Wide Awake

Hi all! This is the English version of my previous story written in Mandarin Chinese – 睡不着. Hope you enjoy it!

P.S I actually enjoy it a lot more when I read it aloud. Maybe you can try it and tell me if it applies to you too. Haha.

Wide Awake

Crap! Not again!

I rolled over in my bed and checked my alarm clock. What?! It’s nearly three in the morning! I’ve been tossing and turning in my bed for nearly three hours? Doesn’t feel like it. What am I doing? Never once in my life did I have any problems sleeping. In fact, I usually sleep so soundly that it takes, not one, but four alarm clocks to wake me up in the morning. Sometimes, Mummy would throw in the dog too. It must be the weather. I stared at the air-conditioner. Perfect as it seems on the outside, cleaned, shiny, polished, it had actually been broken for over a year. In this humid and warm weather, even late in the night, it is impossible to sleep without it. The entire family had their air-conditioning switched on, but me. So everyone is sleeping soundly, but me. I can’t watch TV, or I’ll wake them. No one would be online at such a late hour to chat with me. I’ve read all the books on my bookshelf and I don’t feel like reading at the moment. What can I do to make myself fall asleep in this darned weather? Sleep naked?

I giggled into my pillow just to muffle out myself. But… Who is there to hear me laugh now? Everyone else is sleeping, my room door is closed… I let out a laugh just a little louder than the giggle then stopped, covering my mouth, pleased with myself.

Almost immediately, I sighed. I am actually not in the mood to amuse myself right now. Not for the last couple of days already, actually. I am so bothered that I have been sighing over the past few days. Bothered about what, you might ask. I don’t lack anything in my life. Twenty-four years old, living in the twenty-first century, I don’t lack anything. What do I need? An air-conditioner that works, probably.

Sigh. Actually, women living in the twenty-first century lack everything, just because everyone has high expectations of us. Take our parents for example, they want their daughters to be accomplished in everything they do. They have to be good in studies, be independent, know how to take care of themselves, best not to rely on others. And our government? Their expectations of women in the society are even higher. Women must be book-smart, must be capable enough to join the workforce and sustain the country’s economy, get married, even better to have at least four or five kids to sustain the country’s population. It’s like the country is dependent on women for everything. And for our dear men in the twenty-first century? What expectations of women do they have? Well, their expectations aren’t just high, but unreasonably high. We have to be gentle, loving, caring, sweet, but at the same time, independent, do not demand too much of their time, be able to take care of ourselves. Seriously? Everyone treats women like superheroes or something. If we actually ever get to fulfill these roles they set for us, they say we are too opinionated, too strong; women should always take a back seat and let men, who are more capable, handle everything.

Fuck them. Honestly. People in this century? They don’t know how to be grateful. Not at all!

So, instead of adhering to the society’s expectations of us, I have developed my own set of expectations. Upon graduation, my pay has to be above four thousand dollars a month, and I’ll bring my parents overseas during the December holidays, preferably to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s overseas for a change, and of course, have my own space. I refuse to be a workaholic, my principle is not to talk about work after office hours. Not even at the dinner table with my parents! If they asked about my day, I would just keep it short and sweet.

“It was fine. My boss loved my proposal!”

Or:

“It was bad. Sally dumped all her work on my table. So I set them on fire.”

Also, I have signed myself up for three classes: cooking, make up lessons and yoga classes. You see, I have to have everything in my life – family, work, money and health. With health comes beauty, right? My life is usually very packed with activities like that. Sometimes, I even have time to go jogging, play basketball, read…

“You see, it’s because you are single, that’s why you have all the time in the world for these classes and jogging and shit!”

Bitch. That was my best friend. We’ve known each other for more than ten years. And it must be because of this comment that made me lose sleep over the last couple of nights. It’s all her fault. So what if she is already blissfully engaged to her boyfriend of four years and have already registered for a flat? What’s the big deal? It’s not like I have nowhere to live. I’m loving my own apartment with my parents very much.

But it does seem like a huge deal. My mum has been pressing me about it.

“When are you going to get a boyfriend?”

“You see, you have to wait four years for a flat. You’d be twenty-eight by then, even if you get a flat now! You should start looking soon, you know.”

“I mean a boyfriend, not the flat!”

I sighed again, picked up my phone and scrolled through my contacts. The recent ones that appeared on my Whatsapp chat are my friends from my secondary school days. We’ve watched each other grow and mature for more than ten years. There are guys and girls, of course, but… For the guys… Some of them are already attached, engaged or even staying with their girlfriends. It’s time for me to start saving up for red packets for their weddings I think. But for those who are single… Well… No. They’ve seen me in my nerdy spectacles, awful center parting in my hair, make a fool of myself onstage during Talentime in school… Awkward. Hell no. Well, sorry Mum! It seems like I’d be a cat lady for life and your grandchildren will be my cats Tabby, Garfield and Tiggie.

Shit. What if she made me go matchmaking or blind dates with some random guys? They’d be either old and bald with beer bellies, or be good-looking and smart but are goody-two-shoes with difficult mothers or something. I don’t want to be with these people for life! What the heck! No way. What should I do when the time comes? Pretend I’m attached? Or pretend that I’m sick? Or… AHAH! Pretend that I’m a lesbian.

TSK! What the hell am I thinking about! If that day comes, I’ll just threaten to put their end of year trip overseas on hold! I’m pretty happy single, so why should I let people bring me to misery? It just adds to whatever busy but perfect schedule I have in my life now. A relationship might even be a hindrance in pursuing my goals. You see, women living in the twenty-first century face really high expectations, so I set my own expectations for myself. Let me list them out for you. Firstly, my pay has to be above four thousand a month-

Hmm… Didn’t I think of this before? What the hell am I doing? I’m supposed to be asleep! I must be crazy. I have to get to sleep. It must be nearly four in the morning! WHAT?! It’s already four thirty-two? Oh my god. It’s all my friend’s fault. You see, she said that it’s because I’m single, that’s why-

What the shit? Didn’t I think of that earlier too? What the fuck are you doing, fool. How did you even get me into university? A brain like you which doesn’t even know how to get me to stop thinking and go to sleep? Honestly. I could do with a new brain. I would if you don’t let me go to sleep now because you are just gonna make me tired for work tomorrow and then I’ll have to work overtime. And that is not cool. You see, I do not like to work overtime. I have this principle whereby I do not talk about work after-

Wait. Didn’t I- OH. MY. GOD. THIS IS DRIVING ME INSANE!

Wide Awake© 2012 by Aubystories. All rights reserved.

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