There was that dream about the four of us leaving him, my father. I opened my eyes that morning and lamented why. I couldn’t think how that could be. But the truth is, it is the case. We have all left him; my mother, my sister, my brother and me. Kills me to wake up to that dream. The truest of any dreams I have ever, ever seen.
It’s funny how many people attempt to cheer the down-trodden with words like “Others have it worse” or “You are not the only person going through this or that problem” or “Many people have survived your situation”. Perhaps they think making the troubled person feel sorry for feeling sorry about himself/herself can uplift his/her spirit. Unfortunately, such lines only add more pressure to the one suffering. Belittling the pain belittles the person too. I refuse to believe it’s the best way to get him/her up. Hope we stop.
Blankly, we stare at life and what makes it. The sights, the people, the experiences, the movements. Unknowingly, we get drawn. By certain sights, certain people, certain experiences, certain movements. Deeply, we fall. Into sights, into people, into experiences, into movements. Quickly, we last. Being into sights, being with people, being in experiences, being in movement. And blankly, we stare yet again. Then suddenly, life’s on repeat. On again, off again. Begin, then end. Begin and end. Begin. End. End and end and end and end.
Detachment is always attractive. It carries with it a sense of independence, a hint of valor, and some spritzes of excitement despite its many doses of misery. Unfortunately, I feel the need for it more than most. You must find me masochistic, you must think I’m overly dramatic. Maybe I am but detachments keep me going, have me running still, gives me clarity. Through it, I can be helped. Through it, I gain insight. So yes, I love, and I am, detachment. For only in losing parts I have do I get to gain them back. For only through deconstruction do I get stitched and built again.
I’ve always been a coffee drinker, have always been sure that no other drink could perk me up for life than coffee does. I like it, how caffeine seeps into my blood and how the bitter mixes with the sweet and the smooth. It’s magic, it’s like sitting in the comfiest couch at home. But then again, I’ve been restless recently, and my heart’s been beating-racing beyond normal. I’m rethinking coffee and how I rely on it to keep me alive, to keep me sane. For tonight, I fixed a decent tea. Boiled water, soaked a bag of green tea, added honey and milk. Closed my eyes and smelled the mix on my beloved cup; but this isn’t the aroma that hits home. Took a sip, and sat perplexed with the new taste. Tea is tea. And maybe change is good; maybe switching cups once in a while would be worth my while too. Maybe different is what I need to feel better.
“Contact me soonest. Worried, lots. What’s happening?”
“Hey _______ ! How are things?”
“You must be in deep shit but whatever. Call back.”
Them people demand an answer. Them people I hold dearest. Funny how we panic when we ask questions and there seems to be no available answer. Funny how we get asked questions and know that we have no answer to give at all. Funny how questions are asked and we pretend we didn’t hear them. Funny why we get asked, at all. It’s a self-absorbed universe anyway. Why pretend someone actually bothers asking?
The night is still and the air is cool. Winds echo to the trees and speak to empty streets. Lights bicker with shadows. The moon gazes content down below. How can the world not be interesting when it is this quiet? When nothing barely makes a sound and still come out loud?
I wish today the words would come and parade themselves raging against the cold and dead of night. I wish words would fall from the sky as effortlessly as snowflakes dancing with the wind. I want to catch words as if they’re dreams on transit, in movement, in reality. I want them to envelop me and keep me snuggled warm for words are all I’ve got. I need them to resonate within a heart that’s been hardened by more words, by other words, by words I may have caught and stitched myself. If in case my life amounts to none, may there be words to fill my heart and fool my mind that I did cost much. That there was life as conveyed by words, by my mouth, by my hand, by my soul. I wish for words ’cause slowly, I hear myself growing silent, keeping mum and wanting just that. And be only that.
One arm of the bathroom clock is broken. The two other hands keep turning. They still make that scary ticking sound. Must be how life is; despite all that’s broken in you, you have to keep going with what’s left of you. Even clocks can’t stop time; even time can’t suspend life. I feel caught up, and trapped, and tired and there could be more reasons for me to demand a pause or to finally stop but as long as the heart beats, I shouldn’t stop. I am my own clock; I make time and make it worth my while. Gotta remind myself, I am the clock.
