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I see mold-like stuff on my curtain and this informs me that my room needs cleaning. Serious cleaning. My planners from past years are arrayed on my bed and the three top reminders I have written are: Stop eating out. Save. Stop worrying. Two things I need to stop, one thing I need to start. I'm 34 this year and I'm not going to lie, most days I wish for closure for everything. Just, a life with no worries. A life spent in bed, eating cake. But then there are days when I can't wait to get out there.
Get out there and do what? Be a person. Be a kind person. Someone who smiles at everyone. There are people in my workplace now who are frowning 98% of the time, no exaggeration. Their face communicates disdain almost all the time and it's become too funny, the past eight months I've been there. They...are angry about something, and I want to ask what about and I want to smile at them and tell them it's going to be okay and I've quite attempted but was met with cool, cool air. So, maybe try again some other time, right?
I dreamt of snow in California. That was a nice dream, Mama was there, and you...you were there. You were holding my hand. You looked handsome and content, almost smug. You were leading me somewhere and I remember feeling cloudy in the dream. The good kind of cloudy--brimming with rain on a hot day but couldn't quite burst yet. A happy, cloudy feeling. You were singing Fleetwood Mac's I Don't Want to Know. And then there was snow on the ground and we were in Orange County on the way to Ma's house. And there was ice cream.
You look out your window and see two children dancing in the rain. You try listening through the downpour and you hear them giggling,talking about hot chocolate for later when they come in. This is beautiful, you decide. Looking forward to the rain, and then looking forward to what happens after the rain. Almost like if the rain didn't happen, the hot chocolate at the end of the day wouldn't mean as much as it would for them later. You close the window, hear them still. You smile and place your hand on your chest where your heart is.
Hello, if you're listening. Last night I was watching you across the room. You still slap your knees when you laugh. I like that. There was a lady who came in and you followed her with your eyes for a good 10 minutes, I counted. You never approached her though, and I wanted to ask you why when it was so obvious you fancied her. You kept to yourself after your friends left and you were looking around for someone you know, you saw me, considered saying hi, but didn't. "That chapter's ended," was what you said a year ago.
How Loud Your Heart Gets by Lucius was our song on the day we said we would try. Tried we did, and it's been beautiful and bittersweet. Here is another cliche: I wouldn't trade that day for any other day. Or: I'd rather it would happen again if I were given a chance to change that day. We were a cliche because cliches are the truest things. We happened and it was true. "Nobody knows how loud your heart gets/Cause we're a million miles away but I still hear you/And I'm going going going going to get you."
"Lianne La Havas is good driving music," he told her, and then sang a line from Lost & Found. "But there's this DJ whose voice is good driving voice," she responded. This is how they converse, connected and yet disconnected. He shows his disappointment by looking away. He holds that gaze for a good two minutes while she talks and talks, and when the wall got blurry, he focused on her face again and understood, as he is wont to do in moments like this, why he loves her. She is a bundle of nerves and this is how she deals.
My mother said the imperfections are qualities you learn to love most. They become the ones you seek out first. The dorky way your daughter dances, the short temper of your son, the absent-mindedness of your husband. When they act different, you find yourself hoping they would revert to being the familiar person your heart has come to know. They shouldn't even be called imperfections, she said, they should have another name. She asked me for this other name and I couldn't come up with one. So I just hugged her awkwardly. "This is a perfect hug," she said.
I have an odd mixture of love and disgust for you. Some days, like today, all I can think about is hugging you tight and telling you all the good things you want to hear. On some other days, I almost wish I didn't know you so that I won't have to deal with you. We hurt the ones we love, we do, don't we? But what about those who we don't love? What kind of reasons do we find to justify hurting them? And if we do find these reasons, what makes us not decide to just walk away?
You are a fever dream, you keep running with nowhere to go. You always manage to find someone to run after you. You leave these people behind, weak, spent, delirious, and unreasonably hopeful for your return. Your eyes are the color of sunlight and you sound like a song, you move like lightning, you strike like a bullet. One look at you and someone will know you are wrong for them, and yet they gravitate towards you as if you are everything that's right. You spend your life like this, you give people hope, and ruin them all at once.
