'after today, i might never ever see you again.'
that was the last thing i remembered her saying when she
hugged me on the day that i left.
she was nicola lace, my host sister. i went to england two
years ago and was privileged enough to stay with her
family. she was the only child, a die hard fan of
stereophonics, and was a drummer of a small band called
yes i did get a taste of the english life then. pauline was
the name of her mom. they had a gorgeous dog named hugo. he
was a golden retriever, but he wasn't golden. he was white.
'hi i'm nicola. what's your name?'
the first time i met her, she was wearing devil horns and
was sucking on a lolly. she went to my room and kinda
bounced up and down on my bed.
'topshop is a pretty good shop. you have to take a train
though since it's all the way in norwich.'
i did go to topshop. i tried to buy a top that i liked, but
the smallest size was too big for me. i went away a bit
dejected wondering if the only place i can shop in england
is in the children's stores.
. . . .
i remember waking up to the sounds of birds chirping. i'd
crack one eye open and see sunlight streaming into the
quiet and peaceful room.
they had a beautiful house. it was small but cozy. there
was a backyard where nicola and i once threw a baseball
around. hugo would grab the ball sometimes and nicola would
try to take the wet ball out of his mouth.
'nicola talks so much on the phone now. i don't like it
that she goes all the way to the yard whenever she's
talking to jeiel.'
pauline was a bit pissed off at that time, perhaps worried
and wondering what her daughter was hiding from her. she
was washing dishes in the kitchen and i was sitting down on
one of the chairs, listening to her talk. i told her that
it was pretty natural for teenagers to want some
privacy...especially when they're talking to members of the
. . . .
'will you help me memorize the song a thousand trees by the
that was around the latter part of my stay in england. she
wanted to memorize that song for reasons that i can't
really remember anymore. but of course i did help her.
pretty soon i found the song running over and over in my
head...it only takes one tree to make a thousand matches.
only takes one match to burn a thousand trees.
'we're having a gig this friday evening. come and watch us.
you can bring your friends along too if you want.'
the gig turned out to be just a small gathering of families
and friends. it cost 2.50 pounds to watch them. my friends
thought it was a waste of time and money since the band
wasn't exactly professional. pauline sorta knew my friends
were thinking that i think...cuz she would cast evil stares
at them while blister was playing.
. . . .
visited many interesting places around england. cambridge
was beautiful. the different colleges and universities just
took my breath away. oxford wasn't too bad. lotz of
hongkies. stratford-on-avon was really really pretty. i can
still see shakespeare's birthplace in my mind.
pretty soon i was off in london with my friends. went to
many different interesting places there as well. it was
pretty fun although our tour guide was an ass. don't think
he liked us that much.
one day a friend and i decided to have our hair dyed. she
colored hers bright red and i dyed my hair green.
afterwards i got a henna and had a dragon painted on the
side of my left arm. always wanted a tattoo..still want
one...but i'm not sure if i should get one. it has to be
black and small. big colored tattoos are just not my thing.
the underground wasn't so great. wanted to get something
from harrod's but decided to just drop by a bar and buy
lots of drinks. we brought them all back to our hostel and
had a drinking session. fell asleep intoxicated.
. . . .
'oh my god your hair's green!'
that's what nicola exclaimed when she saw me. she had
friends over, and one of the guys saw me and asked, 'is
your hair green? it is green!'
i was fiddling with the computer at that time, typing an
email away to my friends back home.
she called her friends 'mates'. pauline didn't like it for
some reason. i thought it was all right. being in australia
now, i will never be able to see why pauline didn't like it
that nicola called her friends 'mates'.
'candice, i think he likes you.'
i burst out laughing when she said that. i was most certain
that he didn't like me. her mates had already gone home.
she insisted that he did and i said he didn't.
. . . .
'i don't really want you to go. if you could bring your
friends all here, would you stay?'
she asked that question while she was braiding my hair. of
course i said yes. england was a beautiful country. a few
nights later, i braided her hair and she went to sleep with
it -- with hopes that her hair would be nice and curly the
next day. wasn't a success though..cuz she looked ...
'i think you're the first person who has settled in quite
nicely with us.'
pauline disagreed. 'that's because she can speak english!'
i don't think pauline liked me that much. i think it's cuz
on the first day i stayed with them, i walked around their
carpetted house with my shoes on.
. . . .
nicola most probably have forgotten about me by now. her
family regularly hosts people from many different countries
and she is most likely used to having people come in and
out of her life.
we used to email for a while..but it didn't last since we
didn't exactly click with each other.
'we're hosting a girl from canada right now. she came home
drunk last night. mum's trying to get her to move to
another host family. i just wanted to tell you cuz i'll die
if i don't get this off me.'
that was the last i've heard from her. been two years now.
i wouldn't mind going back though and stepping into that
nice warm house again.
only takes one tree to make a thousand matches. only takes
one match to burn a thousand trees.