Modern Fairy Tale – Redux

Ijah’s Note: This was an actual letter written as an apology to a friend about 7 or 8 years ago, spelling mistakes, grammatical error and all. Yes, the magic box was real. We had gone through an extremely rough patch and I was troubled – not just because I really cared about the friendship, but also because it wasn’t my place to behave the way I did. Life has taught me to handle these things better. But, I was coarse and angry and mule-headed until I realised I cared more about the relationship than whatever stupid misunderstanding that created it.

Was he in love with me? What do you think? Was I in love with him? *smile* It wasn’t that kind of relationship. I never asked, nor had the urge to find out. Let sleeping dogs lie.

Over time, life and work and everything else in between got in the way of our friendship. With the choices that we made, we knew we will no longer share the same closeness that we used to have. For better or worse. Those choices, they made us a better person. And for that I am glad. I know he is too.

p/s: This is not the first time I am posting this. It is now residing permanently in my (now defunct) Friendster’s blog a.k.a. Killing Time ver 1.0. I’m tired of redirecting people there when they want to read this so I am reposting it in its entirety in here. I hope he won’t die of embarassment if he finds out that I am publishing this for the whole world to see. Yes, that means the two of you who follows this blog religiously.

p/p/s: I’ve been asked before whether people can re-post this in their websites/magazines etc. The answer is yes, provided you do not change anything (so it has to be reposted word for word)  and you provide a link back to Killing Time 2.0. You are allowed, however, to put in your notes, comments, interpretation, annotation et cetera as you see fit.


A Modern Fairy Tale (Or also known as The Instruction Manual for the Magic Box)

Like all fairy tales, this one is about a princess and a prince. And like all fairy tales, this one starts with once upon a time.

Once upon a time there lived a very cute and adorable princess called I who lived in a great big palace called The World. I was a very cute and adorable princess indeed. I could make people laugh when they are sad. I could make people sing when they are blue.

And best of all, I could say I am Sorry, which is actually a very difficult thing to say for a lot of people. Except for a few minor flaws like not knowing how to cook to save her neck and her brutal honesty, I was perfect. All princesses in fairy tales are perfect.

In another part of the great big palace called The World, there lived a charming and handsome young prince named You. You were not such a bad prince himself. You know how to laugh and You know how to sing, although sometimes his voice can go terribly off key. But that was okay because a lot of people sing off key.

You had a magnificent toy called Honda Ferio that You like to ride fast like the wind. Except for a few minor flaws like not knowing how to be nice to himself and his inability to say no, You were perfect. This is a fairy tale. In a fairy tale, EVERYONE is perfect!

Anyway, one day I met You. At first, You and I were great together. You and I both like to eat sushi and can sit for hours arguing about how to cure an incurable disease called Love. Now, Love is a very dangerous disease. Nobody is really cured. People only think they are cured, but the truth is they are not. When this happen they usually get married.

You and I have been in Love before with some other prince and princess. I thought I was cured from Love but it left her heartless. You thought You were also cured from Love but it left him heartbroken. Both You and I had the scars to prove it.

Sometimes just for the fun of it they compare scars and sad Love stories. Sometimes You and I sing together. Sometimes You and I play Tilik Nasib, a very interesting game that I invented. Once, I gave You a book about Love because You said You did not know what Love is. And once, I was given a bottle of what You claimed to be the best coffee in the World, because You knew I like to drink coffee. Once in a while I will laugh at You and once in a while I will make You feel annoyed. But generally it was a very nice system. Well at least they looked happy and laughed a lot.

Like all fairy tales, something bad must happen first before the prince and princess could live happily ever after. So in true fairy tale fashion, one day a disaster called Life happened.

Life in itself is not that bad, but Life when coupled with Love scars can be very dangerous indeed. Among others, Life could turn people into a Workaholic and can make people Forget, which is something that some people think is good, and some people think is bad.

But generally, whenever Life happened, it is not easy to predict the outcome. Like so many other princesses, I became fascinated with Life. And like so many other princesses with no magical powers, I began to forget certain things. That is the danger of being too fascinated with Life. Life can make anyone forget. And

I forgot. I forgot how to make people smile when they are sad. I forgot how to make people sing when they are blue. And worst of all I forgot how to say I am Sorry.

One day, I got mad at You. When two people got mad at each other, they will either argue or they will stop talking. In this Fairy Tale, You and I stopped talking and went back to their own parts of the World.

I said, “Hmmmm… maybe Life can be better without You.”

