Gabby (A tale of two)

One.

There was a girl called Lea. She was brought up in an ordinary home with her fairly well-off parents and two older brothers. At her young age, Lea was quiet and tended to keep to her corner, though she knew how to socialise when the need arose. She loved to play piano and grow flowers. She was also intelligent and inquisitive, and these qualities sharpened as she carried them into her teenage years.

Lea excelled in her academics. She was an attentive, perceptive student, always asking questions to gain more understanding and trying to do that little extra. She was at the top of most of her classes, and was determined to go far. By the time she was 15, she convinced herself that she had to be at the top. Her older brothers hadn’t done so well academically, so she wanted to prove to her parents that she was not going to follow the same pattern, that she was better. This attitude began to fuel a type of competitiveness and arrogance in everything she engaged in. She had to be the best.

Lea dreamed of being a successful and prudent woman. She tried to embody this woman in her young age, choking the teenager she was supposed to be. She refused to engage in most common teenage activities and took a far more adult-like approach on things (which, in itself, isn’t a bad thing). Whenever she was with her friends, she was always the more serious one. She was controlling and figured she was far more mature than her friends. She even started dressing like women ten years her senior.

Lea wanted to order everything the way she saw fit. She detested making mistakes or failing or not being able to mentally grasp something. She felt she needed to be on top of everything and understand things around her. Lea wasn’t like this because she was a spiteful or haughty character, it was simply a deep-rooted insecurity that made her feel like she needed to be in control of all the things in her life. An insecurity stemming from the pressure to prove to her parents that she wasn’t just like her brothers.

*

Two.

Now there was another girl, Aria was her name. She was born in east Malaysia to an Englishman and her Malaysian mother. She was a happy child. Always outside, playing with her cousins out in the open fields. Her and her cousins would play many different games. At times they would assemble sticks and rocks, and build structures. They’d also play by the rivers and (unknowing to their parents) sometimes venture deep into the forest to marvel at the wildlife.

Aria went to a private school. Her grades were good, particularly in maths, music and of course English language. She enjoyed singing. Often, she’d go alone out in the fields, sit beneath a tree and sing to the butterflies and birds that glided around and above her. She liked the smell of the flowers, and was full of wonder at all the various colours they presented. To the flowers, too, she’d sing. When Aria turned 12, her mother bought her a harp.

The same year, Aria’s mother fell critically ill. Her father was convinced that there was better, faster treatment in England. He was terrified and erratic inside but he kept his exterior bold and assured. The trio packed all their belongings, as they didn’t know how long treatment would take. Aria had never been on a plane before. Malaysia was all she knew. She, too, was terrified. She held her mother and tried not to cry but to no avail. Tears poured and soaked the both of them. The mother was too weak to embrace her daughter. She died on the plane.

Aria’s father decided to stay in England for a few weeks, which turned to months. Aria missed her family, her home. That was her only connection to her mother, she felt. She began to play her harp more and more – feeling ‘in touch’ with her mother through it.
Aria and her father would visit Malaysia, but they decided to settle in England. She grew up and became stronger and happier as the years passed. She went on to study accounting and finance in Portsmouth university. Also, she became increasingly skilled at the harp. She started writing poetry and songs, and even performed at a number of open shows at bars and such.

*

“If you listen closely, you can hear whispers in the wind. And you can speak through trees, only if they were planted and grown with care,” she says, navigating her way through the forest with Lea close behind.
“Nature is like a portal in which the living can communicate with the dead. There are conditions, though. Both the living and dead participant must have a high enough spiritual energy. And that develops by first educating yourself about the spiritual portals, and then putting that understanding to practice. It takes–”
“Trees are just trees, though. They’re made up of atoms, just like everything else in the universe,” Lea interjects. “Just atoms bound together. That’s science. This spiritual stuff is hard comprehend with science, facts, in the way.”

She smiles.
“See, doesn’t that speak to already? Everything is made up of atoms, right? All things, nature, human beings, planets, stars, everything is connected. We’re all one.”
She stops here and points ahead.
“Just over there”, she says assuring Lea. Ahead of them is an exit to the forest, and a grassy plateau looking over a huge flowery plain.
“Wow.” Lea gawks in astonishment at the scenery.

An array of flowers flourish in front of them. Birds cruise beneath afternoon sun. A gentle breeze blows. The girls settle down on the plateau, and Lea opens her rucksack and withdraws the food they’d bought beforehand.

“So you can really communicate with your mother? Through trees? I just don’t get it,” Lea begins.
“I know it’s difficult. You grew up here. Although it’s apparently a Christian nation, Britain, the while West has a naturalistic world view. They believe in science. Knowledge is their God. Their God becomes bigger the more they discover. But that’s the thing, their God is only as big as information they have. They’ve sold their existence to their five senses and fail to see with their spiritual eyes. Because they feel in control with their knowledge and what they can comprehend. Everything else is myth and superstition.
“If it wasn’t for the frequent trips back to Malaysia, to my family and community who are far more spiritual and in touch with nature, I probably would have never grasped the true depth and reality of the spiritual. I thank the universe for opening my eye.”

Noon falls and the two are still out on the plateau sharing conversation and watching the moon take its’ place in the sky.
“Here, take this. Don’t swallow it, chew it. I’ve got some wine to wash it down.”
“What is this, a pill? Aria you know I don’t do these things,” Lea says reluctantly.
“It’s Xanax. There’s nothing to worry about, I’ve done it plenty time and I’m here with you.”

Without another word, Lea takes the halved pill which Aria ushers to her, and places it in her mouth, then takes it out again.
“It’s not a psychedelic, is it? I’m not going hallucinate and go crazy am I?”
Aria laughs. “You think doctors prescribe hallucinogenic pills to patients?”

Again, saying nothing, Lea places the pill in her mouth, this time she chews. Aria does the same, but a full pill. Some time passes and they both start to feel the effects. Lea is laid on her back, staring into the sky, Aria beside her laying on her side facing Lea. She slowly glides her right hand down Lea’s chest to her pelvis then back up. Lea flinches, and turns her head to Aria.

“Everything okay?”
“All good,” Lea responds. “Why did you just do that?”
“What, this?” Aria runs her hand down her body, this time lifting her top and thin jumper up.
Lea gently pulls Aria’s hand away. “Yes, that. Why are you doing it?”
“It doesn’t feel nice?”
“N–.. well it doesn’t feel bad, it’s just–”
“Strange? That I’m a girl? Or that you’ve never had some caress you like this?”
“Uhm… both?”
“Relax. Girls do these things together all the time. Trust me. And it’s about time someone touched you like this.”

Aria reaches for Lea’s stomach, and slowly slips her hand into her jeans. Lea flinches and lets out a heavy breath. It’s okay, Aria reassures. Feels good, doesn’t it? Lea gasps saying,
“I’ve never felt like this before,” She touches Aria’s faces, then pulls her closer to herself and kisses her intensely.

Just close your eyes and enjoy the trip. You’re young. You’re not this woman you think you are. You’re not perfect. You make mistakes. You’re insecure and afraid that everyone is watching you to make sure you’re as well-adjusted as you portray yourself to be. But you’re young. Lea tells herself this in her head. Just enjoy the trip. And be young.