Tag Archives: love

Letting go

It is a strange place to be meeting, at twenty. In many ways, we still have the hearts of children. Yet adulthood is hurtling itself at us – in another 10 years and we’ll be pigeonholed into little flats, with our little clones, or a perhaps a couple of cats, or both. We meet on the runway, passing each other by as we take flight, leaving only traces.

In this way, everything was breaking up in front of me. I began to notice it, in text messages that fell flat, letters so full of fluid verbosity that the most important things were not conveyed, in those moments, side by side, talking ad nauseam about the tiresome details of student life, and you suddenly remember that once, we actually liked to sit and look at the sky. I was losing things that were very important to me, not knowing if I would get them back.

When did words begin to fail? There ought to be so much more to say – like the fact that I’m sorry. Sorry I was never a good listener to you, sorry that the most important things happened right in front of my eyes and I never noticed, sorry that I couldn’t be there in the most crucial moments. And also, those secrets – that to me your happiness is really more important than my own, that I sometimes think I understand more than I dare to convey, that in the deepest part of me my wish is really just to make you feel that you’re okay.

There is such a weight of words that passes into silence, ever reaching second. All that love allows and does not allow. Life is about letting go, so a friend said to me. Perhaps I begin to understand.

Time will not show mercy. Already we are taking flight, soon we will land. Already twenty, soon forty, and then eighty. Very soon, in the blink of an eye, all this will be over. And you hope that by that time you would have said what you needed to say. But even if you haven’t, the loss will lie where it falls. We are all leaving, anyway.

Imagine you are on your death bed. And you are told that right now, you can visit ten friends, just for a short while, and for the last time. Who would you pick? Where would you meet? Would you like to call her name one last time as you rush past each other on a busy street? Would you like to find him in a secluded house in a deep forest, sitting in a corner of a room, waiting for you? What would you say? Would you say what has been on your heart all this while? Or would you speak as though you had endless tomorrows? Or would you just sit, side by side and say nothing at all?

Who would leave first? Would you get up, and smile, and say you must be going now? Or would you be left behind as she walks out the door, rushes past you, steps into the train – goodbye, it was nice seeing you. And then your eyes blur for the last time.

How very quickly, we pass each other by. So hold close to what is important to you, until the very end.

 

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Tangled

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One can be homesick without missing home.

Waking up is like grasping into empty space. Your being is awoken to some shapeless longing that has neither the substance of pain nor the burn of romantic desire, yet makes itself known by the silent gaps that you can no longer fill, the ones that used to be filled by the rhythm of your old life. You cannot attach your longing to a person or a place, but only clumsily to some vague notion of belonging, marked by nostalgic settings, sounds and shadows.

Perhaps what you are longing for is safe space, where you can fall down and not be afraid. But already the gulf between you and those who can provide it is racing. Those threads that stretch from your heart to theirs, they are wearing thin, but tug harder with the distance. Torn, you walk through the streets, trying to lay down a circle with your footsteps, to carve out the shape of protection. But already you’re not quite sure how to find the point your line began.

Your wandering traces the contours of your scars across the landscape of silence. If we could wipe out the past and obliterate the future, then perhaps we could fly free, and breath deep again. But you are weak, twisted and tangled, and you can only hold your knees and feel cold water cover your head as you sink into a strange sea, soothed and suffocated all at once.

The present that mirrors all.

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Trains, like showers and other magic, are best taken in solitude. It rocks and rumbles as it starts, then the rumbles start to have a rhythm to them, and then the world is flashing by. You’re looking out the window and seeing beautiful things. Like the sunset sky spreading its wings over rooftops tinted gold, like dark rain glistening on the window, like morning mist bathing the trees as day takes first breath.

It’s not like a painting, where the colours are still. It’s more like looking into someone’s eyes, where the world swirls and pulsates with light. As you cut through the transient sky, there are a few seconds of dissonance where you are looking at the sky and the land but you feel like you are seeing somebody. The gold in the air, the glint in the dark, all appear as someone, someone dear, laughing in your memory. You realise this, and you feel a distinct sense of existential convergence, as though all the beauty and the wonder of the world were at once captured in that one moment, those laughing eyes. In your mind they sparkle, like bells. You’re aching because you’re wrong and you’ve always been wrong, yet you feel you must be right this time, brought back to a moment where you felt nothing in the world mattered more, except that the delight and the kindness in that face should never be lost.

Light and dark pursue each other and turn around a new day and you watch. Even as the train pulls into the station you are sure that somewhere out there, there must be an answer to your fears. You’re still relentlessly feeling your way through the distance with your eyes, trying to distinguish that tenderness that will restore your wonder and fill you with courage. As you search you realise that they were all wrong, who told you to look within yourself. Salvation, like an embrace, can only come from out there.

“You-You alone will have stars as no one else has them… In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars will be laughing when you look at the sky at night..You, only you, will have stars that can laugh!”

― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Some reflections on the body, on matter, or something like that.

This body. This buffoon of a machine that, for all its design, doesn’t always seem to work very well. You want to climb a hill but you have flat feet and you know your knees will hurt. You want to visit that relative but you’re asthmatic, and they have two dogs. Your skin flares up from being in contact with everything from grass to seawater to jeans. We are intelligently designed, poorly produced.

