it cute that she’s dorky but even Alicia agrees with me that it’s what makes her really cute XD”

        “Not many find what they do attractive or good. Heck people that know when they’re good are lucky.”

Then I sent him this bit from a chapter I was recently editing in A M N E S I A:

            “What do you like about her?” Sulli asked.

            “Well—I… Do you really need a reason? I mean just everything about her makes me… makes me happy,” Key stammered. “She has an awesome voice, she’s pretty, her smile is like the brightest thing ever, she plays and jokes well with me, she’s a little rough on the outside but she’s very compassionate and understanding, and I don’t know… I could go on, really. And she doesn’t, like, bring me down for things that I find enjoyable even though it’s a bit… I don’t know… She’s just so cool.”

            “Oh wow,” Minho nodded. “Not many guys have a crush on her—I’m surprised you of all people see her that way.”

            “Yeah, it’s my first time hearing such admiration for her,” Taemin said. “What started it?”

            “I’m not really so sure myself,” Key wondered. “But I think… I think it’s just recently that I feel like I’ve fallen deep for her—like I genuinely feel like I want to care for her. I’ve had a crush on her for a long while but… it’s just these days that I actually want to make her happy and you know, make her laugh or something. Like I want to be there for her often, you know? But I’m just worried if it shows… she’ll find me creepy and you know, shun me.”

        “._. Are you kidding me? Where did you get those lines?” Gabe said.

        “XDDDDDD They’re realistic, man.”

        “Those are ideas and concepts and words I save for special people like legit like like like that means I’m not original ._. rip world”

        “No, I’m the one not original cuz I got that from you XDDD”

        “Oh wat. That explains everything. FIRST OF ALL. That guy is lucky. SECOND OF ALL. That guy is lucky. Plz lemme go into that world and step into his shoes.”

Then I sent him another bit:

            “You’re worried she won’t feel the same way, huh?” Sulli said.

            “Yeah. She just knows me as the loud and crazy kid running around school and occasionally visiting her lunch table. I mean we are neighbors and we have been hanging out more than we ever did in our time of knowing each other, but… I’m just scared.”

            “Hmm, I was thinking about that too, but to be honest, I think her feelings for you are not far off,” Taemin suddenly said. “I feel like she likes you more than you think.”

            “What makes you think that?” Key asked.

            “You’re a fun guy, Key, and she has told me before that she does likes having you around. I don’t think she would let you in her house so often if she didn’t like hanging out with you. So it’s probably possible for her to share the same feelings. I mean you never know until you actually make a move, right?”

            “But the thing is, I don’t want to start anything too soon, you know? If it turns out she doesn’t have feelings for me, what am I gonna do? I would make it weird for the both of us. We haven’t even been friends that long, Taemin.”

         “You know for a moment I actually thought I was Key. Then I remembered Christelle said she doesn’t feel the same way about me,” Gabe said. “’Crazy kid running around, loud, occasionally visiting her lunch table.’ ‘Hanging out more than we ever did.’ This kid is so lucky. He doesn’t know how lucky he is. He shouldn’t tell her. It’s gonna mess everything up. He’s gonna lose his chance.”

        “Spoiler, he does but in the slickest way XD”

      “NUUUUUUUUUUUUUU TT.TT How does he do it? I’ll be the judge if he did it right. Don’t tell me he sings Taylor Swift.”

        “Lol no but something better.”

        “Whew ok.”

Then I sent him another bit saying “This happens somewhere in the story tho XDDDDD”:

         “I feel the same way,” Key said. “So let’s officially start something more than friends together.”

            Eunji’s eyes fluttered from hearing what he said. Did she hear that right? Was he finally making up his mind to turn this friendship into a serious relationship? She was too stunned that she didn’t even realize his face getting closer to hers. When his breath reached her skin, her frozen eyes melted to a close. Key softly kissed her and she found herself kissing him back.

            Neither could deny that they wanted more than just this sweet kiss, but they gently withdrew after 10 seconds of the heat. Those mere 10 seconds felt like a minute and that was enough for Key at this moment.

            When Eunji got her senses back, she awkwardly brushed her hair back and gulped. Even though this kiss made her feel bubbly and in-love, it was quickly conflicted with thoughts rejecting him. Flustered by the things she felt, she took two steps back and couldn’t look back at him. Key got confused by this and asked, “What’s wrong?”

            “I… I can’t.”

            “What? Why not?” Key’s lips quickly dried up at her words.

            “You know it yourself. I’m way too busy. I can’t. Not these days, at least.”

        “WOAH DIS LUCKY PERSON JDJSJDDIFIDJF” Gabe commented. “WDYM SHE CANT. BUSY. SO WHAT. IF IT’S TRUE LOVE THEN ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD THAT YOU GUYS SPEND WILL BE WORTH THE WAIT.”

        “I’m just spoiling you so you can read it XDDDD”

        “Okaaaay. DIS GIRL IS STUUUUUPIIIIIIIIID UGHAHSJSODD LIKE U DON’T JUST TURN A GUY DOWN LIKE THAT. SURE SAY ‘lemme think abt it’ or ‘maybe’ or something mysterious”

        “Actually she is the wisest girl ever in the story XDDD But idk u can judge XDDD”

        “NUUUUUU UGH THAT’S SNWKDIEFIEFIEIFODOFDOFO Like ignore what I say. Don’t change the story bc this’ll make the crowd hype.

        “I won’t change it XD”

        “Her eyes fluttered tho *ok hand emojis*”

        “That’s when she already had feelings for him.”

        “She’s busy tho….. Sounds like someone ik,” he said. I’m assuming he meant Christelle cuz that girl is always busy lol.

Anyway, I proceeded to intrigue and hype him more so that he would read it. He read it the next day. Till now he hasn’t finished it or continued it since it’s probably out of his short-term memory lol. But anyway it was fun showing those to him. It’s the first time I actually get to base my character’s lines on what a real person has said, word for word XD.

A few days later, I sent him recordings of me and Christelle singing Like I’m Gonna Lose You. He was talking about mashing that song up with another song just a few days ago so I sent him our cover. And what’s funny is that there was one recording where he was singing along as if him and Christelle were having a duet. He freaked out that I even have that lol. I also sent him a clear recording of just me and Christelle singing and he loved it so much that he had it play on repeat He says it’s like we’re singing it to each other. I’m not gonna lie, that was the point of why I suggested that song to Christelle. I wanted to sing that with her because of the lyrics. But lol, so much for me trying to restrain his love for Christelle… Sometimes I don’t know if I should feed him more Christelle content or not because I find joy in talking to him about her. I’m in such a weird middle ground.

Wednesday came and instead of the usual band practice routine, I walked to Christelle’s house to practice for the Open Mic. I was the first one to arrive because I thought it would take 30 mins to walk there, but it only actually took 15 mins. Anyway, I came in and she was eating lunch at 5 PM because apparently she has procrastinated on eating. As we were waiting for Alicia to come, we were just chilling and I let her listen to some Kelly Clarkson and Tori Kelly. As expected, she was very impressed by their vocals. As soon as Alicia arrived, we started practicing and finalizing everything.

It didn’t take long before Jessica arrived there as well so that she could show us her dance for Open Mic. Since Gabe and her other friend backed out from their performance for personal reasons, Jessica was left alone to do her thing. She wanted some feedback from us. And so we all went to the living room to see her dance. I’ve usually had a judgmental view of her dancing back then (especially after being too into well-defined kpop choreos) but at that moment, I found myself smiling so much. While she was dancing in front of us with the music she herself mixed, I was so happy and was so proud of her. The song Body Gold by Oh Wonder (a song I had liked in soundcloud ages ago) was probably one of the reasons I was even so happy to see her dance because it is in her dance mix. But anyway, even if her friends backed out, she still wanted to do it because she loved doing it. And I guess I admired that a lot about her.

After that, we also showed Jessica what we have prepared and she loved our performance. However, we couldn’t really discuss much about her opinion on us right away because Christelle’s dad showed us a photo of a guy that died, and he asked if we knew him. A day before, John Surya told us about how his friend had died and that he cannot lead the band this week partly because of it. It was a guy named Adam. At first it didn’t really hit me when John Surya said that his name was Adam, but when I did remember that I did know a guy named Adam, I searched around on facebook and confirmed who he was. There were no posts on his wall about his death so I was unsure if it was him. But there was no other guy named Adam that John Surya would probably know a few years ago from Wildfire.

Now, I never really knew the guy much, but I did use to see him around at Fuel and Wildfire occasionally back then. I still remember a testimony of his, how he was out in the nature and that he came to God because of thinking how much there should be a God who created all that He was seeing. I also remember that he was very vocal about his views in Fuel. I had a fairly nice view of him because of that. So to know that he was dead felt… strange.

When I discussed that about Christelle when Alicia and Jessica were not there yet, I said that I did know the guy and that it was so sad to know someone you knew or at least used to see was gone. Christelle couldn’t recall if she knew who Adam was and asked me if Ethan may have known him. Since I don’t know much about Adam, and my memory is hazy about who was there when he was around, I said I didn’t know. But when Christelle’s dad showed us four his picture, Christelle was able to recognize him. She didn’t know him personally, but she did see him around before as well.

Jessica, out of all of us, was saddened by this news. But that was because she knew how he died before the three of us. Adam committed suicide.

I just froze when she said that. As I said, I had a fairly nice view of him because he seemed to have a lot of insights back in Fuel. To know that he ended his life just like that was… sad. Jessica said that it was because of his dad that he committed suicide. He had family problems that he maybe couldn’t handle and just chose to end his life. But to be honest, what made everything sadder was that his best friend was David, a person we all knew more than Adam, was the first to find him dead. They were roommates in college and David found him out cold on his bed. It’s messed up to think that you had a best friend that you didn’t know was suffering so much that they would end their life. It’s the same for Adam’s parents and any of his friends as well. Everything was just so heartbreaking.

And while Jessica was talking about how David would feel about this situation, I just couldn’t help but think of the times I thought of suicide as well. Though my feelings are less heavy than what Adam probably had gone through, I can’t deny that I did feel suicidal a bit often at some point. At that moment I just couldn’t help but look at Christelle and then to Jess and Aly. If, and I say if, I did commit suicide then, I wouldn’t have lived to see all the glory God has set before me. And I thank God so much for Christelle. I wouldn’t have felt sincerely loved and cherished by anyone if she did not come along. I wouldn’t have cared to live among everyone without her.

After that, we just talked about some random things to lift the mood back up, and it somehow ended up with Christelle ranting about Gabe again. Before it exploded to a full girl talk, we came back to Christelle’s room and talked about it there in a somewhat hushed tone. She told the full story of Gabe’s confession and all of what she felt then. Then she was saying about how frustrated she was about how Gabe doesn’t seem to take the hint to back off a little bit even after she told him that she didn’t feel the same way. She said he has been texting her and while she was saying those, I was trying to butt in to say what was going on my chat with Gabe this days, but she kept silencing me so that she could finish her story. It was funny because I had so much to say, but she had a lot to cover as well and we’d all just stop each other every minute.

There was a point where Jessica confessed that she liked Caesius for some time and even confessed to him. She said that they were “thinging” for a while back then. She pointed to me asking if I knew, but I said no. I never really confirmed that they were actually something back then, but I did have a hunch that something was going on with them. Heck, I even shipped them and thought that it was Jess who didn’t have feelings for him but Caesius did. Turns out it was the other way around. Jessica was the one who liked and confessed to him first. That’s why they became a thing, but apparently Caesius wasn’t very clear about his own feelings towards her, resulting to them being on and off. Jessica said that he was very confusing about showing where he stood and she eventually got tired of it. But there was one time after a year and a half of the on and off… Caesius kissed her forehead before leaving the cab. That left her very excited yet confused—actually, very confused. She said that Caesius wasn’t normally like that and it was clear now that he liked her, but it just tired her out.

Then Jessica said that I could tell what was going on that year between them. Although it wasn’t accurately what I thought, I was still right in some part of my hunch. Then Alicia laughed saying that she and Christelle were like babies when this happened. Yeah, they were pretty young then—Alicia wasn’t even in Wildfire, and Christelle just joined the band that year.

        Jess pointed to me and said, “Like she knows, like she was the—you were–”

        “Yeah, I wasn’t even asking. I was just watching.”

        Jess turned to the youngest two while still referring to me and said, “No, but like, she observed—She like knew so many people…”

        “She’s like the narrator,” Alicia laughed and I just remember trying to contain my smirk thinking, “You’re right about that.”

        “Mia’s the observer,” Christelle said.

        “I’m a writer, okay,” I answered and it definitely made a lot of sense to them. They started making jokes about what if I write about all of them (which I do).

Then we came back again to the conversation. Jessica said that on the same day when he kissed her, they both flirted a lot. They held hands and everything, but he would never really tell her what he wanted and what his feelings were. He left her hanging. She only found out later on that his reason for not saying anything to confess his feelings was because he had no time. But he could’ve at least told her that instead of leaving her hanging. He could have said that earlier so that she could move on with her life, but he was just confusing about his actions and it annoyed her knowing how dumb this relationship has been.

After that, she was so done with all these games and just wanted nothing to do with any of this. She said if God brings her someone, then okay, but if not then that’s fine. All she knew was that she didn’t want to go on and off with him or with anyone else because it just annoyed and tired her out. So she got over Caesius.

 Funnily enough, just a month later after all that, she and Nithin started liking each other. Eventually Nithin asked her out. Jessica prayed about it and all, if this was going to be right. It seemed God approved of it because they had the approval of their parents. And so they both set up some sensible boundaries between their relationship. But before they had their first date, Jessica told Caesius in a taxi that Nithin asked him out and everything. He seemed chill about it but we all know he isn’t. The most absurd thing about it is because after Jessica had just told him, Caesius leans his head on Jessica’s shoulder while he texted someone, and Jessica just flipped out. She didn’t actually scold him, but in her head she just fumed in anger. She turned to him and said, “Head off.”

All our jaws drop and amazement at her response.

        Jessica continued, “And he’s like, ‘Why?’”

        “What do you mean ‘why’?!” Alicia scoffs.

        “I’m like, ‘dude, just please head off.’” Jessica said. “I didn’t say anything mean about it, but I was very, very serious about it. I was just like ‘head off.’ No, sorry, even if I’m not committed to a person, I’m not going to flirt with you and go through everything again. I’m sorry if you’re not over it!

And then, after I got with Nithin, in April or May, I don’t know if you noticed,” she pointed to me, “but you know how Caesius was a bit off? I don’t know it you noticed that.”

        “Well,” I wondered. “I was angry at him because of the band. So I don’t know maybe that’s part of it.”

        Christelle then says, “And he like, indirectly insulted me so I still don’t like him.”

        “Yeah, I still remember that,” I said. I can’t remember if I wrote about it anywhere before but, yeah, this was part of one of the many rants Christelle has said to me in the early days of our friendship that I fully remember.

        “Really? What did he say?” Jessica asked.

        “Okay, see, if one of you guys said it, people who are my friends and closest to me, then I’ll be like, yeah that’s funny.”

        “He said something racist,” I said.

        “So like we were in the old Wildfire room (boiler room), yah? During Wildfire we were practicing. And you usually know how the blinds are there, and I always like to pull them blinds? Cuz with the sun it looked so much brighter. And I was like, ‘Hey dude, why is it so dark?’ and he was like ‘because you’re here.’” Christelle made her usually freaked out expression where everything in her face enlarges. “AND DUDE, DUDE, honestly, see. If it was John Adithya, if it was you (Jess), Mia, Alicia, John Surya MAXIMUM… who else am I good friends with? Yeah! Actually, those people. If it was those guys said that I’d be like, dude, I would laugh. That was funny. But like Caesius and I? We were like acquaintances. And I was like, ‘…what?’ and he was like ‘oh, I’m just kidding. It’s okay.’ And like I just walked away from the conversation,”

        “Sometimes he says really stupid things,” Jessica rolled her eyes.

        “Christelle ran to me,” I laughed.

        “I walked or ran and was like ‘MIA!! MIA, I’M LIKE ON FIRE RIGHT NOW, CALM ME DOWN!’ I was sooo mad! I was like, dude, you—DAHH!!!—Like- see, I-I’m comfortable making jokes like that with my best friends. Like, we know each other’s humor, so I would say that. But like… someone who I just say hi to and bye to and how was your week? oh good. How was your week? Good. Bye. That’s all! And he made that kinda joke and I was like, no, that is NOT okay.”

        “He’s stupid sometimes,” Jessica shakes her head. “Like I’m not gonna lie. Even when I liked him he insulted me sometimes and I’m just like hmm okay.”

        “Even in band terms he pisses me off,” I said.

        “What does he play?” Alicia asked.

        “Guitar.”

        “Barely,” Christelle adds and we both snickered.

        “He’s always off rhythm and he doesn’t listen to me ‘cuz we’ve known each other since I was like 10.”

        “Yeah. And you know the other day when Mia and I were leading, okay? And during practice, yah, he was like, ‘Guyss the songs are so good. Can I join?’ and I was like, *baffled expression*”

        “I was like ‘NO. YOU CAN’T,” I said.

        Christelle then describes Alicia the whole scene, even where we were at that time and she repeats what she said, “I was practicing like a few notes with her, and he was like, ‘Hey guys, can I join?’ and I was like, ‘…Caesius? Uh… Um… Hm? What?”

        “’I’m just gonna forget you said that’” Alicia chuckled.

        “I was gonna say it nicely, like, ‘Hey, dude. But like when we ask people who are free, you didn’t say anything. And like if you came to practice, then yes. And then Mia was like, ‘No.’ And I was like *hallelujah praise the lord* Okay, Mia’.”

        They all laughed and I said, “I am so done with him being in the band. I’m so thankful because I prayed so hard for the band and part of it is him having basketball practice on Wednesday. So he can’t come.”

