Feline Friends

TW: Description of abuse, child abuse, bullying.

During my developmental years, I had very few opportunities to make friends. I have never been so timid or shy. I can use one hand to count how many times I had play dates from when I enrolled in elementary school until I enter high school. The overly restrictive rules she established explain the difficulty I have in understanding dynamics of friendships. As one gets older, the opportunities to make meaningful friendships become slimmer. Unfortunately, I have not been able to resolve the results of overly restrictive policies she established during my developmental years.

To satisfy one of the basic human psychological needs which is to maintain some degree of social interactions, I adopted stray cats. I was fairly picky. I had conversations with them, pretended that they could understand and reply to me.

I was bullied at school, physically and socially. With poorly developed social skills prerequisites, this puts another layer of challenge that I failed to decipher. I enjoy academic environment, the smell of petrichor on the soil in the school garden, empty classes, and the smell of old books in the library. I had beautiful mornings in school that I will forever remember.

My least favorite part about my elementary school was the afternoon. This is when I had memories  of my head being hit by my classmate’s fist, finding my school shoes in the garbage, and my notebook full of sketches of a naked person that I have never drawn. I was often tired, physically, and mentally. I was desperate for a friendship that I started to accept being bullies if that means I have some classmates interacting with me.

After school, Mrs. Warden would pick me up and God forbid I try to maintain some conversations with anyone after class is dismissed because my right arm will turn blue the next day from being pinched mercilessly or if lucky, she would take my money and meaningful little things that I keep in my wardrobe. I asked her why she is different from the parents of my classmates who allow them to socialize and make friends. She would shout and tell me that I am ungrateful, impolite, and that I should just be under the custody of my classmates’ parents. I am neither in my parents’ custody and yet I will lose hers? I cannot take that. I apologized with my tears and fear until my forehead hurts from crying.

At home, she would give me a plate of blended rice and vegetables that someone with high appreciation of foods would not eat. Mr. Warden even said that he would not eat it. It was not a soup. Humanity has not and will not come up with a name to describe the dish she made.

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