Narrative Header
  • Essay
  • Short Story

(Based on my photonarrative)




I don’t know why I drive to the yellow house every day. It’s become a routine now, ever since I heard the news. On the way from class to the apartment, I can’t help but make a wrong turn and pull in front of the yellow house. The house is always the same. The same dusty corn-colored paint peels off the same flimsy wood boards which act as walls. The same dried up yard of weeds flick in the wind. There’s never anything new to see, which made me wonder more why I kept returning to this same spot over and over again.


A month ago, on a Thursday after class, I got a call saying my dad died. They discovered him in his normal state: drunk, half-dead and lying around somewhere. Before long, he was fully dead. It was a short phone call. As soon as I hung up, I got into my car and headed home.


A week later, when I was driving back to my apartment as usual, the song “American Pie” came on the radio station. My dad used to sing that song a lot when my mom was with us, especially in long car rides. Howling at the top of his lungs with one arm out the window, “Bye, bye Miss American Pie, drove the Chevy to the levee...”


The song played on as I continued to drive and the familiar words resurfaced from my memory. I fiddled impatiently at a stop light. When the light finally turned green, I jerked the steering wheel and drove off in the opposite direction of my building. Pulling up at the yellow house, I switched the radio off and slumped in my seat. The sight was awful. The shingles on the roof looked like they could flake off in a breath of wind and the filthy wooden walls were as brittle as frosting-less wafer cookies. Three years without bothering to housekeep showed. Before, I tried making our image look as presentable as possible, washing the windows and trimming the weeds, but it was useless. Dad’s reputation as the town’s drunk was a little off-putting. In the end, I simply gave up. The moment I turned eighteen and received my diploma, I was gone. I packed up before the graduation ceremony and was out the door when it ended.


That night, I sat with my car parked in front of the house for hours. The next day after class, I returned. The day after that, I drove back again. It’s been a month of this pathetic routine and yet again, I slouch in the driver’s seat of my car, savagely glaring at the yellow house.
Like yesterday, the very first day and all the days in between, I’m unable to look away. “This is ridiculous,” I think as my hand twitches towards the steering wheel. “Enough!”


My car was ready to go. My keys were twisted in. The car was shifted for reverse. But after a minute of listening to the motor running, I yanked my keys out and slammed my head against the wheel in defeat. “I’ll never get out of here,” I muttered pitifully. I sat for a while longer in misery and shame when suddenly my hands gripped the steering wheel, knuckles white. Enraged, I flung the door open and stomped up to the door the yellow house. For a few seconds, my hand hovered over the doorknob. I doubted it was locked; Dad didn’t bother much about safety and he hardly had the pride to think anything he owned was worth stealing. Quickly, without time to hesitate, I twisted the doorknob and the door creaked open.


Of course no one was there. I breathed out a huge sigh. What had I expected? It was stupid to think my dad, or even my mom, was here. I shook my head; the likelihood of my dead father springing back to life was higher than the likelihood of my mom showing up. Timidly, I took a few steps in. It was dark; the electricity had been cut off and the windows were too grimy for any real light to shine through. The musty light, however, didn’t hide the thick, lingering smell of booze and I could still tell how trashy this place was. Beer bottles were tossed haphazardly on the stained, formerly beige carpet. Furniture was either turned over or smashed beyond repair. Small animal feces decorated the ground. Something skittered by undoubtedly.
I tiptoed my way to my father’s room. I recalled that he never went in there; the living room with the TV was his kingdom. His room was a lonely mess, with blotted sheets and faded wallpaper. Despite that, it was significantly brighter than the rest of the house. The giant moldy window oddly brought in lots of light. Dad often bellowed at me not to clean his room
(not that I wanted to) for the room was where he kept his “important stuff.” I rolled my eyes at the memory and shifted towards his nightstand. I suspected his “important stuff” was more beer bottles, maybe some really strong stuff for a bad day. I pried opened the drawer and found… paper. Furrowing my eyebrows curiously, I picked them up and shuffled through them. I found my old art projects of crayon drawings and construction paper masterpieces, my report cards from second to eighth grade, a picture of my mother and a picture of the three of us by a zoo’s entrance sign. From the way we were grinning in the zoo picture, we must’ve had a great time. Too bad I couldn’t remember it. I quickly switched to the picture of Mom, which startled me. It was so different than how I remembered her. In the photo, she looked like sunshine—fresh and beautiful, smiling a real smile. My childhood composed entirely of violent fights between Mom and Dad, followed by Dad’s drinking. But, as evident to the happy zoo picture, I supposed there must have been a time when we were together and happy.