I can worry about all the things I've done wrong, all the days and years I wasted, all the people I forcefully forgot. Or I can decide to sleep and wake a clean slate. My obsession with memory and time will be forgotten, and the people I love will grow tired of making me remember, "Here, this is where we used to eat, this is what you liked to eat, you used to laugh..." One by one they will disappear, and I will wake up every day with no memory, lots of confusion, and maybe baseless, but much needed, joy.
I'm comfortable in bed, watching a U.K. channel, wishing I were somewhere else right now. Iceland, maybe. Walking in Megamall yesterday, I wondered, what if I was someone else who's not here right now, someone who was maybe in Seychelles, fishing for my lunch, thinking about my three children waiting for the food I will bring home. There's a boat nearby and I can swiftly decide to up and leave, never to return, start a new life. If I were not me today now, well yes I can be that woman in Seychelles. I envy her for that boat.
This love letter is for you, when you're old and wise enough to understand--you shouldn't have ignored me when I was asking you not to. This love letter is me in 10 years telling you...I was bitter, selfish, and unreasonable. Most of all I was confused why you could ignore me just like that. You would not know how that feels, of course, because you will never be me, even if you were ever in that position, you wouldn't understand. So if I tell you now that I did everything that way because I love you...you still
...would not understand. And I've given up hope you ever will. Even if you do, it wouldn't help. So this love letter is me telling you that you should have taken my groveling as love. It's not right, I know, and you didn't want to do that. But it is what it is. It's a Mobius strip, you see. I only did it because I love you, I love you that's why I did it. You took it as hate and nonsense. I eventually gave up. But I understand now that if something is fragile, it can't be called love.
The light outside is golden and it looks like your house is under a spotlight. You see the sky touching all the other houses' rooftops, as if saying "How do you do?" to each other. Here you are, looking up your wife's window, trembling, near tears. Her pink curtains are drawn and you are both happy and afraid of what, or who, is inside. You've been gone for years, and she has promised to wait. Now you're here and you want so much to come in and see her smile. Your heart feels about to explode, you turn the knob...
It's a sticky day in December and apart from your confusion about the weather (it's supposed to be cooler now!) you're more confused about where Christmas went. It's the 25th but no one's with you and you're in a room full of gifts (you're lying on used gift wrappers). There's a plaintive tune coming out of a jewelry box. You woke up to these a few minutes ago, you're sure what day it is because your watch says so. But where's everyone and why is it so muggy? You're thirsty and woozy, you look at your watch again, it's stuck.
In the far corner of a village is a large white house with paltry Christmas decor. Every night as it lights up all it manages to evoke is sadness and irritation. It reminds people of their inadequacy. They can be more, and they can work towards that, but they're not. The good intention of bringing cheer is in truth, bringing dread. You can't quite point a finger to how or why it looks paltry, it just...you know how something can be much more than it is, and it's not? And it's unaware? And you're aware? Whose problem is it?
Herein lies my disease of good intentions for other people (source of phrase--Anne Lamott). I seem to always have an idea how to improve someone else's life, and in my desire to NOT to do the same for myself, I fill my days with the obsession of making someone's life better, to no avail, of course. Because our decisions are our own and we can't impose on anyone. So here I am burying this disease and forgetting about it and just, okay, deciding to live with everybody's imperfections, including my own, and just...not giving a motherfuck whatever pffft.
In his room are bags and bags of clothes and other items. His closet is empty and there is no semblance of order. He likes it like this. Some days he himself wonders, is he settling in just now? Is he about to leave? Or did he just arrive? He likes the surprise of how he would feel each day. It differs, and it's not confined to these three questions. There are days he wonders, is someone else here? Is someone settling in, is someone about to arrive? Did somebody leave their things strewn about for me to clean up?
In a dream, undergarments are outerwear. Someone who's on the heavy side is not conscious of her love handles, walks like a queen in her bra and panties, sits down and doesn't mind the folds of her stomach. Her confidence is borne out of years of fat-shaming and the subsequent awakening that, no, you don't tell people how they should feel about themselves, and no one is supposed to believe you if you do. It's the future and people are walking around in skimpy clothing, someday, and it's near...people will graduate to nudity, and it will be great.