        “I mean you converted him into a prayer so it’s not insulting. But like dude, if it was someone who I knew was good then I’d be like, yeah join. Like Jonathan on the drums? Yeah join. Like Mia on the bass? YEAH JOIN!!! But like, Caesius—I mean I played with him before and even if I’m- like I’m an amateur singer. But when I sing with him I’m like ‘Caesius, you’re off beat.’ And like, he does NOT like to accept his mistakes. And when you’re in a team, dude, you have to be willing first of all to accept your mistakes, to learn from others…”

        “He’s so shameless,” I said.

        “The problem with him…” Jessica said. “He has great qualities, like I’m not gonna lie. Like he, as a friend, is very concerning, and the reason why I really, really had thing for him was because he kind of like heard me out in situations and he was willing to listen to me ‘cuz you don’t find guys like that. But in other circumstances like that, he was unprepared, and he wouldn’t really take constructive criticism in the right way.”

        “HE WOULDN’T EVEN TAKE IT IN THE FIRST PLACE!” Christelle cried in frustration. “HE WOULDN’T ACCEPT THAT HE WAS OFF BEAT OR WRONG ON SO MANY LEVELS HE WOULD—sorry, I cut you off.”

        “No, it’s fine. But like, yeah, I agree.”

        And so Christelle continues, “AND LIKE, LIKE, IN THE OLD WILFIRE ROOM, HE WOULD SING AND THEN PLAY GUITAR OFF BEAT and I’m like, hooow are you leading when you are like that? Dude, either you sing or play guitar. If you can’t do both then don’t do both. And like hmmngg….”

        “He was a big reason of why I wanted to quit the band. ‘Cuz like I couldn’t take him.”

        “Especially, like Mia, the musically sound person—if you had to get that frustrated at a person—yeah.”

        “Honestly…” Alicia agrees.

        “Like every time he plays, I wanna play guitar so that I can drown him out.” I said and they snickered. “It’s like there’s no hope for him. He never listens.”

        “He has hope but like he needs to work hard,” Christelle says.

        “Yeah,” everyone agrees.

Then Jessica proceeds to tell more about the situation with Caesuis. We came to get our dinner and then we came back to Christelle’s room. This time they let me speak what I had to say about Gabe. I told them that Gabe said rather than getting over her after he confessed and knew that she didn’t like him back, he developed more feelings for her. Christelle couldn’t understand the mentality behind that and ranted about that. Jessica understood that there were guys like that. Alicia says that maybe guys just don’t accept rejection and thinks they will be liked back with more effort put in. Then Christelle starts ranting about how dumb Gabe was for asking if he could talk to her every day. She says she doesn’t even talk to us, her closest church friends, that often because she really is so busy. The other two girls started getting fired up saying how much they want to knock some sense into him. I proceed to say that Gabe was concerned about making mistakes because this has happened before, and the girls got fired up even more saying he really doesn’t take the hint.

But anyway, as they ranted more about Gabe and guys in general, while I understood their stance and understanding of the situation, I also understood Gabe. The mediator in me cannot fully agree with everything the girls said because not all of the things they assume guys were true with Gabriel. I know Gabe really well at this point because he is very open about himself and his feelings to me. And though he is really clueless and naïve most of the time and he really needs a lot of advice and a leash, he was not as dumb as they pin him to be.

When Jessica started saying how if he doesn’t listen to me enough, I need to send him over to Jessica to have a serious conversation about these types of things… It kind of pissed me off for her to assume that I may not be doing enough because the truth is, Gabe listens to me. I allow him to do certain things when I know it won’t affect Christelle and I tell him to stop or control himself when it makes her uncomfortable. And he does. He listens and knows. Besides, why would I send Gabe to Jessica? First of all, that’s just not like me to send him away to some person he might not even trust with this information as much as he trusts me with it. Second, Gabriel was already in such a mess of feelings that for him to be restricted or scolded even more and to be given even more rules will just drive him mad. He needs someone who would understand him, not someone who would confront him and say that he needs to seriously back off on the girl he loves. I’m giving him a bit of freedom to do what he wants but with a certain limitation and approach. Even though Christelle doesn’t reciprocate his feelings, she still wants to be friends anyway, and she doesn’t want to be harsh on him either. Besides, even though some of Christelle’s rants about him are understandable, some are just her overthinking it because when I ask Gabriel about it, he explains that it was really nothing or unintentional or that he didn’t even realize or know it was something.

But anyway, here’s a conversation we had:

Christelle was talking about the weird things Gabe did on the band practice for St. Andrews youth service. “That time, I didn’t know Gabe liked me. Mia hadn’t told me yet. But did you know he liked me that time?” she asked me.

        “Yeah, I knew for like the whole summer.” Everyone’s jaw dropped and they erupted into laughter. “Like, he told me when I was in the Philippines on 12 PM.”

        “Oh my goodness”

        “Oh my god…”

        “That’s insane!”

        “And that was like a week after I confessed to Christelle about Edwin’s crush on her.”

        Jessica gasped so deeply and Alicia laughed her head off.

        “Mia told me that Edwin liked me and I was like ‘I dunno how to feel about this…’ and I could be myself because it was Mia. But then I didn’t know obviously that Gabe told her.” Then Christelle goes on to rant about Gabe staring at her again. She says that she didn’t know that he liked her that time but she felt really weird that something was going on. Then here comes the part with Edwin again.

        “You know when Edwin came as a surprise, and then we all went to Al Wahda mall?”

        “Oh my gosh, that time! The pain I had to go through that!” I laughed.

        Before she could relay the story, Alicia’s phone starts ringing. Her parents were gonna come pick her and Jess up in a few minutes so we had to finish all this and practice one last time for Open Mic.

        Christelle continues, “So Edwin’s sitting in the passenger seat in the front. Mia and I are at the back, okay?”

        “You guys were in a taxi?” Jessica asked.

        “Yeah, we were on a taxi on the way to Al Wahda mall. And so he brings up something about…”

        “DUUDE LIKE EDWIN,” I groaned remembering that time.

        “Okay, dude, boys are stupid in general, but Edwin is a little bit extra stupid, okay?” Christelle said.

        “That was the time when Gabe was saying to me that he was not gonna confess, like he doesn’t want Christelle to know,” I said.

        Jessica gasps, “Noo wayyyyy.”

        “And then, AND THEN, EDWIN comes along and brings it up on the taxi and was like ‘GABE HAS A SECRET!’” I said while freaking out.

        “Gabe- he said- dude- what- ughmfgh-,” Christelle stuttered as she was getting so worked up. “You have to be some type of stupid to not know what a guy is talking about when he said, ‘oh Gabe has a secret’ and taunting YOU.”

        “And I was like struggling ‘cuz I wanted to keep that secret from Christelle. But like I didn’t wanna lie to her, right in front of her,” I said.

        “Yeah,” Christelle said.

        “But it’s for like the good,” Alicia said.

        “Did you find out that day?” Jessica asked.

        “No, no, no, so listen. So like, Edwin was like, ‘oh yeah Gabe has a secret’ and I was like ‘dude what’s happening?’ okay? And I was like, ‘Mia what’s going on?’ and then she just keeps laughing and was like, ‘Edwin, you’re so stupid, why’d you bring it up?’ okay? And I was like, okay- I had- it was the last thing on the list that I thought it was—Gabe’s secret—and I was like dude, no one likes me, c’mon, stupid Christelle. Don’t think about it, okay? And then we enter Al Wahda mall. We go upstairs, yah? I’m ordering McDonalds, okay?”

        “Of course. As you do,” Alicia said and Christelle laughed.

        “And then, John Adithya’s right next to me because he wanted to order something. And we’re good friends. I’m pretty close to him. And- and- I was like ‘dude, I have something to tell you and I can’t keep it in. And it’s so awkward.’ And he was like ‘what happened?’ and then I tell him what happened in the taxi. And I’m like, ‘the last thing on my list is I think Gabe likes me.’ But I didn’t say it out loud, I was like ‘I think Gabe…’ and I didn’t say the sentence and then he knew what I was talking about. And then he was like ‘dude, I don’t think so.’ And was like, ‘Good, I want it to be like that. He’s a good friend of mine. I don’t wanna ruin it,’ okay? That was the end of our conversation. And then we ordered McDonalds and went to eat, okay? And then fast forward to like one or two weeks, where I confront Mia. And Mia told me, and she can’t lie to me in my face. We’re like–” she giggles.

        “I have a hard time lying to her,” I said.

        “She can’t lie to me. So when I ask directly to Mia, like she’ll have to tell me the truth. And it’s the most like- one of the perks about being her friend.” She laughed. “So I was like, ‘dude, Mia, what’s going on?’—oh! I forgot to tell you. So, in Al Wahda, I was like, ‘hey Gabe, Edwin told me that you had some secret, yeah?’”

        Jessica started laughing with such a high pitch and Alicia’s eyes grew wide, “Good Job XD!”

        “I KNOW!- I was like, ‘dude, is everything okay?’ cuz I thought it was serious.”

        “Oh yeah, honestly,” Alicia laughed.

        “Yeah, you’d think it was serious, yeah,” Jessica said.

        “Yeah, I thought it was a serious problem! I was like, ‘dude, Gabe, are you okay? Is everything, your family, okay? Like um- I’m your friend and I would like to know if anything was serious.’ And he makes this STUPID excuse about his grandfather not being well, okay?”

        “He told me that was true,” I said.

        “Okay, wait, it was actually true?” Jessica said.

        “He said it was like kinda true, yeah.”

        Christelle paused for a while and looked at as if I had sinned for not telling her. “It was true?” The two laughed again.

        Then Jess said, “But I swear if someone said that just to have it as an excuse, I would actually kill someone. Not kill but I would really be upset. I would start shouting at him.”

        “But it’s true,” Christelle said as if trying to let that sink in with her for a while.

        “He has problems with his (family)…”

        “He just used another excuse, for something else.”

        “Cuz like Edwin talked to him before she asked.”

        “Yeah, so he told me ‘my grandfather’s not doing well, just please pray for him’ okay? And I was like ‘okay, yeah, I’ll pray for him,’ okay? End of conversation. And then fast forward to like one or two weeks- when did you tell me?” Christelle asked me.

        “One week after.”

        “In the taxi?”

        “Yeah. She was like, ‘Gabe likes you.’ and I was like ‘…no. No. Stop Mia.’ And then yeah…”

        “I would’ve never seen that coming,” Alicia said. “Like anyone else.”

        “The thing is Gabe—he brushes it off so well,” Jess said.

        “Yeah, like…”

While Jessica and Alicia were talking I had an idea to look for my blog about the part of Gabe’s confession that we were just talking about. It was in the post “Leader.” I let Christelle read it. Christelle, in her usual fashion, freaks out the moment she saw it and I started chuckling. The two paused their conversation and Christelle starts stuttering,

        “She like- she’s like-!!!”

        “Mia…” Alicia calls my name in concern.

        “She’s like blogging about it!” Christelle exclaimed.

        “No one reads it, though. Like, it’s a private blog.”

        “So you know when you can write stories and keep it to yourself?”

        “Yeah…?” Alicia’s becomes even more curious.

        “So- MIA!?” Christelle’s voice shakes and then she started reading enthusiastically the portion I showed her:

Fast forward to the next week, which happened just this past Friday, on the way home, Christelle starts asking me about Gabriel’s secret. Since I didn’t want to be the one telling her, I asked her if she asked Gabriel about it. And so she says that she did and that Gabe had this weird look on his face.

                “MIAAA” Alicia freaks out. “She’s narrating our lives! I told you!”

                “She’s narrating our lives!” Christelle repeats.

                “I told you! I told you!” I laughed.

I hate to break the confidentiality of Gabe’s secret, but I hate lying to her more.

                “Aww,” Christelle said.

                “I would read this book,” Alicia laughed. “And I know what happens.”

 So I sighed so much before actually telling her.

          Arrghhhhh, not this again,” I shook my head. I took a deep a breath and stared at her. “Gabe. likes. you.”

                Alicia and Jessica laughed hysterically at that line. “That build up!”

          And there it was again, the same face that I saw four months ago if not worse—the face that showed a crash of confusion and shock.

                “You should be a writer!” Alicia and Jessica said at the same time.

She kept screaming no and cringed so hard. It was so shocking that she even missed the taxi stop she was supposed to get off at.

                “Really?” Christelle said.

                “Yeah,” I laughed.

                “You should please write a book,” Alicia laughed.

                “Dude- I- if this was an actual book, I swear–” Christelle shook her head.

                “Yeah like, I swear you should be an FBI agent,” Jessica said.

                “Can you like- you would like- who–” Alicia was at loss for words.

                Christelle continued reading:

Since we were near her house, there was no time to discuss it fully. But she did manage to ask, “And what about Edwin???”

          “Edwin got over you.”

          “OH MY GOD, THANK YOU MIA!” Obviously, she was so relieved to hear that. At least two people don’t have a crush on her at the same time.

                “HAHA!!,” Christelle laughed.

                “This is like freaking good- like this is actually pretty good,” Jessica said.

          “It was probably because of the distance and stuff, isn’t it?”

          “Yeah, exactly that.”

          After that we bid goodbye. I went home but I finally found the right time to ask her the thing that I’ve wanted to know. On whatsapp, I sent to her,

          “Btw, since ppl like you, I’m curious. Do you have an ideal type?”

          “What do you mean?
Oh like my type of guys?

          Okay first of all
I don’t date
Well at least at this age and you know that. I believe if we date it is to marry.”

After that, I took my phone to stop her from reading the rest because the next paragraph was about us discussing what we thought of Jessica and Nithin’s relationship. Of course, I didn’t want Jessica to hear that, no no no… Anyway, Christelle said after I took the phone a way,

                “You narrate my life, Mia!”

Anyway, as the night grew while we talked, we realized we didn’t even practice that much. When we finally decided to practice, Alicia’s parents comes along, so we hurried to perfect our harmonies one last time. Then I packed Alicia’s guitar immediately and so, she and Jessica took off.

I stayed for about 20 minutes in Christelle’s room before finally deciding to leave. During that time, I let her listen to my favorite Tori Kelly videos again. Then I made her read portions of my blog here and there. I even showed her that one post was titled “With Stella.” She was very surprised that I had that as a title for one blog and wanted to read the whole thing, but I didn’t allow her because seriously, I’m so vulnerable with my thoughts in my blogs, especially when it’s about her, and I’d rather die than show her everything.

While we were in that silence sitting right beside each other, she brings up something ridiculous. She said that at one point when she mentioned John Adithya, Jessica made eye contact with me and she asked if there was a meaning behind it. She assumes that Jessica assumes she likes Adithya. She didn’t really say it, but that’s what her bothered expressions and cringing voice told me. Oh paranoid, overthinking Christelle… I didn’t even notice anything of the sort from Jessica when she mentioned Adithya. Even if Jessica did think of something about her saying how close they were, I don’t remember telepathically smirking and assuming things with Jessica about it. Christelle reads into too many things sometimes. I guess her being ENFP is really spot on.

“Campaigners don’t take things at face value – they look for underlying motives in even the simplest things. It’s not uncommon for Campaigners to lose a bit of sleep asking themselves why someone did what they did, what it might mean, and what to do about it.”

 

Tell Me

Two weeks ago, Christelle, Alicia, and I had our second practice session for the Open Mic Night. That was the last day Open Mic was accepting applications. Finally after a chaotic series of making all of our parents sign that application, we were able to send it in. Then as we practiced, for the third chorus, we decided to let Christelle do the high Ohh buildup that leads to the bridge (I called it the mountain but I called it “high hoes” as a joke and it drove us mad the whole practice lol). We spent about 30 minutes or probably more or the whole damn practice trying to get her part right. She was having a hard time getting that right and kept going back and forth trying to use different techniques on how to sing it, and also trying where to go take a deep breath and go down.

When we finished our practice, Christelle asked permission from her mom to go watch a movie with Wildfire. Just a bunch of people from Wildfire (Nithin especially) has been inviting people to watch Thor: Ragnarok with him since the night before. I didn’t really care much about Thor, especially since I’m not really into superhero movies. I was only going to go if Christelle was going to come with me. So Christelle asked her mom about it. It was kind of a funny situation because Christelle’s mom’s conditions were that if I was going to go, she could go, whereas my conditions were that I was going to go if she was going to go. So she was allowed to go since I was going. Alicia said I’ve become Christelle’s older sister, becoming that person that has to be there for the younger sibling on every event ever. It’s funny how Christelle’s mom thinks of me as that kind of person to Christelle now. It reminded me that I was really three years older than Christelle. Leaning on her as the friend that has to be there on any event outside church makes me forget our three-year age gap, but I felt it at that moment. Because I was always with her, I guess all this time, it looked like the other way around for Christelle’s mom—like I was some guardian to Christelle. Not that it’s hard to believe—heck, most of the time I think so, too lol. Oh well, I guess I really do live up to my name?

Before we left with Alicia to go to Al Wahda, Christelle’s mom scolded her and told her to bring a jacket to keep herself warm in the theater. She told her to take me as an example since I was wearing a coat. Hah, seriously, she’s setting me as up as some role model for Christelle even for things such as this. XD

But anyway, Chrsitelle’s mom packed us sandwiches to eat for dinner. It was really good. Why am I saying this, though? I’ll get to it in the next post if this one gets too long…

When Alicia and her dad dropped us off at the mall, Christelle still kept practicing the “high hoes.” She was so desperate to get it right that even when we were at the restrooms, her voice was echoing loudly in the stall. It was funny and kinda embarrassing at the same time, but she’s so shameless since she’s so focused on perfecting it. Even on the food court, since only the two of us were the only girls at that time, she only conversed with me and still kept trying to reach those notes.

There was one time tho when I showed to her the character chart from my English PACE.

