Dreams and Desires

Home is Home

I had a lot of childhood memories in my Garden Grove home. 

I spent my early days believing that this home would be my forever place. Unfortunately… it wasn’t. I would soon realize that living in my cousin’s house was hard for my parents. Both of them wished to have a home of their own and worked really hard to make that reality. 

“How come you’re so attached to this house, it isn’t even yours,” my father asked me. 

“This is the only place I can call home,” I responded. This memory always reminded me of how much I enjoyed challenging my father. I was just like him. 

One day, I came home from kindergarten. My parents had smiles on their faces. I was curious. 

“Mai Tam, guess what, we bought a house,” they said in unison. 

My heart sank. I didn’t want a new home. I didn’t want to move away from my cousins. I really didn’t want to have a fresh start at a new school. 

I remember crying all night. Once you think the tears stopped, it began again. I started thinking about how much my life would change. What would I tell my friends? How is it even possible to restart my life? 

Now, my father always calls me ridiculous for not wanting to move away from our old home. The memories of my childhood home will never be forgotten.


During my childhood, there have been countless times where people have come and left. Family, friends, pets, etc. Sometimes I ponder about the people that I used to see frequently disappear. I wonder what it would be like if they continued to be a part of my life. How the course of history would change and what impact they would have left. However, I find that individuals I only met once have left a greater impact on me. People think that once you’ve met someone once, you’d forget about them. That wasn’t the case with Edward, my tour guide in Mexico. 

Edward wasn’t your typical tour guide. He possessed many characteristics that you’d never expect to have experienced in a tour guide. He was grumpy and constantly sighed whenever our bus would stop at a red light. His bus reflected his mood. The seats were broken, the windows were so fragile that a gust of air could knock it out, and it made a horrible screeching noise wherever he pressed on the brakes too hard. How could someone enjoy this horrible tour? I can’t wait for it to end. 

My father approached Edward to start a small conversation. Edward talked about his dreams and how he would love to open his own restaurant in the future. The chatter came to an end shortly after the bus stopped. 

“I’m very upset about my current job but I know that I’ll open my own restaurant one of these days,” Edward sighed. 

A few months later my father told all of us that Edward managed to open his own restaurant. The news article showed him and his family with huge smiles on their faces. How could a man so unhappy smile this big? I soon realized that Edward had to endure the stress and worked hard to accomplish his dreams to make his family proud. His story always pops into my head sometimes. 

The Flower Garden

“The pretty purple ball-gowns with puffy sleeves and periwinkle accents, please. The one that all the princesses wear. Oh–and..don’t forget the most important part, the tiara,” I tell my parents. They look at me with blank expressions. 

“You’re like a broken music box. Why don’t you start finding other interests? Science? Sports? Sewing?,” They try their best to sway my thoughts. 

“No…I want to be a princess. The ones that live in castles, get married to a handsome prince and have a happily ever after,” I shout. 

Oh, to be a princess. The ones with flashy outfits and personalized powers. The ones with full rosy lips and long sleek hair that never needs brushing. It would be an absolute dream for me. 

I walk through the flower garden. A certain tune echoes throughout my head. Back and forth. The floral scent seeps its way into the air as the wind pushes the flowers vigorously. Back and forth. I’m waiting for a certain someone. A certain something. 

I straighten my back. The wind gives me rhythm as the music flows through my veins. I take the lead in this dance. One step back, Turn, One step forward, Repeat. I blindly go in without knowing the consequences. 

A bright light causes me to pause my waltz. Is this my certain someone, or more importantly, is this the moment I’ve been waiting for? My head swings back and forth, back and forth. The light brings me to a familiar place. A familiar feeling. My body snaps forward. My bed. A dream. 

I’m still waiting for the earth to stop for me, a hand to reach out, something to change my life. 

Breaking Free

You told me you’d love me forever. You told me that I didn’t have to worry about you leaving me. 

The fruits in the kitchen have rotten. The dinner table is engulfed in dust. The broken glass from the window remains on the floor. I refuse to pick it up. I’ve been waiting for your return. 

Please come back. 

The walls are starting to look beautiful. My days without you are not. My feet are bound to the ground. I’m unable to get up. 

I love you, I love you. 

My love is unrequited. 

My eyes glisten at the sight of you. You came back for me. Our kids, our dreams, our unforgettable love. You have come to set me free from my cage. 

“Please take these, they’re for our divorce. The court date is on the papers,” he blatantly says. I’m left frozen in place. Clouds start to form. It’s like they knew. 

I’ve been returned to my cage. My house comforts me as I fall onto the floor. My tears sink into the black pit. The house is the only thing that holds both of us together. It remembers. 

“It’s over,” I whisper to myself. A bird can not fly without its wings. 

The aroma of yeast fills the air. Bread, your favorite food. The smell we loved so much is so sour now. Heart beating, eyes shaking, I pick myself up from the ground and follow the scent like a dog. The clouds are gone and the sun burns my tired eyes. I look up at the sky. I’ll break from my cage.

One Snowy Day

We lay our heads down on the rim of the windows. Our heads burn from the rays of the sun. Mountains, water, trees, repeat. The subtle sound of the van bumping on every rock possible gives us a headache. Our father hums a tune that is unfamiliar to our ears. Probably one of his karaoke songs. We suddenly come to a halt. The ice cooler shutters a little bit too. Our parents are amazed at the sight in front of them. Elks. Their antlers were practically the same size as us! 

They looked magical as snow fell on them. Wasn’t it just sunny? 

Once upon a December!” the radio sang. The timing was practically perfect. We’d never seen snow before, only in the movies. Until now, we’d only seen the world in black and white, now it’s so colorful. Such a beautiful sight. 

We roll down our windows to get closer to the extraordinary view in front of us. The snowflakes taste sweet like the hard candies you’d get at our grandmother’s house. The air is too cold to smell. It hurts our nose. The heat of our hands doesn’t melt the ice. We preserve its beauty in our palms. 

We step outside holding each other’s hands. Our parents aren’t behind us anymore. 

“It’s just me and you, Jackie”. 

2 thoughts on “Dreams and Desires

  1. Wow! In “One Snowy Day,” I enjoyed the way that you described the snow as colorful and the world as black and white. Describing the snow as colorful when most people would think of it as plain or boring shows how the new experience was meaningful towards you. I can also relate to having road trip headaches, even just sitting in a car for hours on end can be exhausting. Thank you.


  2. As a kid, we often disregard the little things in life, just like how Edward was such an unhappy man. However, when revisiting my childhood memories you begin to realize that there was always a story, a new meaning behind these little events, in the eyes of the older you. I loved how you applied these types of reflections to your writing!


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