Muse for Hire (Chapter 11)

Elaine doesn’t come back to the storage room until dinner was done. Tony asked her during lunch time if she’s come up with a plot to her book yet. She didn’t lie to him that she doesn’t have a clue what to write about. She explained to him why she’s going through her stuff and he didn’t offer any help, simply because he didn’t want to know her past. This was one of the things she liked about him. He’s not nosy and he let her be. All that she lacked in her previous relationships was luckily in one neat package that is Tony.
She went back into the room and inspected the rows of papers that are stacked on top of one another. There are three stacks. The first one on the left is the one she’s filing back, the second stack is the ones she wants to look into again and the third is garbage. She wasn’t sure whether she should throw the stack away or not. These are scraps of paper with some words in it but she wasn’t sure whether it’s part of another paper.
She asks herself why it was in a mess like this and she tries to remember how she packed it all together. Wasn’t they all neatly stacked? Or was it that one time where she wanted to throw everything away but changed her mind the last minute. That must be it.
It was a chaotic time.
She leaves the door open, just in case Tony calls for her. She sits back on her beanbag and opens the notebook carefully. And just as she was going to read the first loose page, three of her cats zooms into the room, starts mewing upon seeing her and skips to where she was.
Elaine quickly assembled the neat stacks, knowing the cats are going to jump into it like children jump into dry leaves in autumn.
She let them settle and purr around her while she sets upon the task she gave herself.
The first page is a to-do list.
The second page is an attempt to write a resume.
And another one seems to be another poem.
No one in this world can tell what I’m feeling today
The psychics can’t read me like an open book
Nor the weatherman can predict what’s brewing in the horizon of my mind
I’m just as intrigued and people can’t help being mystified over what could happen to me
What I decide and what I really seek is something so simple but still
Neither I nor anyone knows what it is or what it means
Would time change my perspective and understanding of the way of the world works?
Would it help if I use the law of man to understand this?
Something so clear yet its complexity brings me back to where I stood before when I started off
Simplicity is not as simple as we thought
I still can’t tell what I already know
Elaine wonders when she wrote this. It sounds like a change of plan or maybe a new found will to change: which one was it. It made her think about the choices she made. She always told herself that she doesn’t have any regrets. Yet sometimes, she wonders whether she’s being honest with herself.
She slaps herself in the face. Not too hard. She shouldn’t dwell in these things. They’re not important anymore.
What’s important is that she stays focus. She needs to write a story, something that she’s good with and maybe the answer lies in these piles of pages she kept. Scattered thoughts in scattered pages, which makes her wonder if her brain was similarly holding thoughts like this until now. It just doesn’t go the way she wants it to.
Elaine gets up from her seat. She takes her laptop from her room and turns it on. Maybe she needs a random chat. It’s what she feels having right now.
A friend of hers, Dan, is online. She hasn’t seen him forever. He moved back to UK with his parents. In the beginning, he said he was just going to stay there for summer but he didn’t come back. And it’s been 10 years now.
They exchange pleasantries and she asks him about what’s going on with his life. He’s talking about this new chick he’s met but she’s got a boyfriend. Elaine chuckles to herself. This wasn’t new to her. Dan always and will never fail have that twist in his love life. It’s as if there’s this thrill for him. He talks about her more and she mocks him playfully how he should get a decent girlfriend and that maybe the girl for him is actually right in front of him. Elaine is hoping he’d hop into bed with the girl that’s digging him for six years now. He barely noticed it but she’s got a strong Spiderman’s tingling sense about it. If she was there, that girl, Gigi and Dan would be together for four years now. No question about it. She realizes that Dan hasn’t stopped talking about that girl that he’s recently obsessing about. He informs her about how she’s got an ex- boyfriend back to where she’s flying to right now and that same ex-boyfriend is going to pick her up from the airport.
Elaine knows this is going nowhere but Dan is still pretty hopeful. He also informs her that this girl, was supposed to call him when she lands. Elaine asks Dan what time that girl landed in her destination.
Elaine waits for a reply and he replied that she landed nine hours ago and that he’s waiting for her phone call or text or SMS. He’s worried that he won’t receive it that’s why he’s still up.
Elaine doesn’t think that girl is civilized at all and she won’t be civilized either. She won’t even ask for her name. What a bitch.
And her friend is a fool.
After chatting for a while, she manages to convince her friend to get some shut eye, even for a while. She logs out without looking at the list of names that are online. Elaine knows that Dan might not take that nap. And he might not be so convinced but maybe time will tell him what a fool he is right now. She hopes some other girl distracts him. He’s easily distracted but then people who are fools for love are like that. He’s that lovable but annoying type of guy.
She thanks her lucky stars that they’re not related. Or she might have gone after that girl herself. Or might go ahead and kill Dan for being such naïve boy.
Elaine looks around at the room slowly. She watches her cats sleep, huddled in a corner. She looks at the notebook, lying to her left. Does she want to go on tonight? Or does her mind desire some rest?
Suddenly, she feels the ground shake. Her cats wakes up, alert and looks around in alarm. It was as if there was a wave of something. She stands up quickly and looks out of the window. No reaction from people from below. She can still see people clearly from the seventh floor.  She calls out for Tony and she hears his footsteps towards the room. The cats run out of the room as Tony comes into the room to ask her what’s wrong. Elaine asks him if he felt the tremor a few minutes ago.
Tony gives her a blank stare, which usually means that he didn’t. Tony asks her if she was sure about what she felt and she automatically takes her laptop and check the Internet.
There is nothing. Elaine wonders if it was just a figment of her imagination. But it’s too strong to be just imagination. And the cats felt it too.
As if some odd wake up call, she remembers why she’s scared of amusement rides.
She was around four then. Two weeks or so ago, she had her joint birthday party with some other relatives. It was a grand get-together since it’s been a while since the family actually had a reunion this big. She remembers her age well because her paternal grandmother made her four dresses which were in fashion then.
She fell asleep in the living room, watching a movie with her mother and her aunt. Her mother allowed her to watch this late because she’s been good for the past two weeks. She woke up and everything was shaking. Her mother woke her with a start by carrying her and shoving her under the sofa bed made out of wood. Her paternal grandmother made it as well. Elaine remembers her grandmother joking that it can save them from an earthquake one day while she was putting it together in the backyard.
And now Elaine found herself, her mother, her grandmother and some other people huddled underneath the same sofa which was foretold to save them, in case disaster does strike.
Elaine remembers how it shook. It felt as if the ground was going to tore open and there was so much noise. She remembers there was this deafening crash and she just blacked out.
She wonders whether this is the sole reason why she hates amusement rides.


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