481: think

And… never mind. I’ve decided I don’t really want to know. It’s strange to be caught in this limbo of half-knowledge and half-wants. The world would be a better place if I stored up all my knowledge and kept it in a jar somewhere, and if I curbed this endless desire, this endless curiosity, this endless need to know more and furnish my imagination with the confirmation that only real life knowledge can give.

I want to know things so I don’t imagine them. My mind is too capable of making up stories and worlds that don’t exist. Imagination leads us down rabbit holes from which we will never surface.

 

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479: There is no guarantee of shore.

I turned 29.

These days life is different on the other side. The lights are still bright, and the air still yellow with smog. We are subject to the weather as we always are. But the buildings huddle against each other like old men, and through the windows the dreams of thousands leak, like sunlight through the fog. The taxis wind their complicated chains through the city, their meters jumping through each traffic light like hoops, while the roads behind us close up like zips. The clouds are heavy and come from far away. The rain always promises to come, so we put some strange irrational faith in the weather forecasts, counting the days, but all that floats by is dark shadows and the water never comes.

The city is an ocean. Everyone merely beats the waves, against work, against time, against distance, against love. The boats toss. Our hearts follow and rush up and down with the sea.

Once in a while your heart diminishes and returns to reason. The hard drumming dies down to a calm tattoo, the fog clears, and you feel like turning away for a moment or two. Maybe there are other boats, other rivers, other seas. Other lands. Other shores. Sometimes you feel as if you could and as if you couldn’t, and sometimes even turning away leaves us with few places to go. We must find a boat and sail in it. There is no guarantee of shore. The sea remains. Would we burrow inward, through the city and its endless skyscrapers? But the streets are like jail corridors and there are no pots of gold, only more buildings, more rooms, more problems, more rivers to cross, at the end of the rainbow. Should we get out of here, and out of this city? Where would we go? How would we get there? Who knows? Now it must begin, that slow process. The tap must shut itself off, or someone might drown. Meanwhile we wait for the rain to come again. But like everything out of reach, it only comes when it wants to, not just because your senseless heart calls out for it. But the heart wants only what the heart wants.

476: Crossing the Rubicon

I see: endless faces. I find: quite easily, those who try to lose themselves. They come in as the music plays on in the back, their footsteps agitated, purposeful. There is a heavy thump of anger as they call for a beer. It’s happy hour, I say to the uneducated. Most people fall for it, since the mode of transport to hell is irrelevant. Everyone is coasting, in any case; I just provide the oars.

I’m not here every day but these two appear more often than they should. They sit by the bar and as I serve their drinks they leave ajar the window to their private lives. The conversations are never grey or static, and sometimes there is another or two or four people. They laugh quietly, then loudly, then there might be an awkward silence, a pensive mood, when the conversation gets too heavy and too private and someone wants to run away but knows they shouldn’t, not just yet. Two or three agonising seconds later they request more drinks and I save the day. Somewhere else, somehow, a boat struggles to stay afloat. The days fade to the sound of some invisible countdown. They sit closer to each other. There are more words, and too many ways to say the same thing. The air hangs down, heavy as lanterns, and maybe their feelings blur as the music swirls with possibility. Once in a while it’s too much, and they dart outside to recharge. Inside between the drinks, over where I stand, is a river neither of them dares to cross. But they lean towards it, swaying against each other, waiting for the truth to drown them both. Each time they leave the universe readjusts. The rest of them mill around, soulless as flies, and the dances continue amidst the alcohol. I make the rest of the drinks as I am commanded to.

One day, she stops coming. The boat does not sink. The river flows. The universe remains undisturbed. He continues as he always has.

466: Remember 2013

So, this post is later than all the rest of the years combined, probably. It’s not even January anymore, and I’ve just celebrated two New Years. I think I meant to say that I would have done this earlier, but given all that has happened in the past month, I suspect the tone for 2014 might have been entirely different had I written this towards the end of December instead. 

Strangely enough, I feel like I’ve spent the past month trying to think about how I should be writing this post. I usually rely on the previous year’s post to remind me of how the year started, but I guess I’ve told the story of what happened in Bangkok fairly often this time round, and that 2014 began in much the same way. 

