Miss Aida
Perhaps the happiness and the cheerful exterior of my being were merely a mask to mask the dark void inside of me. The love of my friends and family were the only things that stopped me from hurtling down the abyss of despair, flailing and falling before I fell from salvation. And then I let go.

"I can't live with people who don't trust me. I have to get out of the house. If I stay here any longer, we're going to continue to fight. And I don't want that."

It was the first time I had ever directly defied my mother for a long time, and I could feel my heart breaking as I walked out of the house, barely able to see where I was going for the tears that blurred my vision and the emotional beating I had gone through.

It started with a conversation about my late night before, where I had returned home in the early hours of the morning. My mother was angry, understandably, about the hour I chose to return. I was confused at the sudden turn of events, my parents always having trusted me with my social life, allowing me the freedom to go where I wished and a lack of a curfew. My probing questions met with no answers, instead a growing hurt and realisation that my parents no longer seemed to trust me. I felt crushed, stifled, the heightened sensitivity causing me to feel more pain that I could ever imagine with the dawning that my parents did not trust me. And when my mother physically struck out at me in her mistaken belief that I was being rude to her, I could no longer take the pain.

I made my way up the hill and sat where the drains connected the households, where I had spent many happy times in my childhood; a place where I felt sheltered and safe. In my fragile emotional state, I sent texts to my father and my best friends, anger at my father for not talking his concerns over with me, and words of goodbye to my friends. Then only did I let the tears flow until they could flow no more and there was only emptiness left. A kind of numbness. I did not mean to get my friends involved. I told them no details, but Nat, Nik, Azreen and Sam, they found me anyway, tear-streaked and angry, sitting watching the sky. If I had my way, I would have stayed there, in my personal shelter sleeping under the stars with the grass under my back and the music of the crickets to keep my company. Yet they coaxed and cajoled and I found myself sleeping in Azreen's apartment that night.

I returned home the next day to pick up some things for my vacation to Langkawi and ran into my father.

"Can we talk?"

I cannot explain the overwhelming rush of sadness and anger that came over me, for I could barely look at his face without thinking of my mother's comments about his disappointment in me. Already I was crying. I seemed to have turned into a regular water fountain. I shook my head and told him I would return tomorrow.

All day it felt like there was something inside me that had died. The irony. The eternal optimist has fallen, and fallen hard she has. The fall from grace is a painful one, leaving my emotions ripped and bleeding, until I can feel no more for all the pain.

I returned the next day and talked to my father. I have never loved my father so much, for he tried to listen and understand my pain, my frustrations with the lack of openness in communication channels with me and my parents, my anger; and he in turn confided in me his concerns about me and my future. We talked and I felt listened and understood and hopeful that this too would come to pass, and it would make our family a much stronger unit. Then I returned and my mother was as cold to me as she could be, pretending not to care about my existence as I stood there and told her that I was leaving for my holiday.

"Go. I don't care."

I hated to leave on such a bad note, but it was done. I had no time to talk to her, and I could see from her expression that her mind was set. I could only implore my father to talk to her and help her see my point of view, and that was all I could do.

Langkawi island was a tropical paradise. Yet, the azure seas and the white sands were only temporary relief. I enjoyed my holiday, because it made me forget, and I was determined to do so as I swam in the sea, and basked in the sun, and played at the waterfalls. The company was good, and the place was akin to a little slice of heaven on earth. Yet I cannot force myself to feel what I don't. The smiles I smiled did not touch my eyes, they were only there to help me heal. I laughed rarely, and even more rarely joined in conversation, for any lull brought back the pain I felt.

I returned today and my mother still could not look at me. I am leaving Malaysia in four days and she still cannot look at me. Be still my broken heart.

I know I could have handled the previous situation in a much better way than I did, but I cannot turn back the past. It is done. For all I say and do, I love my parents too much, and the betrayal of their broken trust sent me over the edge. I have fallen from grace. And I do not know how I will return.
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