Character Chart by YoMiatot

I told her that she was choleric and melancholic, making her extroverted and introverted at the same time. She argued with some of the tendencies but then would realize that oh yeah, it was right. I then told her that I was melancholic and phlegmatic, but more on the phlegmatic side. She definitely agreed with that lol. Then I told her that Gabe was choleric and sanguine, but more on the sanguine side. I also told her that Gabe and I have talked and discussed a lot about this character chart before. When I said that, she said something along the lines of, “Oh, so you talk with Gabe more than you talk with me, huh?” with a somewhat offended glare. I just laughed and said that yeah, Gabe and I chat a lot and she just throws some fit saying, “oOOhH I can’t believe you talk to Gabe more than you talk with me. OohHHo FinNEee then!” I’m pretty sure she was just joking and being fairly sarcastic about it all as she always is with most of her reactions, but was she at the slightest jealous because of that? I found it amusing. To counter, I said that how could I chat with her often if she doesn’t really answer quickly and isn’t always online? I also said that I like talking to her more in person anyway lol so that’s something right?

Anyway, we then watched the Thor movie and oh man, since we bought the tickets really late, we got the 2nd row of the cinema and it was AWFUL. The huge ass screen was so close and right in front of our face. I couldn’t see the whole picture properly unless I really leaned back in my chair and risked my neck in some ungodly position. I don’t even know why the cinema even dared to put seats that close and uncomfortable. Whoever did that was out of their minds.

But anyway, being at the end of the row of our group of people, I only had Christelle beside me. I wanted her to talk to me and make jokes with me or ask me things while we watched the movie, but she leaned more on the other side and talked with Emily, Jessica’s friend. She was that friend that Christelle once suspected hated her or didn’t like her lol but now they seem to be buddying up to each other all of a sudden. I, being the TaeYeon-ish idiot friend that I am, got lowkey jealous. Why wasn’t she talking to me? Why wasn’t she laughing with me? It made the movie less entertaining. The movie was funny on some parts yeah, but I just wasn’t a big fan of the cliché superhero storyline or progression. It would’ve been better if Christelle shared most of her enthusiasm with me. Besides, I didn’t pay money to see the movie really. I paid to watch the movie with Christelle. I live for her reactions. That’s why I felt somewhat miserable at that time.

Yulti Clingy Tae by YoMiatot

But it’s seriously ridiculous that I felt that way because it makes me feel like such an idiot to be that kind of lowkey clingy and possessive friend. And I mean I spent pretty much the whole day with her. Why was I even complaining? Her talking with some other person really made me jealous that much? It was the dumbest thing ever. Most of the time I was feeling it, I just said to God to restrain me from my feelings ‘cause being jealous of those small moments made me feel so dumb and immature. I didn’t want to keep thinking of TaeYeon’s pitiful face staring at YulTi every time it happens because it only makes me feel dumber (even though it’s pretty funny to me). I guess I can take this as God testing me again. “I Cor 13:4, Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” GOSH UGH I seriously need God to restrain my wild emotions.

After that movie, I got home and saw a bunch of messages from Gabe. He was pouring out to me again because he said,

        “I’m gonna tell you a story. So long time ago I was 12 years old. I liked this girl and was never able to talk to her. Then I confessed to her and smth idk all the details anymore and I did something. I forgot but ik it was bad.Then she pushed me away. Then I was crushed for like a year more or less. Then I moved to the Philippines to study G7 there for a year and stuff happened and I was a bad Christian even if I was like half the hyper power that I am today. Anywho, I got another crush there and like rejected and then heard someone liked me and I was so desperate, and like, we became a thing. But after I moved back here due to reasons, we sorta lost contact and it became a non-existent thing. And I remembered the girl I was sad on for like a year more or less, and within a few weeks, for some reason, for a specific reason, we talked and got close. Nothing more than close friends. But my point is how does one not make life mistakes like that. Like you’re more mature and observant. How can someone avoid all that in the future? Like I’m half scared it’s gonna reoccur. Btw I hoped u enjoyed the movie. Christelle must’ve been awesome. Thor was it? XDD”

        I remember seeing these stream of messages while Alicia, Christelle, and I were practicing earlier that day but I didn’t reply to him. I was only able to reply to him 6 hours later after he sent those messages. “Good. She leaned more to Emily’s side and talked with her during the movie lol I’m lowkey jelly but anyway, I spent the whole day with her so dunno why I’m complaining. Your long story tho, man. Don’t be scared. You’re not a bad guy. Just learn what you need from your old mistakes. And I know it will probably drive you mad if one day you guys stop talking, but just remember she is your sister in Christ before anything.”

        He laughed at the bit of me being jealous. Then he quoted “but just remember she is your sister in Christ before anything” and said, “See dis the part that keeps me sane. I mean like, not sane like in my head. Just keeps me from acting insane out there.”

Then I told him about the time when I told Christelle that I talked a lot and almost every day with him and that she had a look that she was going to kill me. Then he said, “Feels like a balance tho. She went to Emily, u felt jelly. U told her we talk a lot, she killing intent glare mode.”

        I said, “I realize like well, the only reason we are talking so much rn is because it started with always talking about her. But like of course I wouldn’t say that XDDD”

        “ofc, ofc, ofc, But how did you respond XDDDDD”

        “I just said she doesn’t reply fast enough to my messages that’s why XD”

        “HAHAHAHAHA. Sad. If I were in your place, like with a relationship of that sort, I’d ask her how she doing eryday. It’s simple.”

        “But like, it’s not my style,” I said.

        “True.”

        “And it’d be weird if I started doing it every day. I feel like I’d bother her. She always studies. Like I’m not as witty as you to start a random convo and make it all interesting.”

        “It’s called leaving a message. Witty is simply a point of view like one person sees a tree. Another person sees an inverted baby or older woman or something. One person can see it as 0+3=3 but another could say 1+2=3. And how people could say there’s no I in team. Whereas others say a team is only as strong as its weakest link. Like it’s all perspective satisfies both those desires.”

        Since he was just spurting out a bunch of ideas again continuously as he always does, I was letting him have the space to do so. I still won’t chat with Christelle every day. It’s just does not seem healthy for the both of us. However his thoughts just suddenly shifted in a second and he says, “Sometimes, I think I should confess to Stella hahaha. It’s not like anything will change. And it gets it off my chest. Who knows, maybe I’ll move on in a jiffy. But what do you think?”

        “If you are to confess to her, I suggest you also state clearly why.”

        “I was thinking of that too. So that there’s no misunderstanding or like assumption of expectation. So that it’s clear basically.”

        Since Christelle already knew anyway that he had a crush on her, I felt like it would be easier on her. And I basically know already how she feels about all of this so I said, “You also have to ask her what she doesn’t want from you and what you should watch out from doing. And like idk ask her what she might feel uncomfortable with.”

        “Mmmmmmmmmm that’s good.”

        “Cuz I mean she finds you to be a good friend so I’m pretty sure she doesn’t want to be awkward around you,” I said as Christelle have told me before.

        “Crap”

        “Why”

        “I wanted to say ‘my statement goes like this:…’ Then I suddenly felt like not doing it. Bahahahahahah”

        “I don’t think you have to complicate it.”

       “It’s not meant to be. I just realized how weird it’d be. Simply put… ‘Christelle. I like you. But you don’t like me that way. And that’s fine. Just wanted to get it off my chest. I hope we can still be good friends. Is there anything that I should refrain from doing?’”

        “I mean it’s not like you’re gonna get married. You just need to get it out, right?” Then I added, “Put a ‘hey Christelle.’ It sounds so serious.”

      “Yes but imagining me saying that now feels weird. It’s meant to be a rough draft script. Bc I intend to do it next Friday.”

        “Ok.”

Then I started writing something long and he says, “I see you typing and stopping. Two thoughts come into play: 1. You’re talking to someone irl so you stopping to talk or smth similar online whatever. 2. You’re being very cautious and considerate. Bc ur awesome. But carry on.”

        Then I finally sent my message saying, “I can tell you that she’d probably have an awkward reaction in however way you put it. But I think it’s probably new for someone to add that thought of ‘oh yeah, I know you don’t like me that way so if you are uncomfortable with this I need to get it out. What can I do to not make it weird for us?”

        “Explain the ‘but’ if it’s good or bad,” he said.

        “Well I can’t really tell,” I said because I don’t even know myself if I was giving good advice. I’ve never been in a situation where I’ve confessed my love for someone or been confessed to before. My basis for my previous statement came from what I think would be interesting story wise lol. “I’m pretty sure she’s gonna ask me anyway if I have something to do with this after you do it. So like…”

He laughs hard at my last sentence. Then I continued, “It says I’m on both sides just trying to make peace with everyone XD”

        “Wdym you’re on both sides,” he asked. “What says that and how.”

        “Look I know how you feel and I also know how she feels so like, I understand you both.”

        “Oh I see. Mediator. Peace maker.”

        “Yeah.”

        “Consul. Wait no. I’m consul. I forgot watchu were.”

        “I’m mediator.”

        “Oh, BAHAHAHA SPOT ON.”

        “Yeah. Back then I didn’t even know why that was my character trait but I fully understand now XD”

        Then he says, “Would it be bad if I feel like electricity is coursing through my nerves and onto the tops of all the hair on my body? Like dass me rn and I’m tryna slow my breathing.”

        “From all this confession talk?”

        “Yyyyyyes”

        “I mean it’s a crush. It’s normal I guess.”

       “But it’s just a crush. And I’m 17 and she’s 14 (lol she’s actually 15) and she’s a good friend and she’s adorable homagah. No ignore the last comment.” I laughed.

        “Although it’s true, it’s currently irrelevant. Like the feeling never gets old. Did you know I just laughed out loud and it sounded like an exclamation of brief pain?”

        “Hah I can imagine,” I scoffed.

        “Good that you can imagine. Means you know me well. Very observant creature u r.”

        “Look I know it gets harder now that you can think properly about a crush at this age, but like can you believe in bible ages they marry around this time. Like wow I wonder how they handle old days. Like how did crushes work?”

        He sent a bunch of “wat” and said, “U know kilig right?”

        “Yeah why”

        “U just got me into like lvl 400+ of that stuff.”

        “Oh wow I must be at fault for making you fall in love with Christelle more than you should XD”

        “How did u do that”

        “Idk u tell me XD”

The next day Gabe and I talked about the most random things and I was able to let him read Distant Sky. It’s a webtoon that I used to really like before. Since that webtoon was finished, we binged read it and discussed it. We discussed it until Sunday, and on that day, he said this to me in the middle of some random conversation,

        “Ya think it’d be better to say it before practice or after practice or smth. Sooner the better? idk shdjeidsifiwlxosofd like meh”

        “Wait, what, Is this abt what I think it is”

        “Yes. U know it. See when u don’t bring up the main point but understand either way, you know you’re close with a person. Not mega close but it’s a start. We tight 100 100 100 *fire emoji* 8) *fire emoji* Anywho yes. About that”

        “This Wednesdayyy???” I was really shocked that he was actually gonna do it. We were just talking about this two days ago and it seemed to me it would take him more than just two days to make up his mind about it. Besides, I’ve told Christelle so many times that he has no plans in confessing it. Now it’s happening sooner than I imagined.

        “Yeah. 60% says it’s bad. 40% says sooner the better.”

        “Well. 40% of me says go ahead. 60% of me is internally screaming XDDD”

        “Internally screaming bad or good?”

        “Idek. More like I’m just nervous.”

        “About how she will take it?”

        “Bcuz probably on the way home Christelle will immediately ask me about it.”

        “Ah. IK U WOULDN’T BUT FOR MY SANITY I REQUEST U DO NOT MENTION THE FANBOYING OVER HER. Ok I’m sane.”

        “Ok ok ok. But like what if she asks me about if I was part of this, and I say yes and she wants to know why, and how I’m probably gonna be on both your sides, and why I’m gonna slightly side with you, and how much I know of your feelings”

        “Wdym slightly side with me? I thought you’d be 70%+ with her and 30%- with me.”

        “Because I understand your feelings and her feelings too.”

        “Oh. Meh I betcha I’m nowhere near what she needs or wants or is looking for whatsoever so slightly on my side shouldn’t be a thing.

        I quoted his percent message and said, “It’s more like 55% 45% ish”

        “55% wid her riteeeeeeeee”

        “Yeah.”

        “Goodie. I don’t think anyone should side with me. I practically go against everything. That’s a generalization and a bad one but iz true. Ish. Kinda. Whatever. Yes. Haha. So for your sake should I ask on Friday? Cuz wouldn’t she ask on the way home, too? Or ya think she’d forget?”

        “Won’t make any difference.”

        “Uff practice it is then.”

        “She will only die more if she doesn’t get it out quickly on Friday cuz Alicia is gonna be with us.”

        “._.”

        “And I’m assuming Alicia knows nothing about her crush history.”

        “So tempted to tell her on Friday. Ahaha haha hehe.”

        “Your choice. Cuz like, do you guys wanna see each other on Friday and feel awkward? Or like confess and not see each other for a week.”

        “For ur sake and hers I’ll do it on Wednesday. I won’t feel awkward. Bc she’s Christelle. Now she may tho.”

        “Well. Eh.”

        “(Or like confess and not see each other for a week.) NO THAT’S NOT HAPPENING. That’s gonna make it even weirder, believe me. I’ve tried.”

        I remembered again that Christelle has pretty much done it before—to act normal in front of him even when knowing his feelings so I agreed with him. “(Bc she’s Christelle) Actually yeah ur right she is Christelle.”

        “MWAHAHAHA For once I’m right TToTT The accomplishment feels real. Fealz* But she’s still human and she’s still a girl.”

        “What”

        “Just bc she’s Christelle don’t mean the normal after effect will be null.”

        “Yeah of course.”

        “Maybe it could be worse as it internally echoes in her empty heart. Jk.”

        “Lol wut XD” Then I asked, “But like, before or after practice?”

        “Matters. If she comes early and I do too, I’d rather before. If not, I’ll pull her aside after. If I can even XD”

        “Yeah if you can XD Chances are if it was after we’d all be witnesses.”

        “No, I’d pull her aside. Away. Like how Jess pulled me aside when she had to tell me smth.”

        “lol ok.” I still believed that if he pulls Christelle aside and confessed to her after band practice, everyone would basically know or be curious about what was going on. It’s just not normal for us to stay at the second floor after band practice to ‘talk about something.’ But oh well, I don’t think there’s really any given situation where other people won’t find it strange.

        “Just don’t tell her that you came to me to talk about it,” I said. “If she wants to know about that, I should be the one to tell her.”

        “If she asks, tho….. Let’s say the probability she asks about anything related to you is less than 1% but it happened anyway. What do I do?”

        “Then tell her the truth, that yes we did talk about this. But just that.”

        “Mkay. So just tell her that answer to any specific question she asks and nothing more. So if she asks further, only answer those too? Cuz I picture plan z into infinity going like ‘did Mia know?’ and I be like ‘yes’ and I can’t see beyond that.”

        “If she asks any further, you can say I’m on both sides. Just don’t lie. I don’t think doing so won’t do any good. Just simply answer her questions.”

        “How can I lie to her after saying that, bc that would be so wrong.”

        “Same.”

        “I feel like God has smth hard in store. Wjdidjfiejfdjfj dang.”

        “When you confess?”

        “No. Any time after.”

        “With Christelle?

        “Idk. Idk how but He’s got smth planned jsjdjejdie it’s a gut feeling.”

        “Then ready your heart for it I guess.”

        “(When you confess?) Ok technically yes bc directly after counts as any time after. I’m never ready for a test from God. Even when I try to be. I have much to learn and improve.”

        “Well, for starts tbh I don’t think Christelle will treat you any differently, that much I can guess,” I said again. “Because she never really treated Edwin differently either. But like you’re gonna ask her about what she might feel uncomfortable with, right?”

        “Yes.”

        “Good.”

        “Remind me tmrw night in case.”

        “Ok.”

        “Help me. I feel like I’m gonna sink into an ocean. Aha ha.”

        “Pray to God for courage and a peace of mind and that you’re doing this to get it out so that you can have more space for Him. And that you wouldn’t ruin anything.”

        “THAT IS yes very essential. Yes yes yes, ty for reminding me.”

The day of band practice came and when I came in the room, Gabe wasn’t there. It only meant that he really has no choice but to confess later on. It was good that he came a little later because at least Christelle won’t be distracted the whole practice. I needed her to focus properly because we were both leading the band for that week.

Crush talk aside that practice session was kind of chaotic. Since Jordan was locked out of his youth office, he wasn’t able to print the chord sheets. I worked so hard on them so that the practice would go smoothly and accordingly to what I would do without me explaining too many things, but we had to do without them. But anyway, the set were songs that we already knew, everyone kinda followed well.

Oh, and I really do admire Jessica for trying hard to improve herself. I thought that she would ruin our duo vibe with the singing, and yes, she does still go off when we harmonize, but she tried her best. She tried really hard not to lose her key because she wanted to learn to sing while we harmonize as well. Christelle and I were patient with her and we repeated our harmonies over and over so that she could get it right. Although it still needs some work, I was really proud of her during that practice. She really has improved from what I remembered her by for the past two years. That’s what made her different from Caesius—she was actually desperate to improve herself.

Okay, back to crush confession, as we were about to go down from the 2nd floor, Gabe pulls Christelle aside before she started walking down the stairs. John Adi who felt it strange for Gabe to be doing this tried to drag them downstairs, but Gabe persisted to stay with Christelle for a little bit on that floor. I, on the other hand, sped down the stairs snickering by myself knowing what was about to go on. When the gang was out on the courtyard, Adithya approached me and asked me what was going on with Gabe and Christelle. I don’t remember what I replied with, but I probably laughed and/or said I don’t know or said to leave them. But then he smirked and said, “Wait, is this about what I think it is?” Gabe has said before that he told John Adi about his crush on Christelle, so I just smirked and nodded. At that point Jessica and John Surya asked where Christelle and Gabe were. I just said they were still upstairs. When they asked why, I told them they were talking about something. Both of them were kinda confused, but I think John Surya got the hint so the three of us were their just snickering about it. Johnathan Estephan, our keyboard player, who absolutely knows nothing about this, kept asking us what was going on but we never told him. Lol it’s better you not know, child XD.

