The end of a semester 

The last of his exams barely over, he sat in his chair and gazed into the distant wall. A part of him felt like yelling in joy and relief, while a part of him felt like howling in anger and frustration. 

It has been long since the feeling of bliss visited him. Back then, exams were but another doable piece of practice. He’s been brushing his hand through his hair far more lately; an act of stalling for time and pretending to be busy. 

The smiles hardly ever appeared anymore. His grim jawline made him appear much older than he actually was. Walking out of the hall wasn’t walking any longer, it was shuffling. Everything he seems is blame. Blame for the lousy teacher. Blame for the lack of practice materials. Blame for the school. Blame for everything but the self. 

He got up steadily, deciding that all he needed was a long nap to make him feel better again, and shuffled out of the hall. 

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The end of a semester 

You are the actor who should be playing your own role

For some time now, I’ve been living life without a role model without even knowing it. This got me curious and wondering: how many of us actually live with and without a role model?

I guess, fundamentally, I just want to know whether I fit in or whether I’m part of a queer crowd.

But isn’t it strange to be living without a role model? That would mean that for some reason you are not emulating any of the great influential leaders who probably have at least a million followers each.

But on the other hand, one could argue that you’ve finally accepted who you are as a person and realize that there’s no point living when you’re trying to be somebody else. After all, paraphrasing Hamilton, “No one can play the role of you better than you can.”

Signing off,

Frederick
~on his way to becoming comfortable in his own skin

You are the actor who should be playing your own role

What’s after graduation? 

What’s after graduation is the question I seek to answer. Or rather, I have an answer somewhat ready. I’d work with a mediocre company while practicing accountancy and work my way up the corporate ladder. While doing that, I’d like to gather savings as well to fund my sticks portfolio and also to form a capital for my start-up ideas. Eventually, I hope my business will take flight and replace me as the stable source of income.

Sounds idealistic? Too idealistic? Maybe it is.

But there’s another question I also seek to answer. Who will be left after graduation?

I have been wondering (and maybe overthinking) recently about which of my friends will remain with me after graduation. In fact, will any of them remain at all?

To my loyal readers, if any are left remaining after my year long break, do any of you still have friends from school that remain in your life?

Regards,

Frederick
~still overthinking

What’s after graduation? 

I’m back. Or am I? 

Well it seems I’m back! Or am i? No one knows for sure. 

But I think I’m going to become painfully more honest and more personal in this blog. Let’s embrace myself for who I really am. 

Firstly, I want to say this. I haven’t really moved on. Moved on? From what? The most recent girl I had feelings for. I’ve developed a fear of feelings thanks to an incident. I think I now have trust issues, commitment issues and mild depression. It’s a really long winded story and I haven’t figured out how best to tell it yet, so I’m going to save it for now, and leave you with that. 

Secondly, I am quite ashamed of who I am, because I feel like I’m pretending all the time to be someone who will be accepted, liked and loved by others. Why is it that I’m so weird on the inside? Or am I too self conscious? Perhaps I have the wrong friends who I don’t feel comfortable being weird around. Then again, I feel like if I be full out weird, I’ll have zero friends. Where’s the line to be drawn between being true to your self and giving in to society’s mold to fit in? 

Thirdly, I think I’m having difficulty making decisions as a leader. Being a leader exposes you to a lot of decision making and when you make a decision, there’s bound to be criticism and feedback. I cave in whenever there’s conflict. I’m not sure if I’m simply too peace-loving or if I’m simply not good at persuading the other party to my decision. I’ve been told alot of times that I don’t make sense while whatever I’m thinking makes perfect sense in my head. My thought process and rationalization has never been my ace anyway. 

All these have been worrying me while I’ve been gone. I’ll write more about them in time to come. Meanwhile, I have some plans to write about these brilliant friends I’ve made this year too. Stay tuned. 

Cheers, 

Frederick The Confused

I’m back. Or am I? 

Yvonne/Richard

Yvonne/Richard


“And for the last group… Richard, Yvonne, Hubert and Lisa.” Mrs Gill barked out the last grouping and scanned the class with a gaze that pierced Yvonne’s heart. “If there is no objections, all of you can get up and look for your other group members and begin work now.”

Yvonne did not dare to raise a finger against Mrs Gill but silently, she wished she had objected. The students around her left their seats and grabbed their belongings and scrambled in every direction. However, Yvonne remained seated, hesitant to meet her group members, especially Richard, whom she had an uncomfortable history with.

“Hi, are you Yvonne?” A voice came from behind her. “Your name card says so.”

She turned to face a chubby boy with tousled wavy hair who was gesturing towards the name card on her desk. Every student had one.

“My name is Hubert. And this is…” Hubert gestured towards the pair that stood beside him, “Richard and Lisa.”

