Meena’s Wishlist: December, 2018

Written in response to: Write a story in the form of a list.... view prompt


Coming of Age Contemporary Holiday

Meena’s Wishlist: December 2018 (Please update good news in 5 years)

1) Go to law school and make lots of friends (ones I actually want to hang out with)

Congrats on getting in, kid. Too bad the whole of freshman year was online and you had to spend 3 hours every day sitting in front of a relatively dark screen with everybody’s initials blaring now and then. Every professor conducted a seance of their own, but only the brightest spirits turned their cameras on. Finding a classmate on Twitter was like discovering a celebrity. Trying to start a conversation felt like fan mail. It felt creepy, yet weirdly necessary to stalk their profile for two weeks before finally hitting their DMs.

 Hi. I'm Meena. We have Criminal Law together. Can we be friends? 

Okay. Sure. I’m Kimmy.

Hi… Kimbab.


Sorry autocorrect. 

It got better with time, eventually (just not so much with Kimmy).

2) Get better at singing/ join a band/ do something related to theater 

You went through a lot of failed auditions, bud. Voice always too quiet. Body sometimes too stiff. No one likes a singer who can’t entertain, and you never seemed to stop crying about it. But hey, you turned out okay. Sophomore year, Tee asked you to join one of the Musical Club’s performances. (They needed another singer for “We Don’t Talk About Bruno.”) Shopping for a red skirt and yellow shirt was fun. Heart thumping before the show was fun. Having people listen for once was fun. When the lights were off, you were a bit pitchy, but hardly anyone noticed. I think, between the two of us, we make a pretty good Dolores. 

3) Paint 

I honestly can’t remember the number of times you painted in the past few years because I almost forgot about that brief period when you got obsessed with watercolor tutorials. Covid 19 was such a strange time… Anyway, I think you’ll be happy to know that you went to the Arts and Cultural Center yesterday. You didn’t paint but talked to a volunteer. She’s part of a program called “Art for All” and it was nice seeing a non-disabled person care so much. I’m thinking of joining their next camp, but I think I’ll ask if they need someone who at least has some knowledge of visual arts first. 

4) Equal Marriage Rights in Thailand (and that Anchan will still like me after everything)

Six months after Bangkok’s second pride parade this past June, we’re finally getting somewhere. The bill is on its way. Smile, kid. It’s okay to be out in most places in the city. 

Oh, and Anchan? They (it’s they now) still like you. 

5) I wish that Moom and Ba would stop fighting, that Mom would finally smile and understand that my queerness is not her fault. 

Oh, sweetie, come here. Chin up, okay? You’ll learn to live with it. 

6) Peace

Recently, a woman from the southern border was asked about her childhood, about the shootings, and the violence. She said it became normal after some time. The soldiers. The explosives. They were a part of her Muslim childhood. Somedays, kids wake up, get dressed in their uniform, and get a call: “Don’t come to school… because… um, it’s been burned down.” People say there’s no hope for newer generations of the southern border. They’ll just have to come up, to Bangkok, where there’s work. They’re probably teenagers when they moved out and saw, for the first time, how much people cared about Bangkok and how little we talk about them. 

Right now, 

A father is carrying his child’s remains in a plastic bag in Gaza. 

A boy is coming back from the market to white rubbles that were, mere minutes ago, his home. 

An even younger boy is lying on the hospital floor. No bed. No knee. No mother.

Ghosts of hungry children are swimming in the blank skies. A bomb pummels through them before it hits the ground and explodes.

The silent smoke hides everything.

7) See Taylor Swift live

Believe it or not, liking Taylor Swift is now a thing here. Cool people listen to Taylor, buy her merch, and wear friendship bracelets. (Yes, most of them are the same people who once called her a twisted snake). Taylor’s tour right now, but our country’s probably not rich enough for her to want to come. Well, you didn’t save enough money for a ticket anyway, so it’s not like you’re missing out much. I need to ask you this though: do you still want me to like her? It’s true that she’s gorgeous in a staged fairyland, perched on a moss-covered branch, as she stretches her arms out to catch the fireflies that dance to her words. Yet, she’s also producing tons of carbon emissions with her private jet. All that smoke… It’s suffocating. It’s blinding. 

But wait, they played “Christmas Tree Farm” at the mall today, and you cried when Taylor sang, “And when I’m feeling alone, you remind me of home.” Why did you do that? I mean, I know why. I know that you engraved so many names in Taylor’s narrative. Names that only speak to you. Names of family members and unrequited loves that only you know. But I thought we wanted to stop. What about all the smoke? What about world peace? What about all the people Taylor didn’t think about when she wrote these words? Why does it still feel like my heart is forcing its way up my throat? 

8) City Hall Garden (Why am I still wishing for this? They’ve already taken the park down.)

They turned the park into a carnival and didn’t turn it back. Sorry. For what it’s worth, the government wants to build more green space now. Plus, it’s not like the butterfly peas are gone forever. They still grow along the cracks of the roads, looking like purplish-blue crystals from the deepest oceans. They are still perfect flowers. They are still growing. They are still looking for their place. For what it’s worth, they still exist. 

9) Write more about stuff that matters

I want to help you with this, Meena. I really do, but you have to be clearer on what matters. How can you expect me to remember stuff from when I was 17? It’s like we have different minds now. Well, I just wrote a poem inspired by a Broadway production that ended years ago. It goes like this: 

“As I look up at the sky full of stars 

At one Isabelle McCalla

And finally laugh out, “Moo!”

Does this count? Does it matter? If not, there’s always our dissertation. 

10) I hope, whatever happens, I’ll still be able to say, “It’s okay. We’ll try again next year.” and actually mean it. (It’s such a stupid wish, but I’ll leave it here anyway. Happy New Year!)

December 28, 2023 15:57

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