A manufacturer of selfie sticks has decided to make versions that randomly explode. His hatred of the selfie culture has led him to this action and he feels like he should stop doing this, but the urge is uncontrollable. And so, about a hundred have been bought by now, some have already exploded, consequently people have been mutilated. Hands, face, arms, legs, blood, blood, blood. People shrug off the exploding selfie sticks, they don't think to sue the manufacturer. This disappoints the exploding selfie stick inventor. Somehow he hoped that in his evil ways something good will result. Alas, no.
Here's a secret: I've made myself believe most of the things I told you about me. No, I don't really have a mother, a father, a house. No, I haven't really finished journalism school. No, I don't feel happy and I don't think I ever will. No, I don't really like you, I just think I do because every time I see you something in me lifts up. No, I don't think everyone is equal--some people are better off, and some who deserve better are living in poverty. Now you know, I'm ready to hear all your lies, too.
They were fighting in the car for four hours straight. If you don't believe this there's nothing that can be done. It's been raining for weeks and he insisted on driving to his parents because it was his father's birthday. She was against it, but for some reason, came with him. So the four hours they spent driving to his parents were spent shouting, huffing and puffing, and in angry silence. It was hell. They came to the house at last, they ate, put up friendly faces. It was hell. On the way home, he pushed her out the car.
If you were a magician with real ability for magic, what would you do on an everyday basis? Would you ever get tired of getting things so easily or would you decide to use magic to help other people? For free or as a business? If people weren't so painfully normal, and if they had what you had, all of you, able to live a very comfortable life on account of magic and whimsy and unbelievable luck, what world do you think would this be, would it be a better one, or will there be sadness, strife, and killing, still?
There's a young boy who does headstands every time I see him. He's very limber. One time he said he's very hungry, and the only way to forget that hunger is for him to move around. "Don't you get more hungry after all that moving around?" I ask, and he answers, "Well yes, but in those moments that I try to forget about it, I'm happy and full and okay, would you rather sit around and cry or would you rather move around and deal?" Honestly, no, I was just watching him and we never spoke. But maybe it's true.
My days are made up of dark mornings and blinding nights. Sometimes I wish I were European, for no particular reason other than being somewhere else. And good coffee. Where is the best coffee? If you say best, this is the best, is it, really? Truth is, there's a dry spell, and this is me writing while sleepy, I've looked at the past entries for this month and they look like they were written by someone who's aimless and sleepy and cannot manage to make sense. So is coffee best in Europe? Which country? Which city, which town, which house?
Her aspirations aren't that lofty, she'd like to think. She wants a husband who would do mundane things with her at the house, make toast, repair what needs repair. She wants to scour the supermarket for the good kind of cheese, the good kind of butter, the good kind of dish washing sponge, the good kind of everything. Someone who still likes listening to the radio, still writes letters, still uses the landline, still keeps a typewriter. Back at the house, she dreams of spending time with someone in front of the television, falling asleep together with the light on.
We used to race each other running up that hill. At the top, we hurt our lungs more by laughing, not on our volition of course...it just happens. Over time, the it-just-happens came less and less until they became never-happens-anymores. I can see the hill from oour bedroom window and it's a reminder of what we used to be and what we will never become again. I can't get a grasp of what we are now, we smile but there's no warmth. it's like we're always in the midst of building back up and dissolving.
How many times have you seen the sunset this year? How many times have you really paid attention? As in...watch it for minutes, watch the sky as it changes colors, watch it in a way that you almost hear music with how beautiful it looks like. You're in a bus, imagine, sitting by the window and it's quiet. It's going to take two hours before you get home, and here is a sunset beside you. You're hungry and tired. Do you think of yourself, or do you think of what's unfolding right in front of you? Watch a sunset.
If a child trusts you, congratulations, because children know who to trust and who to avoid. If it's important for you to be trusted, trust a child to tell you if you're indeed worthy of trust. Trust no one else. If they sit on your lap and tell you about their day and ask you questions and ask you about your secrets, then yay, because they're interested in you. You see, this is all you ever need to know about someone: Does a child trust them? My grandmother told me this. It's not absolute but it's certainly food for thought.
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