March 31, 2015

The Two Neighbors' Houses

Tina and Hazel have been neighbors and good friends for years. Though they have very little in common, they got along just fine. While Tina loves permanence and constancy, Hazel loves spontaneity and randomness.
Tina's house is arranged the way it has always been since she was young. Except for the curtains which are replaced regularly, everything in Tina's house is permanently fixed. Though not literally glued on the wall, the framed picture of her parents' wedding were never put down nor her laminated diplomas. The old figurines that were sitting on the divider are regularly polished to shiny perfection but are put back at the exact same spot. And though new figurines are added every once in a while, the old ones stay the way they have always been. Except for the throw pillows, the living room set remained the same through the years.
Hazel's house, on the other hand is like a mall. The decorations are changed each season. Hearts for Valentine, plants for summer, pumpkins for Halloween and lanterns for Christmas. Every week, couches, chairs, tables and even the television set are rearranged based on Hazel's moods. Various living room sets were bought, used and sold every year and framed pictures are put up and down every week.
When Tina asked Hazel why she always changes everything in her house, Hazel answered..
'I always want to see something new. When I see the same thing on the same place for a long period of time, I feel bored and I want to have it changed. How about you, why do you keep things the way they are forever?'
'I want to know exactly where everything is. It comforts me to think that something is there when I need it.'
So, the two friends stayed the way they are and time went by. As expected, Hazel left to work abroad while Tina stayed to teach in the public school. After more than ten years, Hazel came back and among the first she visited was her neighbor and friend Tina.
As soon as Hazel went inside Tina's house, she felt a sense of nostalgia. It seems like she time-travelled and they were 18 years old again. She looked around and felt she has been there just the night before and has never left and gone for more than a decade. She felt a sense of belongingness she never feels anywhere else.
Then, Hazel invited Tina to come over her house which the latter very seldom sees since Hazel left. Tina was overwhelmed by how the house has changed. She knew it never stays the same but the big flat screen tv mounted on the wall and the obviously new snow white cushion sofa made Tina feel she really was out for a shopping in the mall. It made her realize how things have changed through the years.
As they were eating snack in the newly renovated kitchen, Hazel asked Tina..
'Do you know why I like your house very much?'
Tina was surprised. She never knew Hazel liked her house, but she asked just the same..
'It gives me a sense of permanence, like, if there is something, anything, permanent in my life, that would be your house. When I lose hold of my life and lose control of things around me, I think of your house and it gets me back on track and makes me realize what I want to do.'
'That's very nice. Now do you want to know why I like your house?'
'’It gets me out of stagnancy. It makes me realize how things have changed. It gives me a glimpse of what it should be like if I do the things I don't dare to do.'
'Why didn't you dare to do some things?' Hazel asked.
'It's not that I don't like to do, so I don't dare to do. I just simply like the way things are so I don't bother to change. Other people wonder how I know I wouldn't like it if things changed when I haven't even tried it. But I like everything about my life and I make it a point to do the things I like than try something just because other people like me to.'
That night, Tina lay comfortably in bed and smell the familiar scent of her pillow and drifted off to sleep with a smile, knowing she would wake up in a familiar room as she does every single day while Hazel stared at the ceiling of her room thinking of the beautiful rug she found in the mall yesterday and how nice it would look on her floor to cover the two-month old white tiles.
(Original story by the blog author. Any similarities with other stories, fiction or otherwise, are purely incidental.)

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