I sat on the bed and sorted through the newly discovered items. It struck me as odd that he kept such things. I peered back at the drawer and to my surprise, I missed an item: an envelope with my name scratched on it in Dad’s handwriting. I snatched it up and slid my nail under the seal. My mother’s engagement ring fell out. Happy Graduation, it said on the back of the envelope.
I delicately picked up the ring and examined it. It was startlingly exquisite, a diamond in the center with smaller diamonds encrusting the sides of a smooth gold band. I bit my lip. I couldn’t believe that he kept all my projects, report cards, the pictures, and this. Eyes moistening, I forcefully pinched them shut. He was dead, but he didn’t deserve my tears. “You were a stupid, scared old man,” I thought fervently. “You let her go without a fight and then you became drunk and violent.” Tears popped out one by one through my pinched eyelids. I stopped brushing them away as they fell faster and faster.


“You were too much of a coward to face the fact that she was gone, gone forever, so you picked up a beer bottle. You were probably drunk when you did this!” I chucked the envelope aside as I screamed in my head, “What was that anyway? Some apology? You were such a coward; too much of a coward to hold on to anything you’ve ever cared about!”
Struggling to control my breathing, I tried to stop crying but the tears streamed persistently. Eventually, I gave up and hid my face with my hands, sobbing. I wanted to be angry at Dad again, but it was impossible. All these years, I hated him for everything he was: absent, scared, irresponsible. I was angry at him for so long! I thought of him as a soulless, empty drunk, incapable to move on and love anyone else. I thought he hated me, that he blamed me for making my mother leave. Looking at my old art projects and the picture of my mom, I had to know that he kept all this stuff because he did care about me. He loved my mother incredibly and when she left, it broke his heart. He loved me too, I recognized. He was ashamed and afraid, yes, but after all these years, I forgave him.


Carrying my father’s stack of “important stuff,” I walked out of the house to my car. I turned around to gaze at the yellow house for the final time. All those days I spent staring at it, I realized, I’d been waiting for something. Ever since I left the yellow house when I was eighteen, I tried to ignore it, to forget it. Now though, the past wasn’t behind me, but a part of me, accepted. I put the key into the engine and drove away.

(Raime and my animation was based on this story. We just wanted something nonsensical and slightly weird. There's nothing really symbolic or anything like that. It's just fun and cute.)


All Eggs Have Dreams


A dozen eggs sat comfortably in their gray cardboard carton. It was just recently when the twelve were awoken from their warm beds of straw and jarred into individual cardboard niches. It wasn’t too bad, since they quickly became acquainted with one another. Conversations flowed easily and the twelve spent every minute discussing whatever was on their mind. Today, their first day in the chilled display, their conversation of cows and cowbells were interrupted by a tube of Pillsbury cookie dough.


“Will you just be quiet?!” the dough boy yelled, “Sheesh, I can’t wait to get out of here.”

The eggs exchanged looks. “What do you mean, ‘get out of here’? Where would you go?” asked one.


“Humph,” the dough boy grumbled, “I mean, get out of this wrapper and become irresistibly delicious, gooey home-style cookies… unlike you bunch when you get out of your shells. Now, please be quiet.”


For the first time in their small lives, the eggs were silent. When they come out of their shells? They have never thought of such a thing.


“Well, I don’t know about you guys,” said an egg on the upper left hand corner, “But I’m going to be a super hero. Super Chicken, actually. I’ll be the first chicken to fly and I’ll have eyes that’ll shoot laser beams. I’ll solve crimes and rescue damsels and babies from burning buildings. The entire barn will thank me and they’ll name a new lamb after me. Yep, that’s what’ll I’m going to be when I come out of this shell!”


All the eggs were impressed. Then another egg perked up and said, “I bet I’ll be a beautiful painted egg. Like those Russian ones. Blind Russian nuns will work night and day hand painting my beautiful creamy shell. So what if I don’t come out of my shell. I’ll be beautiful.”


“I’m going to be an astronaunt!” an egg in the middle shouted.
“Nuh-uh!” exclaimed all the eggs.
“Oh yes I will. I’ll be the first chicken to reach the moon and float among the stars. Just you wait; I’ll be featured on Time Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential Chickens. Don’t worry; you guys without futures can live on my mansion.”

All the eggs were about to protest when they felt a sudden jolt in their carton. The next thing they knew, they were placed in a wire shopping cart next to a cake mix, a recipe book, and the cookie dough.


“Hey Dough Boy! I’m going to be a super hero!
“I’ll be a beautiful piece of art.”
“I’m going to be an astronaut.”
“Yeah, and I’m going to be the next president of Zimbabwe,” the dough boy rolled his eyes.


But the eggs weren’t discouraged. They were too busy thinking about their promising future.