But, in any case. The beginning — non-stop partying. Six people crammed into a tuk tuk to Chatuchak. Coconut ice cream. Many stories to tell, and much food was over-ordered. 100 sticks of satay. A drunken note scrawled and left by the room service trolley (“I know it’s dark, but — don’t trip”) which maybe should become the motto for the rest of our lives. The sunrises. Eternal hope. Coming back exhausted and yet not. Knowing that “exhausted and yet not” would continue to define the rest of the year, with months and months filled with files and mark-ups and emails. But funny how chance meetings turn out to be fortuitous, and as we stood by the roadside outside a club buried in the middle of a carpark in Thonglor, and I took a bite out of a random stranger’s chicken wing (who had spent a good part of the night hitting on R), we had no idea that we would shortly be seeing him again and again every other Friday (and sometimes every Friday). And so it’s been, this process of constantly meeting new people, at work, in bars, at clubs, an ever-expanding circle of friends, realising that everybody somehow knows everybody else, and that the world is very small indeed. But across the years since graduation (has it really been that long?) it is sometimes disconcerting to find that the ones you thought you might have been close to forever are not so close to you anymore now. Once in a while I think about it and it makes me feel slightly melancholy, and maybe you win some and you lose some, but sometimes the loss is so gradual, so unnoticeable that it takes a while before you realise that a deep connection might have been lost to any number of other demands on everybody’s time. Of which there are a lot. 

Which is not to say that it is a bad thing. Despite all the general angst about my job (although I’m not sure if this is just hindsight talking), I was not profoundly unhappy. In 2012 many people left and then I got thrown into the deep end a lot. And there were many days and nights in front of the computer at my desk slaving away at 3am for deals that I might have been running alone, to shitting out advice I never knew I had in me, the crazy whirl of being abandoned for 3 weeks and running into the conference room for a meeting at 4am in the morning (and what the hell? Seriously). Me getting lectured on contract law with partners with my measly C+ in first year but negotiating derivatives and securities. All this and more, but tellingly, despite everything and the crazy hours and my increasingly insane ability to appear to function on less and less hours of sleep each day, I did not feel like I fucked up. And maybe it’s one thing to realise that while there is always the urge to 远走高飞 to a better place, there is still some kind of fulfillment I can find in my job, if only just to prove to myself that I am capable of doing so. The eternal passive optimist in me probably still believes that there cannot always be just a downside to everything, even if the upsides are often (maybe always) harder to find. 

But still, a better place. Still looking, still roaming, and each year maybe I still want to roam more. What’s to stop you now from doing anything that you can do (especially if you’ve been taught, since young, that you can do anything? I blame my schools for this one)? As I grow older (and older) there are increasingly sensitive questions being asked, and there are a million reasons not to give the correct answer. It could be that these are childhood dreams that I have never really let go of, especially the innate desire to be carefree, or just to think about as little as possible. Last year I wrote that the oncoming years would be spent trying to recapture lost youth — I don’t think that anymore, not really, because I think I was mistaken. I realise the issue is not that I am growing older, because in the grand scheme of things I am, still, pretty goddamn young. This year during my birthday A handed me a can of Red Bull. I can’t give you youth, he said, but I can give you boundless energy. It was strangely touching and witty and also sad, all at the same time. But those words have stayed with me since, and so what this really is is a war against fatigue, which has nothing to do with whether I am young or not. Which maybe explains the continued need for catharsis every Friday through some form of total abandonment (always drunken) despite always, always, always being endlessly tired, why the first drink is always a Jager Bomb so that I can dance the rest of the night away and still wake up in the morning in time to go for brunch or yoga. I do it because I still can, I still want to, and I’m still young. There are still a million things I want to do. Study. Work overseas. Write a goddamn play. Vegetate. I realise I am still (always) trying to explain why it is that I need to do what I do, endlessly justifying, if only to convince myself that there must be some higher power at work, that I am shaped by events and circumstances, that maybe I can’t help it and that all this is outside my control. Or maybe it isn’t and I’m just lying to myself for the heck of it. 

I must have taken a million holidays this year. Bangkok, then Hong Kong, then Switzerland, Italy, Bali, Sydney, KL. Blown an exorbitant amount of money on bags and dresses and other frivolous and unnecessary things. Managed to sleep an epic-ly low number of hours where I went to bed at 4 or 5 or 7am and rolled like a comatose ball into work the next day. Waking up, going back to sleep, waking up, passing out, getting more sleepy, more tired, more awake at night. Eat sleep rave repeat. If I admit it to myself, this year was lived in an entirely selfish manner, and probably on all counts. 

