Monday, January 29, 2018

Week 4: Too Real

            The news was numbing. Just last week, I had told someone that the closest person to me that’s died was Cory Monteith.

            I couldn’t say that anymore.

            I had answered the phone call with happiness and joy, with a “Hey!”. I was under the impression that he was calling me because he missed my voice. I walked to my sink while I waited for him to respond. When silence greeted me instead of him, I got an uneasy feeling. I thought I was just being paranoid, but as I heard him struggling with words, I immediately stopped fumbling with my contact case.

“What’s wrong?” I dreaded the answer, but never anticipated how awful it would be.

My boyfriend breathed in a calming and collecting breath, bracing himself. The words came quietly and in awe, almost like they weren’t real before this moment. “He’s gone.” I stepped out of my room for some privacy and walked down to the end of my hallway.

 “What do you mean? Wait, I don’t understand.” I had heard him, but what he said couldn’t possibly be true. Stuff like this didn’t randomly happen in my life. This was something too hard, too much, for God to have thrown in our lives. I sunk down to the ground against the wall, feeling my chest constrict and my eyes burn. “What happened?”, I asked after it was clear this was real.

“He had a heart attack.” There were sniffles on the other end accompanied with a crack in his voice that broke my heart. Though he hadn’t said who, I knew who he meant. His father had been having medical problems lately -knee pain and back pain-, but I never thought it would come to this. He was only 48 years old for God’s sake. “Wait, but he was so young?” I was incredulous. It was unbelievable.

We were both silent for five minutes. Me, sitting in my dorm’s hallway in Austin, Texas with silent tears falling down my cheeks, and him in his house, alone, three and a half hours away in Houston, Texas, and too far away for me to comfort him and his aching heart with my own. It was silent for so long that he asked me “Are you still there?”

“Yes,” I responded, “I’m just… processing.”


This was last night, and I’ve spent the last 24 hours forgetting and remembering the situation. I kept on thinking to myself that the paramedics in the ambulance must haven’t done their jobs correctly. They revive people on TV all the time; why couldn’t they do it this time? My boyfriend was supposed to come visit me this weekend. I missed him like crazy, but I understood that the situation was different. I found myself being selfish and asked him to come anyway, but as the day went on, I knew I wasn’t doing what was best for him. We pushed the visit to next weekend.

My first class kept me busy and I forgot about it. But then… I realized his father will never get to meet his grandchildren. Or ours, if I married his son. He’ll never see him grow up and become a man. Never see him learn from his mistakes. Never get to say, “I’m proud of you, son” ever again. There were lasts that shouldn’t have been lasts, and firsts that hadn’t happened yet. None of it was fair.

And even worse was what came after. How do you move on from a tragedy like this? How are you supposed to go back to a normal life and when are you supposed to be okay? How do I honor his memory? Is my normal life supposed to change? I don’t think so, but I feel like something should be different. The world has changed after all, there is one less person on this earth, unfairly taken away.

I suddenly felt bad for wanting to continue with my plans for the weekend. There was a party on Saturday that I still wanted to go to, and I after I realized this, I asked myself “Is that bad?”

His death made my head and heart wander into unknown territory that no around me could help me with. I was forced to think about it, but not show it. I didn’t know who to talk about it with, and I didn’t want to put my boyfriend through anything else that’s stressful or sad.

But as much as I was heartbroken, I knew his son must have been even more so. I couldn’t even comprehend. For about five seconds, I thought about how I would react if our roles were reversed, if my father had died. But it was hard to imagine; the idea wasn’t one formed by my brain enough for it to believe. It was a mirage, short-lived and obviously false.

In the end, it wasn’t my responsibility to figure out how to act or what to do. My job was to be there for his son, to comfort him and to tell him that I loved him. I wanted him to know that this wasn’t changing any time soon, and that he could rely on me. 

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Week 3: Mission Redo

He had never been knocked out before, or even punched before, so all the sensations he was feeling were for the first time. He woke up in a chair, his head full of cartoon stars accompanied with a pulsing at his temple. He had been hit with something hard and compact. There was a crick in his neck that told him his head had been bowed down for a while, and his arms ached from being in one position for too long.