Perhaps no one else operates the way I do; perhaps no one will understand why I have to go through what I think I have to go through. Maybe they’d find my process, or me, silly. Maybe I’d hurt them without wanting that to happen, without having the intention of doing that at all. But perhaps people don’t have to matter more than my opinion. I can prove myself wrong or right and if I end up wrong they can laugh at me for being so stupid and they can even say “told you so” but I’m diving in. I’m gonna go through with this nonetheless. I only regret sharing how I felt to the ones I thought would understand the most. We are all so different after all. We go through different types of pain, in levels different in magnitude too. Perhaps all I really wish for is respect when I stay silent.
I only regret having opened my mouth to speak my heart and soul. For while I fully intended to suffer in silence, I was made to believe I could share it with someone else; someone who has known me for years, someone who has seen me in my best and perhaps worse (now being the worst). Unfortunately, years of friendship doesn’t guarantee anyone anything. It does not guarantee understanding or niceness or any bit of kindness or compassion. I shouldn’t have started talking; I shouldn’t have opened up to anyone that way at all. Yes, I may drown in sorrow; yes, I am pathetic and immature; but at the very least, my opinion and choice should have been taken just because.
Streetlights set against the darkest canvass of this Friday night beamed their brightest. They were almost blinding, dizzying me in each slippery step. I looked up and still saw clouds layered like a comfy bed enticing me to reach up and feel their softness. I did raise one hand to attempt to grab onto one cloud or perhaps one star and keep it in my heart locked forever. I didn’t catch any but I closed my fists pretending there’s something between my fingers, pretending there’s something worth holding on to. Yes the lights gleamed but the sky remained black; I’m still black if not only blue. It felt good to see glimmers in the pavement. It felt good to wish for the stars. Yes, it felt good for a brief while. Thank you, streetlights.
A patch of green emerged in the pavement of the street I walk home each night. The air remained cold and my hands felt frozen as always but something thaws from within me. I heard a block of ice crack and melt in the sight of the littlest of hope from the smallest patch of grass. May there be some source of light, some pop of color, in this world so glum and dark and piercingly icy.
If I erased records or changed my name or disappeared from the spheres by which I exist, would there appear a difference? If I let go of all that I think makes me, the things that completely break me, would I come out more whole? If I hang on to fear instead of courage the way I always attempted to, would I know better? If I really did, will there be a place to come back to? I have no idea why I detach from life the way I do. I have no inkling why solitude entices me so. Why running is a need so real in my bones and why it’s necessary for me to go too fast and too far away. But I’d attempt to find the answers, even if I end up wrong. Just like what they say, to each his own. I am my own, I answer to myself before, or not to, anyone.
Perhaps this is another form of courage, of bravery, this willingness to fall into the abyss of my own confused head, of my own tortured soul. No one else would probably understand why I choose to remain where it’s dark and frigid and melancholic; but maybe, just maybe, all that is dark within me will one day be expunged if it is wholly consumed. Maybe, just maybe, there will be light that won’t be put out in the end of all this; someday.
Take a look at this fool of a woman forsaking guilt or reason, everything and everyone that ever consisted her rosy and thorny life, for the sake of some quiet. Have a good glance at her sipping coffee in a dim corner of a happy cafe with but earphones and music as company. Find her reading books, absorbed as if the worlds in stories are her own, uncaring of others eyeing her in the subway. See her laugh and cry at movies in her solitary moments in the theater. Hear her munch on that gigantic Lay’s all on her own. Take a look at this immature, conceited hermit of a fool. For really, what else can be done, but for you to watch her. There is no way for you to take a good feel at her heart, to fill in her shoes, to truly know what’s going on within her soul. There’s just no way.
Black and white. Polka dots. Cookies and cream. Old letters and vintage stamps. Faded photographs. Empty balconies and dark alleys. All these pull me in. Perhaps the pull that attracts me, the very reason that grips me to the core, is their lack of color. The absence of vibrancy. The dullness, the obscurity of life painted in mere blank and/or white. It’s the bareness of it all. Perhaps all I’ll ever feel enticed by are such things that are hollow and almost devoid of life; for they appear stationary and unchanging and predictable. Perhaps I’d always be darkness and maybe some light.