Anyway, so we brushed it all off and played Frisbee on the courtyard. While we were playing Frisbee, Christelle and Gabe finally comes into the picture. As expected, Christelle looked like a blank and lost little girl again and Gabe is just trudging awkwardly around the place. I was dying to know what happened but I tried not to bother since there were still others around. So we just continued playing frisbee until it was time to go home.

Christelle and I rode a taxi with the two John brothers so there was not time for us to discuss what happened with Gabe’s confession. But of course, as soon as I got home, I messaged her immediately. At the same time, there were also messages from Gabe.

“She looked mega mega shocked and stuff. And like it seemed like a ‘woah’ overload ish kinda ehdjekxkekxjdfje should I really have said it?” What he didn’t know was that the ‘woah’ overload Christelle had was only because she didn’t expect him confessing, not because she didn’t know he had a crush on her.

        “Is that it? Did you say anything else?” I asked Gabe.

        I went to Christelle to ask her, too. “What happened with Gabe?”

        I came back to Gabe and said, “Did she say anything else?”

        Gabe replied, “’How long?’ Or was it since when? Same same.”

        “Did you say anything else?”

        “Nothing comes to mind. Not that I remember. It was a rush. Such a rush. I stuttered so much after. And during. Aha ha har.”

        “So like what it ended and you just came down like nothing else?” his view just wasn’t enough to picture for me lol.

        “Yeah ._. Sorry I can’t describe. It all happened so fast. And it all felt like a dream. Did you guys talk?”

        “At least you got it out,” I say like I was patting him in the back. Then I replied to his question, “No not yet.

        “Wat y not? How. Wat. Wdym. Wat”

        “2 Johns were there in the taxi with us.”

        “SAAAAAAAAD BAHAHAHAHHAAHHA. Tho what I can recall, she didn’t say much cuz I tried to make it clear that I just wanted to say it and I didn’t expect anything and like hope we can be friends and is there anything I should like lessen or anything and she was like ‘the staring’ WHICH IS SMTH THAT idk if I explained well but like it’s just a think and it just happens to be like with her and that she notices it. Even if I stare at other ppl, they don’t notice walla. Like I wish they would like whdidid.”

Just then, Christelle starts spamming me.

        “Okay first of all, does he know that I knew he liked me cuz he said ‘did you know’ and I didn’t want him to feel embarrassed or anything so I said I didn’t,” she said.

        “He doesn’t,” I replied.

        “Okay so, he just burted it out, like, ‘I have a crush on you’ and I was like ‘um’ and then I didn’t say anything. And then he asked if I knew and then he said I really wanted to get it off my chest and then I kusy had like an awkward smile on my face, you know the ones I have when I’m like nervous. And then we started to talk down the stairs. I was like, ‘I don’t know what to do with this information.’ I don’t remember what he said to that. And then I asked how long, and he was like about 2 months. And then we came out. So I asked my other friends what I should do.”

        In the middle of her spam, Gabe sent me a message saying, “Gonna leave a msg bc gonna do stuffz. But when do u think u guys will talk?”

        “She’s talking to me rn.”

        And so, with Gabe doing something else, Christelle kept going, “I think on Friday I’m just going to let him know that I don’t reciprocate the feeling just to make it clear and like ‘it was very brave of you to tell me and like you can’t control how you feel but I don’t feel the same.’ Texting will be more harsh than saying it in person so yeah.”

        I laughed at the two months part and quoted it with, “2 months huh.” Gabe said she had a crush on her 5 months ago. Was he lying? It sounded ridiculous at first, but Gabe had a pretty good reason for that later.

        “I guess so.”

        “So like tbh. We have been talking about this for a few days—him confessing to you,” I said.

        “Oh no. MIA YOU SHOULD’VE GIVEN ME A HEADS UP”

        “And like for a long time I’ve been back and forth trying to be careful of both your feelings,” I added.

        “Lol. Oh Mia. You’re in the middle.”

        Just then, Gabe comes back and asks me, “What she sayin?” I didn’t know how to reply to that since Christelle and I are basically talking about how she already knew about his feelings. So I left him hanging for a while.

        I quoted Christelle’s capslock message and said, “I was thinkin’ about it but you already knew so I was like eehhh.”

        “I didn’t know he was going to tell me. But yeah, what do you think? Should I make it clear that I don’t like him?”

        “You can do it if you want but for a long time I’ve been saying to him that I know you won’t feel the same way and he knows that.”

        “Okay, let’s see.”

        “And he confessed only cuz he couldn’t take hiding it. So I allowed him basically.”

        “You allowed him XDD Yeah it is pretty hard to just keep it in.”

        “Yeah I mean you already know so it won’t freak out as much as it did the first time. And he doesn’t know that I told you so I can’t just say, ‘hey but I already told her’ XD”

        “lol yeah anyways, I’m going to eat and go to bed. Byeeee. Good job todayyy!”

I went back to my chatroom with Gabe and he asked if we were talking in real life or in text. I told him we talked in text. Then he said,

        “Ah. Hokay. Whats up what’s up. Do she hate me? Should I crawl into a hole and die?”

        “Lol no ur fine.”

        “Did I do smth bad?”

        “Nah.”

        “Ok. Anything I can do better or could’ve done?”

        “Idk not really. It was fine.”

        “Define fine.”

        Since I don’t want to blow his high and say that it’s all fine because Christelle already knew his feelings before all of these shenanigans, I said, “Well I don’t wanna reveal our convo. Just trust me. Her view of you did not change. She was a lil shocked yes but you are fine.”

        “Ok. Ok. I don’t wanna see it anyway. Bc Bc Bc that’s weird. View didn’t change. Good. Whew. “

        “2 months tho. Really? R u sure? XD” I said. We just talked about a few days ago about how we won’t lie to her so I had to know why he said that.

        “I said I couldn’t remember hence I asked for the month then she’s like u don’t have to and then I kinda mixed up. Tried to say after school started, after summer break, like yehajzjwjxeidiedieidoeofoekfoefodofoeof idk if she got that usjqjdejf I’m dying.”

        “Ahh haha okay.”

        “November minus 2. Oct. Sept. No it was August.”

        “But you told me at June XDD”

        “Like officially August but unofficially since Edwin sorta left like ejdifidiciekcieocodfoeodiekdjfj.”

        “Ahh. Okay XD”

        “Unofficially bc I tried to suppress it. Bc like felt wrong. Also weird. That’s life. I’m dying inside help me. Ever since I got home my teeth have been beeming white light. Good thing parents aren’t home. I haven’t accomplished anything tho so it’s weird.”

        “Maybe you need to eat dinner first. Drink water lol.”

Then after a short discussion of what we were eating, he said, “I think I shouldn’t have said it.”

        “Lol why”

        “Bc even tho it’s pointless and I STRONGly wish I wouldn’t. I think I’m even more in love rn.”

        “Ohhh man. Haha that’s alright. Or maybe not. Hah.” I totally didn’t expect that this would happen. Or… Well, actually I kinda did because, yeah, the more I think about it, it makes total sense. And I’m pretty much a big part of why that happened, hence the awkward laugh. Is it weird that I kinda ship them because of how tragic and hopeless and one-sided it is? My inner taengsic shipper can’t seem to stop shipping a bunch of Titanic ships. What the hell is wrong with me?

        “Well at least u got it out right?” I said.

        “Ee. Er. Now I’m wondering if that is really a good thing. Did she ask if you were involved?”

        Oh, she knows I am involved lol. “Eh kinda yeah.”

        “Did she do everything you anticipated?”

        “Yeah.

        “Proves just how well u know her. Lucky.”

        “Actually I said it without her asking.”

        “Why? If it reveals convo, don’t worry I understand.”

        “Yeah.”

        “Gotchu. U guys still talking?”

        “Nah it ended quickly tbh.”

        “Wow. Like a lightning bolt? Like boom in and out?”

        “We talked for like 10 mins or less and she said she had to go eat.”

        “Oh. She always has smth to do. Dis girl I swear.” Then he said, “Dang do you reckon smth bad gonna happen?”

        “No.”

        “Why nooooooot”

        “Idk I’m sure she won’t like shun you.”

        “But?”

        “But wat?”

        “Idk felt like a ‘but’ was coming. I’m nervous. How do I act? Like. This isn’t supposed to change anything but. For me it changes everything. Sjdjeicieicodofekfkdid”

        “Well I mean she understands. Cuz like I told her about why you did this.”

        “That’s calming. Legit my heart rate has gone down drastically after reading that.”

        “Good don’t get anxious. The more you do the more it could turn bad.”

        “THAT’S A PARADOX sorta. Er loop. Bc like. Worrying makes me feel nervous and it makes me feel like bad things gonna happen which makes me worry a lot which makes me feel nervous which makes me feel like bad things are gonna happen which… but this broke the loop. It should be fineeee.”

After thirty minutes of the conversation in a pause, he said, “Best past 15 mins I’ve had in a while.”

        “What”

        “There’s more to Christelle than meets the eye that I gotta find out. Oh well.”

        “Wdym”

        “’Rough past that made her how she is today’, ‘a school side that apparently if I knew, I wouldn’t like her’, ‘smth she has to tell me in person.’ Why do I put quotation marks? Idk it feels cooler.”

        Confused by all that he is saying, I said, “Wait u guys talked?”

        “Yes? Y?”

        “Haha nothing.” It sounded to me like Christelle was trying hard to help him turn off his feelings for her. I don’t know what the hell she means by those but it sounds ridiculous.

        “I’m smiling so hard rn. I’d be a lighthouse I swear.”

        Still bothered by what she meant, I asked, “What past lol she hasn’t said stuff like that to me”

        “Wut. I shouldn’t have told u. I thot u knew everything. Dang. Daaaaaaang. Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaang.”

        “I told you we don’t chat that often.”

        “Right, right, right. But u are a character observer. I think body language speaks for itself. That plus just doing things within the vicinity of each other is said to be how relationships are build. Er that’s why people go to an arcade in Japan or so game theory says, like go to an arcade together, or fish together.”

        “Or ride taxi together lol.”

        “Like even if it’s not directly interacting with each other. Or ride taxis together XDDD”

        “But like now I’m curious lol what is she talking abt XD Man.”

        “Dang. Dangggg. Dang still I thought she would’ve told u.”

        “I wish.”

        “I’ll ask tmrw or Friday if she’ll tell me.”

        “What could possibly be so bad abt her like I can’t imagine.”

        “Ikr. So curious.”

        “I mean u and I shared our bad sides and we didn’t really stop being friends so like hah what must be so bad that she thinks you’d stop liking her?”

        “Eh. Ehhh. Ehhhhhh. People have opinions.”

        “Hm well maybe it’s just a lowkey thing that she’s saying she don’t feel the same way, huh. Idek.”

        “Nah why’d she be lowkey? Besides I’ve said I didn’t expect anything from her like feelings. Liek. Yeah. Can you chop of my arms? I feel so tempted to call her and stuff and andjekceicjdicjdcjdiic Like et more often too. Like confessing seems to have done the opposite effect. Dang.”

        “Hah oh no XD” Again, this is partly my fault. I need to be more careful. This can’t get any worse. Christelle will only feel even weirder if he actually does what he says he wants to do.

        “Yes. It seems to have amplified my feelings even tho she has done nothing.”

        “Wow XD”

        “Yes. Bad stuff. Now I feel protective and possessive. That’s bad. This has not happened before. As far as I can remember.”

        “Wow that makes it two for her now.”

        “BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAH. I have a bad feeling smth gonna stir inside me if someone makes too too much fun of her. Just a feeling. This is bad.”

        “Oh no, you’re gonna burn up just as much as I do XD”

        “Do you burn inside or outside?”

        “Both ways XD Like do u know y I don’t ship her with John A?”

      “Ik now.” Then he said, “How does one know when to act? Like not act like acting. But act as in take initiative and stuff?”

        “Idk it just comes out naturally to me.”

        “Mmmmmmmm I see.”

        “Like tbh I didn’t know I was this possessive and overprotective until Christelle came along XD”

After that we talked about other things until we said goodnight. But then the next morning, he quoted my msg “What could possibly be so bad abt her like I can’t imagine” and said at 6 am in the morning,

        “She didn’t actually say it’s smth bad and I wouldn’t like her for it. She said a lot of things I don’t abt her cuz I only see her twize a week and that if I saw stuff like her school side yeah…”

        So it seems like he was exaggerating things last night, huh.

        “Then she said she’s also not like other girls, no cliché intended. Bc smth of the past. SEE IM ALSO CONFUSED RN BC SHOULD I BE SHARING DIS WID U XDDDD Like I wanna and ur her guardian technically speaking. But u don’t know this so like ujejdieocieif She didn’t say don’t tell anyone but like It felt like it was implied. I feel bad now. How do ik what not to share with u and what to share with u? Unless everything is a must to share with u. Pls plz need answers XDDDD”

        I was only able to reply at 8 am and I said, “Well I mean I want to know everything but like if she says it is confidential then it is.” Then after over analyzing his messages, I said, “Anyway, I feel like we all have such different sides outside church but that won’t really change the fact that what we chose to be in church is still us. And lol even if she wasn’t ‘like most girls’ that only makes her 2X more special XD Isn’t that the reason why ppl like her? XD And I bet you there are probably more girls claiming they are not like most girls more than what ‘most girls’ are defined as. So most girls are basically not like ‘most girls; meaning many girls are not the same as the popularized idea of a normal girly girl bcuz the world is diverse and God is creative. But ppl take the term ‘most girls’ kind of literally that now everyone with a lil manly side or something not girl/common to public suddenly define themselves as tomboys, or lesbi&trans or just whatever they think of themselves as or in this case, ‘not like most girls’. It’s common to be different. Same goes for guys too in some ways I assume. Anyway lol got carried away XD. With a brain like min I can’t fathom what “most girls” or “most guys” are exactly supposed to be like cuz I see difference in everyone XD”

Anyway by the evening, he replies and says he agrees with what I said and all that. But anyway, somewhere along our conversation that night, he said,

        “Btw the reason she hasn’t told u is bc it never rly came up.”

        “Told me what? Oh about her past thing? I guess.”

        “Yeah.”

        “Did she say this (Btw the reason she hasn’t told u is bc it never rly came up.)

        “Yeah. Like she’d be fine telling u.”

        “Ah.”

        “Lucky.”

        “The question is will she? Cuz I don’t really start conversations and I don’t think I’d even ask about it.”

        “Lol. She will but it has to come up. Like someone has to bring it up. Like if u wanna. I can maybe help plan.”

        “Lol what eve is it like how are u gonna bring it up if u don’t know?”

        “Like ok. I meant like set up mini convos for u. Mini scenarios that may or may not lead to the ending where u find out what it is.”

        I was really curious about these secrets or whatever that he was saying Christelle was talking about. It kinda drove me mad that there was something either heavy or bad that she’s keeping from me. Maybe it wasn’t even bad, but me overthinking things made me nervous. I felt like maybe I didn’t need to know. So I just sent a confused meme of TaeYeon to him lol.

After that, he changes the topic to a totally different one. He just started ranting to me about about his parents, especially his dad. I don’t really want to elaborate this so let’s just say he’s frustrated about his dad. He’s at fault for being a teenager who doesn’t know any better, but his dad wasn’t perfect either so I just tried to say what I could in the eyes of God. It’s kinda hard when someone just starts relaying their heavy burdens to you. It makes me seriously think of what I have to say. Obviously, I should say what is according to God’s Word, but it’s very challenging to figure out what is the right thing to say. Because when it comes down to it, should I be on his side and comfort him? Should I be on the opposing side and convict him for his wrongs? Sometimes God makes that choice really challenging. I get now why Solomon asked for wisdom… If I’m having a challenging time just talking to a friend, how much more pressure would Solomon have had being a king making decisions and giving advice to people?

On Friday, I didn’t come for the church service so I only arrived at church for Wildfire. While we were setting up, Jessica said that Christelle told her about Gabe’s crush on her. And both of them went on about how they were talking about him and suddenly Gabe came up before them like a surprise and they were so shook lol. Anyway, before I get fully into the Gabe-Stella situation, I should say the set for the band went really well. We may have been going a little fast on one of the songs but it was okay since it wasn’t that noticeable at the moment. Jessica had gone off again at one of the songs but that too was fine. She tried her best so I don’t hold that against her anymore. But okay, anyway, after Wildfire, Christelle talked with Gabe saying that she doesn’t reciprocate his feelings just to make things clear for him. He already knows that but Christelle just wanted to say that to him face to face. However, while we were at the courtyard, as Christelle, Adi, and Alicia and I were talking, Gabe occasionally tries to suddenly butt in the conversation to listen. It’s obvious now to me, Christelle, Jessica, and probably Adi, that he did that because he wants to be in Christelle’s presence. I found it funny but at the same time a little bothered because now that he knows Christelle knows he likes him, it’s like he feels as if it’s valid to show his affections even more. But isn’t the reason why Christelle told him she didn’t feel the same way is a way of telling him to not act in a way that would make it weird for the both of them? I know he was just trying to be subtle, but for us it is just way too obvious what his intentions were. It makes all of us uncomfortable.

Being so bothered by this, Christelle talked about it with me and Alicia while on taxi ride. Now Alicia knows as well. Then it just became a full blown girl talk on that car ride as Alicia admits that guys have had crushes on him and kind of confessed to her, too. They talked about how it felt weird being liked by guys because they were so weird. They kept saying that they couldn’t understand why guys like them and I’m just there in the middle of the both of them thinking, “You guys are literally the type of girls guys would have crushes on.” They also ranted about how why guys can’t just keep their feelings in because they themselves can’t confess to any of their crushes lol.

