The Wanderer and the Little Princess

I was waiting for my friend Gypsy (yes that’s her real name) in a café the other day. It’s been a while since she and I have seen each other so I was pretty excited. It wasn’t long before I saw the mass of red hair she warned me about. She recently had it done and apparently, it takes a while for the actual colour to surface. That day, she walked towards me with hair similar to the colour of a fire engine. I admit, I bit the sides of my cheeks and looked away pretty quickly so she wouldn’t see the grin spreading across my face.

As my shoulders were going up and down from my apparent mirth, I was distracted by a shrill shriek, “Ninang Jing” I turned and saw my 6 year old godchild Shani (although she says she’s 6 ½ now) barrelling towards me, a huge smile plastered on her face. She leaps into my open arms and says, “You still feel like a pillow” (gee, thanks) and proceeds to plant a slobbery kiss on my cheek before running off to look at the menu of the café.

Gypsy then gives me a big hug and I inhale the nasty chemical-ish smell of her crazy red hair. She moves back, sees the expression on my face and says, “Don’t start! Mom already gave me an earful last Tuesday.”  I put on my most clueless expression, looked straight into her eyes and said, “What? This is wonderful! Call of the search! I’ve found Nemo.”  She rolls her eyes, whacks my arm with her hand bag and walks to the counter to place her order. From our table I could see Shani bouncing up and down the side of the counter engaging one of the baristas in a story about Jess, her purple stuffed rabbit.

Shani had barely settled into a comfortable position on the couch beside me before Gypsy  launched into an all-out, animated story telling of the past 2 years of her life. She talked about backpacking through Europe and about visiting Malaysia, Alaska, Phuket and Brazil. She talked about all the interesting people she met (mostly men by the way) and the different cuisines she was able to try (she and I are both foodies)

Gypsy seemed so worldly that I felt like a country mouse in comparison. How is it that she and I are the same age yet she seemed to have been able to immerse herself in a lot more adventures than I have? Granted, she has yet to step into the hallowed halls of a University but I had to wonder; did she choose a better path than I did?

As these thoughts coursed through my already frazzled mind, Shani pulls herself up and hands me her iPad (yes, this 6 year old kid has an iPad. I roll my eyes at the injustice) and says, Ninang, you have to answer all the questions I listed honestly and truthfully so help you God.” I glanced at Gypsy for help. My friend, being the wonderful creature that she is, sticks her tongue out at me, smiles, pulls out her iPhone and starts a game of Draw Something (which reminds me, I have got to get into that game!) Left with no other choice but to comply to a 6 year olds demand, I smile down at Shani and scan the questions she listed down. (I later found out that Gypsy had already answered the same questions a few days back which explains the sticking out of the tongue)

 

PRINCESS SHANI’S TREASURE QUESTIONS!

  1. If you had to kiss a prince, would he be a pig, a fish or a frog? (Can’t he be human instead? What happened to that option)
  2. If Peter Pan came to your window, would you fly away with him forever? (I’d miss my family too much. If they could come along, then why not?)
  3. If you had to eat chocolate forever, would you choose Snickers or Butterfinger? (I guess I’ll starve because I’m not too crazy about either one)
  4. If you were a princess, would you be Cinderella or Snow White? (Neither. I’m more of an Ariel, Jasmine girl)
  5. If Barney asked to be your best friend, would you say yes? (Probably not. I kinda think he’s a little creepy plus, I’m pretty happy with my human best friends)
  6. If you could be a superhero, would you be a mermaid or a fairy? (What happened to the Justice League and the Avengers and all their cool super powers? Can’t I be one of them instead?)
  7. If I tell you a secret, will you promise not to tell Mommy? (Okay. – then she leans towards me and whispers, “Mommy has stinky feet.” HAHAHAHA!!!)
  8. Would you live in Disneyland forever? (YES! YES! YES!)
  9. Who’s your favorite cartoon character? (Winnie the Pooh! :D)
  10. Who’s your favorite Barbie? (There’s more than one Barbie now?!)
  11. Who is your Prince Charming? (I’ll let you know the second I find out kiddo. 😉 )

Questions made by Shani and Lana (her Mom) de Leon

 

That was some list huh?! I asked Lana about it after and she said it was all Shani. She just changed the spelling but those questions came straight from that little girls funky and colorful little mind. I felt a tinge of pride at how amazing this kid is turning out to be.

Truth is, as much as I loved being able to hang out with Gypsy again after all these years, my favorite part of the afternoon was my little conversations with Shani. There’s just something about a mind of a little kid that sets them apart from everyone else. It’s refreshing to be able to see the world the way they do. None of the bad stuff, only the good.

Thank you Shani for teaching this big lug a thing or two about setting your mind free and letting it wander for a while. One of these days I shall join you in Shanisia (her imaginary world) Don’t grow up too fast okay? 🙂

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Taking it all in…

Two years ago, one rainy afternoon (and I swear, I am not making this up) I was struck by the need to write poetry. Usually I dive into creating poems that talk about heartache and love. Needless to say, writing under this genre was (and still is) the easiest for me. Probably because I’ve never actually been in love, I base my poetry solely on the stuff I read about in books or on the sob stories my friends tell me over a cup of coffee or sometimes a bottle of beer (or two) Trust me, when you have zero experience, it takes some of the edge off. There’s no pressure. That day however, I felt like I needed to write something different. Instead of writing one entire poem, I decided to dabble on writing several 1 stanza poems.

Earlier that week, I watched a documentary on high school kids. It was a tell-tale on the problems that each student had to face every day in school. There was so much drama; drama that teenagers shouldn’t have to deal with.  They interviewed various teens from different cliques and were able to unearth a lot of hidden emotions. I guess no matter who you are or where you come from, at the end of the day, you end up facing the same emotional demons. I started writing, editing, erasing, trashing and writing again. Basically, I played one-on-one basketball with my trash bin until I felt like I did justice to the story. 2 days later, I came up with 7 single stanza poems. My hope is that one day, by some miracle, one of the kids from the documentary will come across these poems and realize that somewhere in the world, somebody still listens to what they have to say.

I gaze from the side, wanting to belong
Various images flood my frazzled mind
Inside I know I have to be strong
One day the world will no longer be blind.
-The Outcast-

I grin with an absentminded smile
Wishing I could be anywhere but here
Tired of living a life of denial
Aching for some semblance of something real
-The Popular One-

I see you happy with someone else
Something in me shatters like glass
Knowing that will never be me
What we had now belongs in the past
-The Heartbroken-

I cannot love, I cannot be free
Judging eyes watch my every move
I don’t know who I’m allowed to be
So much to learn, so much to prove
-The Homosexual-

Rivers that reflect the allure of the moon
Earth, air, fire and water combined
Flowers come alive to the music of June
A kaleidoscope world that exists in my mind
-The Dreamer-

I create new worlds with paper and ink
Stories straight from remnants of a dream
Fantastic adventures come alive
Everything’s surreal, nothing is as it seems
-The Writer-

Endless corridors of empty spaces
Shadows bounce against the light
Images from different times and places
Consumed by darkness I can no longer fight
-The Addict-