But in between there was all this: new friends, better friends, good friends, fireworks, confetti at sunrise, the pulsing beat of the music with 20,000 other people, maybe some sense of connection, fending off creepy French men, coffee runs at 4pm, punch bowls, smearing lipstick on everybody for the birthday boy kiss, moving office and saying goodbye to cheap food and lunch dates. The world is filled with mad men and we are madder than most. Quiet walks, deep conversations, conversations I don’t remember having, doing things I remember and then doing things I don’t remember doing, drunken movie marathons, discovering new places to hang out, juggling the demands of a relationship during the weekends against my endless unfulfilled desire to have fun. There were arguments, but not that many. Mostly it has been happy and things are easily resolved by logic. I don’t know if this is the lawyering at work here. But it seems to be working, finally (finally), after cycling through naive hopes and starry eyes and heartbreak (not just mine), through the numerous road trips and journeys, forward to the next venture beneath the skies. A lot of beer and laughter. There was little sadness. My life is less volatile than it used to be, or maybe there is just less time to be dramatic about things. The losses were few. I found some time to stare at mountains and soak in the snow. Hung out on the steps outside our holiday apartment, bottles of wine in hand, the smoke drifting up, on the summer nights. Over-ordered as always. Struggled with my weight. Decided to exercise and then not exercise and then exercise and then just to fuck it only to attempt to take control of my life again. I sat on my broken computer for a year. Realised my music collection had not grown exponentially, as it used to, as it should have, because I still miss those songs and all the things they reminded me of. But always, always the conversations, which were alternately frivolous and not, alternately life-changing and not, conversations I’m not proud of, conversations that I struggle to remember. 

I guess unlike the year before there’s no point in wishing that the losses will be fewer, so that part of the Winterson quote won’t get whipped out this time. In the first month of 2014 I have lost more things than I ever have in the past few years. Oh no, G said, I’m sorry. Hope they weren’t irreplaceable, he said, at which point I replied that past a certain point I suppose everything must be replaceable. (A bit tragic, how blase we feel nowadays, about our illusions of the world shattering.) Which they were. Replaceable, I mean. More easily than I thought it would be. It’s always been fairly easy to make myself let go, or otherwise I never would have made it this far without being fucked up. It is a skill I find hard to tell other people about, especially those close to me, who are close to me but don’t really understand, because they have never asked the same questions nor tried to find the answers themselves. And sometimes it is difficult to admit to yourself that there maybe is no real answer. And so what this is, as well, is learning to make the best of the cards that one has been dealt with. You win, you lose, I guess, and still you play. Is anyone else getting tired of me re-using the same quotes yet?

As the year begins I always feel like I am standing on the edge of something big. But this year the edge is closer than ever before, and the something is so big that I am alternately scared and excited and terrified the fuck out of my mind. (That’s 2 against 1, and fear still wins.) But we’ll see. It could be that I go places, it could be that I go nowhere, or maybe, like they say, true voyage is return. But even though I cycle through uncertainty and trepidation and wander fearful and lonely as a cloud, there is at least some hope that there will be journeys to take which are worth taking. 

So. To being young, forever young, and forever on the road. 

464: Undesirable Familiarity

First thing I thought when I walked in — oh no, here we go again. Might have been the smell or those endless rows of beds, but more chilling were the corridors that led everywhere except anywhere you wanted to go. Which, usually, was out. I can’t shake it off, as I told my cousin earlier this evening, that feeling that you’re only ever in there for a reason and of course the reason is a bad one. Nobody ever says “see you again,” in these situations, and over time one gets to know the in-house food options a bit too well. People start making slightly off observations like “Wow, this ICU is much nicer than the last one I was in,” and one must grin and bear it with characteristic good (black) humour or risk going insane. Or breaking down. Or both. Because it speaks of an undesirable familiarity, kind of like how you know what your ex does with his underwear at a certain time.

And, after a few days, here we do go again. As I was telling (yet) another cousin, it doesn’t feel too long ago that I was doing this. Being the one standing there and smiling and packing up the chairs at 11pm. But strangely enough I’ve forgotten how to do most of it, like the process is still new and strange and uncomfortable. When I went in I stood there looking all awkward and unsure, like, are you supposed to be bowing three times? Do I say the prayer before or after I do the bowing? You didn’t tell me I had to sprinkle the holy water! Not a bad thing, all in all, in the grand scheme of things. I think this also falls squarely within the purview of Undesirable Familiarity. I can’t imagine what the undertaker feels like.