Then it came to the topic of their current crush. I don’t remember if Alicia mentioned anyone, and obviously when asked, I said I had none for a long time, but Christelle said she did kinda like someone. Since she told me before that she didn’t like anyone, I never asked her again about that, but now she has someone in mind? Of course I had to know who. It was a guy named Joe. He is fairly new to Wildfire. He is American and he has an adopted Chinese sister named Lee that Christelle often chats with. Joe’s blonde hair is somewhat a mess most of the time and he’s a very cool and laid-back looking guy. He’s almost like a perfect cast for an original character I had back then named Jasper who happens to be Jack and Alice’s cousin. Basically, his features can easily be considered as part of the Turvey family lol. He occasionally approaches us while we rehearse and he also just recently started helping out with the sound system. Apparently he says he learned how to sing and learned music terms by touring with a fairly famous Christian band (I don’t remember what band it was but something like Hillsong) and Christelle always raves about that. Now I get why she finds that so cool to the point that she says it every time she mentions him. Although she’s not exactly sure yet if she really has a huge crush on him Alicia and I have now teamed up on teasing her about it lol. She shouldn’t have said it unless she was sure because now I feel like Alicia and I will lowkey make sure that she actually has a serious crush on him XD. Man, if that guy actually started going to the band as Christelle and I have been trying to convince him, I feel like they will actually become a thing.

Anyway, we carefully arranged our parts one last time at Christelle’s room. Alicia decided to do adlib high harmonies for the first chorus since she wasn’t feeling the harmony I tried to arrange the week before. She did like an echo of every word and we really loved that idea. We also perfected the ‘high hoes’ part of the 3rd chorus and we basically got everything down for it. Other than finally completing and perfecting everything, that practice was ridiculous. We were laughing almost every moment of it especially when we hear a mistake. And there was this time when there was a fly buzzing around her room. We decided to open her window so that it would go out, but instead a bird flew to it and we almost had a heart attack thinking it would come in the room. So we closed it again and I swore to kill that fly somehow. I didn’t really know if I could kill it, but I was just so annoyed by it that when it landed on the window, I was able to kill it with one blow.

In the middle of that practice, when we took a break, Christelle kept ranting again about Gabriel and his actions. At first I wasn’t really fully siding with all of her claims of him being a creep, but when she showed me their text log, about how Gabe asked her if it was okay for him to talk to her every day, I get started to get why. And since I was more curious about what Gabe was talking about with her ‘past’ thing or different side, I read on and found that it wasn’t even that big of a deal as Gabe had made it sound to be. She was only talking about how he doesn’t know her that well and that she was kind of different in church and in school. It wasn’t as if it’s a big secret that she has kept from me and I’m honestly kinda annoyed that it sounded like that from Gabe’s view since he got me lowkey paranoid and all. I don’t want to take sides, but this really made me side with Christelle even more. And by siding I mean trusting Christelle more and having a desire to set more boundaries for Gabe when it comes to her.

Anyway, as she was ranting about, Gabe was texting her and she immediately shut him down by saying we’re practicing lol. Because of that, he texted me about the same time, saying,

        “I see ur online at 5:14 and Christelle was on earlier. My hypothesis: you’re at her place practicing and you guys took a break or smth idk. And ur online now. Amiright? C’mon I’m a good detective *fire emoji* 8) *fire emoji*”

        I showed that text to Christelle and Alicia and Christelle cringed hard. I mean really, I get that you’re desperate but that was just a bit too much.

        “Yeah. We’re on a short break,” I replied.

        “Elementary, my dear Watson,” he said. And for some reason he goes on and says, “OH HOW WAS RAGNAROK? DID I ASK THAT B4? I should’ve asked.”

        “Yes.” That was literally just a week ago and we talked about it. I can’t believe he’d forget that so quickly.

        “Oh rip. BAHAHAHA. Was it nice? Mama said reviews weren’t good.”

        “Lol ok,” I said not really caring about the reviews. Then Christelle asked for my phone to end my convo with Gabe. She typed in, “Gotta go. Bye.” I never say bye to Gabe with a period since I feel like it might sound harsh. But anyway, even though Gabe has good hunches sometimes, he’s still very naïve and he probably wouldn’t know Christelle just shut him down twice, or no, actually three times that day.

When we perfected our song, we were able to jam to other song as we waited for Alicia’s parents to come pick her up. Since Christelle’s mom kept insisting for us to eat dinner there, Alicia was able to extend her time there. When we were eating dinner, Christelle and Alicia kept arguing about when we can practice again (since Open Mic was that coming Thursday). They argued about how we should not play in the band that week and about when we can meet to perfect our song one last time while I was just there listening. It’s so amusing to watch them just argue back and forth and interrupt each other’s sentence, but the funniest thing is when they turn to me to hear my opinion and I have nothing to say because I have no opinion. I’m always good with whatever they decide to do and they were frustrated even more because of that XD. But the weirdest thing is somewhere along the conversation, they started talking about tongue length and said how strange their tongues were. But I told them theirs are never gonna be as weird as mine. I showed them how damn short mine was, they thought I was messing with them. In the end they came to the conclusion that yeah, I had the shortest tongue ever. XDDD

When we came back to her room, Christelle burped so hard and she laughed at herself in her usual fashion as if she’s the funniest person in the world. Then Alicia said while staring at her as she laughed, “I get now why Gabe likes you.” Alicia and I looked at each other and I said that I totally agreed with her. Christelle thought we were being sarcastic but Alicia said she wasn’t being sarcastic. See, even Alicia can see how charming of a person Christelle is even when she’s being such a dork at that moment. Alicia gets it. It’s not so hard to see what’s so good and lovable about her. Christelle just has that kind of energy that would make you love her even though the things she does are not even considered attractive. It’s just the way she is.

Anyway, the next day, in our Chocolate Covered Pretzels group, Alicia, Christelle and I started to think more seriously about our name. We argued in the afternoon for about an hour and a half or something and we kept suggesting and fighting over names the three of us can’t ever agree on. In the end, we came up with a few names and we flipped coins to get our final band name was. We ended up with Vapor Lights. Because of that, I designed a new similar logo to Chocolate Covered Pretzels, but Christelle said to take off the pretzels so I used a photo I took this summer and we loved it.

3 by YoMiatot

With Stella

That Wednesday after the Leader Conference, Christelle and I lead the band as we planned. Not many members came that week which was easier for me to handle so everything was pretty chill. Since it’s been about four weeks since that day, I don’t remember much of everything but I do remember one thing. It was the conversation Christelle and I had on the way home. For some reason I don’t remember, she started talking about the moment Ethan left for college. She said their family tried not to cry but eventually they did when they said goodbyes. Since she talked about that, she couldn’t seem to help but relate it to the future of our friendship. She went on again about what she was going to do when I leave. Every time we have this conversation, there’s a layer of feelings we try so hard to suppress. The thought saddens us both, that’s for sure. But man, it cuts me every time she brings it up. After we talk about it, a deafening silence usually follows. It’s like both of us need some air every time it’s mentioned.

I do remember after a silence saying, “Man… I don’t ever want to say goodbye to you.”

I don’t remember anymore how she exactly reacted to that, but from what I remember faintly, she may have said, “OH. Nope. NOPE.” Or maybe a bunch of wailing while she says “We’ll deal with it when the time comes.”

I actually don’t even know how we’ll be able to deal with it when the time comes. I’m a person who likes to grieve a few months before things actually happen. Her bringing it up and then putting it off kinda drives me crazy. I feel like I would be so depressed if I don’t deal with it now… but then again, I don’t even know how to deal with that sadness right now. The best that I can do really is spend time with her as much as I can. By the time this year ends, I already know that I’m going to be closer to her than ever, but Life will separate us. Oh… the thought is really frightening but still, life goes on.

Anywaayy… that Friday, my mic was oddly loud. I kinda hated that it was since it amplified how imperfect my voice was, but anyway… I had fun singing with Christelle and mashing up Vapor and With Everything. That’s what mattered right?

On the way home, her mom drove us home. As she was driving, she was talking about the very frustrating case of a parent just handing Jordan money for food right on the time of Wildfire. Since parents take part in preparing what lunch we hungry teenagers should have, it’s only common sense that they buy number of easy to eat food for us—not just give money to Jordan and assume he has enough time and headspace to buy food for 30+ people 30 minutes before Wildfire actually starts. It was so stupid on the parents’ side and it was hectic for the church staff to try and find what they can do. Hopefully, they were able to get enough food from a short amount of time, but seriously, that was just so dumb.

Anyway, as we were just talking about food, Christelle’s mom asks me if I want to go home with them and eat some biryani. Being the somewhat Christelle trash I am, I agreed to come with them. I’d do anything to hang out with her—just the two of us. Because of this, I got to Christelle’s room for the second time in less than a week. She prepared me some biryani and ate it even though it was a little spicy and I didn’t even like biryani that much. Then we jammed to some songs. I couldn’t record it because my iPod has been faulty for a while. It’s a shame but anyway, I can just write down what I remember. She made me listen to a lot of Young the Giant songs and covers of a married couple on youtube. Since she was sharing her music, I was able to share some too. I let her listen to 11:11 because I used to always play that on guitar last year. I also showed JRA’s duet cover of Like I’m Gonna Lose you and she said that we should jam to that some time. I also let her listen to the recordings of her and Vida singing together. She hated how she sounded but she was satisfied to hear them whenever Vida harmonized with her. Oh, and we took a video of our Vapor-With Everything mashup. Then an hour before 5, she said she wanted to post our Sorry We Don’t Talk mashup on instagram. I told her that she couldn’t record a whole video for her story since it was only 10 seconds. When she realized that, she then made up her mind that we should sing it under 10 seconds. So for about 45 minutes, we tried taking a 10 second video and made so much mistakes. It was the funniest thing ever to do it and fail most of the time. I think my favorite video isn’t even the one that we nailed perfectly—it’s us laughing too hard after I made a mistake. It was such a fun time.

Since it was turning late, my mom texted me to go home, so I got ready to go home. I was planning on walking but Christelle’s mom wanted to offer me a ride. Since she was so persistent, I couldn’t comply. Then she told me to wait 10 minutes for her to get ready. Feeling like that’s too much of a hassle, I called my mom to see if they could pick me up instead. After all, it was my dad’s birthday that day and we were supposed to eat dinner on Friday’s. When my mom said yes, I told Christelle to tell her mom not to worry about it. So I was able to wait for a few more minutes.

As I was waiting, Christelle said she wanted to paint on the drawing that I drew of her a few weeks back. I told her to go ahead and do what she wants cuz it’s hers. And so, she went to her desk to paint on it. While I was on her bed charging my phone, I played some English covers of Sam Kim and ohhhhhhh man. If only I had my iPod working. Hearing her just humming and harmonizing WITH Sam Kim was sooo good.

Anyway, after that, I went to eat with my parents on Friday’s. Since steak is my dad’s favorite dish, we ordered it and gahhhhhhhhhhhhhh it was soo gooood.

Just now as I’m writing this, I kinda feel like a horrible daughter. When I was about to leave Christelle’s house, I told her it was my dad’s birthday and she said I should’ve spent time with him. I said it was okay, but I’m just realizing now how bad it kinda sounds. It was my Dad’s 50th birthday, too.

But honestly, what would we have done during the day? Sleep? Watch TV at home? That’s what we always used to do after church… Anyway, I do try not to neglect my parents every day or act like they’re the most annoying people. They’re not. I try to be their energy whenever I can.

 


 

The next Wednesday, a new member joined the band. It’s Alicia. Chinaza has mentioned her before as someone who plays guitar and I do see her in Wildfire most of the time. She’s very chick and apparently she’s related to Youtuber Liza Koshy. Christelle said she has harmonized with her before and it wasn’t bad. With all the information I knew about her, I was looking forward to see how she will do. I had a good feeling that she has a potential to be good or at least doable and not poisonous.

I was right. She harmonized quite well with Sebastian and I could already hear her more than Chinaza (I still don’t know how Chinaza sounds like tbh). She’s not the best at it yet but she has that vibe to her to be good at it. Since she’s still young, there’s still a lot of time to improve. She’s not the best with guitar either—her strumming needs a lot of work—but nevertheless, what I like about her is that she wants to practice before the practice. She honestly wanted to go last week but since she said she didn’t have enough time to practice the songs, she didn’t go, and also because she had somewhere to go but anyway. But anyway, we usually just have a window of Tuesday to practice the songs when the songs are decided on late, and most of the members don’t even practice. So for her to want to practice the songs says a lot about her. I like it. It gives me hope. And even though she may not be as good as me, I think I may have found a replacement to be Christelle’s band/music friend.

Oh and by the way, since I never hear Chinaza’s voice and feel like she’s just standing there doing nothing most of the time, I lent her one of my shakers. It seems I have found something enjoyable for her to do cuz she was unstoppable with it. She’s even on beat using them. It was amusing.

The next day, Thursday, right after I finished my last Math test FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE, I crashed on my bed and wanted to rest and sleep. I worked hard for that last pace (and probably got the highest score I ever could after a long time of getting line of 80 lol. I only made one dumb mistake so I’m proud of myself to get a 97). But just a few minutes after I was lying there, I got a message from John Surya.

Since that guy is so predictable, even before opening his message, I knew he would be asking me for a favor. And I was right. He was asking me to play for St. Andrew’s Youth Service and that I should come to practice later that evening. I asked him if this was for next week and he said no, it was for tomorrow. Again, he’s doing things so last minute. Oh, John… What’s even worse was that he asked me to play the acoustic and not bass. That means I have to seriously learn the songs since in a way, I’d be leading instead of just being at the back doing whatever the heck I wanted with the bass.

So I debated whether I should go since practice was at 9 to 10 which is kinda late to me. I didn’t want to go to Refuge at all unless Christelle was gonna go with me… And what do you know… Just a few minutes after John messaged me, Christelle messaged me asking me if I was going. Apparently John has asked her to sing, too, and now she was asking me if I was going to go because if I go, she goes. So knowing her to be filled with so much school work all the time, I asked if she was tired or not and if she wanted to go to Refuge. She said she wasn’t and she will go with what I decide. Since I’m given the choice, I said that we might as well go since I want to see her. She then tells me I’m sweet for saying that lol.

After taking a bath and all, I played the songs that John sent and oH my gosh, there was one song, hymn, or whatever it was that just sounded SO AWFUL I couldn’t play the whole thing. The song is “We Plough the Fields, And Scatter.” I bet you, I tried to find a decent version of this everywhere in youtube but they were all just so BAD. I had zero patience to learn it at all.

My speakers were even on full blast that moment I played it for the first time and I was embarrassed that my mom could possibly hear that awful song from my room. I decided then that I do not want to play that song and John Surya cannot force me at all to do it. Anyway, as I was studying the songs hurriedly, Christelle texted me and said that she was gonna go to my place. I misread it all as me getting a ride with her and her parents, but actually, she was saying that she was going to be dropped off at my place. So then when she arrived at around 7:00, I came down a building. But since it was way too early, we had to wait ‘til 7:30 and I had to take her in my room. Because of that, I kinda panicked a little since I never told this to my parents. But anyway, I notified my dad just in case they might be dressing up or something. And good thing I cleaned my room a few days before or else my room would’ve been a mess.

So there we practiced on one song and we both talked about the awful song on the set list. She too couldn’t take it the first time she heard it and she cringed just as much as I did. She did not want to sing the song at all so we were trying to make plans on how to go about avoiding that song later.

As we waited, I asked her if she knew any kpop songs. She said her friends tell her about boygroups and mainly BTS and the only song she has liked was Blood, Sweat, and Tears. She said her friends show her pictures of them too and said they’re pretty handsome. Me being the somewhat hipster and girlgroup stan, I told her that there are very good girl groups, too. I told her that I look more on music quality than I did on appearance, and she said she figured. Trying to think of something aesthetically pleasing and somewhat westernized, f(x) clicked to me and I showed her the 4 Walls MV. I honestly debated which MV would be best to show her. I did think of showing her TaeYeon’s I or Fine but since she liked Blood, Sweat, and Tears, I wanted to show her something strong with girl groups as well. What else would be the best thing but Girls’ Generation The Boys?

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SUCH ELEGANCE. LOOK AT THEM DANCE. THIS IS SONG IS AS POWERFUL AS YOUR FEMINIST PERSONA. THEY ARE THE BEST. AND LOOK AT THAT SQUARE EMBOSED THING ON MY TABLE. THAT’S THE ALBUM. After that, I showed her the Mr.Mr. dance practice. Aside from the dance being so cool, I wanted to let her hear those amazing vocals. To me I think Mr.Mr. has one of the greatest music structures for SNSD. I mean they change keys two times so smoothly. Who else has done that in girlgroup history? After that, I showed her one last MV before we took off, which was Lion Heart. I told her that’s the MV that relates to the big ass poster I had on my wall. I proceeded to tell her about the crazy good quality of the albums. I showed her the Lion Heart album and a little bit of the My Voice Sky version. She said they were so pretty and their skins are so fair lol.

On the way to Refuge, she told me about things that happened in project serve and how the adopted girls they served in Chennai were going to church tomorrow. She said that most of the girls were looking for Christelle and she was so touched that they would remember her out of all the people who volunteered. So she didn’t want to ever miss seeing them tomorrow. I hate to bring her hopes down but I told her that we’re about to go to Refuge and practice later so that we can play at St. Andrews, basically missing the ECC’s second service. And oh man, the look on her face… When she realized what she has gotten into, she freaked out. She didn’t ever want to miss seeing the kids who remembered her out of everyone. Even though she was going to meet them on Saturday, she still wanted to see them on Friday. So I wondered about how I should comfort her and told her that maybe after the set is done tomorrow she could leave early and meet them and maybe even avoid that gosh awful song. It’s hilarious that she took it as an approval rather than a suggestion.

It’s really funny how she claims how awkward she feels being in Refuge. She always talks about how she doesn’t like meeting new people as if she’s the most anti-social person. Even though she’s good at socializing, her melancholic side must hold her back in a lot of situations.

