CREATIVE TIME WASTER BY CHRISTINA OW

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[Sun streams into the room from her open window, falling on her face. She tries to move away from it but it’s useless. Resigns herself to waking up. She opens her eyes and stares unseeingly into the camera]
Tick, tock. Tick, tock. Oh yeah. Clocks don’t do that any more.
[She turns on her other side, facing away from her digital clock]
It always feels like I’m stuck, laying here watching time go by doing yet again nothing to reach my dreams. Ell it’s not like it’s my fault really. There isn’t much I can do about it. I’m just waiting for the right opportunity. It’s not time yet. When it finally comes, I’ll make it big.
[Groans rolls on her back]
Yeah right. Like it’s just going to drop in my lap. I think I was born in the wrong country. Being a third world citizen sucks.
[ Fishes for her cell phone from under her pillows]
No emails. No replies. Figures. I think I spend more time begging companies to give me a chance than I do anything else. Whatever. I can make it on my own.
“Who needs you anyway.” [She screams at her phone before hugging it to her chest and whining] “Me. I need you. Would one of you please open a door for me!”
[Her bedroom door flies open banging against the wall. Her sister Jackie is standing at the doorway] “There. It’s open. Now would you shut up? Some of us are trying to sleep.” [She walsk away. Closing her door with a bang]
The vampire. She writes all night and sleeps all day. She probably didn’t know what the sun looked like anymore. Might even mistake it for her desk lamp if asked. [She drags herself up into a sitting position] “Of course the successful author can afford to sleep. If her readers knew she hasn’t even been to one of the places she writes about.” [She frowns then shouts] “Fraud!”
“It’s called having an imagination and great WiFi you lazying bum!”
The walls are too damn thin in this house. But it not the first time I’ve said this to her. Jealousy is an ugly thing. [She groans and fall sback into bed]
[Mother walks in, half dressed] “Jane get up and get ready for work.”
Plain Jane, that’s me. One of the worker ants getting up at six to go to a job I’d rather not do. But I got the degree for it so why the hell not? PR was supposed to be my safety net in case what I really wanted to do didn’t pun out. Well, I got caught.
[She fussily gets out of bed and heads for the bathroom. Showers and goes to her sister’s room and to her wardrobe]
[From under the covers Jackie says] “You know, maybe you’re not so successful because your dress like a bum.”
[She rolls her eyes] “It’s called hobo chic.”
[Jackie snorts] ‘Even hippies don’t dress that bad.”
Sometimes it feels like I’m praying for patience more than I do for my dreams to come true. My sister had the ability to turn a saint into a killer.
“I’m borrowing your blouse.” [She walks out of the room and bumps into her mother.]
“What do you think of this outfit?”
I look at the top, trousers and shoes she has on and I already see the number of items that would go better with each when worn differently. Some in her wardrobe and some that exist only in my head.
“Anything special going on today at work?”
“I’m meeting a few clients today.”
“Then change the top.” [She walks into her mother’s room to the closet and pulls out a jacket and a light vest] “Here. Wear these and the black pumps. Serious but still approachable.”
[She walks away when her mother said] “Nothing says you can’t make it here. The fashion industry is taking off in Kenya.”
Yup. Kenya was full of talent but with no buying power whatsoever. If it’s not cheap, no one’s willing to spend the money. Uniforms sold faster than couture gowns did. This is why I think I was born in the wrong country.
[In the car, stuck in morning traffic. She looks out the window and watches those who’ve given up on waiting for the cars to move get out of the buses and walking. She unconciously begins to redesign and redress the women passing by her window]
[To a lady in a really short skirt] It would look better if it was longer. Aren’t you cold? Well fashion knows no weather. [To a lady in leopard print stockings, white dress and red coat] Sometimes plain black is best. [A plus size woman in a dress that is three sizes smaller] You have a nice figure. You would look great in a dress your size.
And like routine, I begin dressing each one in my head; changing, cutting, wrapping them in fabrics until my mind settles on the right one.