What this all translates to, at the end of the day, is an Undesirable Familiarity with your own mortality. Which is not to say that one needs to be all Anthem for Doomed Youth on oneself, but clearly there is still some emotional distance between your young self and your not-so-impending death, since young is as young does and for a good long while, one remains blissfully free from the taint of one’s own mortality. Yet. Yet. The first passing of each new generation is always more poignant than the ones that eventually follow, if only because it marks a new wave of depression and self-doubt and self-medication and eventually funerals. Not of others. But your own.

So therein lies the problem with a family that spans four generations. It could have been for the past six decades you have thought yourself the child, even though you are also a spouse and a parent and a grandparent. And you accepted that people were ill for x numbers of years and went regularly into hospitals for strokes and heart attacks and hip operations, and sometimes it would be a slow decline and other times it would be overnight, but you were never too surprised by the eventuality. Because it was, of course, just a matter of time. Nothing to be surprised about. But a death irrevocably marks the paradigm shift from Child to undeniably, unmistakably, Adult, and even as the generation below you moves towards a blase acceptance of the inevitable, it is you who moves to the new class of people who struggle with those mundane everyday questions of “what shall I do to keep myself healthy”, “how do I avoid going to hospital so often”, “what I shall do with all my property when I pass away” and “what will happen to my children when I die”.

I think it is scary when you find you can no longer avoid the siren song of the end of your life.

450: after the thrill is gone

Since I’m trying to get back into the habit I might as well take advantage of it while I can. The highlight of my day came early in the morning (funny how the rest of it just pales in comparison soon after) when she told me, “wah you are really a thinker and this is why I love you.” There was nothing I could have said to that, only that I felt really happy (and slightly embarrassed). K called me on it the other day when he said, “you’re not used to receiving compliments, are you,” which surprised him (and me) and left me a bit bewildered for a short second. But ah well.

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413: 世界末日

As I drove into Sime Road today, it occurred to me how many of these old people had been doing this for years. The rain was feathery, just like in the poem, but they sat at the edge of the tombs with their legs dangling off the parapet, their feet worn and old, with those white and blue plastic slippers we all know. Their backs were hunched and they looked at the ground. Was it fatigue? Was it indifference? Or perhaps just nothing at all …? What were they tired of? Maybe it was age, and the weight of obligations. To do this year in and year out, futilely tidying the grave of somebody whom no one remembered or knew. Perhaps the very act spoke to them of their mortality in a way the young could never understand. A hope that somebody remembered, even as everybody else forgot.

408: only because all your stars are out

It always amazes me how quickly time passes, and nothing marks it more clearly than family coming and going, and then all coming back. It was the first time in a long time that we’d all been together, crowding around a table eating steamboat. We huddled over, fighting over the same food, talking about (almost) the same things: life, love, relationships, business. How young people these days are going to the dogs. How inconsiderate people must be shot. Australian wine, prawn allergies, who wants to eat beef, please pass me the vegetables, etc. The conversation spanned everything and nothing. These days as I get older there are few big revelations, only small realisations. And it was this way I identified joy, from two men over a (n almost) silent clink of beer. There were many 干杯s after that, but it started with the first, joyful meeting of eyes, a spark that rekindled. My uncle hadn’t seen or talked to my father over a steamboat dinner in seven years. It was as long for all of us. But what we missed was a space my father filled. He was an uncle, a husband, my father, which was not to say that none of these was worth remembering. But to my uncle he was one of the few he could really talk to, perhaps barred by a generation gap and lack of heartfelt conversation. Business friends don’t make good confidantes — relatives, especially once-removed ones, perhaps even more so. But there is something oddly joyful, oddly peaceful (and vaguely comforting) about seeing two men step out into the backyard with two cans of beer in their hands. Two chairs, under the mango tree. I cherished the scene for all of two minutes, when the rest of the family started inching in, eroding their conversation time bit by bit.

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406: 下辈子别再做女人

The first two weeks of the new year have been kind to me (but not my waistline). Increasingly I realise events that I thought would have been more significant to me pass me by without me noticing, which makes me realise that oftentimes things are not as important as we think they are at first. I spent the first few days of the new year in Taipei, where random people wished us 新年快乐 in the streets. It sounded a bit discordant at first, mainly because I still never get used to this whole idea of new years till it’s too far in to deny that the dates have changed. Then I went to Hong Kong to attend a wedding, and it was beautiful. Every wedding I attend brings with it some wistfulness (I’m a girl, don’t expect any less) — ever since I was a little girl I’d think to how it would be like when it was finally my turn. (I know when I finally get married I’ll look back on all these posts and laugh at what a silly person I was. That’s the beauty of hindsight.)

