December 15, 2010
Ever since I was a little girl, people have told me that if I wished upon a star, that one thing I most desperately wanted might come true. To this very day, deep down, I still believe it. Yet I know that I have to do my fair share to make whatever I want become reality. I understand that life is not a fairy tale. If it were, then everything that I ever wished for would be mine by now. Even if I did not know what to do with half of it.
In this case, however, wishing was all I could do. But as I got older, this one thing that I wanted, I knew would never come to life since it was make-believe. Even at the young age of 21, strangely enough I found myself still making that wish. The only logical explanation that comes to mind for this is perhaps my inner child has yet to see the reality of the situation.
So where did it all begin, you might wonder. What led me to sitting before this very writing desk to share with you—my fellow readers—the very story that brought me to where I am now? Well, I believe I shall start from…from the beginning, I suppose.
My story began on another humid, but rainy, day in the busy city of Bayamón, Puerto Rico. From outside my window, one could hear the everyday life as cars blared their horns and roosters crowed from afar. As strange as it may seem to those who are not native to the island, consider it home. Jackie, who has been my closest friend since high school, decided to pay me a visit while she was on winter vacation. As we sat in my room with the fan on full blast, trying to fight the unbearable heat, we laughed and joked around as we always did. With the thought in mind, it was quite a shame to see her departing so soon while she sat on the floor by my bed with her suitcase wide open in front of her. As she continued to pack her belongings, I reminisced about the last couple of months since my parents and I first moved into our apartment.
We had moved into our new home in late October, right after my mother had recently retired from the military back in Virginia where I grew up most of my life. However, for a while, my father and I had been staying with close family so that he could find a job and save enough money before my mother’s arrival. It was hard, I must admit, emerging myself into a culture where I barely knew the language. I managed, of course. Thankfully, the family I was staying with spoke English. The biggest challenge I believe was how things were ran on the island. Unfortunately, we learned some of this the hard way.
There were still a few boxes left unpacked that I had stacked up alongside my closest. Within the last couple of months, even I was not given the proper time to situate myself. Until that moment, that is. Even then, I figured that I would tackle the largest box of the lot. What was in it, I did not know for all the boxes had ‘Paula’s room’ written on them in capital letters. After removing the smaller boxes, I literally dragged the heavy box in question, flopping onto my mattress. Grabbing a pair of scissors I kept laying about, with its sharp blade, I broke the tape so that I could look inside. As I suspected, contained from within were all my videos and DVDs.
While one end of my bed was cluttering up with my movies, one in particular instantly caught my eye. I carefully looked at the luminous cover, and could almost see myself sitting in front of that old television, legs crossed, and mouthing every single word I heard. I was reverting to my childhood.
“What’s that?” I heard Jackie question. This told me that either she had finished her packing or she was taking a break. Grinning from ear to ear, I handed her the movie so she could have a proper look. “The Great Mouse Detective!” she exclaimed with interest once the DVD was in her possession. "I haven’t seen this in years! I’m surprised you still had this packed up. Actually,” she added, “now that I think about it, I’m surprised you had it in the box at all.”
“I know me too,” I agreed, laughing at the thought once she handed the movie back to me. “It has been my Disney film since I was little. Whenever I was at Grandma’s, I watched it every chance I could.”
“The only thing I dimly remember is that bat. He always frightened me for some reason.”
“Same here; in fact, Fidget terrified a lot of people as far as I know. I recall whenever I was watching it alone, I would keep my eyes covered. But if someone else was watching it with me, I’d do my best to look away or excuse myself and walk out of the room.” I paused for a brief moment, placing the movie beside me. “I’m surprised no one caught on to that,” I commented mostly to myself.
“Did your cousins watch it as frequently as you did?”
“No,” I replied. “They weren’t into it as much as I was. However, Sissy seemed to enjoy it as much as I did. That’s probably why Juan can’t stand it anymore.”
“Probably because you watch it too much,” Jackie teased.
“Oh no doubt that was the reason,” I pointed out. Before continuing, I took out the rest of the movies, placing them in the growing pile behind which was beginning to collapse as a few began to slide down.
“When moving to Virginia,” I began, “I made sure I brought that movie with me since I seemed to be one of the only ones who truly appreciated it. Since the first time I saw it, I was hooked. What is even funnier, for some reason, I always wished what it would be like to enter their world.”
Trying to hold back a laugh, Jackie smiled widely. “Maybe if you wish one last time, it’ll come true,” she joked. With a sinister grin, I grabbed a pillow from my bed and attempted to strike her with it. She caught it and tried to attack, but did not succeed.
“Yeah, instead of the third time being a charm, it’ll be the three millionth,” I said sarcastically while I tossed the empty box across the small room, listening as it hit the wall and fell to the floor with a loud thud before asking, “Don’t you think we’re a bit old to believe in fairy tale dreams like that?”