And not a good position at that.

He pulled at the ropes that bound his hands together and behind the chair, but they wouldn’t give. Not that he had much energy to pull at them in the first place.

“Don’t bother,” a voice said.

He looked left to discover a thin girl bound in the same way with the same rope. She had light hair that I supposed used to shine. All the brightness seemed to be taken away from it. Although it was dark in their small room, he could see her bruised eyes, bloody wrists, and overall dirty clothes.

“I already tried.” She seemed to sigh with her whole body.

“What’s going on? Who are you?” He didn’t have to talk loud. The room was small enough that his voice carried. It didn’t help his headache.

“I don’t know.”

“How do you not know?”

“Do you know?”

The question caught him off guard not from how odd it was, but how relevant it was to how he was feeling. The more he searched his brain, the more he realized that his memory didn’t go further back than when he woke up. He didn’t know his name, where he was from, or how old he was. It was only mildly alarming.

“Finally, your awake.” A different voice carried over to them from the shadows of the room. He turned his head forward, trying to follow the direction of the voice.

“Who are you?” The girl questioned.

“Let’s say I’m an investor. Who’s also his boss. It doesn’t matter what I tell you though. You’re actually receiving more information than you were supposed to.” His entire demeanor was casual, not just his tone. He was a tall, lanky man, and his posture indicated that he was used to having to duck under doorways.

“What does that mean? I don’t understand.” I was getting frantic at this point. Everything was too ominous and mysterious.

“I’m disappointed in you, Damien. This was supposed to be simple, but the two of you just had to pry. You couldn’t leave it alone, even when we gave you an opportunity to look away.” There was a long pause as the trickles of information he let us have sank into our brain.

I was supposed to do something. Clearly, I didn’t do it to how this man wanted it to be done. I didn’t think brain-wiped me would want to know. But maybe brain-wiped Damien should be the one in charge right now if old me got us into this trouble.

The man continued, “The big man wanted me to terminate the mission and you, but he wanted to be thorough with it. That’s why your memories have been erased.” He stepped even further out from the shadows, enough so I could see his gray coat layered over a dark sweater and an even darker pair of slim jeans.

“Why didn’t you kill us when we were under then?”
He shrugged. The collar of his coat rose with him and touched his cheeks. “I wanted to make sure the brain wipe worked. I wanted to see your confused faces. See the powerful Damien scramble. I don’t know. Take your pick.” The man whipped out a gun from his waistband and pointed it at my face in a manner of milliseconds.

Instinct and fear made me scream. “Wait! No, please, please, just… wait.” I didn’t want to die. I didn’t know much about myself, but I knew I didn’t want to die. “What if you gave me another chance. I don’t know, like, put me back in and put the mission back in my head?”

The gun stayed trained on me. “What makes you think I’ll do that?”

“Because from the sound of it, I was damn good agent, spy, employee, whatever I was. You made it sound like people respected me. Why don’t you make a wager to the boss that if I mess up again, you can take my old job?”

He seemed to weigh the option in his head. By the looks of it I guessed right. I was his superior. I didn’t know what would happen to the girl, but she wasn’t important right now. His life was in this man’s hands, and he wasn’t going to take that lightly.

The man finally sighed and dropped his gun. “Fine,” he said, clearly irritated. “But I’m making you forget all of this.”

“What? No, that’s not fa-“ The last thing I saw was his cruel smile before the butt of his gun connected harshly with my head.


            It was a beautiful morning to have a beautiful woman in my bed. My head slumped over to the sleeping figure next to me. An alarm on her phone rang signaling an hour before opening hours. She groaned and flopped a pillow over her head, messing up her bright hair even more.

            “Make it stop. I don’t want to go to work today,” she complained.

            It was also a beautiful day to rob her safety deposit box.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Week 2: What Comes After

I had imagined this moment before, believe it or not. I mean, who didn’t imagine how they would die? Or what would happen afterwards? I looked over at my mom who was in the driver’s seat next to me. Blood was running down her face and getting on her scarf that I had bought her for Christmas five years ago. For some reason, all I could think about was how jarring red was when placed next to the pale flower pattern of the scarf. I tried to speak but it seemed my throat wasn’t letting me.

