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I'm constantly distracted by the next thing. I pick up a book and then remember I have to fold this week's clean laundry. Three weeks' worth to be honest. Then this new song that I had wanted to listen to pops up so I search YouTube for it. You know, when I woke up this early morning I calculated the total number of hours I was asleep last weekend and it turned out: 31: 17. That's asleep:awake ratio. Disgusting. But also pleasing. Mornings (nights, in truth) at the office are made up of 90% pining for bed. 10% work.
The weather's changed just like that. No warning. Separation anxiety from layered clothing. Anxiety regarding 79% of life happenings, to be honest. Present a plateful of apple, orange, mango, watermelon, and grapes in front of me and that will calm the world. I'm tempted to speak in percentages from now on. My days are 80% groping and 20% pretending I've found something to hold on to. Some days it's really just me dreaming of when I can lie down on my bed again or lie down on wherever, really. I text back three days after, irrelevant, late, and all that.
The only thing I do with alarming regularity is feed myself potato chips. Someday I would also like to regularly: exercise, eat healthy, reach out to my loved ones, unworry, breathe properly, write, be creative in general, be non-judge-y, be adult, and chill at the same time. A lot of other plans and the one thing I end up doing after I get out of the office is convince myself that I deserve a cream puff or a bag of chips. I've begun this green tea habit and I haven't missed a day for about a month now?
I know someone who's so afraid of the things she doesn't know much about. She's so afraid that she masks her fear with arrogance. So what happens is she constantly builds these walls higher and higher and higher, closing herself in. She does not have a ladder and so she could not climb up and out. So what she does is, she stays in and wills the walls to go up higher and higher. This is how proud she has become, that instead of admitting to her fear, she goes on believing that this--life inside the walls--is bravery.
She thinks, "Well, as long as I admit that someday I would have to change my ways, then I'm fine." She trusts that this is enough. A "someday" is not a real thing, she knows, but she convinces herself that by merely acknowledging that change is needed, that she is actually making a change in her life, without actually doing anything. She knows this, too. She knows a lot of things and one of those is that she would have to wake up one day realizing how much she's accumulated and lost. She'd look around and know it's too late.
There is a place in my house called the leaving room. I go there to sit and wait for all the bad things to leave my body. It works for other people, too. I let them use that room when they need to. It's also where people go to literally leave. There's a spot on the wall you have to touch and then it transports you somewhere. You can't tell anybody where it takes you, or else the wall will not work for you from then on. It's good to unload sometimes. It's a good spot in the house, that.
I can't remember when it last rained. My brown hoodie still smells of rain, from last November, I think. I refuse to wash it because smells are hard to replicate. How can I find that specific smell again, if I wash the hoodie? My problems are made of this. Hi, what are you thinking of, when you wake up, what do you think of? I dreamt of paper plates, an old friend changing shoes, snow in California (again), a nice house, and a lot of other dreams I forget now. Anyway, I miss the rain. I wish it comes soon.
My go-to site is Tumblr because for me it has the right balance of silly and sublime. One moment I'm near tears, the next I'm cackling. My love for Tumblr even crosses over to Instagram, as in I post a "cute" Tumblr post on IG and honestly sometimes I question the point. Anyway, in the immediate past I've been seeing a handful of GIFs of people jumping into a body of water. Cannon-balling, diving, just...leaving all cares and doing it--jumping in. And I'm in front of my desk, wishing I could up and do that, too.
Last month went by so slowly, yeah? This month, in contrast, is speeding by. I've barely caught my breath from yesterday and today is already here, nudging me awake. I go through work half-awake--half of my body and thoughts are back in bed. I can clearly recall those times I wished for this--busyness, for all my time to be occupied just so I don't have to have time for sadness and regret. But, you know how it is, once you get what you want you start not wanting it. And you know what, I wish for pizza.
In 2012, I had a grand plan for my life. I put up a huge calendar on my wall and religiously updated it. I followed my plan right to the minutest detail, I was able to save for plane fare and funds for when I come back. I was right on schedule. Looking back, I felt so in control then, so...confident and yet so afraid. But the point is I trudged on even if there were imagined and real obstacles. Fast forward to four years later, and you can predict what I'd say already so I won't say it.
He is bad at dates and names. You can meet him numerous times today and tomorrow all he would remember about you is that he might have seen you somewhere. He would have that blank smile, like he knows what's happening and you'd stand there awkwardly waiting for him to remember and all that happens is you are presented with a forced smile and a nervous stance. He tries, he does, and you feel a tenderness for this, but it's your birthday today and you told him that yesterday. He apologizes, you accept, walk away, cry when no one's looking.
And you go through the rest of your days trying to learn again and again: No one owes you anything. Never expect. The works. If only everyone is on the same page, yeah? Because you can do it, you've been doing it, really. It's just, someone comes along and asks you to do something, needs you, and you're thrown off. You are puzzled for a few days, processing how to feel love and compassion again. It doesn't come naturally, no, people lie when they say that. It's something you have to learn. Something you have to do repeatedly. It's work.
My baby came home with cakes, one for heart's day, one for something else. My baby said the "something else" is a surprise, but his face did not look nice when he said it. My baby ate both cakes, while I sat there thinking of the worst. See, there were warning signs in the past months, and I knew this was it, the culmination. It felt like that Stars song "And if she likes, I'll tell her lies, how we'll be in love by the morning, I don't think she knows, that I'm saying goodbye." I know, though, I know.
