Express Yourself

Inverbalization is not a valid word, but it should be. It means one wants to verbally express something but can’t even though there’s no obstacle to stop one from expressing.

It could be the force of habit. If a person grow up in an environment that doesn’t encourage him to speak up–actually it could be a loving family life and not necessarily a bad childhood–he may end up not expressing himself for life.

This is exactly what Lulu feels when she is driving towards Armei’s cosmetic shop to meet her. It’s all Lulu’s mother’s fault–those first generation of women who work outside of home. They are not good mothers in Lulu’s opinion, but she could be biased since she only bases her opinion on her own mother. Lulu’s mother worked as a clerk in the university where Lulu’s father taught Southeast Asian history and she’s always bad tempered when she got home after work. Lulu didn’t dare to utter a sound in case her mother became more enraged than she’s already is. Sometimes Lulu wondered how her mother could keep up with her perpetual rage. Can’t she ever get tired of it and experiment with other emotional possibilities? Probably not. It’s probably genetic and it’s a gene being forever turned on by the defected regulator protein, like a broken faucet that can no longer stop the flow of water. Sometimes Lulu was scared that her mother’s rage gene would be passed on to her. That would be so unlucky.

Forget about my mother. She tries to tell herself. She wants to tell Armei that their friendship is finished and over. She has been tolerating Armei for too long. Lulu is bookish, schorlarly, a little pendantic, a little awkward, but all in a good way. She admits to that herself. However Armei just keeps on dismissing her. Whenever Lulu says something, Armei would have a negative reaction to it, often imperceptible negative reaction, like a slight raise of eyebrow or a little twitch of mouth. If it is something Armei has already known, Armei would show a little contempt; if Armei doesn’t know, she would be a little angry. Basically nothing Lulu says can please Armei. Of course Armei never openly criticizes her, at least not to her face, but Lulu knows what Armei thinks–sometimes one just knows what other people thinks without having to get it confirmed.

Lulu also wants to tell Armei that her cosmetic store sucks. She comes here to buy things only to help Armei since she has no interest in beautifying herself. And suddenly she understands why Armei treats her so condescendingly. It is because she somehow treats Armei just like she treats her own mother. She’s always afraid that her mother’s going to get angry, always try to be agreeable and obedient. She’s just being too agreeable to Armei and after a while Armei senses her weakness and takes full advantage of it. Is this correct? Or is she overthinking again? One can never tell.

Now Lulu’s car has come to the little plaza where Armei works and she turns left on the double yellow line to get in and parks the car. Then Lulu just sits there and thinks. She wants to clear her head first before getting out of the car and getting into Armei’s little store. She wants to get ready to yell at Armei and tell her to go to hell.

“Is that you, Lulu?” Armei comes out of the store and stands right in front of the car. “Why don’t you come in?”

“I don’t know. I’m just thinking of something.” Lulu says, comes out, shuts the car door, and smiles her sweetest smile at Armei.

And the two women walk into the store, chatting like they are the best friends in the world.

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