Muse for Hire (Chapter 9)

Elaine wakes up early today. She felt energized and feels she can do absolutely anything today.
She goes to the bathroom and turns on the water. Nothing came out of the tap. This jolts her awake and she wonders what happened. She checks outside her flat and she discovers that her water meter is gone.
After a series of phone calls and arguments with the customer service, she finds herself going to the centre to reconnect her water. She can smell herself and she’s not happy.
After a few hours, she got her water back and jumped into the shower.
She can put this in one of her stories, she muses.
Last night, she threw a pile of unwanted notes which she tore to pieces, just in case, someone goes through her rubbish. She felt doing that just to be on the safe side. She did that to everything she threw away, why does she have to stop that now?
Elaine threw notebooks, old things that she knew didn’t matter. There are also things that she knew that she had to throw because it was a beginning of letting some things go. She read some things she wrote down when she was bitter and she wrote about it in her old book. It was about time to let it go.
She sits down in her sofa and just stared into the blank screen of the TV. She knows she has something. Her cell phone rings and she checks the caller display. It was one of her good friends, Tracy, asking her to go to the annual Yaoi (boy on boy love) convention. She laughs out loud. She’s gotten over her phase with boy to boy love manga, animation and such but her heterosexual friend maintained the fascination.
A few years back, when she turned 20, in a spur of the moment, she listed herself in a personals ad. She wanted a gay friend. She had several but she wanted to meet a more experienced, worldly one. She told herself that this is the only way she will ever get close to writing good yaoi scenes. She had a story she was hoping to write but she didn’t know how to write the twist properly without a good scene. But how could she when she and her gay friends barely know how ‘love’ was in their point of view? She wanted ‘real’ answers, real point of view. And back then, you don’t really find much stuff about it online. It’s like a needle in a haystack. And most of it is just plain gay porn.
Elaine listed her name as Bridget. She wasn’t sure whether it was safe. You never know nowadays. Gom answered her ad and she met him in Starbucks in a busy district. She remembered there were only two tables in Starbucks that was with a single person. On the table in the corner is a middle-aged, dirty old man that won’t stop ogling at young ladies passing by and the other table was this beautiful man in his late 20s. She was in the stationary shop opposite the café. She almost backed out the last minute, losing her nerves but she knows she needed to do this. She can just leave if it’s really the perverted old man.
She thanked the heavens, until now, that Gom was the latter.
And they got along so well. Gom knew almost everything. She can ask him anything and he knew.  She told her friend Margaret about it after five months of meeting him. Her friend thought it was insane, desperate even. But when Margaret met him, she completely changed her mind about him.
Elaine missed those days. Some of the scenes in her last book were from Gom. Many readers thought that it was quite graphic but sexy. She knew you can’t go wrong with sexy.
Back then, she and Margaret were inseparable but she doesn’t know what happened afterwards. She just disappeared and she couldn’t find her. Margaret stayed by herself in the country but she never really talked about where she came from. Elaine never asked because Margaret didn’t seem quite comfortable talking about her home or family. Gom was the same as Margaret. He did talk about his family back in New York but he didn’t talk about them much. He also disappeared into thin air. She doesn’t see them anywhere in HK. Not even a phone call. Not even an email.
What Margaret and Gom had in common was their fascination with Elaine’s family. They thought it was amazing that Elaine and her siblings, a brother, Jim and a sister, Flora was close and were actually ‘friends’.
Elaine misses them but it doesn’t seem like they feel the same way about her.
Rejection by lovers and friends feel equally bad.
Elaine tore some more papers and tossed them in the plastic bag. She went into the bathroom and looked into the bathroom mirror.
She wondered if it was her looks. Did she look bad, untrustworthy even? She remembers how in high school, she was afraid of letting her friends go because she knew that the test of time would get to them. She knew that they would drift apart and as usual, only time can tell if they do stay friends.
She’s still friends with her high school friends and it’s a relief but everyone’s got priorities now. She’s mature enough to understand that it’s not about them anymore. The world is a bigger place now. She doesn’t know how her friends changed or if they did change but she knows that they still treat each other with respect and their friendship stays unchanged for her. Maybe they have or make different choices now but it’s still the same to her.
There are changes she had to go through.
She found courage to leave her siblings and let them find themselves and stand on their own two feet without having to hold her hand. That’s pretty huge for her since she’s quite protective of them.
She’s still hopeless with growing flowers but somehow, she manages to keep plants alive. This thought amused her and she looks out at their balcony, filled with greenery.
She feels like she got bullied into understanding how the world revolves. It felt so sudden.
A flashback of a bullying encounter flashes before Elaine’s mind. She and Mara fought off three girls in a playground and the fighting didn’t stop until their teachers got a wind of what was happening outside the school premises. Those were the days.
Elaine looks at her hands and balls them into fists.
And it was a thrill and such good timing too. All that teenage angst went into her fists and on to those bullies’ faces.
And she won’t lie about how good it all felt.

She can feel a headache coming to her now. And she will kill it immediately with medication.


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