I used to laugh and joke with R about this, when we were overseas. I remember spending the few days after Christmas, before we left for Paris, in W’s house. It was one late night, after S and M (haha) had come over from Charing Cross Road and we littered W’s carpet with mulled wine and chips (Walker’s Sensations!). Talking about life and love and weddings, and how we feared we’d never have enough time to find a boyfriend within the next few years. We have no more time!, we lamented. I was twenty-one, teetering on the edge of twenty-two. I was young, but not as young as I ever would be. I was not eighteen, or nineteen, or any of the ages where I could freely discard everything I knew about life and society and all the things that would actually make a relationship work. We were clear about that. Where were all the boys in our lives, and where would they be? When would the next one come along? What was the probability of one actually coming along, in the next few years, that love of your life that you absolutely must marry? We continued talking about this, way into Paris, talking about how at fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, one never cares about whether the boy you like is likely to do this, or that, or cheat on you. At those ages love, or whatever we thought it was, was enough. He was tall. He played basketball. Or rugby, or softball, or ran the 200m. He played the guitar, he wrote you poems. Both of you walked around Orchard Road, or Junction 8, or Parkway Parade, after school, holding hands tentatively. You were scared to bump into anybody else, or it would be all over the class the next day. We carried these moments in our heads, all the way up to that night in London, where we let them all out again.

(from ourblogoflove.com)

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379: 可惜时光不会逗留,转眼飘走

It always strikes me as somewhat strange, the way age changes and defies logic. Over time, the wrinkles appear and the cheeks sag. Voices become rustier, more hoarse, tired from years of screaming at children. Movements are slower, the legs stiffen, backs bending increasingly over the weight of dreams. Recently there have been so many movies dealing with age and loss, as if the two must come together, but increasingly one accepts that the two are necessarily inseparable. With time comes loss comes age, and a painful process of maturity; age becomes wisdom becomes regret.

grandfathers

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363: 等下一个天亮

As I get older I realise I am less and less prone to subterfuge. It may be a good thing or it may not, but somehow I can’t find the energy to hide behind words anymore. There used to be a time when I took great pleasure in making everyone guess what I was talking about (strange how people put up with me, sometimes) but nowadays I’m tired of mind games and second guessing all the time.

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359: if it’s not rough it isn’t fun

Some things in life are painfully legal. The other day while I was cooking dinner with Sharm we were talking about something regarding Val: it’s possible, I said, after some thought. But not probable, our friend Peter interjected, and I didn’t know what to make of that. It hasn’t been so long since I’ve heard those particular words, which often seem to people like the same thing and contributes to the (mostly true) observation that law people are just a bunch of lunatics who split hairs regarding definitions all the time.

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354: what you are is beautiful

I said, maybe Sally can wait this time. Every time I turn on iTunes and listen to the old songs I’m reminded of why I love music. The other day I had a conversation with someone (who was it, now?) about whether we would still be listening to new music when we were old. Of course, he replied, why not? Our generation is different from our parents’. I thought about it but we’re not so different after all. It’d be weird to find out my parents were listening to MGMT or whatever the equivalent is, and though this generation appears a lot more exposed to music than the previous one, some things, I think, change slowly, if at all.

 

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345: smiling flash, talking trash, under your breath

I am super annoyed. In fact, I am so annoyed it’s not even funny. I am trying to plan my holidays for March, but all it turns up is that everywhere I want to go, nobody is free, or they have all been there before. And when I think about the reason as to this sad and very unfortunate state of affairs, the only answer that pops up is a very obvious one. Because I keep waiting for people, who say they don’t mind — scratch that, want — to go again with me, and then shit happens, everything gets fucked up, including all my bloody plans — and my life, goddamnit — and now I am stuck in a rut. Of course I know it’s unfair to blame everything on one cause, and I was stupid enough to put all my eggs in one basket, but obviously I thought that if you can’t trust the person closest to you, you can’t bloody trust anyone. As it turns out, I am painfully right. These things have a way of proving themselves to you. Am I happy? No. Am I bitter? Fuck yes. Am I jealous? Possibly so. I am tired of pretending like all this does not matter to me, because it does, and I am not even pissed off so much as I am jealous and annoyed at myself for being an irrational jealous human being. And if someone says the four words 把握青春 to me ever again, I will fucking kill them. I hate how there are shadows still hanging over my head. Most of all I hate how people get to be happy and I don’t. I hate how I feel like I will never be happy as long as they are, because that makes me evil, and I don’t like being evil, because I know — I know — that the happiness I deserve is there, even if I don’t see it now, so I am just being a stupid angry piece of nonsense. And I hate how as much as I don’t like being evil, I can’t bring myself to be all noble about it, because that nonsense only belongs in movies, and I’ve had enough of people thinking their life belongs in a fairy tale TVB drama serial. Seriously, what the fuck man. I am an existential mess. 