This body. Contains a thousand springs and dies if one be gone. Athletes know it full well. Push yourself too hard for a season and it takes years of rehab to recover. Even then, you won’t exactly be brand new. An internationally renowned speaker who has a stroke and in an instant, all he could do was struggle to whisper. We break far too easily. And once broken, there is no turning back time. In our day, we don’t realize how strange it is that a harp of a thousand strings should keep in tune so long*. We are walking, living, talking miracles.

This body. Your vessel on this perilous journey across time and space. By your every breath and the channels of your senses it connects you to the world you find yourself in. The world and you – you are made of the same matter. Yet why does it sometimes feel like you’ve been secretly slipped into existence?

These bodies, possessed by light. We long, like Milton’s angels with bodies of light, to slip into and through each other and shine brighter. We don’t just want to be with. We want to enter in and be that person we behold. Lewis describes it as a longing for “total interpenetration instead of mere embraces”, a physical union with another that would make us whole. Yet it is our very physical bodies that block it from happening. We are such contradictory creatures. These bodies, possessed by light. Tell me we’ll never get used to it.** I’ll never get used to it.

“…we are composite creatures, rational animals, akin on on side to the angels, on the other to tom-cats. It is a bad thing not to be able to take a joke. Worse, not to take a divine joke; made, at our expense, but also (who doubts it?) for our endless benefit” ~The Four Loves, C.S Lewis

*Creation, William Billings

**Scheherazade, Richard Siken 

You are a doll with a beautiful girl

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You are a doll with a beautiful girl

You dangle from her fingers and you’re breathless

Buffeted by the folds of her white dress

That shimmers on her bones like snow

You are a doll with a beautiful girl

But you cannot love her

Because you are all rag cloth and stuffing and beads;

A shallow vessel, an in-between

But she holds you, all stitches and patches

In rough child’s arms, with rapid breath

And you’re tangled in locks of wind-played hair

Her child’s voice, pure and firm

Glows like sunset on the rooftops

Each word sears an image in you

Of white dresses and snow

Soon the lace will be torn and threading undone

But you’re held together by aching

When she looks at you,

Eyes dark and glistening, like rain

And says, “I’m right here,

Please be okay”

thinking

 

Very clumsy poetry today heh. I just felt like writing something on a whim so thanks for putting up with me 😉

I’ll be home for Christmas

I’ll be home for Christmas. And frankly, I’m not too sure how I feel about that. When I first came here I kept counting down the weeks to going home “9 weeks, 8, 7, 6, 5…” and then the excitement stopped there. Maybe it’s because I’ve gotten so used to life here. I was so pleased looking at the weather forecast and seeing that the temperature will remain comfortably around 8 degrees for the week, when before I would have been freezing at twice that temperature. Though I’ll never pass on an opportunity to eat Asian food, I don’t crave it as much. Neither do I daydream about the Singapore landscape anymore.

But I do suspect there’s something more to it.

I don’t think I’ve changed much. Except being in a new environment, and living a much less cluttered life did mellow me a lot, and I spent a lot more time looking inside myself than before. I have friends who have shared similar sentiments – being here, your life becomes a lot “cleaner”, and you become a lot more in touch with those feelings you couldn’t feel in Singapore, where every day is about doing and doing and not stopping to think much.

And perhaps, I guess, that’s where my reluctance to go home comes from. Coming here was like opening the door to my heart and realising that behind the door were rooms and rooms of accumulated rubbish that I never knew existed. And then realising that I will never move forward as a person until I can deal with all of that. I have to go back in order to go forward. But boy, is that thought terrifying.

So there is part one of my answer. The other part is difficult to explain. Suffice it to say that not only do I not want to go back, but I also have reasons to want to stay. Maybe this is how people feel when they run away from home – not just that you want to run away, but that you’ve found a place you can run to. But I am not so deluded yet that I think running away will save me.

Have I lost you there? I’m sorry. I think I can put it a lot more simply. It’s a common affliction; it’s the struggle for love – wanting so badly to be loved and looking for it in all the wrong places, and each time only becoming more acutely aware that this isn’t really what you want, yet not quite knowing where else to go. That’s all.

I’m really not sure what’s going to happen when I go home. So far the only thing I’ve decided on doing is Muay Thai, because I feel a strong desire to punch something, and also, eating a lot of green tea parfaits. But well, this might actually be interesting. And perhaps, more comforting than I’m expecting it to be. One must always remain optimistic, for things are never as bad as they seem. We’ll take this a step at a time. Going home, I realise now, is not a break from my journey, it’s a part of it.

sparkling eyesTo anyone else heading home this Christmas with mixed feelings – Don’t be afraid, keep calm and carry on. All is well, and all will be well (:

To be Loved by a dog

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8 good years I have lived with this fellow. Until today, I still wonder at the fact that this beautiful, shy creature is actually my own. It is a wonder that grows in the quiet moments, when I come down the stairs at midnight and he watches me from across the room, and ever so tentatively he comes towards me, ears back and head low, and when I bend down and open my arms he melts into a ball at my feet. It’s a wonder that grows when we walk side by side on the street, leashless, and he walks in sync with me, guided only by my voice. It grows when I bid him sit and wait while I go into a store, and he listens to me and waits patiently, just because. It grows when I examine God’s handiwork – the velvet tips of his ears, his shining eyes, delicate paws and smiling face, and am blown away again by the fact that this is a real, living, breathing creature. As real and alive as myself, and yet so much not like myself, and yet loves me – loves me in a way only animals can love.

I’ll miss this old fellow like crazy.