"Keep on falling."
“Take a deep breath in the mirror, he didn’t like it when I wore high heels, but I do...” I sing as if I am still floating in the clouds as I pull out my uniform hanging beside my mannequin. Then I head to the bathroom. After I did my morning rituals (shower, brushing my teeth, and fixing my hair), I continued singing Begin Again by Taylor Swift as I went downstairs to eat breakfast.
“But on a Wednesday in a café…” I sing nonchalantly and then gasp when I realize how coincidental it was. When I reach the breakfast patio, I drop my bag as I pull out the chair and mental pictures of the music video play inside my head. I think I look like an idiot, just like Cinderella after her rendezvous with the Prince at the ball.
Obvious and stupid.
Célina and Dion meet each other’s eyes and then at me as I continue singing softly to myself. Dad is reading the newspaper while mum is watching some celebrity news on the telly. Our maid piles food on the table and onto our plates.
I sit down, smiling, and dig in cheerfully.
And that behaviour made our parents exchange looks. They gaze at me. I believe it’s odd to my family when I enjoy breakfast because I usually don’t (my cravings are never satisfied in the mornings). The muffled noise from the TV is now silent when mum pushed the mute button on the remote.
Dion breaks the silence by clearing his throat and says, “Uh, sis, what are you singing?”
My smile turns wide when I get to the part of ’café’ and answer him, still singing, “begin again.”
He nods, but he is still confused. I know it from the look on his face. But they continue to eat in peace and resume whatever they were doing by letting me be. I can’t help it! I’m excited to go to school. I know, it’s not Hogwarts, but I feel that kind of buzz when you’re about to see someone dear to you. Maybe this was what the soul in my journal is implying to me: the feeling of being ebullient about waking up and not dreading getting out of bed. Like, I have a reason to look forward to what’s going to happen next because it’s new for me.
I mean, because lately, I feel as if every day is the same; no thrill nor rush. I always pretend or fake my interest, and I think I’m pretty good at it. Otherwise, I won’t get out of bed at all. I don’t mean to sound like a mean girl, but it’s just the same when my friends (D, Beth and Lea) and I plan on going somewhere to dine or just to hang out, I always tell them I’m excited, but the truth is, I’m not. It’s not that I don’t want to see them or anything, but I’m just not. Now that I realize it, I feel awful. I guess I’m so good at hiding my feelings. I don’t recognize them anymore. But lately, they are running wildly from captivity.
The sound of the door clicking and Demi Lovato’s music video on TV distracts me from my thoughts. Dion must have switched the channel to MTV. So, I stopped singing and enjoyed the delicious full English breakfast instead.
“Mari, I heard from your brother you won the annual Talent Showcase,” dad says after he dabbed the table napkin on his mouth.
“Hm?” I hum and look up to where my dad always sits. I hate admitting this but love it when they are proud of me.
Dion and mum smile at me, but I see Célina rolling her eyes.
“We didn’t get a chance to celebrate!” says mum, holding dad’s hand, with smiles plastered on their faces.
I smirk. “Really, is it necessary?” and sip on my tea.
Mum claps her hands together, ignoring my usual snarky comments. “Don’t be silly! Come on now, darling!”
Dad lights up. “Why don’t we ask Natalie to prepare your favourite meal for dinner?”
I smile. “But, Célina doesn’t like —”
And on cue, Célina mumbles as her left eyebrow rose. “That’s true.”
Dion scoffs. “You don’t like anything we like at all, though.”
I sigh. “I thought this was a celebration?” I stare at my almost-gone breakfast. I forgot how annoying my sister can be, and what a great way to start and ruin my starting day. “Maybe lasagne, Célina likes that, right?”
They exchange looks, probably because we always fight about something. Célina and I have never seen eye to eye (of course, when we were younger). Our egos are over the top, most of the time, and them seeing me backing down is strange.
Célina clears her throat, putting aside the utensils she used. Her lips twitch as if trying not to smile, but she breaks and gives a tiny smirk. No one notices it, just me. She says, “That’d be nice.”
I smile brightly, “yeah! Besides, I am craving for it!” I show a great eagerness for the food; now my mouth is watering just thinking about dinner for later.
Mum laughs. “Okay, then!” clapping her hands softly, then she gestures to Natalie to come to her and says, “You know what to do, Natalie.”
She nods and says to me, “You will have the best lasagne in your life, Miss Mariana,” she smiles, curtsies willingly and goes into the kitchen, maybe to inform the other staff.
I miss this life, one command with a snap and voila! Everything you wish for is in front of you and having the confidence of false security for being wealthy. But this is not how life should be, and I learned it the hard way because I wanted to, the hard way. I didn’t like myself for how I treated and looked down on others as if they were nothing just because they hadn’t had the same privilege as me. It frightened me how cruel I was (I’m judging you harshly grade-and-middle-school-days-Mariana and your snake-y ways during high school as well). It might be one of the reasons why my sister and I didn’t get along before and how I only had friends because they were scared of me. But enough of that negativity! I have taken the higher ground and been trying to treat people with kindness as much as I could, even if they don’t treat me the same way.
After we finished our breakfast, my siblings and I headed out to the driveway and into the car. When I open the front door, I notice the sky is dark and grey with flashes of light, thunder let out growls, and the clouds look heavy and low. There’s a high chance it’s going to rain today. I shudder, and then my teeth clatter when the cold wind blows. I clutch onto my beige coat tighter and fix my soft, egg-shell-white scarf around my neck. I sigh, and my breath rises into mists. The feeling of being drenched with water because of the rain is the worst, but I don’t let it bother me because I am still thrilled to get to school.
“Do you have your umbrella, sis?” asks Célina, walking next to me.
I search into my bag and see my splashed in pink (ugh, pink, again) umbrella, real cute, “yeah, how about you?”
She nods, making her way to the other car door, and I see Dion smiling. Viktor opens the door for Célina first. “It may actually be a celebration, you know?” Dion says, nudging my sides, looking back at me with a smudge grin on his face.
I see Célina roll her eyes just when Viktor opens the other door for Dion and me. But then there’s me, little Ms Oblivious, “how come? It was just a Talent Showcase.”
This time Dion’s the one who rolls his eyes as he and I get in the car. Then my phone vibrates. “Looks like you’ve got a boooooyfriend!” teases Dion. I snap out of him, but I can’t stop smiling.
I open the message:
From: NATHAN 11/18/2010 6:42 AM
Good morning Mariana. See you soon.
Dion keeps on teasing me, and then Célina joins in. I roll my eyes, but I can’t control my lips from smiling! I toss my phone back in my bag because I can’t reply now since my siblings are babbling lovey-dovey stuff! Reality check, last night did happen. I hung out with Nate freaking Turner!
When Viktor is about to pull out from the driveway, mum hurries to my window to say something. “Oh, Mari!” she calls out. “Don’t forget you’re going to Mother and meet Nana Charlie to get your dress for tomorrow. You know, she cannot wait to show and help you pick out an outfit from your great-grandma’s closet!”
I smile awkwardly. “Oh, right, I will go there after school. I can’t wait to see them!” I say instead. “It’s nice to know the fashion back in the day,” I add, even though I don’t remember I had to go there. I thought I’d pick my dress in Queens with A and Ros. But I guess this would be more awesome than rent from a vintage boutique.
“Alright, honey.” She smiles and then backs away, waving at us. “Be careful and have fun today!”
Isn’t this day getting even better?! And it’s just starting!