At refuge, we played a touch game, ninja, and then Jill taught us about the importance of meditation. It’s still very loosely taught as always and she just made us draw and write stuff that makes us describe or think about God. The teachings in refuge are just never enough for me so when Jill made us do these things, I took it way too seriously to actually learn something decent. I think I’m the only one who took serious effort to draw something that described that one verse and write a whole A4 list of what God is. Honestly Refuge doesn’t even come close to spiritual milk. It’s more like candy, or like a quick sugar fix. There’s nothing wrong about that, but it just doesn’t give me enough nutrition.

When the “lesson” was finished, before practicing, Christelle asked for my hand and painted a heart on it. My heart was honestly fluttering a little bit when she was painting on my hand. Nobody has ever done this to me before. She was even using purple, her favorite color. It was like she was painting her mark on me. It excited me and gave me energy to play my best for the practice.

During practice, Beth, a singer I met for last year’s St. Andrew’s youth service, said that she was 17 and I was really shocked. Since she had a somewhat Alice vibe to her appearance despite being British, I’ve always thought she was older than me. Now that I’m 18, it seems like I’m above everyone else. It feels so weird. Being 17 was the perfect age because many people were younger than me but I still had someone older than me many people younger than me. Now I look at 14 year olds like teenage-wannabes because of their trying-to-fit-in personalities. I suddenly have a clear view of how 12 to 17 year olds act like. It’s satisfying in some way to know I’m over most of the problems they go through, but at the same time, it feels weird. I have a new set of problems coming my way, but it’s less annoying than when I was a dimwitted teen.

Anyway… practice went well and Christelle and I were able to avoid being part of that awful song. At 10 we went home.

The next day, Friday morning, I arrive at St. Andrews about 5 minutes late. Everything was already set up when I got there and I just had to pick up the guitar. Since I’ve played the St. Andrews hall before, I didn’t feel nervous. I was actually pretty confident especially since Jonathan was there to play drums, John Adi was good with the keyboards, and John Surya was fairly good with the bass. There were a number of singers too so it was a pretty solid band unlike last years when it was so rough since Jorge (Sebastian’s brother) played an instrument that was not his expertise. Christelle arrived about 5 minutes after I did and she said she was nervous. She has never been to the St. Andrews mass before so she was conscious about everything as always. Either way, the band was great and we played well. After the mass, Beth got baptized. It was interesting to see her get baptized. Although I do not believe in some of their church’s methods, it still touched my heart that she was able to come to God and be baptized.

When it all ended, Christelle and I walked back to our beloved church ECC. When we reached halfway the British school building, a guy approached us asking for help (money) and showed us a gross ass wound under his sleeve claiming it was cancer. Since I had weak spots for “poor” people like those, I was almost inclined to help but as my parents say, it’s not wise to just give away money to people like that. I didn’t know what to do, but good thing Christelle was there. She said sorry we can’t help very confidently. When we had some distance from the man, I said I never know what to do when that happens and suddenly she says it is fake. I was blank for a moment because I never really thought of it that way, so then she said “When have you ever seen a gross open wound with cancer? Cancer happens internally.” That’s when it hit me. How stupid I’ve been, huh. Of course. And besides, it’s illegal to beg and they just come here to take advantage of Christians. Then she said the story of how Jonathan once came up to a guy doing the same thing and straight up tore that fake wound off and somewhat fought the guy. Jonathan has some serious guts to do that, man. I can never do that.

After wildfire, on the ride home, Christelle says she feels weird about Gabe recently. Since I have told her before that Gabe likes her, I guess she was noticing more than she should. Edwin should have never opened his mouth but oh well, I guess I have to deal with this. She says that Gabriel makes her feel really uncomfortable. She proceeds to tell me about the names Gabriel call her, such as “luv” or that time after wildfire on the church courtyard when he was staring at her for a while for no particular reason. I was there when he was staring at her absentmindedly and I was even trying to send him signals behind Christelle’s back to cut it off.  She told me that wasn’t the only time though because he was pretty much doing it the whole day. I didn’t think she would notice him staring at her but I guess she did. Since I didn’t want her and Gabe’s friendship to turn weird because of these dumb crushes, I told her that I will definitely talk to him about it.

I think this one-sided love story is much more serious than just the Edwin confession months ago. Why? Because Gabe trusts me too much with keeping his feelings a secret from her, and Christelle trusts me too much to assume that I would tell her anything that goes on. It’s somewhat stressful that I have to be careful of my words and both their feelings at the same time, but it’s oddly fun. I mean Gabe and I have been chatting often at night, and ever since he told me he had feelings for Christelle, we bring her up a lot. We didn’t really talk about it too much before but ever since Edwin came back to visit with his running mouth, it’s like we seem to find a way to start a conversation with her in mind. He comes to me for advice and I give it to him. He asks me about relationships and I answer him with all that I know. I tell him lots of things about Christelle because at least I have someone to talk to that understand my love for her. So in a way, I’m pretty much making him more in love with her, which puts me at fault since Christelle feels uncomfortable about it. I honestly didn’t think he was being obvious before—probably because his sanguine personality just makes him seem like the friendliest guy ever—but I guess he was kind of crossing a thin line that day. If Christelle didn’t know anything, she probably wouldn’t take notice, but she does know so now I have to put some kind of leash on him without actually saying that she knows everything. Oh… my life as a mediator is hard. Much respect to Jesus, the wisest and most patient mediator who ever lived.

Anyway, I’ll talk more about this matter later.

Christelle and I went to her home again and started planning what we could sing for the Open Mic night. Choleric christelle wanted to list out every possible song we could do, and we tried singing most of them. Even though we were jamming to a lot of familiar songs and also suggesting things here and there, we couldn’t come up with anything certain. Nothing really clicked with us. It went on for hours until at the last minute, I suggested, “What about Vapor?” We tried it out and it was good. It was solid since we already practiced on it. I could sing on it too. So we recorded it and it was exactly 4:58 seconds. Performances should be under 5 minutes so it was crazy that it ended with 2 seconds left to 5 minutes. We went hysterical finally finding the song we really wanted to do after hours of planning and I finally decided to go home at 5:30.

I walked home and the weather seemed cooler. The wind felt great. It took me about 20 minutes to get to my home so I got some a good exercise from that especially with the bass on my back lol.

As soon as I get home, Alicia messages me telling me she wants to join Christelle and I for the Open Mic. So I decided to create a group and we discussed it there. I was happy that Alicia would be joining us. I felt like it would be awkward to have just Christelle’s powerful voice dominating the whole Domes, so with her harmonizing maybe it would give Vapor a fuller sound to it.


 

A few days later, Jessica said that she finally has time for the band and is going to lead that week. I really loved the setlist that she picked and was excited to play guitar for it. I did not want to miss it. A lot of people said they were gonna come, including Christelle. So I definitely had to go. However, as I was preparing myself to co-lead the set with her, I received a message from Jonathan desperately wanting me to play for the girls that came from Chennai. Apparently they were planning on singing on FCC service along with JC, the Filipino guy that was a guest on our first band meeting this year. Since I had absolutely no idea what to expect from playing with children and especially at FCC, I was kind of reluctant to say yes, but I did anyway. I figured, hey, it shouldn’t even be a surprise anymore that new things happen every single week. God is putting this in my way so I might as well face it head on. Besides, a day before Wildfire’s band practice on Wednesday, a lot of members started backing out, including Christelle. I knew when I read that  Christelle backed out of the band that God was telling me to go for the FCC performance instead.

The only thing is my heart could not take it knowing Jessica would be leading band this week and the members are not good enough to be presentable without me probably saying something. And besides, Jessica hasn’t been in the band for a long while. As much as I do not like her singing, I’m still her friend and I want her to enjoy her set list with a prepared band. So, with the application of the Open Mic night to pass on to Alicia as an excuse, I went to band practice even though I wasn’t going to play on Wildfire that Friday. I helped them play the songs and coached Gabe and Alben (guitarist, brother of Keziah) with their instruments. I was able to hear Alicia’s guitar skills more that week. Rather than having trouble keeping time, she has trouble doing some chords and her strumming has roughly no feelings, especially since she was already at the tip of the fretboard. I figured that I couldn’t really fix her today and I should just let her do what she can for now. Hah, yes, I didn’t get angry for once. I guess I’ve matured a lot. Because one thing that has been really sticking with me about this leadership thing was that you can teach everyone, but you can’t make an expert out of everybody. So that’s exactly what I did. I paid a lot of attention to Alben. Alben is a pretty decent guitarist. I still feel like he has a lot to improve, but he is already competing in competitions and is way ahead of Caesius, Prasanna, and Gabe with it. I taught him ways on how to make his strumming stronger or softer, and I taught him how to strum his parts. As for Gabe, since he’s so enthusiastic about the cahon, I tell him how to do some of his parts, too. With my help, I was able to get the four of them to be confident for Friday, but I feel like Jessica did fairly well in being a leader this time as well. She had ideas that I didn’t even think of. I don’t even think she was as a bad as she was in singing before (or maybe I just wasn’t focusing on her voice), but anyway, I’m glad I came around to help them. It was the first time in the band that I just came for the sake of helping them out and not to try and carry the whole weight of everyone on my shoulders. It made me hopeful that somehow the future band musicians (assuming either Alben, Alica, and maybe even Prasanna) would be able to lead the band too someday in some way.

The next day, I was still in a very down mood for Jonathan’s request. I think part of it was because I came at the exact right time and no one was in the Refuge room so I had to wait for about five minutes or so. But I just wasn’t used to meeting new people, let alone a bunch of adopted kids. I wondered how it would go, if it would get chaotic or not as I looked down on the kids skills before I even heard them (which was honestly wrong for me to do). Other than the fact that I constantly reminded myself that this was for God, I tried to lean on the fact that JC was a good musician and that Jonathan was my drum buddy. As long as the music was good, I wouldn’t mind. Anyway, so Jonathan came with his friend that would play guitar, along with one kid from the group of girls from Chennai and their vocal teacher. For about 30 minutes or an hour, we set up the stage and instruments and I basically taught Jonathan’s friend how to play the song we were going to play. It was the song Brave by Moriah Peters. Good thing I taught him how to play it because if I didn’t, he would’ve been on a whole lot of trouble later.

After an hour or something, JC and the rest of the group finally started coming in. Finally, we were gonna play and practice. We’ve been waiting for so long. But you know what immediately threw me off and brightened my whole world? As I saw those kids coming in, another person followed behind them. It was Christelle. I can still remember the sheer happiness I felt when the door opened and she came in. I did guess that maybe she was going to come because of the girls but I didn’t lean on it much. My heart just jumped seeing her when I didn’t even expect or plan it with her. I felt like God has rewarded me again for going to something that caused me to go out of my comfort zone. So for the rest of the night, I was in such a good mood that everything JC was doing didn’t really faze me.

Let’s talk about JC. The tone of his voice kinda sounds gay especially with that strong Filipino-English accent. Even his posture and body structure looks like the stereotypical gay guy, but like oh man, he is a musician that knows what he is doing. Right from the moment he came in, he was apologizing that they were late and because of that we had to get the song all done by one hour. He immediately asked us musicians if we already learned the songs since he can’t exactly teach every single thing to us. I’m glad I taught Jonathan’s friend the chords before he came ‘cause otherwise he would have been beaten up at the first minute. But anyway, JC has a strong sense of what he wants and he will stop at nothing until all of us get every detail right. He was also very strict with the girls. Because the song was about being strong and courageous, he would give them quick lectures on how to sound strong and not sing like lousy kids as they are. I respected his leadership a lot even though he sounded a bit strict. If I was as good with words and leadership as he was, I would’ve been as strict to the band back then as he was now. He was very overpowering, but he got to make us play the song in the coolest way so I loved it.

Christelle and the rest of the women looking after the kids didn’t seem to feel the same way, though. After the practice ended and everyone left, I was waiting with Christelle as she waited for her dad. She told me about how overpowering JC was being and that he didn’t have the right to treat the girls that way. She told me that the girls’ vocal teacher was there and was trying to intercede and explain for the girls, but JC completely blocks her opinion out. That’s why she was at the end of the room with earphones, being stubborn and trying not giving a crap anymore while we practiced. I agreed that JC was being a little strict, but I understood him in a musician’s point of view. JC analyzed the song perfectly and for him to desperately want to get the same feeling of the song from the girls was the greatest thing I’ve seen so far from a music leader. And besides, they were singing for his church FCC. I understand that Filipinos are absolutely good with music, a bunch of suckers for good entertainment, and are hella judgmental as well. He was carrying that weight of leading a bunch of Indian kids and a band he doesn’t even work with often. He was also probably carrying the weight of trying to make this less embarrassing for the Indian kids as much as possible with the eyes and ears of his people in mind. So in some way, he did have the right to lead them, and it was rightfully so that he was a little strict with them.

Anyway, I met Divinia again after so long. She is the first ever leader to sign on my Awana starting book. She recognized Christelle first and greeted her. Since I’ve been seeing her on Awana lately, I couldn’t resist myself and asked if she remembers me. When I asked that, her eyes widened and she did recognize me. I felt happy that she did. She probably signed about 80% of my book back then. I’d be really disappointed if she didn’t remember me at all.

Next day, Friday, the performance with the girls went smoothly. I played the FCC church’s bass and it sounded awesome. After we played, I was able to go up for Wildfire and discuss the topics there. There was this question about “What are some examples of laws that give you freedom?” We discussed this and I had a lot to say so the group I was on made me speak when it was time for sharing with the whole Wildfire group. I said, “Restricting laws such as don’t do adultery—they give us freedom from the problems it can cause.” I was applauded and Pastor Curt even elaborated on that a little bit. I really liked that discussion a lot. Pastor Curt gave us really good questions.

After wildfire, I was waiting for Christelle and Alicia to say their goodbyes to the girls from Chennai. I waited for them for like thirty minutes and there were times when Gabe and I were just together staring at Christelle, waiting for her to finish. We’ve been talking about her again lol. Seriously, I have to make this writing material somehow.

Anyway, Christelle, Alicia, and I went to Christelle’s house to practice Vapor once and for all. When we arrived at her house, she told us to wait at the living room while she fixes her room. Since Alicia and I didn’t really know each other that well, it was kind of awkward just standing there with her. I tried hard for it not to be awkward tho. I told her that I had a lot of expectations for her in the band because I could see that she is good and has the potential to be really, really good. I don’t remember if I said it that way, but anyway… We practiced and practiced Vapor and we tried to figure out who was going to sing who. And while we were taking a break eating snacks, I said that we should have a band name. We wanted something that best described us or bonded us together. It didn’t take us that long to agree on Christelle’s suggestion which is “Chocolate Covered Pretzelz” I thought it was ridiculous at first because it was so long and “covered” didn’t even sound that good with it, but it stuck with us anyway since we were eating it. While OCD Christelle was arranging the song order and roles on her notebook, I noticed that making our band name with pretzels was such a good idea because it had three holes in it. We went crazy with the name even more because of it.

Ccp by YoMiatot

(I designed this a few days later. We ate pretzels that looked like that so XD)

By 5:30, Alicia left and so it was me and Christelle again. Since I wanted to have some alone time with her, I stayed for about half an hour or more to jam with her. After we jammed, she goes on again about what kind of crisis she will go through without me playing music with her. She said that I’m the only one who knows and understand music in a way that she does and that I know what’s good with her more than anyone else. I think I told her that she should pray to God about it—to send her someone like me. But I also told her that she’s still gonna have to suffer a bit. lol is it weird that I want her to suffer from missing me and craving my presence? Oh well…

Before I left, I made her notice the sigh that she always does at the end of a conversation. So now she goes crazy when she does it because she does it so often that she can’t stop it. And now that I’ve made it known to her, I also start to notice that I’ve suddenly been doing it because of her, so before I do it, I add an “ohh man” instead of just sighing. I’m not even trying to copy her intentionally so I startle myself when that happens. It’s weird to suddenly be acquiring a trait that isn’t even from my family… but technically, she is my sister in Christ, right? XD

 

Leader

Seriously, it’s crazy that God is actually making my life full and interesting these days. It’s become so clear that he put things right in front of me for a purpose. Everything that happens is not coincidental. Every moment has value. Every little detail has made the whole picture so interesting.

Okay, to start… on the previous blog, I actually forgot to add something that I’m sure was also part of God’s plan for the last chapters of my life living here in AD as a teenager. This is about Chinaza, our new and young singer for the band. Now, as I’ve said before, she is very very quiet and shy. One look, you know she’s a total introvert. Gabe is friends with her and that’s all I really knew about her. I didn’t really have any interest in becoming close friends with her since I’m not good at approaching really quiet kids. I mean of course, I knew I’d definitely approach her in band terms eventually and that was it as far as I could see.

But then… ever since the new wildfire year started, new people that were from the Forge last year got added to the Wildfire whatsapp group chat. I didn’t even know most of them—generally, I knew some of their faces but that was it. Within the week of the last post, Simon was talking about how he was writing a book. From that, topics shifted and it got to a point when we talked about how we viewed life (ex. Gabe viewed his life like a video game). We were discussing all sorts of stuff around it. I got to a point where I mentioned I wrote about spicy rice cakes and related it to life. Chinaza then becomes interested that I write stories. Since I showed Gabe A M N E S I A once, he then starts freaking out about how good I was. And Gabe then proceeds to link my damn website on the freakin’ chat for everyone to see without my damn permission. Before I could even get angry at him for posting it, Chinaza had already checked it out after Gabe says it’s about Koreans. That’s when I found out Chinaza likes Kpop and is very into Koreans. Anyway, I’m not mad Gabe sent that where everybody could see. Nobody really cared much which is good—only Chinaza was interested. She insisted on reading my story and oh my gosh… she binged read that crap and got so obsessed with it that she’d stay up late for it.