Outside I hear screeches as cars came to a halt and people beheld the sight in front of them. How did this happen? I focus on my lap which is crushed by the dashboard. I try moving, but I’m pinned. My own blood drips onto my leggings. To my right, the door has been caved in. From a truck was it? Our tiny hatchback didn’t stand a chance.

Pain was ringing through my body as wildly as my ears were. It suddenly came crashing in and I felt everything. My legs were being crushed. My mind was disorientated, and it was harder and harder to force the black away from the edges of my vision. My arms seemed to weigh a ton.

A hand gingerly touched mine and I followed it up to where my mom was sadly smiling at me. The smile held a lot of emotions for me. It was “I love you”, “I’m proud of you”, and “It’ll be ok” all wrapped into one. It was the last thing I saw before the blackness won.

It was surprising. I was still thinking in the pitch blackness. It made me think I was just passed out. Maybe I was in a coma. Maybe the light that was gradual growing was a hospital light. But the light didn’t stop growing. It became unbearably bright. It seemed to never grow until it finally receded, and a different darkness replaced it. Light was filtering through my eyelids, soft and inviting. When I finally blinked my heavy eyelids away, a sea of seats filled with various people and animals greeted me. I was in a movie theater, I realized. A big one at that; the sea of seats stretched impossibly back. Even with the lights on, I couldn’t see the end.

Applause erupted, making me jump. Everyone who was able was standing and clapping for me. At least, I assumed it was me. I was the only one standing at the front.
I looked at the closest row to me. The nearest person smiled and waved me over to the seat right next to him. He was wearing very beach appropriate clothes, swim trunks and a simple white shirt, which were at odds with my sweater, leggings, and snow boots. “What’s going on? Who are you?” I asked him. His smile was reassuring, almost like he understood how I felt.

“Hi Lia. My name is Anthony. Welcome to what happens after.” He gestured around him to the movie theater.

“So this is the afterlife?”

“Sure, if you want to call it that. I don’t know it’s actual name.”

I stared at him in confusion. “Shouldn’t you be the all-knowing guide who tells me what’s next?”

“Oh, I can tell you what’s next, but I’m certainly not all-knowing. I am you after all.”

“What do you mean?”

“I… we…,” he glanced around the room, “are the old reincarnations of you. When I died, my soul was reborn into you. And now that you have died, your soul is about to find a new animal or person to be born into.”

I looked around the room. It was filled with different people and various animals. Next to Anthony sat a German Shepard. Next to the dog was standing a Mexican woman wearing business like clothing. Next to her was a man in a military uniform.

“All of you are my… past lives?” Anthony nodded.

“That’s… incredible! Oh my gosh, that’s so cool!” I laughed in disbelief and stared around at the people and animals that had been me throughout all eternity. The experiences that they all must have led must be incredible. Every year must be represented in this room. This seemingly never-ending room. That if she chose, she could get information about what it was like to live in any given time. “What do we do now that our actual life is over?”

“We sit, and we watch as our soul is reborn again. We watch them live just as all of use watched you live your life.”

I turned towards the dark screen. “That’s it? That’s all we do?”
“Well, we talk about the new life. We bet and give theories on what we think their decision will be. Like I for one was happy that you chose to live in Maryland. Being from Asia, I had never seen snow until your life. Come on, sit. The next life should be starting soon.”

The lights started dimming as I sat next to Anthony. It was crazy to think that this is what my life was leading to. I was slightly saddened that there wasn’t more. That I couldn’t fly or snap my fingers and get to explore the rest of the world. I suppose it was better than nothing. Not that I could imagine what being nothing would feel like.

The screen started lightening. Everyone around me started applauding as a doctor with blue scrubs came into focus, and my new life began. A life of watching someone else live while I watched on the sidelines. I shouldn’t complain. I could have had a worse person to sit next to.

Project for the year

Hello all!

It has been quite awhile since I've been on here. I've recently decided to give myself a writing challenge for the year. For 2018, I plan on writing something once a week. It can be anything, from a short story to just how I'm feeling. I want to be able to just put these somewhere. I don't want them to be just for me and my boyfriend's eyes, so I've decided to post them on here. Probably not the writings about my feelings, but the short stories of course.