For some reason, the sight of Richard made Yvonne’s brain decide to cease all cognitive functions. It was not until Lisa extended her hand that Yvonne regained composure and gave it a shake. Richard followed suit, and Yvonne was surprised to see her own hand stretch out to answer. In a tragic miscommunication between brain and motor functions, Yvonne’s hand dangled in the air after Richard withdrew from the handshake. Taking this as an opportunity, Hubert took the hand and shook it as how an overly eager kid would with an unopened gift.

“Nice to meet you, Yvonne! I heard you’re great at this class, let’s find a seat somewhere and get started, shall we?” Hubert said as he let go.

Throughout the meeting’s duration, Yvonne sat opposite Richard. She secretly kept eyeing him while maintaining sufficient eye contact with whoever was speaking at the time. Oddly, he did not seem to return the interest. In fact, he seemed to be pretending to not know her at all.

Richard was intensely focused on the discussion and was trying his best not to bother with Yvonne or her equally intense gaze that she seemed determined to hold throughout their short meeting. He decided to brush it off with an attempt at forcing her to speak instead.

Hubert and Lisa were deciding between presenting on the topic of mergers and acquisitions or social organizations. Richard cut in.

“I think merger and acquisitions are particularly interesting.” Richard was intrigued about the conflicts that arose whenever two companies merged. “I think there is a lot to explore regarding the possibility of conflict and how companies successfully overcome it. What do you think, Yvonne?”

Hearing her own name from Richard’s mouth only made Yvonne realize how foreign it sounded as it rolled off Richard’s tongue. It lacked all the emotions, expression and longing that had once been the way she was accustomed to. A deep, throbbing pain began somewhere within her chest that numbed her entire esophagus. Her lungs expanded, expecting air, but she could not inhale, and she choked on the void that also seemed to have swallowed her voicebox.

“Yvonne? Are you okay?” Yvonne’s pain was evident to all at the table, albeit the rest only perceived it as a strange peculiar discomfort. Richard’s eyes were blankly staring at her, but as her gaze met his, she saw a flicker of concern, which was met by a flicker of rage.

How dare he utter my name as if all the time we spent together was wasted and for naught!?

“I’ll tell you what I think.” She inhaled deeply for the torrent of words she could feel building up and clambering relentlessly to be let loose.

Hubert began to squeak as his groupmate found her lost voice, “Well, that’s great then! I was getting worried-”

But Yvonne cut him off. “I think the conflict in merger and acquisition is an excellent idea. And you know why? Because there are so many ways to deal with it. Some companies address their differences. They talk it out, and they settle on a compromise. And some companies-“ Yvonne stared pointedly at Richard, “Some companies simply ignore it. They pretend they’re one big company and then they go about doing their own shit ignorantly without giving a single fuck about the employees from the other company. And what happens to those employees’ feelings? They get hurt. They don’t like it there. They feel like killing themselves. They-”

The torrent ended just as quickly as it began and Yvonne was barely holding back her tears.

“I need to go to the toilet.”

She stood up and left. The three remaining students stared at her seat. Hubert afraid, Lisa worried, and Richard a turmoil of emotions. Yvonne’s outburst had caught the attention at some of the students at nearby tables too.

Lisa was the first to move. “I should go check on her.”

Richard reacted. “No. Let me.”

Richard followed the echoes of sobbing that brought him to the emergency stairwell, where Yvonne was found bawling her eyes out until they resembled swollen tennis balls with slits. Instinctively, Richard’s hand acted before his brain did and it stretched out to wrap around Yvonne’s shoulders, but he withdrew it at the last moment. He was not sure if she still appreciated gestures like these.

to be continued

Yvonne/Richard

Accept me for who I am

A panicked scream filled the air as Yvon tripped over her own skates for the umpteenth time that afternoon. But the scream was soon replaced with laughter by a boy as he skated to a halt beside Yvon who was tending to the newest addition to her collection of bruises.

“Hey, here.” He offered to help her get back on her feet but she refused.

“I don’t wanna do this anymore.” Yvon was sulking.

Rick sat down beside her. “So what do you wanna do instead?”

“Let’s just sit here and enjoy the view.” She grabbed his arm and pointed at the sunset. “Look how pretty the sunset is when it goes into the ocean.”

“Not as pretty as my sunset when it goes into your ocean.” Rick realized it right after he said it. That was not something appropriate to say on a first date.

The perfect first date should be skating followed by some ice cream then, if he’s lucky, maybe a kiss. But Rick had just given up all hope of that last item on his itinerary.

“What did you just say?”

Rick winced. He was hoping that she may not have heard it. No such luck.

“Yvon, I- I’m really sorry. I shouldn’t have said pervy stuff like that. Uh, I didn’t mean it. I’m really sorry…”

He fumbled around for the words to make this awkward situation less awkward. Again, no such luck.

“Rick, if you’re gonna yap away like that, you’re not even gonna get a shot at seeing your sunset entering my ocean.”

“I- what?”

“I like pervy stuff.” Yvon was admiring the sunset with a flawless smile on her face, looking every bit like the perfect girl- except for what she just said.

“You do?”