If you’ve never been on this dark street, this bottomless pit of gloom, this endless trance of nothingness, then you’d never understand my desire to halt, to stop existing, to pause life. May you never get lost in a place like this for I wouldn’t want to rendezvous with you here. Here where you learn to count your breaths; where you number the ticks of the clock passing; where you wish to leave the quicksand but just can’t.
If I can’t find the way back, please know that I tried; that exhausted all possible strength to get out of this expansive, ever-developing, dark hole. I, too, wish for comebacks, for happy reunions and safe returns but no one is ever guaranteed that. All journeys come across dangers and risks that can’t be helped; with hurdles that may or may not be triumphed over. If I do make it securely back at shore, open your arms wide enough to accommodate me, dear friend. Know that a tired and wounded spirit is encased in this beat down body and that I would need a place, a person, to crash into and bear my weight somehow. Grant me rest and respite, old friend. Await that day, and rejoice with me if it comes.
I look at you and know that there is some part of you I like but cannot have or attempt to have at all. I look at you and find you available and willing and I had to run away knowing all that. ‘Cause why would I want to love without chase, without some form of surrender, without a fight? I can’t be the one for you just because it’ll be too easy, too comfortable, too forgettable. I want a love that ignites my soul and and fuels my bones and keeps me alive.
It must be human nature or society that has made us seek where we belong in the world’s categories. Coffee or tea or milk? Single, married or it’s complicated? Cat person or dog lover? White, Black or Asian? Optimist or Pessimist? Spinster or whore? Catholic or Muslim? So many titles to fall into, so many categories that make me wish I fit surely, contently, in certain ones. But fact is, I am never just one; we never are. I’m feminine but I have boy hands and legs and at times even speech. I am Asian but what makes Asian? I grew up watching Western movies and attended a school with a strict English Only policy and I’m currently residing in Toronto. I am Asian but I’m neither Japanese, Korean or Chinese which the world considers as the “real” Asians. I am neither a dog lover or a cat person and I neither hate or like both. Ask me about fish and I’d say that’s more likely who I am, a fishy person. Ugh. And by the way, I’ve enjoyed marrying tea and coffee and milk together, that was quite interesting. I can be this crazy or dull mix. Point is, can we move on from all the need for definitions? It’s like being placed in a box while people are in liquid or gaseous state. It’s like being tied down using jelly worms. It’s useless, we never are definable in categories, in made up words.
Happy people have a bounce on their steps. Like that kid who’s off to school and just got off the subway with her mom. Like that other kid who sports the same funky haircut as his dad’s. Like those love birds, fingers-clasped, walking-gliding past me. Like that random person moving rapidly up the stairs with blasting speakers to his ears . Not only do you see that bounce in their feet and body, you feel it through their energies, know it by their eyes. Ah, I’d love to be the happy kid again and never turn over the other side where it is always dark and sad and scary. I’m dragging my feet back up; I want to bounce if I could. But I get limper trying to hop.
I’ve been meaning to write, been meaning to reconnect and rekindle the best of flames with the best of people. I’ve been feeling sort of amiss, sort of not myself somehow. But then again, I made a choice; silly and stupid and immature as it seems, it was mine to make and judge and regret. So I’m hanging in here, hoping to recover, hoping to be taken back someday and be understood and forgiven if that’s not too much to ask. I still hope to face my former world and merge it with this new one and feel content and ready to have them homogenous within me. Right now, there’s only a disjuncture, a disconnect, a pain so real I can’t cope with both happening and not happening and changing all the time. I’d rather drown all the sorrow in one feat than to endure it draggingly, slowly, into my confused soul. Let it all come now, I’ll have it. I am insane but maybe despite all that makes me crazy and hard to bear, you’d still know I mean no harm. I just have to balance things out the way I can, the way I am. And through this solitude, I’m attempting that.