"You're the one that's obsessed with the movie!" Jackie exclaimed before she paused and glanced down at the case, "and him," she added, placing her finger on one certain character.
Laughing happily, I followed her gaze. "You know, it's not my fault that Disney had to make Basil incredibly handsome!"
"Even if he's a mouse," Jackie quickly added.
"More specifically, an anthromorphic mouse, beside, I'm not that obsessed."
She glared at me with a big smirk on her face and her arms crossed. "Bull," she stated.
"I'm not," I denied once again.
"Okay, so, how much do you want to bet on that, Paula Marie Méndez?"
"Nothing, because I know I'll lose," I hastily replied before adding, "It's a great movie!"
"Maybe so, but still-"
"All right, fine, you win! I'm obsessed with the movie! I'm obsessed with Basil! I will shout it to the world, because I don't care!" We both laughed loudly while I stood proud and tall on my mattress with my arms above me. Out of nowhere, I suddenly had the urge to set my gaze at the time on my iHome that was placed on my wicker dresser. "Hey, Jackie, what time does your flight leave again?"
"Quarter past two," she answered reading it off the paper she had with her, "why do you ask?"
"Oh snap, it's almost noon, so we need to get going." Heading to the closet once again, I snatched my brown flip-flops and slipped them on. "Do you mind getting lunch at the airport? It'd make more sense because traffic is probably going to be lethal on the way."
"Sure, I just need to pack a few more things and I'm good to go."
As predicted, we were stuck in a major traffic jam right on PR-26. It also didn't help that back at the apartment two of the elevators were out of order, which meant that we had to walk down the staircase since we were in a bit of a rush. All around us, drivers beeped their horns or merged dangerously into lanes attempting to get ahead. Waiting impatiently, I checked to see if anything good was on the radio, a few familiar songs here and there, but nothing else. After a while, I reached into the glove compartment to retrieve my small black CD holder. Opening it up, I grabbed the first one I saw, which was a mixed CD that contained some of my favourite Latin artists. The sound of the loud brass and rhythmic beats blared through the speakers causing the windows to vibrate while little by little we moved down the overly crowded highway. Eventually, we finally got through the lunch hour traffic and to make up for time lost, I sped up a bit, cautiously paying close attention to the careless drivers around me.
Roughly, fifteen minutes later, we arrive at the airport in San Juan. After grabbing my little ticket stub from the machine beside me, I drove up the ramp looking for an empty parking spot. A few short minutes passed and I spotted a dark green dented up SUV pulling out and quickly took it before the other vehicle that was waiting for it could. Just in case of there being any conflict, Jackie and I remained in the car snickering to ourselves, waiting for what we soon discovered was a mini grey Prius drive passed. We laughed even harder as we watch the driver of said Prius flail his arms in the air, obviously not thrilled about my quick manoeuvre.
"You are incredibly lucky they didn't get out of the car and chew you out just now," Jackie commented as she stepped out and waited for me to pop open the trunk.
"Oh, I know," I began after rolling up the windows and turning off the ignition, "but there's always the chance that they would have done the same if the tables were turned." Stepping out of the car, I locked the doors and helped Jackie haul out her bags.
Luckily, the airport was not as hectic and crowded as it was when Jackie first arrived. In perfect timing, we managed to get all that needed to be done and head to the nearest food court. Grabbing McDonald's, we sat down and relaxed while reminiscing about all the fun and crazy things we did throughout the week. When it finally came for her to leave, we headed towards the checkpoint where the line already began to grow by the second.
"Check in with me once you reach Atlanta," I told her as I embraced her.
"Will do, I'll let you know if anything comes up." Nodding, I waited until she made it through the checkpoint before heading back home.
Around midnight I received another call from Jackie informing me that her flight had finally reached the airport in Richmond, Virginia. She had called me earlier telling me that her second flight was delayed due to snow and wasn't departing until further notice. After getting off the phone with her, I decided to watch a movie since I was not the least bit tired.
Before doing anything, I organized my movies on some of the shelves in my closet. When I was finished, I grabbed the remaining DVD and placed the disc into the drive on my laptop. I smiled when the familiar caption reading "London 1897" came up and disappeared while the scene zoomed forward. However, not even seven minutes in, my eyes began to become heavy. With the best of my ability, I did all I could to keep my eyes open, alas, I failed to do so. Looking away from the laptop, I glanced up into the night's sky. One of the things I never really liked about living in the city was all the lights that shined at every inch of the area. But tonight, I noticed the strangest thing. Above all the bright lights of Bayamon, I spotted a bright star that seemed to make itself known. For a second, I thought I was mistaken it for a helicopter or an airplane, but not once did it move from its place. With the clear sound of my favourite mouse detective's voice from behind me, I closed my eyes tightly.
"I wish I could see his world," I mumbled until seconds later, I fell fast asleep.