Yvon nodded and looked at Rick in the eye. “I’m actually glad and relieved that you brought that topic up on our first date. I would never know how to break it to you otherwise. It’s a part of me and I know it’s a part of you too. And I accept you for who you are. I don’t find you weird or anything.”

Rick was grinning from ear to ear. He really struck the jackpot this time. This girl is a keeper.

Accept me for who I am

At the age of 18 you are permitted to redistribute your twenty skill points around into whatever skills you want permanently. You decided to put everything into LUCK and leave the rest at 0 points.

“That’s not a good idea, Zane. For one, we don’t have great data on the actual effects of enhanced Luck…”

“Look, can you do it or not? I need this.”

The gene tech sighed in the quiet office and swiveled his chair back to the computer. He was looking at a fairly standard representation of a human genome, red highlights in the mass of blue to indicate genes with likely altered function from human baseline and green to indicate potential areas for change.

“Let’s see, we have some modifiable options at rs2981205, rs730882133, rs423454-”

“Yeah, man, I get it, lots of fancy words. Bottom line it for me?” Zane shifted impatiently in his chair; flipping his phone from hand to hand.

“Based on population-level studies and retrospective analysis of lottery winners, survivors of freak accidents, etc, there’s about 20 genes we could modify in you to try to make you luckier. I’m obligated to point out that we don’t know for sure that these genes actually cause better luck, and frankly the latest research is casting some doubts on the validity-”

“Yeah, yeah, I signed the waiver already, do what you got to do; I have a lot riding on this.”

“Um, you already made the bet? And you want to get lucky now?”

“Not exactly, I don’t really want to explain.”

“Whatever, they’re your genes. Sign this form here, some more standard stuff. Given the specific genes we need to modify, you are looking at 85% chance for significant loss in strength, 90% chance for loss in fine and gross motor skills, 100% for loss in intelligence, 60% chance for loss in overall body aesthetic and symmetry, and 50% chance for loss in short and long term memory.”

Zane, took the tablet, skimming over most of the form. When he had scrolled to the bottom, he pressed his finger on the fingerprint scanner, acknowledging his agreement. He let his shoulders relax afterwards, like a weight had been lifted off.

“Okay then,” he said to himself in a quieter voice,”that’s settled.”

“Not quite, Zane. Given the severity of potential deficits you are required to provide a sperm sample on the chance that you would prefer to have unaltered children in the future. Furthermore, while we strongly suggest implantable birth control for all men and women that undergo elective alteration, per the 2024 SAFEGene act, prior to sexual intercourse with any potentially fertile partners, you both must be screened for possible gene incompatibility.”

“Yeah, everyone knows the rules.”

“OK, here’s your sample cup; I’ll give you some time to provide the sample and I’ll get the CRISPR transfer virus ready.”


Zane rolled up his sleeve, exposing a slightly faded tattoo; a simple heart motif with the name “Evon” on it.

“Just a slight poke, then you’ll be all set. This is your last chance to change your mind…”

“Get it over with.”

“OK”

The tech injected Zane’s left deltoid with the modified viral delivery system. Over the next 48 hours, the virus, a modified version of the flu, would infect the vast majority of his cells and re-write all of his DNA.

“It’s done. Now, you’ll probably have some soreness, fatigue, and a fever for the next couple days, similar to flu symptoms. This virus isn’t contagious, but to be safe, you need to avoid the very young and the elderly. Take tylenol if the fever or pain get bad. If you have difficulty breathing, pass out, or anything like that, get to a hospital immediately.”

“Got it. Thanks, doc.”

“Good luck.”


Two months later, Zane’s life, as far as any outsider was concerned, was pretty much unchanged. He’d had to quit his job as a barista; it was a bit too fast paced for him with his new weakness and difficultly remembering simple tasks. He’d found a perfect job, working at one of the few private libraries remaining in Baltimore. He’d only get one or two customers a day and they were usually older; if anything, Ben found himself getting along better with them than people his own age; the elderly clients seemed to talk and move at the pace he was accustomed to these days.

He settled in well to his new life; he was more lonely than he had been, but that suited him well. He had a new companion, in the form of a stray he named Tipsy, that had wandered up to his feet when he was getting back to his apartment one night. She only had three paws and occasionally fell over, but they were fast friends.

All in all, his life was stable, boring; an easy sort of anguish. And every day, as he left the library, sometimes with Tipsy peeking out of his backpack along with a few children’s books; the short ones with the easier words, he would take the 57 bus and transfer to the 23 to get to the long term care facility. There he would take the elevator to the fourth floor, his legs a bit too weak for the stairs, and sit next to Evon, who was perpetually silent except for the occasional hiss and beep of the ventilator, and read to her. Often, he would fall asleep in the chair next to her, dreaming that perhaps tomorrow would be his lucky day, and he would get to talk to her again.

At the age of 18 you are permitted to redistribute your twenty skill points around into whatever skills you want permanently. You decided to put everything into LUCK and leave the rest at 0 points.