the front door swung after a loud, definite click. a mother, who just got back from her trip to Hong Kong, dragging luggages with her son and husband, joyfully exclaimed at the presence of dull, boxy black bulks in front of her daughter who stayed home all the time, "we bought you most things!" and then there was a pause. and then, as usual, the daughter could not help grimacing, half-forcibly as she did, naturally, feel some kind of terrible hope raising from the bottom of an eighteen year old girl's heart, a hope that said, soon enough, (in fact so soon this escaped her train of thoughts) some nice present was going to be handed over to her hands, inherited from a foreign land she had no chance to step on yet, physically. although she realised that most of the time, it was not going to please her, whatever thing that was brought over by her mom. however, this only took up a very minor proportion of her attention, as like most young people, she tended to be very optimistic, even when the eminent truth was making its way to her quite slowly, quite visibly . . .

. . . the two-faceted thought of her optimistic and pessimistic sides might escape, but the giddiness of hers stayed where it was. but as soon as she was made aware of this giddiness, the hope all at once was self-destroyed, it plummeted like a comet, it reminded her of how she should not give the hope a chance to rise at all in the first place; and only then, only upon the sight of the laid-down assortment of  jeans with imprecise cutting, pants with the wrong shades, plastic rain boots with unflattering length, crochet vest with just, all the wrong pattern and texture, did she become very upset. not so much that they did not suit her specific taste for things, but it was more like a faint stroke of guilt getting bolder gradually, yet permanently on her inside that bothered her each minute she let time pass by.

"how d'ya like them, honey?"


but not for long, because she had always been frank, or at least she tried to, with people she was close with. "mom, i don't think i am going to wear any of these. Alright i mean, i think i might wear some, but not most of them," she said, reluctantly, which was quickly retorted by her mom, "oh it is fine honey, totally . . . i actually knew that you already had some of these in your old closet. but you know how your father always forces me to buy things, and how his taste goes. anyway, what about the necklaces, love? have you seen them? you should like them, i knew you would . . . " the daughter nodded, with an apparent ease, because she had always been frank, so was she that night, and thus this statement did not strain her at all, which she felt very thankful for. at least there was something in the suitcase that she managed to show genuine affection for.

"thank you, mom, you know you shouldn't get me too many things. i should've come with you in the first place."

her mom just stared at a fixed point in space, and, amidst all dust in the space between the two of them, the daughter could now think, this was not going to work out. this is never meant to. mothers are not their daughters' boyfriends, or close friends who share exquisitely similar taste, and all daughters are to understand this. (they do understand, sometimes, they just sometimes forget.) no matter how close they are with each other, mothers will still buy daughters ugly pairs of shoes and bags and pants and books. that mother will not buy you those eclectic pairs of socks, impeccably tailored knits, pants in all the right palettes, laptop cases with whimsical patterns adorning their soft fabrics . . . daughters should understand that some voids are not meant to be filled, that some gaps are there to provide a safe distance for them to walk in, without feeling too attached or too alone. daughters should acknowledge the different linear timelines they and their moms separately grow up in, they each spend their young adulthood in. therefore, when things do not work out between them, daughters should understand, with nothing less than a sincere relief, that they are meant that way. because, trust this, parents have always tried doing some difficult parts of the understanding too.

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