1st Runner-up: Writing My Future (Written by Roiel Michael T. Alemania)
My future looks like this. I am an indie filmmaker, a notable name in the industry. I have created multiple short films that have won me a handful of awards and trophies. My films are representative of many problems faced by people every day, each film hiding a deeper subtext on the already fragile subject they portray. Otherwise, they are film adaptations of books that had not gone beyond ink and paper. Most of my films cash in a decent income or remain unknown and undiscovered. In this future I am content. On the other hand, my future could look like this... I would own a bookstore in a small town. Set up in a scanty and deplorable space were multiple bookshelves, and arranged on the rusty metal shelves were countless old books with yellowing pages. This bookstore – terribly forgettable – barely had a cent to its name... In this future I am demoralised.
My future looks like this. In the corner of the room is a half-done Christmas tree, and on one of the walls is a banner saying ‘Merry Christmas’. I am on a couch, the light from a small flat screen illuminating the dark room. Next to myself is my partner, her head on my shoulder and our bodies wrapped in a fur blanket. I look around the room, seated on other furniture are my siblings with their own significant others. I turn my attention away from the movie and peek behind to see my parents and my in-laws preparing a hearty Christmas dinner. In this future, I feel loved. Alternatively, my future could look like this... I would slam my phone on the wooden table – ending the conversation with my sister. I began to pace around my small apartment in clear frustration. These conversations had become a routine; one of my siblings would call me in hopes of convincing me to return home for some family time. Ultimately, without fail, I would respond with a blunt refusal. I had left on bad terms with my parents, and occasionally my siblings would add to this turmoil. Ever since I had gone my own way, I had spent countless celebrations without my family… In this future, I feel abandoned.
My future looks like this. I am rushing around my bedroom, snatching essentials left and right. I have a flight heading to Barcelona that is leaving in two hours. To fit my items into my very full luggage, I begin tossing clothes everywhere, not batting an eye where they land. Just before I exit the bedroom door, I take one last look to make sure I do not leave anything behind – almost immediately I want to look away – my room looks like it had been ransacked. My eyes dart to the desk beside my bed, where a globe of the world stood with thumbtacks marking out all my previous destinations. Most of South East Asia has been invaded by the thumbtacks whilst there are a few stray thumbtacks resting somewhere in America and Africa. Above that globe are all the certificates I have won through all my years of working as a filmmaker. I give out a short huff and lock the door of the apartment,ready for my next adventure. In this future, I am pleased with what I have done. In contrast, my future could also look like this... I would saunter into my apartment as usual. As I turned on the tap for some water, I realized that the water pipes had not fixed themselves yet. I stared blankly as water dripped out the pipe from two loose screws. I turned off the tap and ignored the tiny puddle it had left, not caring what atrocity would be in its place the next morning. I let my eyes graze the tiny, run-down apartment. Nothing in my life had gone the way I wanted: I had failed and dropped out of university, I got myself an apartment with rent that took up most of my pay check, I worked a desk-job that followed the same monotonous routine over and over again. I would barely have time for my family, let alone myself. I would take a deep breath to compose myself, and prepare to rest for the same experience the next day… In this future, I regret everything.
I have no idea what lies ahead for me. I have neither a plan nor a sure-fire goal for my future. The future is an ominous expanse of infinite possibilities. Every single moment beyond the one I currently exist in, is a mystery. I am an open-minded person, I believe in the idea that anything is possible. And because of this, every bad thing is also possible. That is why I have written my future like this, with the good, the bad and the ugly. I am not trying to jinx myself with the incredibly undesirable possibilities I have written, I know things will not always go my way. Or maybe they will. Either way, it is perfectly fine to be wary of the future. Ultimately, it is not what one will do in the future that counts, what counts is what one does now. Now, am I ready for my future? No, I am not. Yet at the same time, I have never been more ready for anything.
Roiel Michael T. Alemania
Class 4-2 (2018)