And You said, “Hmmm.. maybe Life can be better if I am not around.”

So they ignored each other and pretended that everything was okay even if they would not be friends anymore. But then something strange began to happen. I began not to be able to sleep at night.

Now sleep is very important because I work 16 hours every day and I need rest, which was what sleep is all about. But no matter how hard I tried and no matter how tired I was, I could not sleep well.

At first it was not so bad. I could sleep for a few hours and then woke up and thought about You. Sometimes I dreamt about You and whenever this happened, I always woke up angry. Then it became less and less sleep and more and more wakefulness until I began to feel very tired and wearisome indeed.

Other people in the World also noticed that You and I were not talking anymore. Some people think, “Hmm … the answer is so simple. I must be in Love with You!”.

They think like that because Love is a terrible disease and Love is generally known to make people do stupid things. And I did some REALLY stupid things. When I heard about this, I got even angrier and angrier with You.

The angrier I got, the more silent You became. The more silent You became, the angrier I got. Remember, in this Fairy Tale both You and I were hurt before by Love. I was heartless and You were heartbroken. When someone is heartless and another one is heartbroken, it is so easy to get angry and get silent even if they are not in Love.

So You and I continued being angry and being silent at each other and pretended that Time will take care of everything. Now Time is a very interesting concept. Generally it is known that Time can cure a lot of things, including the terrible disease called Love. You and I believe that Time can cure their anger and silence because Time was able to heal the scars that they got from their Love with some other prince and princess. You and I thought Time could also cure the anger and the silence.

Unfortunately, anger and silence were the two things that Time could not cure. In fact, Time could only make them get worse. Many moons passed and You and I were still not cured from their anger and silence. One night, as I lay awake in her bed, I heard a voice talking from her heart.

The voice said, “It doesn’t matter. Just say I am Sorry”.

I thought about this for a while, and I liked the idea a lot. Finally I was able to sleep without having any angry dreams about You.

The next day I called You and told You that You and I should meet and talk. I found it was no surprise that You sounded serious and worn-out. Maybe You didn’t feel like talking. But I was a very persistent princess. When I want something, I will do everything I can to get it. And I always get what I want. Always. So, even though You sounded like You didn’t want to talk, I managed to convince that You and I should meet anyhow. So later that night, You and I met.

But fairy tales are not that simple. There is always another twist. This Fairy Tale has a twist too. Although I knew what I must say, when You and I met, I started to forget again. I forgot how to make You laugh. I forgot how to make You sing. And worst of all, I forgot how to say I am Sorry.

It was a very strange talk because there was very little talk.

Both You and I were reluctant to say too much because too much Time had passed since the last time they sit down and talk. I tried very hard to remember how to say I am Sorry but all I could remember was the lyrics to a song by Verve Pipe called The Freshman, which went something like this,

“..for the Life of me I could not remember, what made us think that we were wise and we wouldn’t compromise..”

It used to be a very popular song.

Anyway, the long night ended and feeling very unhappy, I went back to her part of the World. I thought, maybe this time I should completely forget about You. But as I sat in front of her computer called Compaq, I heard a voice talking from her heart again. The voice said only one word.

It said,”REMEMBER!”

And just like magic, I suddenly remembered what to do. The problem that You and I have cannot be solved using the usual way. It was time to make the Magic Box.

A Magic Box is a simple box made out of paper. Anyone can buy a Magic Box from the Magic Shop. But what makes a Magic Box magical is what people put inside it. A Magic Box can store anything, from letters to cards, to fairy tales and problems.

But there is one condition. Whenever a problem is put in a Magic Box, the problem will not disappear. The problem will stay in there forever until someone comes along and try to solve it.

That’s how a Magic Box works. It just stores a problem. Real people will have to open it and deal with it to make it disappear.

I thought long and hard and I think I found the answer. The answer to the problem that I need to solve with You is a magic potion called Laughter. That was the cure.

So I went to the Magic Shop and shopped for the ingredients to put into the Magic Box. I must choose the ingredients carefully because the wrong ones will not result in Laughter and if Laughter doesn’t happen, the problem that You and I faced will not be solved.