And if no one is reading this, or if only my boyfriend is reading this, that's okay. It just feels nice to have it on the internet.

Enjoy, whoever you are.


Monday, December 28, 2015

REVIEW: Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Title: Just One Day
Author: Gayle Forman
My Rating: 4 Stars

"Sometimes the best way to find out what you're supposed to do is by doing the thing you're not supposed to do." 

Synopsis (From Goodreads): 

Allyson Healey's life is exactly like her suitcase—packed, planned, ordered. Then on the last day of her three-week post-graduation European tour, she meets Willem. A free-spirited, roving actor, Willem is everything she’s not, and when he invites her to abandon her plans and come to Paris with him, Allyson says yes. This uncharacteristic decision leads to a day of risk and romance, liberation and intimacy: 24 hours that will transform Allyson’s life.

A book about love, heartbreak, travel, identity, and the “accidents” of fate,Just One Day shows us how sometimes in order to get found, you first have to get lost. . . and how often the people we are seeking are much closer than we know.

Review (Spoiler free): 

I was pretty much forced into reading this book by someone who regarded this as an awesome book. I think that was partly why my expectations were higher than someone who dove in with no knowledge. I was told by my best friend and by one of my favorite BookTubers that if I was looking for a quick, cute, and fun read, this is what I should read. While it was cute at times, it was not quick. No offense Christine, but this did not live up to the expectation you gave me. I found that I could not get through this as fast as I wanted to. But all of this in mind, I still liked the story. I enjoyed the fact there was a story after her travels that showed a realistic life of a struggling college student. Though there were many aspects of the travels that I was like "Wait what, what just happened?", I definitely liked this book as a whole. It wasn't until the end that I started seriously fangirling over the characters and on what was going to happen next. I recommend this book, but not highly recommend. It's not on Fangirl's level.

Spoiler Discussions:  

Ok, Allyson... or Lulu... or whatever you want to be called. It's time we have a little talk. After waking up alone after a night of sex with someone that you've only know for, like, less than a couple days, it is not smart to go running through the streets of Paris while cars are going about their business. USE THE SIDEWALK! It is there for a reason! Geez, you almost get killed and here we are. The readers that are yelling at you like we're watching a dramatic TV show to get out of the way before you die! Also, did you not look for a note? And also, on a side note, if I were you and was hanging around Paris with a hottie like Willem, I. Would. Tell. Him. My. Name. It's common sense when you have sex with someone else after all. There are seriously so many bones that I have to pick with you. For instance, did you have a condom? And what if Willem had an STD? You know those aren't pretty right? But I guess since you are stained, it's all cute-sy. *sarcasm intended*
Two: I'm glad that after Allyson calls for help and flies home, we get to see how she adapts to college life. I wasn't expecting Allyson to wake up with Willem not there and I was not expecting us to read about events in Allyson's normal life, without hiding behind Lulu. I was very happy with her relationship with Dee. His character was very different. They way he explained why he altered his personality for friends was refreshing. After he said to Allyson that he wasn't changing anything, but he was just showing different sides of his personality, the ones that the other wanted to see, I realized we all did that. Dee was the great voice or reality.

At the time that I read this book, about six months ago, this was the second book I had read of Gayle Forman. At the moment that I am writing this review, I have read the second book in this series along with the novella. I adored the novella; it was a perfect way to end the story and I enjoyed it more than Just One Day and Just One Year. But even after reading 3 1/2 of her books, I'm not completely sold on Gayle Forman. I'm not in love with her, though I feel like I should be. I definitely do not hate her as an author, but I also don't feel blown away by her.
How about you? Do you like Gayle Forman?

Write you later, 
         Akiko <3

Sunday, June 21, 2015

REVIEW: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
My Rating: 5 Stars

"In new situations, all the trickiest rules are the ones nobody bothers to explain to you. (And the ones you can't Google)."

Synopsis (From Goodreads): 

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love. 

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan...