Who would have known that there exists a phase in life when and where memories are nothing, when and where consciousness leaves you and not touch you. When all that you are and were and would be don’t matter. A few kisses with a cold, salted glass and the world which had me troubled and down and spent came fading away, and I was gone. I was emotionless, fearless, and steel-like. There was no pain. I felt my feet jumping and dancing in the air. I was not who I am for a little while. Then the morning after, life was after me again. The world continued to move and sway and repeat itself as if I was never in that place between wake and sleep. It was surreal, as if there was never any suspension in time and space and memories though my soul contends it did happen. I won’t ever forget it did.
Let me empty this mind from voices, from echoes, from ideas, from memories, from her. She’s always been good at running; might be just as content disappearing. In some masochistic lobe in her head, I couldn’t help thinking, will anyone come looking if she did vanish? Will someone dare reach out? But perhaps the greater question to ask is, will she want to be found? Will she have an answer to “how are you” and “what’s up” and “why”? Will there be any silver lining in conclusion to this crazy departure? Who knows. We never know when the cookie crumbles.
I’m the lover who does not stay; I am the erratic, inconsistent persona in the story. I’m the wanderer yet the one most afraid to go. This fear of being left is too much that I end up leaving first; not knowing some people desired for me to stay or that some people never meant to go but felt pushed to.
When you find yourself keeping silent, holding in and holding back all that you truly want to let out, that’s courage. That’s some bravery manifested in self-restriction. Don’t be fooled to believe that with being a free spirit comes the pass to spit out all that can be placed out there in the open. There are things you have to keep hidden in your soul. There are things no one else deserves to hear, especially when they’re destructive; especially when they’re too sad. You wouldn’t want to find out the world does not care.
When your entire body feels sore, suck it up. Breathe deeply and think about what all this pain is gonna amount to. It would mean a good night’s sleep. It would mean being able to afford that to die for laptop or having your credentials assessed. It would mean money for your family. It would mean a lot especially at this point when all you really have is this job that keeps you sore. Sore, but still feeling something. You still get to feel. Good thing, yeah?
I wonder if the coming of spring can color my world with roses, with sunshine, with images of life unfurling, crawling back into health or vibrancy. I wonder if like spring, I would get past transitions, of seasons passing and periods ending. I wonder if the frozen members of my heart can shake off the coldest winter yet. I wonder when waking up to another morning can taste like hope or happiness or excitement again. I guess when you’ve been in the dark and the frigid for so long, you’d always feel unable to move. Maybe all this numbing, insane pain that won’t go away will someday be put out. Maybe spring can warm, if not whip me up, back to life, to wanting to live.
Some people don’t heal. I heard someone say this. And there was this fist that kept punching at my gut. What if this damn person who said some damn thing is actually right? I can’t bear that reality. I still want to hope for healing; for things better than this life. Being told I can’t scares the shit out of me.
Is there still some space to accommodate joy? I stare at my face in the mirror, stopping my lids from closing, not wanting to blink to try and see better with eyes open wide. In moments like this, I just feel like falling in a gaping hole and the fall isn’t fast enough for me to find any end. I only feel the fall; only know the motion of falling, more like floating now. It’s a trap. There are no windows. There is no bottom. Where do I see and feel the ground? More questions. More time staring myself at the mirror, unblinking, wanting to see more while I keep finding less.
What of life is real? Whenever I eye myself in the mirror, all things seem more absurd than they already are. Suddenly, I notice the wrinkles around my eyes and the dark circles that fill them too. It’s like watching my childhood happen and knowing that I’ve already really lost that child in me. I see this older person with immature eyes and a jaded soul. Suddenly, I feel the rush of the dreams I then had only for the void inside to come gulping me whole for ’til now, none of these dreams have come to form. Suddenly, It’s like envisioning my ninety-year-old self sitting by the front porch watching strangers pass and asking myself, what happened? Suddenly, I realize how my feet can’t be at two places at once. It’s like being in that dreaded courtroom again, freaking out over being asked if I’d prefer dad or mom. Suddenly, a wave of memories come flooding in and I’m shaken by how life always takes me to extremes. I would either be so happy or downright sad; hopeful or hapless; loved or hated; loud or quiet. It’s crazy. Tell me what is real. Tell me what I can keep ’cause lately, I’ve only been losing people and parts of me I hold so dear. Tell me what all this pain inside my chest is worth. Tell me something true. None of the things around me seem real or right anymore. Please tell me. Everything feels sudden.
