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Introspections & Retrospections

Take A Break: Some Life Lessons from Life’s Little Horrors

It’s been a while since my sister and I hanged out, despite the proximity of our workplaces. And so, with the upcoming death anniversary of my mom (and since we couldn’t visit Bicol again for the annual undas tradition), we met up at CBTL for chitchat (and additional stamps for my soon-CBTL planner).

Being both creatives, we shared our amusement at the usual Halloween celebration ideas in the workplace. Some concepts, we appreciated; most, ridiculed. Not that we cared— we both only bother if there’s free food, candies, stuff. It’s kinda fun and relieving knowing your own family understands and shares your quirkiness. She particularly agreed with my idea that we should have decorated a wall section with Thestrals on our floor’s Harry Potter theme. If you don’t know what Thestrals are, you’re dead to me.

The lesson sharing session started as we moved on to talk about horror stories about our offices.

She told me about the time she was so bored with office meetings that she decided to escape by going home early to avoid one. She’s heard of some rumors about scary stories in their building then, but didn’t pay any attention to them. Until suddenly, the elevator stopped working. Nervous but calm, she and her companion tried pressing the help button. An automated message informed them to step out of the elevator, and as soon as the door opened, they promptly complied.

The entire floor was empty. The elevator door closed behind them. They were stuck in the 26th floor— an unoccupied section, and the subject of most, if not all, horror stories in their building. At past 6PM. The buttons didn’t respond. They tried banging on the door. Their mobile phones couldn’t get any signal. I wanted to ask about the stairs, but clearly they were too scared then. After a long while, the elevator doors eventually opened, and they rushed in in relief.

Lesson: Don’t try to escape office meetings.

• • •

Our conversation drifted to my office ghost stories, which eventually touched on speculations about parallel realities. We discussed its merits and contradictions, as well as a bit on time paradox. We both agreed to consider a story about such some day. Then a stray black cat stepped in and our conversation was almost forgotten.

Our story then shifted to Aubrey, my sister’s eldest daughter, who was fond of cats (more than dogs; little traitor). Alyn told a story about the time she brought home a dying little kitten. She must have thought about keeping the kitten, but Aubrey cried out, “Why did you take it? What if its mother is frantically looking for it???” She was shocked and embarrassed, and decided to quickly settle the problem in the best classic Alyn way: she threw it out the next day. After all, my sister is not a cat person.

Lesson: Random acts of kindness are nice. But so are its respective acts of common sense. 

• • •

[Okay, some parts of the aforementioned story has been altered in some significant way because I was still distracted by the black cat while listening to her story.]

Her last story for the day was about the time her daughter (when she was still very young) asked about the word “extinct” and my sister casually explained that it simply means they all died out and no longer exist in this world. Horrified, her daughter pressed on and asked, “Why???” Feeling impatient, Alyn tried to shortcut by saying, “Maybe because God just doesn’t want them anymore.” And with a smile of satisfaction, left it at that.

Her daughter howled in tears. Frantic, my sister enquired what was wrong. Her daughter, sobbing, then said: “And what if God doesn’t want us anymore???”

Lesson: Next time, don’t blame God. Save yourself (and your family) a heartache. Say that dinosaurs died out due to STD, drugs, pollution, and tasteless contemporary music.

• • •

Oh, by the way, our gate-crashing guest Halloween Kitteh says hi.

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