So what were the ingredients? These were what I put into the Magic Box to make Laughter :-

1. A box of Panadol for relief of headaches, fever and aches in case You get any headaches, fever and aches whenever I do or say something stupid.
2. 20 strips of Hansaplast Junior (ready-to-use strips with funny cartoon characters — painless to remove, skin friendly, water resistant and dirt proof; and hygienically single packed for convenience) in case Your heart is hurt by the things that I say or do.
3. 4 multi purpose Erasers in case You want to erase all the bad memories and pain that I have caused You.
4. One packet of Strepsil Vitamin C-100 in case You get a sore throat when You and I talk, because whenever You and I talk, it could be a REALLY long talk.
5. One box of New Kleenex Expression in case I made You cry.
6. 2 packets of ready-to-drink MILO (Minum MILO Anda Jadi Sihat Dan Kuat!) in case You need to be Sihat dan Kuat when You and I argue.
7. 2 packets of Quaker Chewy Granola Bars Perasa Oreo Cookies N Cream (Only 2.5 gram of fat per bar…very healthy) in case You need the extra energy to keep reading this Fairy Tale
8. And One pack of Kellogg’s Coco Pop, because the box says “The Choc Helps Me Rock” and I remembered that You like to Rock a Lot.

But those were not all. Right at the bottom of the Magic Box, far beneath The Panadol, The Hansaplast, The Erasers, The Strepsils, The Kleenex, The MILO, The Granola Bar and The Coco Pops, I put in as many HUGS and KISSES that I could find – because I know sometimes words are not enough to say all that I needed to say. Sometimes, when people hurt each other, saying I am Sorry doesn’t help much to ease the pain. Sometimes Hugs and Kisses can do a much better job in saying all the right things.

Since I couldn’t find the right words to say, I packed her Hugs and Kisses into the Magic Box and hoped they will work. Last but not least, I opened up her Songbook and copied down a song called “Needful Things”. I wrote the song down to remind You that no matter what happens next, or whenever You feel like You don’t belong, the song will always be there to remind You that I am here. Originally I wrote the song for someone else, but under the circumstances I thought You deserve the song better than anyone else.

Halfway through copying the song, I thought,”What the heck! I will just give You the original copy so that You will know that I really mean this.” So I tore up the song “Needful Things” from her songbook, and put the paper inside the Magic Box.

There was one last thing to do. A Magic Box must always come with an instruction manual, because without it You will not know how to use all the things that make the Magic Box magic.

So I sat in front of her Compaq and started to write this Fairy Tale. I almost didn’t know what to write, but slowly I wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote because I knew this is a very important Fairy Tale.

After I finished writing the Fairy Tale that will become the Magic Box’ instruction manual, I printed it and sealed the Magic Box. On second thought, I opened the Magic Box again and put in some Prayers. I did this because You were broken-hearted before, and I did not know whether You were fully cured or not. I sealed the Magic Box with Faith and Hope, tied a piece of white string across it and waited for the right time to come when I will give the Magic Box to You. The time is Now.

Now this is where the Fairy Tale ends. Will You and I be friends again? Will You and I live happily ever after? Will You and I finally find the cure for Love? Is the problem solved? Some people might even ask, “Will You and I fall in Love?”.And for the first time in a long long time, I laughed. Why?

Because I don’t know the answer. This is the kind of Fairy Tale where the ending is up to You. But the Magic Box is magical indeed. When You opened the Magic Box, You were very confused. You saw The Panadol, The Hansaplast, The Erasers, The Strepsils, The Kleenex, The MILO, The Granola Bar and The Coco Pops, The Hugs and Kisses and The Song; but You didn’t understand what all these things mean. Then You saw the Fairy Tale. You picked up the Fairy Tale that I wrote, and as You read it, slowly You began to understand. And very slowly, You began to smile.

Now, this is not the ending yet. The end would be a long way ahead because this is the kind of Fairy Tale that will have a lot of sequels. This Fairy Tale is just like the Rocky movies. There were Rocky I, II, III, IV, V and if Sylvester Stallone was not so old, there could probably even be a Rocky 2000. Fortunately he was old so the World was saved from another Rocky sequel.

But it didn’t really matter because even if this Fairy Tale does not end with the words “..and they live happily ever after…”, I am still very happy. Why? Because when it came to what mattered, I finally remembered how to say I am Sorry. And the best part was, I really mean it.

Maybe someday You will come again to the part of the World where I live and hear her sing The Song. That may happen, on the other hand, that may not happen. Life is not that easy to comprehend. Who knows? I don’t know what will happen next. And You also don’t know what will happen next.

But I do know this. I know that 10 years from now, when both You and I are old and grey and no longer blessed with the arrogance of Youth, You will remember the time when You received a Magic Box that I had painstakingly created, and how it finally made You laugh again.



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