Interestingly enough, just maybe a few nights before Wildfire started, I was praying that I wasn’t asking for anymore friends. I was praying for Him to give me great memories with the friends that I already have, and that I would leave this country while still being connected to them. And then I kind of just added that “God, would it be too much if I ask for a Kpop friend that would read my story or something? Or maybe an SM stan? A Kpop friend that I can relate to or talk to in some sense… Hm… that would be nice.” I had really low expectations for this one. It was just a little request. If He didn’t give it, I wouldn’t care. It wasn’t too important. But oh nonono! God does not miss a thing! I’m telling you, I felt so spoiled by God that week.

The more I get to know her the more I find out how much of a Kpop newbie she is. First of all, she likes Red Velvet and Black Pink the most—that’s good—none of that boy group stan shenanigans. She was shocked that I had about an amount of 2000 Korean songs since she only had about 200. Because of that she calls me a sunbae of Kpop. Hearing that makes me feel awkward and cringy as hell. It’s bad enough Gabriel uses Korean words to me from time to time, but at least it’s more of like a joke (cuz everything he says usually sound like a joke). On a side note tho, I actually like it when he calls me senpai because it makes me feel respected as a senior XD. Oh and since I know she likes Yoona, I send him Yoona’s meme faces from time to time, but anyway, I’m getting a little sidetracked, aren’t I? We can talk about that another time…

Back to Chinaza, oh gosh, she even mentioned she was gonna marry a Korean and thinks Korean-African babies are the coolest (I can kinda agree on that one tbh. Korean African models are handsome af). She’s even learning Korean. She seems to be interested a lot in Korea and Kpop. But just recently, she commented on my instagram that she will live up to my outstanding kpop knowledge, accumulate 10 times more songs than I have, and have a future house that is, and I quote, “kpopy.” I guess it’s fairly normal for a kpop fan to think like that on the first years, but I just can’t help but cringe. I kinda find her cute, but it’s still makes me cringe. Besides, I don’t have an outstanding kpop knowledge. I guess I know fairly some controversial news and other stuff, and yes I’m quite familiar and interested in Korean culture, but nowhere near ‘outstanding,’ especially for Kpop. Outstanding knowledge of SNSD, yes definitely, but if you even ask me what the most popular stuff are these days, I wouldn’t even know. I’m not even so hyped up for anything or any release that much but SNSD. I’ve kind of come back to the state of just searching for the music that I really want to listen to than listening to what’s shining out in public. I mean the artist that I basically loved listening to all September was Offonoff and their album ‘boy.’ I’ve also been into SLCHLD. I bet no “Kpop obsessed” person even knows they exist. Even the other Forge kids that are now in Wildfire know Kpop which is pretty great since I don’t have to hide or be shy about liking it, but they talk about BTS, Monsta X, Seventeen, and people I don’t really care much about. In a way, there’s definitely a year gap since even EXO is somehow out of the picture for some reason. I played The Eve for Laura once and she didn’t even know what song that was. Man, are they considered old already?

Ok, so I don’t get off track again, the thing that really made me cringe was when Chinaza said her house in the future would be full of Kpop stuff or I’m sorry—it would be “kpopy.” And to say she’d have 10 times more than I have is just impossible and ridiculous. She can’t have a library of 20,000 songs with Kpop alone. I guess what she meant was just a bit of an exaggeration, but in a literal sense it’s definitely not healthy.

I get it, she’s young and she has not grasped the harmful side of this “obsession” yet. I’m assuming she does not have parents who would sit her down and talk about the illuminati and say that some of Kpop is evil, causing her to try discerning the fine line of right and wrong and healthy term of a “fan.” Being her “sunbae” in Kpop, I kinda want to tell her that she shouldn’t lose sight of what should be important, which is God. I feel like I have that responsibility towards her. Cuz I’ve thought a whole lot about the term obsession and fan, idol and fan, and that it’s so easy to dismiss it as something that doesn’t affect your spirituality even though it clearly does at some point. I mean I’m having the time of my life now knowing how to discern between those things. Ever since I’ve put God first, I’ve come to see as I’ve probably said before here that people that I am a fan of are sent by God to inspire me and make me happy, and I’m very thankful to Him for that. Also because I’ve put God above all that I look up to, it’s easier to discern the mistakes or bad behavior of those I love. Just like TaeYeon starting to swear and flip the finger more now for her performances and also in her TaengooTV. People praise her highly for that as being badass and free but I kind of stray away from that because that literally is bad ass. I came to Kpop basically to avoid those from pop stars. I enjoyed Kpop because most of the content is fairly clean and the people are great, especially SNSD. I trust that they are good people in general, and I don’t want to forget that. But they are not perfect and I feel some of them don’t have strong moral beliefs (especially TY and she’s my damn bias), and I should be fully aware and careful of that. The usual kpop dimwit of a fan wouldn’t be able to see that thin line of a healthy or unhealthy obsession and approach so easily. As Christians, I believe we should definitely know and be aware of that.

Man, I sound like a Youth leader… I’m just writing this after attending a Youth Leader Training conference. I’ll talk about that later on since I like talking about my week in chorological order, so let’s talk about Edwin next… yes. HE CAME BACK… for a week at least.

EDwI!N OHhhhh maann where do I start?

Ok so, last week, John Surya was finally the earliest person to arrive at practice. He was fixing the storage room and as we were waiting for the other members to arrive, he tells me that Jordan said there was a special guest coming. From my dumbest tunnel vision of people, I thought Jordan was gonna bring his wife to the band practice. I don’t know why I thought that of all people since his wife was not involved in church ministry at all… But anyway, thinking it was fairly a normal Wednesday, the day went on and we started setting up the equipment. As we were setting up, suddenly Gabe shouted, Seb shouted, John A shouted, John Surya shouted—pretty much everyone shouted, except Jonathan (keyboardist) and Chinaza. I turned my head and even I shouted. EDWIIIINNN—and we all ran to him to the door to give him the biggest hug. He was a very unexpected guest indeed.

To think I was just telling him about how I was missing him so much after my birthday and a few days later he shows up physically. It was so great to see him again. It’s similar to that time when I thought I would never see Centine again, but then Illuminate happened and she was there. There’s just something about seeing someone again that makes my spirit so full of God’s love. I’ve always had a fear that whenever a great friend goes away that I won’t be able to see them again. But when this happens, I get reassured every time that God really is alive and he listens to our hearts. Edwin said that he was very depressed for some time when he moved back to India, but trusting in God made him feel sure that he would be able to see us again. And he did.

I noticed that a lot of subtle things have changed in him. I don’t know if anyone noticed since they said he’s still the same, but I truly felt he had changed in some way. He was somehow more soft spoken and mature than from what I remembered him to sound like. He hasn’t been throwing as much jokes with Gabriel, too. God has definitely done a whole lot to him for those three months.

Man, Gabriel got so hyper when he saw Edwin. Gabriel is already on an energy overload all the damn time and he got even crazier like he drank red bull or something. I did, however, notice his awkward gaze towards Edwin and he would notice that I know what he’s thinking—Christelle. Now that Edwin is back, the triangle of the Christelle crush story is back. Edwin doesn’t know anything about Gabriel having a crush on Christelle. Only I know, and maybe Chinaza as he said lol, but Chinaza probably has no clue about Edwin having a crush on Christelle. Gosh, it’s bad enough that I’ve kept secrets from Christelle, now I’m restraining from saying anything to Edwin.

That was no use tho because after practice, when I asked him to sing because Chinaza was having problems with being shy and not being able to sing along, he told me he has a fresh secret. I already had a hunch what he was going to say but I still asked what. So he said,

          “Gabe likes Stella XDDDDD
So I’m done shipping both of u”

          “Oh he told you? XDDD”

          “You knew this and you didn’t tell me?”

          “Lol it’s his secret and I’m a trustworthy friend XDD. I thought he’d never say it lol”

          “*broken heart emoji*
          Well, he played by the cards
          Like first he asked me hw r things with stella
          And I was like
          What? Wdym?
          And all of that
          And then I told him that I totally forgot about that and that I wasn’t concentrating on women no more.”

          “He probably still thinks about it cuz I told him about u and Christelle like 2 weeks ago XD I told him full details of how I shipped you and Christelle that’s probably why XDDDD”

          “XDDDDDD *facepalm emojis*
          I thought I told him a long time ago
          And then like forgot about it
          Cuz she doesn’t like me in that way
          And plus
          I just wanted to stop looking at women in that way..”

          “Well there’s a time and place for everything. And a time to mature I guess”

          “Yea
          Maybe it’s just weird to have a gf at this time
          Like at a point when studies are things u should be dating”

          “Yeah”

          “What about u
          Who next”

          “Personally I think it’s not healthy to start romance and all that when there’s a huge possibility of hard communication coming. Just not wise”

          “Gabes gone
          Now who,”

          “I don’t have a crush”

          “Don’t lie Mia
          *simrk emoji*
          Jus don’t
          At least a slight feeling…
          On somebody?”

          “I’ve realized like months ago that Gabe is way too hyper and I can’t keep up with his energy. It’s too much of a turn off XD
          (On somebody?) Nah not really
          I’m more focused on trying to have good friendships rn.”

          “Aww
          Thas cute
          XD *smirk emoji*”

          Since he still didn’t seem to believe I’m over Gabe and probably assumes what I said was about Gabe, I said, “As in Christelle for example XD These days I just wanna be good to her.”

          “XD What does that supposed to mean? XD”

          “Like I wanna make good memories with my friends who I know I won’t see for a long time ya know? And Christelle is precious to me above everyone else so XD”

          “XDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD *facealm and smirk emoji*
Precious?”

          “Look I didn’t have close friends that lasted more than 1 yr. Most of my close friends all leave the country that’s why I’ve been lonely before. But u know I always prayed to God for a friend that would last longer than that”

          He then proceeds to send an ugly photo of Christelle, “That’s definitely not precious XDD”

          I quoted her ugly photo and said, “Christelle is a gift from God XD”

          Then we laughed about her ugly faces and we both said we won’t ever delete her ugly pictures, especially the ugly selfies she took on my iPad. He said he had those too and were his emergency memes. After that, he asks me what’s new in the block. Not understanding what he meant by that, I told him the changes in Wildfire, but then he says,

          “Not that
          Like spicy gossip
          XD”

It still feels so weird for a guy to be so interested in gossip. I almost forgot that Edwin was into these stuff. I mean he did figure out John Surya dated Prasanna’s sister when Prasanna knew nothing of this. Man, this guy did change a bit, but his personality is definitely still the same. So since I had nothing else to say, I told him about John A and Christelle talking to each other well these days.

          “XDDDDDDDD
          There’s a potential
          XDDD
          But like
          Gabe likes Christelle
          and John Adi and Stella are idk
          And we don’t know who Christelle likes
          Wow
          Thas jus gr8

          “(Gabe likes Christelle) I’ve been teasing him a lot about that XD”

          “XDDDDD
Sad she didn’t come today.. (for band practice)”

          “(And we don’t know who Christelle likes) Ikr I don’t even talk to Christelle about this stuff. We usually discuss more serious topics XD”

          “You should’ve asked her
          She’ll definitely tell u
          smh”

          “I am trying to get the right timing to ask her XD one of these days I’ll find out”

          “You better find out before I leave.”

          So the next day after Wildfire, Edwin wanted to go to Al Wahda just to hang out. So we even planned how to ride taxi and we insisted that Edwin, Christelle, and I would ride together. Too bad Prasanna had other plans, but I’m slightly thankful he wasn’t there ‘cause man…

Okay, first of all, nostalgia flooded the three of us when we rode together. And there Edwin and Christelle were again fighting about who was to pay. I was the most amused—I was reminded why I even shipped them in the first place. It almost felt like a dream to hear them argue again so passionately about who was to pay. As always, I’m on Edwin’s side, saying that he’s only wants to be chivalrous. Christelle who refuses to understand that and relies on women’s independence, argues and goes on about equality. In the end she loses and does not pay since even the taxi driver was on Edwin’s side about him just trying to be the man in the car XD.

But here’s where the story takes an absurd turn—the part where I’m glad Prasanna is out of. Edwin opens his gossiping ass mouth and starts telling Christelle that he and I know a big secret. Christelle, who is always full of curiosity, wonders what it was and Edwin gives her hints that it was about Gabriel. I froze and I wanted to strangle him at that moment because of all times, he really had to put me through this confession shit again with Christelle? Besides, Gabriel clearly told me that he has no plans in confessing to Christelle any time so I plan to leave it at that. I respect the guy’s secret, but this other guy clearly does not. I also definitely do not want to make Christelle feel weird about someone again. She likes having Gabe around; I can’t destroy her view of him like that, too! Gosh Edwin… So on that car ride, Edwin and I spent a whole damn conversation debating whether to tell her. We went on circles, beating around the bush, and Christelle was so confused and frustrated that we were keeping something from her. I kept saying that I didn’t know what Edwin was talking about to avoid being dragged in this loop. I was trying my hardest to subtly tell him to drop it or to stop making up shit because it’s making everything worse, but he kept pushing and pulling the topic around. He even said that I’m such a good actor right in front of Christelle, and I’d just laugh it off as if it was something ridiculous, as if I think he’s just crazy. Since I was such a sucker for Christelle, whenever she asked me what it was, whenever she said I would never lie to her and trusts me, and whenever she says “Mia doesn’t even know what you’re talking about”, my heart would crush a little. I never want her to catch me lying to her eventually or betray her trust, so around the end of the ride, I got frustrated and I just confirmed that yeah, it was about Gabriel and that he had a big secret. So Christelle wanted us to tell her what it was since Gabriel was her friend too and that she had the right to know, but after all that push and pull between Edwin and I, none of us had the courage to tell her. I just told her that she could ask Gabe about it and he’ll probably tell her.

It was so damn frustrating and I wanted to kill Edwin for even starting it. How are we gonna get out of this situation now? Christelle is gonna be so curious for the rest of the day and when she finally asks Gabriel about, he will kill us both for revealing his secret.

When we sat by the food court, Christelle went to the restroom and the two of us were alone. Edwin showed me his whatsapp chat with Gabriel and how their conversation went about. We also discussed how we were gonna get out of this cuz I don’t want to be the person telling a confession again to Christelle. He said he’ll talk about it with Gabe since we did lead Christelle to ask him about it eventually.

And so, as the day went on, I ordered food and when I came back, Nathan, Gabriel’s brother was the only one in the table. I asked where everyone is and he said Christelle got some food, and Edwin and Gabe are out for a walk. When they came back, Gabriel gave me a look and I just said that I didn’t want to say it, it’s all Edwin who started it. Anyway, we did not talk about it when everyone started coming and Christelle came back to the table.

A bunch of us from Wildfire just hung out again and we were loud as ever by the end. There was a point when I was just a little bored and I was searching photos in my phone. I saw the photo of Seb, Joslin, Edwin, Gabe, Me, and Christelle sleeping on my shoulder and showed it to Edwin and Gabe. I showed it to John Surya too. As curious as ever, Christelle looked and she freaked out finding out that we took photos while she was sleeping on the bus at that time. I told her that I tried hard and blocked everyone from teasing her so that she wouldn’t wake up, and Gabe said that I really drove everyone away that time. I saw Christelle look at me and a different way and she said thank you. I guess she’s realizing more and more of how much I care about her which is nice.

When everyone was already going home, I said I have to go to Magrudy’s to buy something before Christelle’s parents arrive (since I’m riding with her). Gabriel, his brother, Edwin, and Simon were there trailing behind us. When we got near the store, Christelle approached Gabriel to ask what secret Edwin and I were talking about. The moment I heard that, I went on ahead as far as possible from them and Edwin got closer to me, too. I tried not to laugh too hard because finally it’s happening. Even Edwin said his heart was pounding so hard knowing they were having the conversation.

Fast forward to the next week, which happened just this past Friday, on the way home, Christelle starts asking me about Gabriel’s secret. Since I didn’t want to be the one telling her, I asked her if she asked Gabriel about it. And so she says that she did and that Gabe had this weird look on his face for a moment and then he became serious, saying that her grandfather was atheist or something. It didn’t feel right so she asked me if it was all true—if that was the secret that Edwin and I were keeping from her. Since my heart is so weak to lie to her, I said no, that’s not it. She then goes on to feel better about herself for figuring out that it was fishy, but then she asks what it actually is. I felt like I had no more escape routes since I basically couldn’t tell her to simply ask Gabe about it again. And she was basically begging me. “Miaaa c’mon, what is it?” Her pouty begging voice! Her serious, clawing curiosity! The trust she has for me! They’re my weaknesses. I FELT SO VULNERABLE AND FRUSTRATED. I hate to break the confidentiality of Gabe’s secret, but I hate lying to her more. So I sighed so much before actually telling her.

          “Arrghhhhh, not this again,” I shook my head. I took a deep a breath and stared at her. “Gabe. likes. you.”

          And there it was again, the same face that I saw four months ago if not worse—the face that showed a crash of confusion and shock. She kept screaming no and cringed so hard. It was so shocking that she even missed the taxi stop she was supposed to get off at.

Since we were near her house, there was no time to discuss it fully. But she did manage to ask, “And what about Edwin???”

          “Edwin got over you.”

          “OH MY GOD, THANK YOU MIA!” Obviously, she was so relieved to hear that. At least two people don’t have a crush on her at the same time. “It was probably because of the distance and stuff, isn’t it?”

          “Yeah, exactly that.”

          After that we bid goodbye. I went home but I finally found the right time to ask her the thing that I’ve wanted to know. On whatsapp, I sent to her,

          “Btw, since ppl like you, I’m curious. Do you have an ideal type?”

          “What do you mean?
          Oh like my type of guys?

          Okay first of all
          I don’t date
          Well at least at this age and you know that. I believe if we date it is to marry.”

We talked about that just two weeks before when we were heading home from Al Wahda—after my ice cream birthday treat to everyone. She was telling me that Nithin actually planned to take Jessica on a date but I came around and invited Jessica to hang out with me suddenly for ice cream for my birthday and she gave willingly adjusted her time for me. Christelle said that’s probably why Nithin was a little pissed that time—I don’t know if that’s true but she makes it sound true. Anyway, we talked about how they were gonna keep their relationship alive if both of them are gonna go to college next year. Obviously there’s gonna be distance involved. We wondered, how are they gonna handle that? As we discussed what we thought about their relationship, I ended up mentioning that my parents told me we should date with marriage in mind, if not—then there’s no point in dating. Christelle agrees and says her parents taught her the same thing, too. Anyway, back to Christelle’s answer.