(Also, X — X, of all people — is teaching me ways to get over someone. I wish I had enough energy to laugh at how ridiculous my life has become.)

344: singing my life with his words

Strange how the time flies; suddenly I’m back in school again, lessons are starting up, and as usual, I’m all happy and raring to go. It’s good to be back in Holland, which is slowly but surely beginning to feel familiar. Still, home is where the heart is, and sometimes I think that it’s not so much the country but the fact that I can come home to my own room, my own life and space, and just do my own thing. Travelling is fun, and so is meeting up with people, but sometimes all you need is time to yourself. I have always treasured having my own life, and now more than ever, I feel like I’m getting myself back again.

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339: remember 2008

The year has been eventful, to say the least. I ushered in the new year at the beginning of the year (last year, now) in a variety of circumstances; every year with the Hwa Chong people, screaming “Happy New Year” at the top of our voices around the swimming pool, and then drinking Raffles beer at the front of Block B, our cars parked in a perfect straight line along the parallel parking lots. I was wearing a red dress, I remember, and the rest were happy and drunken.

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336: the sky will soon be full of suns

Time takes it all, whether we want it to or not, time takes it all. Time bears it away, and then there is only darkness. Sometimes we find others in that darkness, sometimes we lose them there again.

Stephen King

Everything must have a Before and After, just like a person is meant to mark time passing. Once gone a person becomes a milestone, and everything narrows to just a passage of time, and a bunch of labels. Memories are boxed away, stored for safekeeping, hiding themselves in the dust under the table, waiting for the time they may be taken out without pain or awkwardness. The person who stays may shed tears, hurried and quiet, furtive. Once the tears are gone, the ache dulls. Everyone heaves a sigh of relief as the epiphany eventually comes. They have been holding their breath hoping they too do not die waiting in the process.

One does not keep loving photographs of the past. The magic hurries on, even when the lovers remain, solitary as they are and separated by a world of nothing, and the label disappears. Though change is often imperceptible and sometimes fatal it is inevitable, and this is at least the one truism we are resigned to have to accept, even if it nevertheless cannot become our excuse. The past is a video game, the chase blurred in time and with memory; it makes things better, or worse, than they were. The night lights will seem brighter, the air cooler, the kisses gentler and more filled with love, and suddenly the light stronger, the words harsher, the shadow of a back darker, the actions more cold. One learns to stop speaking in the present tense. “Are” must become “were”, “is” must become “was”, and even “we” must change to “I”, “ours” to “mine”. One is never more aware of how the semantics of language must change for one to adapt, to survive, to avoid looking back what it all was. One must forget the old words, make up new ones. Descriptions must change, and so must greetings and goodbyes. Nothing is the same, and it must stay that way, a fragile truce to keep from breaking back into dangerous waters.

But words are words, and they only say so much. Photographs are photographs, and cannot be altered or reshaped or erased; they nevertheless remain moments from a previous life that may not be resurrected, but cannot be ignored. Most of the time they are good photographs: there are laugh lines, twinkling eyes, wide grins. In uncommon moments there are downcast looks, a melancholy forehead; and rarely, a tear or three down a cheek. Grief is never as easy to capture in a moment, knotty and tangled at the beginning as it is at the end, skilled fingers teasing away each painful memory as they continue. And one cannot pretend: that there is no pain, nor guilt, nor a love as measured and wonderful as it was sour and bitter. The moment remains, and so does the truth, and memory cannot make things better or worse. Forgetting is as big a crime as remembering too much.

As we twist and turn in our sorrow, the day becomes more beautiful. The sunrises may come later, the sunsets earlier, the day shorter. There is less time to do anything. The weather turns cold and the snow begins to fall, strange and wonderful as it is to have it at this time of year. As the year enters its darkest days the air fills itself with sparkling lights and festivity, the churches begin to open, and hearts themselves try not to close.

333: fireworks in lake michigan

As usual, I have not done anything (much) today. I have an exam on Monday but I’ve barely started studying. This would be better if it were actually graded so I could feel more fear, or written so that I could feel less. As it is, it’s an oral exam. I’m scared shitless and yet not, and my brain is continually pushing waves of apathy towards me. 

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