457: remember 2011

Wow, how does one even begin? The beginning of each year is always so far away in your memory. It feels like you have to dig through so many things just to find the exact time all this started. Strangely enough, I don’t remember what I was doing at the exact moment the clock turned. I think I was at somebody’s house, I was possibly cheering with somebody with something in my hand; mostly I remember lying on somebody’s couch with two other people, and funny how that turned out. Our band of three quickly moved from one broken heart to another, then drifted away, then somehow we became four, fantastically and strangely, and now we seem to be back to two again, and everybody finds their ways in life, or chooses to go back to whoever they should love best. 

I started work. Work is a shitty thing, and it leaves no time for anything. The days pass as quickly as they come, and even though the week seems so long, Friday always comes soon enough, and when you look back on the past five days everything seems blurry and nobody knows where the time goes. When there is time there is always time for alcohol (and sometimes there is only time for alcohol), when we stumble out of our offices half-dead when the sun is always down. 

We went away. Every year I go away, because it’s just fine to get away and out of this city.  This year it seems worse, because the buildings are always the same every day in and out, and they press on you like dead weights. But this year there is no over-arching theme, no journey of self-discovery, no epiphanies. Or maybe I’m just too tired to think about any of that? These days I want to just leave everything behind and give my brain a rest, pretend I’m a kid again with no responsibilities, and I wonder how far it is that I’ve come and how far it is that I still have to go. But this year — it seemed like I went back to a lot of places, that I haven’t been back in years. So much revisiting. KL, America, Hong Kong, Fukuoka. To MAF, even, where I have not been back since second year, looking down from LT5 at the little kids and the little lights and the mass dances. As if after the previous year’s whirlwind explorations, it was time just to get back to where it all started. And it was strange, going back to see things you only knew as a kid. But I saw new places, and I loved new things. I never thought I would love open spaces, because I am a city girl, and the night lights are what draw me back to cities that never sleep and are always open with something to do, and something to see (and something to eat). But when the roads go on forever and all there is is nothing, more and more of that nothing, even the nothing is beautiful. When you are driving everywhere, always going somewhere, always stopping by, always thinking, looking, just being — it’s a great feeling. I felt free, with my head up over the sun roof snapping pictures like a crazy kid Asian tourist, far away from reviewing agreements and figuring out what derivatives were and drafting and amending and proofreading… 

This year I had hopes. Things happened. Things were bad, but bad things always get better. And funnily enough, though there may be no end to this tunnel, sometimes we find others in that darkness. It is good to have someone to conquer cities with, to walk side by side with you, to know where you will always be going even as you do not know how, to endlessly be able to see into the future, where things will not be as shitty as they seem now. It is a good thing, to have someone to journey with. It has been a long time since I felt like this. 

But every year it seems there will be something you pray you have to be strong about. To tell yourself that if you can handle this, you can handle anything. Last year I said that I will never be fully prepared for just how unfair life can be. I don’t think I ever will. Every once in a while, the child inside keeps emerging to ask “why me?”. There is no answer. It is a bit disheartening to realise, that no matter how old we are, some part of us will always be children. But adults have adult responsibilities, and have adult facades to maintain. We can no longer cry or hurt like we used to. There must be a new way of coping, of being strong, of going forward despite everything. Every December it will seem as if there is something to be strong about. Sometimes I feel like if I mentally prepare myself for this it will be better, but I’m tired of thinking that letting my guard down is a bad thing. We often wish that life would be simpler, and so we try to make it so. No strings, no emotions, no consequences. But our quest to keep things simple always leaves us in a mess that manages to get more and more complex. It would be easier to acknowledge that sometimes, it is not possible to not think about things and hope that they fly past you. But sometimes facing the problem alone is enough to want to make you give up the battle. But what else can we do? Be strong, be strong, and pray that each year will be better than the last. 

The last year passed in a quiet blur. No parties, no hoo-ha. Just a few people round a table, drinking beer like we always do, as the seconds passed and the shutters went down. Every year it is the same wish, and maybe this year more than others. I still wish life were simpler; and I still hope that I will be happy.

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