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words... And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Review (Spoiler Free): 

I can not believe it took me so long to read this book. One word can be used to describe Fangirl: Uber-freaking-adorable.
Lately, I've been trying to find more books that are set in college. Mainly because that is where I want to be and because the college dynamic is different, students behave differently, and characters have more freedom. I would say anybody could read this book. I think there are many aspects that relate to different people. It has humor, sarcasm, inspiration, and more. 

Spoiler Discussions: 

One: Cath and Levi's relationship: 
I have to admit that I wanted a little bit more affection between them, but one of the great things about their relationship is the connection outside of the physical. Instead of showing readers kisses and make out sessions, Rainbow Rowell has banter and reading sessions. Both of their relationships with Reagan were particularly funny and creative. It wasn't ordinary and that is what I'm always drawn to. At first, I was scared that Reagan would get in between Cath and Levi, but as you realize that Reagan doesn't really care, it gets better!
Two: How much I despise Nick:
The whole section of Nick taking Cath's writing and not giving her credit astounded me. I wanted to smack him and myself for ever thinking that Nick would be a love-interest. I'm happy he wasn't though because he turned into something that was needed more: a chance for Cath to stand up for herself and not take anymore bullshit. I wanted to punch him again when he had the nerve to plead to Cath about letting him put her name on their work. It shouldn't be a question in the first place! Of course, he didn't even apologize. He just wanted the award that came with the story that they wrote.
Third: College, in general:
It may have seemed like a gigantic betrayal when Wren didn't want to be roommates. But like many situations, this betrayal was a blessing in disguise. If everything had gone according to plan, Cath would have never met Reagan, and in turn never met Levi. I absolutely love that this coming-of-age novel was set in college. Truth be told, it is more realistic this way. I was able to fantasize about college through Fangirl. It made me think what I would do in the Nick situations and  how I'd deal if I was out of my comfort zone.
To anybody reading, I just wanted to say thank you for reading what I had to say. It means a lot to me.

Write you later, 

Monday, February 2, 2015

REVIEW: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Title: We Were Liars
Author: E. Lockhart
My Rating: 4 Stars

"Do not accept an evil you can change." 

Synopsis (From Goodreads):

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

Review (Spoiler Free): 

There is not much that I can say about this book. It's mostly because I feel like saying anything that is not in the synopsis will spoil you just the tiniest bit. Even if you knew an inkling of what I knew, it would not be ideal. So here is what I'm going to say: the book is different than any other I've read. My advice is to just jump in with no expectations. I loved this book, but don't know if it is everyone's cup of tea. I would recommend it to people who are not afraid of venturing out of their comfort zone. Sorry I can't say anything else!

Spoiler Discussions: 

.... This book, man. So many things to think about and write down. I have to talk about the writing style, THE twist, and anything else that comes to mind.
1) So I feel like most people did not enjoy this book because of the different way E. Lockhart wrote. Sure it did go down to the next line in the middle of the sentence sometimes, and it became annoying at times, but it was refreshing. It made the book fly by even though I felt like I was still retaining a lot of words and information. It was weird how the author was able to do that. I didn't really mind the writing style, but I suppose it's just opinion.
2) The ending was definitely a gigantic shock for me. I did not guess that all of her cousins were actually dead and that Cadence was imagining them. When I read about the dogs, I was sad. When I read about her cousins' funerals, I teared up! My jaw literally dropped, a tear ran down my cheek, and I had to read the page twice because I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Once I processed this peace of information, certain pieces of the book clicked back into my head. When her cousins were allowed to not go to the family meals, when John's father was aimlessly wandering around the island all sad-like and calling John's name, when I realized that no one else talked to Cadence's cousins other than her. It all clicked in. I think it was, by far, the most unbelievable and shocking ending I have ever read.
3) Miscellaneous! I loooved the way the book started. The super long metaphor about her dad "shooting" her when he left was a jaw dropper to open the book. For a second, I thought her dad really had shot her. It made me so worried. I also loved the mystery that every chapter gave. The way we learned about her accident at the same rate that Cady did was great. The map and family tree that was int he beginning of the book was very helpful too. When house names or kid names came up, I would go back to the front to try and get a clearer picture.
To all my peeps that made it this far: tell me what you thought. Did you enjoy the writing style or not? Did you think this book was powerful? A home run? Or not even a single?

Write you later,