          “So just making that clear. My type hmm well obviously a believer, I want him to be taller than me for some reason, he should have integrity values, be able to make me laugh until my stomach hurt. Mature but also kid like, somewhat like me and hmm so many other things but I’m hungry and the biryani is waiting for me lol so byyeee”

          Those are some pretty basic and expected stuff coming from her. But I just had to know and be clear for one last question.

          “Hahah okay so you have no crush whatsoever right now, right?”

          “Mia angelo
          Is Gabe asking you these questions”

Nope, but if I had to point fingers, it’s Edwin who wants to know XD. “No,” I say. “I’m just curious XD”

          “Lol ok no I don’t.”

          “Ok good XD
          Glad that’s cleared out then.”

BIG HUGE RELIEF that she does not have any crush on John Adi as Gabe, Edwin, and I have suspected. Now I can relax and not bother to ask that again XD.

 

Okay, rewind a bit—on Thursday morning, Simon the metal head asks what a good price is for an electric guitar. Since my mom told me that I should be able to sell my instruments before I leave this place next year, I immediately thought this was God helping me. I mean I have absolutely had no idea how I was going sell my instruments and I surely didn’t want them being handled poorly by anyone. However, I’ve prayed seriously to God about it before so I guess this is another big sign that he heard me again. I’m just surprised that he answered it so fast. So I told Simon that I had one that I might be selling. I haven’t been using my electric guitar for quite a while since I couldn’t make time for it, so I guess it was the right time to let it go. And since the guitar was good for rock songs, it’d be nice for him to have it. So I sent him a fairly reasonable price. In the evening, he finally had an answer and he said he was going to buy it tomorrow. I asked him if he was sure and he said definitely, and that he even discussed it with his parents. I honestly wished he would think about it more for another week so that I can have one week more to play with that guitar, but God planned everything perfectly. I was not going to play bass for Wildfire that week so I was able to bring the electric guitar. It was so clear to me that this was the time I had to let that 6 year old guitar go. But before that, since it was the guitar that held the beginning of my time as a musician—also with my sister—I took out the three guitars that Thursday night and laid them out on the vacant bed. All night I took so much photos of them as a remembrance for what my weapons were as an early musician.

Although it was hard to think of letting them go, I knew God was training me in life because I’m such a sentimental person. But if I was a little stressed about letting that electric guitar go, how much more anxious would I be if it’s time to let my bass guitar go? That instrument is such a huge part of me now…  Aghh… Yeah, I know, I see the problem, too. God doesn’t want me to think about an instrument that way. He gave it to me so that I could serve Him, so He will take it away from me knowing I won’t be able to fully use it for Him in Korea. God gives and takes. If in the future He wants me to serve Him again with music, He will surely provide for that, I know it. Who knows, maybe it would even be better than that my gorgeous Untouchable.

A reason though for why I wanted Simon to think about the guitar for another week was that when I was playing with it that Thursday afternoon for one last time, I was able to write a song. It’s a song that I’ve written ages ago but it was bad, so I just improved it and completed it. Obviously, I’d want to record it, especially since I have the USB-jack. The audio would be very clear coming from the electric guitar, but oh well, I didn’t have enough time.

That song, though… I loved it so much that after Wildfire when we were going to jam, I sang that song with John A playing the cahon. It felt so great to be able to sing it, especially with Christelle trying to harmonize on it on first listen.

Oh, right, I forgot to say this: John Surya led this week and I sang backing vocals with him. I really loved the background vocals for the songs which were Oh, Our Lord, Christ is Enough, and O Praise The Name. Too bad my mic was so low. For once I wanted it to be a little louder. Even Christelle was searching for my voice but it could barely be heard. Even on the recording, I could hear Christelle’s voice from a distance more than my own, and she didn’t even have a mic. I’m glad though that she was able to hear me on the last song since I really tried my hardest to be loud. AND THE HARMONY WAS PRETTY HIGH FOR THAT SONG AND I FEEL LIKE I DID SO WELL DESPITE NOT BEING ABLE TO FULLY PRACTICE PROPERLY AT HOME LOL. She said if people were not searching for my voice, they wouldn’t hear it, but since she was doing the harmony as well for O Praise The Name and was looking for my voice. And she said I did well. Yayy

Another thing that is so God-planned was that Jordan invited me to go to a Leader Training conference thing that Saturday. Since I had absolutely had no idea what to expect, I was in a dilemma for a whole day until my parents encouraged me to go. I was startled that Jordan chose me of all the other people. He invited Sebastian and that’s quite understandable since that kid really has potential to become a pastor, but me? Leader training? Well, yeah, I guess I am kind of a leader in the band, and yes, I’m a volunteer leader in Awana now, but still… why me? I asked him why he picked me and he said it’s because he wanted to bring a teenager from Wildfire but no one else is available. He was also sure that I was able to come unlike the others who are so busy all the time.

However, when I asked Sebastian on Friday if he was coming, he said he wouldn’t be able to come. That was when I felt that God is definitely shaping me for something and that he has a reason for making me the only teenager of Wildfire there. I mean I’m leaving next year, so what kind of training would I need if I only have a few months left to serve in this church? Obviously, He plans to use me a lot for that short period of time, and from those experiences He will build me to be the person I need to be in the future.

To be honest though, I was lowkey anxious because I was gonna go with adults and not teenagers. Would I be alright going with Jordan, Christelle’s mom, and some other volunteer leaders? I felt like the only person near my age would probably be Jordan so I was expecting to be close to him all day. However, as I was dropped off at 6 am in front of Christelle’s building (because that’s where we were supposed to meet), the first person I meet instead of Jordan was Christelle’s mom. I’ve always had this perception of her that she was the typical strict-sounding mom that gave me a ride home with Christelle since we often discussed lessons about what happened in Wildfire, but she was warmer than I thought. She talked a lot with me as we waited around for the others. She was good at making me feel included and comfortable. She’s quite a character because at some point in the conversations she would say witty comments here and there. I can totally see the family resemblance. Now I know where Christelle got most of her traits from. Even their laugh and the “ha~” sigh at the end of a conversation is the same.

She introduced me to this new volunteer leader in Wildfire that has been her friend for like 20 years. I don’t remember what her name is, but I do remember her introducing herself at Wildfire once and that she’s an artist. When Christelle’s mom told me that they have been friends for that long, I was so amazed that a friendship could last that long. That thought stuck with me all day.

Since I was at the lonely back seat of the car and I had a clear view of them all, I was glad that they often asked me if I was alright because I didn’t really speak much. As expected, being parents made them want to care for the only kid around. Especially Christelle’s mom. She was basically taking care of everyone, not just me. Even if they were all mostly adults, she took care of everyone like a fussy mother. Paul, the guy who gave us a ride, said that she’s everyone’s mom and we all agreed lol. So I felt like these other adults were like my siblings, and in fact, they are, aren’t they? They’re such warm and nice people who are nice to have around just like a family, and it just fascinated me that it’s true in Christ.

By the way, since I had a good view of everyone, whenever I looked at Christelle’s mom and her friend, the thought of the 20 year friendship kept echoing at the back of my head. How was that possible? How did they stay friends and still be near each other for 20 years? Isn’t it amazing how God makes that possible? Every time I see Ethan, Anthony, and Jared gather together in the states, I’m fascinated that they are still able to meet and be such good friends even outside of this country. That’s one of my dreams—to have friends here that I could still meet a few years from now outside of this country. But since I’m so narrow-minded and I’m a little anxious of the future that is so different from my friends, I wonder if that is ever possible. As I sat at that backseat alone, the thought weighed so heavy on my heart that I was holding back my tears just asking God if that was possible… if it was possible with Christelle. https://68.media.tumblr.com/78d6dc86030489db3126c2b9883dcce5/tumblr_ojb8r1s0z91rukdu6o2_400.gifI wasn’t even asking for Gabe, Edwin, or Jess, or anyone else even though I do still want to be friends with them after I leave. It’s just that the only one that mattered to me the most, especially at that moment, was Christelle. I’m just so emo that I have to say goodbye to her sooner than I know it, and of all people that I’ve been friends with, life without her feels almost strange now. I’ll probably go through major withdrawal symptoms without her once I leave because she makes me so happy. I know I have to learn to let go of the people I love, but I don’t want to fully let her go. It feels like bullshit if I take that so literally that I’d stop even talking to her (as I do with most of my close friends). Is it not possible to meet again after all this separation? I’m not even asking to be with her for 20 years because I can’t even see that far into my life, but if it’s possible to meet her again, whenever that may be, and stay as great friends… my heart would be so full of praise.

Gah… I guess it’s that time again for me when I’m so emo of letting people go. It’s the same when my sister was about to go to Korea. A few months before we separated, I felt like crap knowing she won’t be with me every day anymore. But when we actually separated and life continued, I was fine and even grew to be a better person without her so near me. I didn’t feel all that sad because I knew we would meet each other eventually. But I feel like when it’s time for me to say goodbye to Christelle, I’d feel even worse than I do now. I’m absolutely not certain when we will be able to meet each other again. The only certainty that I can lean on is that God knows what I so achingly desire. There’s no other person or thing that I can put my hope on about this situation but Him.

Anyway, I’ll talk more about this someday before I start tearing up again. I had almost forgotten that I was supposed to talk about the leader training conference thing…

We got there really early because Paul was part of the event, so we helped with setting up the venue. It was really funny when Christelle’s mom’s friend and I were given the task to set up the chairs on the big room only to be told a few hours later that “the chairs were poorly set up by some people so we have to fix it.” Since Paul said that to Jordan while we were both right there, the two of us looked at each other and laughed and panicked when Paul and Jordan left. I guess we didn’t do a good job. It was hilarious. Even though she was way older than me, I felt like she was just about my age. Adults are fun to be with, guys.

The other leader that also came with us was pretty interesting to have around too. There was a moment when the three of us just talked about our interests in art, and how the one liked reading books, but artsy leader and I both shared the same trait of being unable to read books well. I felt like their wasn’t an age gap at all. We were like friends, especially with Jordan’s slightly awkward personality, I felt like I was still in a youth group. There was a point when I was in a seminar with Christelle’s mom, and instead of feeling like she was the usual mom taking care of everyone, we talked and glanced at each other like we were friends and she joked a lot with me. It was fun. It was great to know other brothers and sisters in Christ that are not just from the same age group all the time.

There were people that I did know that were in my age range. Jonathan and John Surya were there. I was honestly glad to see them, especially Jonathan, because at least I knew someone from my youth group and can approach them easily.

Now, on with what actually happened. Basically, since it was leadership training for youth leaders, they taught the main goals of what we should do and be teaching as Christian youth leaders, and they also discussed the psychology of teenagers these days. They were all very interesting and eye-opening. Every new thing that I learn definitely made me sure that God wants to shape me into someone that can lead others. I feel kind of inadequate for that kind of responsibility compared to others, which makes feel so special that I was chosen out of all the better teenage leaders in Wildfire. As I have said before, Sebastian would perfect for this leadership training event. I feel like Christelle would also be able to use a lot the information since she also has a potential to be a good youth leader. Instead, I was the one sitting there learning about God and how to lead kids. God threw me in this position anyway even if I never expected to be one. He definitely has put something ahead of me.

The most interesting part of that leadership training was discussing the mental health and the growing anxieties kids face these days. They talked about depression, anxiety of different things from social media and school, basically the emo side we don’t usually see in kids. They also talked about the identity crisis teenagers face during puberty and how to deal with them. It was very interesting because I realize that I had gone through almost everything troubled teenagers are facing and the only difference is I’ve conquered a lot of them. I have conquered depression. I have been through a crazy phrase of identity crisis and I can safely say that I am certain of who I am and what I am like as a person. It was the first time I felt that I’m truly 18. I have about two years left of being a teenager, so I still do have anxieties, especially TCK anxieties, but I’ve grown a lot and matured a lot from who I was when I was what—12? It’s also getting easier for me to see and understand the problems teenagers younger than me are facing. Going to that event just made everything clearer for me.

There were seminars we could have chosen from. There were the typical fun youth leader seminars, the seminar for parents, and the seminar for mental health. Since I didn’t really feel like I fit in the youth leader seminar that was going to teach how to make youth group interesting, and since I’m not even a parent, I went to a seminar that discussed mental health. That topic intrigued me a lot and I wished the one who spoke explained it all better than the typical, quick-and-easy, digestible, internet definitions, but I still had a more organized understanding of mental sickness now. I definitely don’t know if I will actually use that information to help people—help a friend go through them or something might be possible—but I did generally pick that one because… writing material. What else reason would I have? XD

On the way home, my energy started depleting. I didn’t feel tired during the whole event, but it suddenly crashed on me on the car. I woke up at 5 am so I really wanted to sleep. Since I felt like they might call my name at some point, I couldn’t do it. I was able to close my eyes and rest for a moment, but I still sat upright trying not to drift off. I was so tired that I looked forward to crashing at my bed once I got home. When we got to Christelle’s building, Paul’s car was emptied of passengers and some of us will just walk home since our houses were around the area.

Before we got of the car, I was told to walk with the leader who liked reading books, but since Christelle’s mom needed help with bringing two huge thermos up to her house, she asked for my assistance. Not thinking much of it, I agreed to help her. Then she said that I can help her and leave with the leader who likes reading, or she could leave now and I could hang out with Christelle for a while. When she mentioned Christelle, I suddenly felt awake. I didn’t really expect to meet Christelle that day and I haven’t even been invited to her house before.

When we got up there, Christelle’s mom knocked on her room’s door and said that she had a surprise for her. Since Christelle was going to have a friend over that day to study with her, she didn’t really think much of it, but when that door opened, I was there, and she was surprised and glad to see me. It was nice to see her face light up and I sat on her bed staring at her with a big smile on my face. I was so happy to see her because it felt like a dream. It was like a reward to see her. It’s like God was proud that I was able to go to an event that without her in mind, and so he proceeds to reward me by letting me see her after it was all done. Now that I think about it… after being so emo earlier that day praying to God about a long-lasting friendship with her, did God just give me a subtle answer? Hm…

Her room suddenly gave me a better understanding of how she was like. She had all sorts of artworks around her walls and even had a huge paining of a unicorn. She also had a gorgeous artwork of a violin. When I saw that, I was reminded by what her mother said to me earlier that day. On the way to the event, we stopped for gas and bought some snacks for ourselves. While I was in line to the cashier to buy my milk chocolate, Christelle’s mom came up to me and suddenly told me to convince Christelle to play violin again. She said that Christelle studies way too much and she wants her to pick up her violin more. Lol it was so unexpected but I would gladly want to encourage her. So I told Christelle to show me something with her violin, but she didn’t want to because it was out of tune and apparently it was for a master level to tune a violin. She said she also wanted to get back to playing it but has no time for it. I hope she picks it up someday again and play for me.

Then she told me that I was the first ever friend from church that entered her room. That made me feel somewhat special. Not even Nina Metsni or Jessica has been there apparently. I’m becoming more memorable to her than I thought I’d be. I want to thank her mom for that.

For a moment we talked again about Gabe and Edwin’s crush on her. I don’t remember how the conversation exactly went, but I went on explaining how dumb Edwin was for opening his gossiping mouth. I told Christelle that I was so stressed when he brought it up because I wanted to respect Gabe’s wish about not confessing it, but I also didn’t want to lie to her. I told her that it is very easy for me to lie to others, but I could never lie to her and she said she thought about me the same, too. Because she said that, I didn’t want to keep anything more from her and said that I had another weird secret that I had to get out. It was how Edwin and Gabriel shipped her with John Adi and oh man, she cringed so hard. She wasn’t interested in anybody so her reaction was hilarious.

Since we were in such a comfortable place, as if we had all the time in the world than just the 15 minute rides home, I was able to let her hear TaeYeon’s Time Lapse. I’ve always wanted to let her listen to that song because it fits her style of music well, and duh, it’s TaeYeon. I’ve always wanted to let her listen to that to understand the slight lack of emotion she has when singing, but even though I didn’t explain it that day, I was satisfied to listen to it with her because I was able to see her reaction. Since TaeYeon’s voice was pretty soft throughout the song, she was surprised when it got to the high part and loved that part. I just love how when she was listening to it, she was trying to sing it right away. She even told me if she is able to sing it maybe we could jam to it. Hahaha even if she won’t sing it with me, I’m glad enough just to introduce her to that song because… that song is so goooooooooood.

After that, she said that we should definitely lead the band this week and that she wanted to do Vapor by Gungor with me. Since I can’t turn her down, of course I’d gladly do it, and even sing with her. After a while, her friend arrived to study with her so it was time for me to go. It was getting a little late to so I had to go home.

That night, Gabe teased me since I was able to go to an event without Christelle being there. I’ve probably said this before, but ever since this Wildfire year started, I said I would never go to any event where I won’t be able to be with Christelle. I won’t go to Refuge if Christelle won’t come, and I definitely wouldn’t go to bigger events if she won’t come. Of course that’s not entirely true because I came to the leadership training mostly for God and for the future God wants for me. But it’s funny because I felt like I was with Christelle because Christelle’s mom reminded me so much of her. Gabe finds it all ridiculous and honestly, so do I. But what’s fascinating is that even though I didn’t plan to see Christelle, I saw her anyway.

God likes spoiling me these days for some reason. Hmm… maybe that’s not exactly the right word. It’s more like… like I have a parent who knows exactly what I want, what I need, and what’s good and perfect for me. I’ve never felt this close to Him, like he’s holding my hand and arranging all these events just for me. Every moment just seems so perfectly written. He just keeps blowing my mind. ❤