“Mum, do you think if we could have afforded that design school in Italy my life would have been different?” [She smiles to herself] “I would probably be working on my next great piece.” [Smile slips off her face]
It was always bitter sweet when I fell into this hole of ifs, coulda, woulda and I wish. My dream is to become a world renowed fashion designer. Besides the fact that I couldn’t go to school for it, I can’t saw worth a damn. I took sewing lessons during school break a few years back but its not note worthy.
“I’m sorry about that.”
[She turns to her mom before she faces out the window again] “it’s cool. You single handedly raised three kids on your on. One is a successful IT genius in South Africa and the other makes money out of ruining happily ever afters by killing the male leads in her books. I’m the only one who’s left to live my dream.”
[Mother pats her lap] “you’ll get there. On the bright side, you’re doing great in your PR job.”
Yup, the practical route. Now, I am no longer a creative artist but a blue collar drone matching to the rythm. [She snorts] “That brightness is coming from the sun.”
“It would come from you if you tried to get a jump start on that dream you keeping mourning about every morning instead of just waiting for something to happen. The whole manner from heaven thing happened one time.”
“I’m trying mom. I’ve sent out emails to all the companies-“
“Yeah, yeah. I’ve heard that already and I can’t wait for the day you stop saying it. You have one problem, and that is you’re too scared to put yourself out there. What I believe you’re even more afraid of is getting noticed. I just don’t know why.”
I did. Say I get the money to launch my fashion line and no one pays attention to me because I don’t have the educational background for it. Or by a stroke of luck I become successful but I don’t have the social knowhow to be apart of their circle. I’m not a trend follower, designer names, labels and styles isn’t something I spend my time cramming about. No matter which way I look at it, I’m at a disadvantage. Being a fashion designer just seems to be getting further and further away from me.
[The women she’d redressed in her mind go back to the original clothes]
[Another day in, another day out. A week, a month, a year passes by and she feels like she’s just existing. It was getting too late to realise her dream.]
[One day her eldest sister calls. She’s getting married. Jackie turns to Jane and says] Why don’t you design the gowns? That tailor you sketch for, he’s good right? Have him do the dresses.
“What if they turn out to be rags and not the glamorous gowns I envision?”
“That’s what bridal stores and a fexible budget are for?”
[Jane sneers.] “What I design goes? No arguments?”
[Jackie rolls her eyes] “Yeah, sure.”
“You know, I get an ulcer just by looking at you.”
[Jane works on a few designs, changing them according to the changing venues and themes. She visits the bridal stores. Surfs the internet for fabrics and visits fabric stores in the streets. Is at the tailors side as he saws the dresses. Day of fitting and she’s nervous]
“What do you think?” [Everyone tells her that the are good but she’s not very reassured. She turns to Jackie, the sadist of the family]
“They say the best designers can’t dress themselves. Good job hobo.”
[Wedding day people love her dresses and order some. Before she knows it she has a dress making business. She’s happier feeling more fulfilled.]
[She wakes up in the morning to her alarm. She still whines but not as much as before. She fishes for her phone from under her pillow and checks her email. She got one from a jeans company in Japan interested in buying a few of her sketches]
“Oh my god!” [She screams. The door flies open and her sister and mother come rushing in.]
“What?”
[She holds her phone up] The want my designs. I think they just offered me a job. [Jackie takes the phone, reads the email and hands it over] Nice. Don’t forget me when you’re walking the runway. I deserve a few hot items for always supporting you.
‘You mena ridiculing me’
[She waves the comment off as she walks away] I say potatoe you say potatoe
[Now alone with her mother] When do you leave?
What?
Before you get scared and turn tail, I think you should get on a flight as soon as possible and go there.
I don’t think this is a job offer.
[Mother looks at the phone] They want to meet you at your earliest convinience, in Japan. [Stands to walk away]
Wait. What if they find out that I’m a halfassed designer with no educational background for fashion designer.
You have the talent and you love fashion. Start from there and work your way up. God didn’t create the world in a single day. You can do it, if you don’t let fear rule you anymore. Good job baby.
[She collapses back on the bed, stares wide eyed at the camera then busts out in laughter bouncing on the bed]
“Would you shut up. Some of us are trying to sleep here!”

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