I am taken back to sophomore year. I’m sent home because of sore eyes. I did my best to act normal so nobody would notice my sore eyes, but I guess wearing neon pink shades to class was not really a good disguise. I remember spending a good day at home. I had the whole space to myself. I run my finger across the spines of the books on my bookshelf. I read and reread The Life of Pi by Yann Martel, trying to figure out which narrative I liked better. I sleep throughout the afternoon.
I remember the knock on our front door. It must be Jerry. It is. When I open the door, there he was, holding a trophy for winning a writing contest and the first words out of his mouth is “Hindi ko alam kriz, I’m sorry”
I cry, all throughout the evening until I fall asleep. I prepared for that competition. I waited for the announcement of the contest dates. I wanted to be a writer so bad, and when you’re in an unknown small private high school the first step to being a writer was winning a local contest. But my hands didn’t even touch a goddamn pen. The trophy was in my brother’s hands. He didn’t even want to be a writer then.
That was the day I fully understood what the word “pipe dream” means.
To this day, I feel bad that my brother blamed himself for fulfilling a dream I had. I feel bad that his trophy burned along with our house in 2012. I still feel bad for making him feel bad. He is one of the best writers I know.
And to this day, I still fully understand what the word “pipe dream” means; when I waited for the film award announcement in 2016 but did not hear my name. I heard several no’s dance across the hall. When I look at my years and realize they all look the same. Whatever they tell you about dreaming, they don’t tell you that it doesn’t happen to everyone. They are not fulfilled for everyone. That’s just the way it works. There is no space for all of us.