In the dead of night, when there is nothing else around me other than darkness and the quiet rumbling of the air conditioner above me, thoughts I try to push to the back of my mind during the day crawl out to haunt me as I lay on my bed.
It goes without saying that my bed is something I see every day. Every night I crawl in and tuck myself to sleep. When the lights are off and my perspective of my room changes to a horizontal angle, I begin to see the history within the walls that no longer exist.
I grew up in this house all my life. I did not move away and live somewhere else permanently. Even when we did move away, it was to stay temporarily as the apartment was renovating.
Even if my room did change from its original form, it does not mean I did not grow up in this very tiny space in the first place. Back in 2009, or 2010, when the apartment is just finished, my room looked a lot different than it does now.
I’ve changed and modified it through much of my teenage years and it is another reason why I am extremely attached to it. My room is who I am.
I littered the entirety of my closet and the side of my bed, as well as the side of the shelves stationed right next to my desk, with things that I enjoyed, or thought to be aesthetically cool. I sticky-taped an entire deck of miniature playing cards onto the side of my bed because I was obsessed with the concept of The Midnight Crew from the webcomic series Homestuck.
And that wasn’t the only Homestuck thing in my room.
My room used to be a landfill of dirt and dust. There were two piles of useless notebooks, paper, and textbooks on the floor, among other things on the shelves next to my desk. My mother often chided me for keeping such amount of rubbish in my room yet I never really cleaned it until the end of my DSE.
I threw away five or six completely filled garbage bags of items. Toys, trinkets, books, worksheets, pens, notebooks, textbooks, boxes… Anything that is useless and I did not consider as sentimental was removed from my room.
And though my room was dusty for two days, leaving me sniffling and struggling to find a good night’s sleep, I was able to finally roll my chair around without bumping into anything. My friends can come over and comfortably sit on the floor, or even bring in a chair to sit on without having to kick away any piles of folders.
I can finally see my trashcan after having surrounded it in a mountain of boxes and books. There are no longer places where I fear bugs have set as their homes.
During that cleaning spree, I had an urge to clean my closet too.
There were more bugs in there, though.
We threw away clothes that no longer fit and sealed up our school uniforms.
Through that, I grew attached to my room even more. Everything that I piled in there is removed and I became proud of what I have done.
I don’t want to leave this place.
My mother asked me once if I would miss anything at home when I leave for England. I answered without hesitation that I would miss my bed.
From my bed, I see my closet, the bottom of my air conditioner, my bookcases, and my door. Beyond that door, I see into my parents’ room. I see their TV and their wedding photo that hangs above it. The blinking lights of their routers and servers are no longer visible since my mother often complained about how it startles her awake at night, so my dad covered them with card paper.
Through the low light the city brings, I can barely make out the edges of the mattress and my mother’s feet.
A mountain of thoughts would suddenly pile onto me as I look around this darkened area, nestled warmly underneath my comforters and comforted by the familiar, constant sound of the machine rumbling.
In a month’s time, for three months, when I open my eyes as I lay in bed ready to head to sleep, I will not see my the drawings I’ve taped on the top section of my closet, nor would I see the jumbled mess of printed pictures on the middle section. I would not see my bookcase at my feet or the bottom of my air conditioner above my head. I would not see my door to my right, or the calender I’ve hung below the light switch.
I would not see beyond my door and into my parents’ room. I would not hear the snores my mother makes. I would not see their TV and their wedding photo that hangs above it. I would not be able to make out the edges of the mattress and my mother’s feet.
There are times when he would stay up late at night and work outside in the living room. The lights would be on and it would stream into the hallway. I might hear him tap away on his laptop, or I might hear a soft hushed voice as he chatters with his coworkers. Though this is rare, and I am not as attached to him since he is rarely ever home at a reasonable time where we get to spend time together as father and child, I would still miss that he is always just a hallway away.
Sometimes, the light would disturb my mother’s sleep and prompt her to go thundering down the hall and drag my father by the ear to head to bed. It is scary to see your parents fight, but I cannot help but also think about how much I would miss hearing my parents interact right outside my room.
When my mother asked me if I would miss anything at home when I leave for England, she questioned why all my answers are inanimate objects. Why did I not say that I would miss my own mother?
I dodged the question and she asked if I would cry when I begin to miss things at home.
I laughed and I said no.
As the darkness grows still and the only disturbance in light the occasional passing car every ten minutes, the weight of not seeing what I am seeing now when I open my eyes in a simple month’s time crushes me.
Even when I am still at home, I began to feel homesick.
I hate crying.
There is a darkness in my heart that prevents me from opening up. I no longer trust my mother because she will not accept my true feelings about myself. I tell her the truth and she dismisses it as a phase.
So I view it as a weakness to admit that, while the city is resting, I begin to feel homesick at home. I do not wish to admit that I have cried over the prospect of leaving, yet the action of leaving is not to take place for another three weeks.
I do not wish to admit that the thought of simply leaving my room, leaving the small distance that is between our rooms and turning a simple five-second walk to get my mother’s attention and be in her presence to a twelve-hour plane ride above over seven hours of driving.
Above all else, I do not wish to admit that I feel extremely guilty for the eventual tears she will shed. Leaving, I know from the quiet nights, will be hard for me, so no doubt it will be hard for her. I am there, right beside her within arm’s reach, for eighteen years, and now suddenly, just like my brother, I am gone and will only be within arm’s reach for short periods of time scattered throughout the year until three years later.
Each time I leave will become harder and harder. For her, and for me.
Even before leaving, I already know.
It is strange to feel this way because I already know there is no future for me here. They do not offer any courses that interest me, nor are they interested in investing in artistic classes anyway. I already know that I would not pass Chinese, and failing that is the fastest way to direct you to a plane ticket because my mother would not allow me to study asso-degrees or high-dips.
Either way, I am doomed to leave no matter what.
So why is it so hard to accept my fate when I already know it?
I foolishly believed for years that I could stay here. For years my dream is to remain here in Hong Kong because even back then I knew I did not want to leave my home. I do not want to get out of my comfort zone and I did not want to leave behind any and all things that are familiar to me.
Stepping into new, foreign territory might be an exciting thing but for me, it is just a pile of anxiety and independent duties that I very, very unprepared to handle or tackle.
Being alone terrifies me.
Being away from my support system scares me.
I am broken, riddled with so many different anxieties and I cannot admit it.
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