I wonder how it would feel to be 31. I wonder how it would feel to be pregnant. I wonder how it would be to be glamorous. I wonder how it is to want to be in love again. I wonder how it is to be married. I wonder how it is to be fit. I keep wondering how if it feels to be someone else. My head has gone that far. Way farther than where my feet can reach for now. All those things I may get to feel someday, get to be someday; maybe. I hope I get past this phase when all I ever see is how the grass seems greener somewhere else, somewhere I am not.
I remember being a romantic. I remember fantasizing about Mr. Right and knowing how he’d look like exactly. Well, I always imagined him to be tall, not quite muscular nor lanky, with piercing eyes that melt my bones with each stare. Brown were his eyes, hazel and angelic. And he is sweet, with big and small gestures that pepper and salt our beautiful relationship. I knew him to be a good conversationalist and the type who always listens. He also possesses both sense and sense of humor. He’s so full of life, so ambitious, so inspiring. I was quite certain that he’s all I will ever want. I remember our dates, his marriage proposal, our walks at night by the streets and the parks and all other places ordinary but memorable just because he held my hand all throughout. His image used to be so vivid, so real, so reachable. But after having been jaded by my previous relationships, I guess he disappeared from perspective. I no longer have him in me, I no longer believe in finding such a man. Or is it love I have lost faith in? Or is it myself I no longer find capable of accepting false and disillusioned concepts of romance? I’m up to no good.
I wasted a beautiful Sunday. Since the beginning of spring, it hasn’t been this warm. The past days remained chilly and windy and snowy. I originally wanted to go to church, to visit a computer store, and to send money to Alberta. I wanted to take a lazy stroll in the downtown streets. I wanted to wear my rubber shoes and walk leisurely to my heart’s content. I wanted to be a good daughter and accompany mom to the nearby grocery store. But then all I was able to muster was sleep and selfishness. I turned and turned in bed, wrapped myself in sheets, and stayed that way for about 18 hours. Makes me think now if this is all I’ll ever get to do. If this is all the strength I could muster ’til I feel and get better; ’til I see myself again. Like this beautiful Sunday, what a waste I personally am. Dump me, world. Dump me.
Amid all the noise inside my head, there was solace in but one place. The mere entrance to its door made me feel at home, and alive. It’s like nothing could ever go wrong inside its walls; like I’m completely secure and I could just lay down each ammunition I have hidden in each layer of skin this body has. It’s like nothing transpires beyond the comfort of its halls, and chairs, and alleys. I felt capable, and dreamy, and whole. Maybe it’s in the quiet this place offers. Maybe it’s in the presence of knowledge and words and dreams that made it to the sturdy cabinets. Maybe because making it to the same shelves has always, always been my ultimate dream. Maybe because this is where I want my life dedicated. Maybe because at the end of the day, I am solitude and word exemplified. Maybe because silent moments like these speak the most to my wandering soul. There is respite. There is warmth. I’m glad the worst of my months ends with some tranquility. Let’s see each other more often, dear library.
A life was taken today; from someone I never knew but heard of. She was a grandmother, a mother and a wife. She was loving and gentle and kind. She took care of those around her, cooked for them, tended to their needs, accepted them flaws and all. From a short distance, I hear a son weep the lost of his mother, and I know despite any marital woe, the husband would shed tears, and the grandchild would also cry oblivious of what death truly means. No more baths with grandma; no more hugs and kisses and all that stuff. I witness this magnitude of loss and know I’ll never be able to get through it if I were the one who’s left behind. What do we really have in life? We own nothing. We are guaranteed nothing. We might actually just be nothing. Tiny specks in the universe. Some heart beats and a few breaths. Some bone and skin and brain. We are existing to cease to exist one day. I can’t quit asking, why do we live if only to die? What do I know. Perhaps we would never really know.