Come with me. Sing that song we heard while walking on a cobblestone path where the bougainvilleas were the pinkest. Come with me where? Places where the rain doesn't stop and the windows are always happy because they're 24/7 clean and touched and paid attention to. Won't they tire of the attention? You ask. And I say No, windows don't tire of the attention, they like the rain, they like being clean, they like not accumulating dirt, they like the constant touching, the nonstop pitter-patter. The roofs like it, too, just not as much as the windows do.
My defense mech is to expect the worst and believe that this, today, right now, is the worst and it can never be resolved. It works for when I finally calm down and realize, Ah, it isn't so bad after all, and I look at imaginary "Worst-case-scenario Kat" standing in the corner, wringing her hands, call for her and tell her "HEY, worst is not possible, worst does not exist, worst is an imagination." And then she cries in sweet release then poof, she's gone. Thing is, I go through this process every single day it's kinda tiring.
Why isn't Asia called the Western world? Who decided that the Americas and Canada should be the West? Our map at home has the Americas in the middle, Europe and Africa far east, and Asia in the west. Anyway, I had some good apples in the immediate past, I don't remember when exactly. Just that it was a weekday and I was sat in front of my computer munching on cold sliced apples from a convenience store and my God they were good, it felt like winter inside of me, the good kind, like I was cleansed, highest level cleansed.
Thieves wait for you to be unaware. So this is what she advises you to do: Always remember the word "always." Always be cunning, always move, always make it seem you're alert, always look people in the eye, always be ready to jump up and run, always. If you're asleep, something, somewhere is going to be taken from you. This is one of those things you have to surrender to. Let go of the idea that nothing will ever be taken from you but always believe that you can take it back if you want to. She knows, trust her.
He is angry six days out of seven. There is beauty in anger, he says. There are different kinds of anger, he adds. If you're angry, you can choose to not hurt people, but in the moment there is only so much you can do. If you say something that can hurt, you can never take it back. The person on the receiving end will remember it no matter what. This is the truth. Of the one day in the week he isn't angry, this is what he does: He tells his loved ones that there is beauty in anger.
Something about holding hands, eating together, watching TV. Just...doing something with someone, the simplicity of it. We go about our days wanting the same thing -- to be happy. And we make up these grand scenarios in our minds, sometimes forgetting that the littlest, simplest moments are the greatest, loveliest. A phone call, a message, a "how are you," a pat on the shoulder, loud unabashed laughter, honesty in all its nakedness. Breakfast just as the sun is peeking through the clouds, the dark blue sky turning into light blue, outside your window, a kind face in front of you.
There is a little girl--around five, brown eyes, blinding smile--who knocks on my door every day at 8:00 a.m.. She asks for a banana and asks that I peel it for her, "because I like it handed to me like a flower," is her reason. She thanks me, walks away. She has mostly become my days' highlight. I haven't thought to ask her name or why she does what she does. I figure, why not leave one thing to mystery while getting to live it every day? Mayhaps all of us need that in our lives.
I make up these stories because they're in my head and I need for them to take shape so I can name them and categorize where they need to go. I make up stories about you and I, about the weeks we had together, the food we ate, the places we went to, so that I can someday pinpoint: That, that there is a lie, a made-up story that my wishful thinking has concocted, and then I can compare them to what actually really happened and then I can, I can, I can. I'm just focusing on I-cans.
She still dreams about him and her and houses. In the dreams, nothing of note happens. When she wakes up she's mostly perplexed, "I remember that from somewhere but I also don't know if that really happened." She lays in bed for a good part of the morning, trying to recall details. In the dreams about houses the last dream she can remember is that she displaced a house already built on a land space and plunked her house on it. In the dream she was wondering, "What if the old house comes back, where do I carry this house?"
Dear you, if it was possible to open someone's head and see what's in it in word forms, what you'd see in mine are: "his laugh, his snore, his pillow's smell, his morning face, his hands on the steering wheel, his hiccups, his annoyance at long sentences, his..." it would go on. These would be in a compartment entitled "Him" and you would laugh at the cheesiness but would also smile that smile of yours when you secretly like something. I like you a lot, I'd say. You would look down, shy, but I'd know you're happy. I'd be glad.
I made that up, it's fiction, there's no him. There was a him. There was a her. There were others who had no names, there were others who made a mark but just didn't make the cut. In someone's life, how many significant people can fit? There's family, best friends, partners, etc., but how many, do you reckon, can fit in someone's heart and have their names and top ten characteristics be etched in memory for a lifetime? How many can the mind handle? If you're in someone's list, does that make you immortal? Important? Does it matter? Why not?
It's all fiction until someone real comes along. But who's to say this isn't a lie, too? That's what she likes about stories, you can make up anything and have it be real according to how you tell it and who believes it. Wrong, you'd say, everything you say is wrong. Maybe so, I'd reply. And then proceed to make up other stories. There's a boy in my street who just turned three, he likes cats, grey cats, to be exact. He whistles Happy Birthday every morning. He can recite some Neruda poems. Did I say he's three? I did.
"Don't catch feelings," would be a time-tested advice that people would eventually know to follow at the onset. You meet someone new, discover things in common with them and then boom, Walls Up, nothing else follows. In the future, friendship would be obscure, even that, yes. The only relationships left would be almost-kindred-spirits dancing around the subject of "Why can't we be more than this?" Human beings physically restraining themselves to hug one another because The Hug is the number one deterrent to "Don't Catch Feelings Rule." Touch will be obsolete. It might be for the best.
Or not? Says a small voice in everyone's head. There will always be the little rebel in everyone. They will remember from yesterday that The Hug is a good thing. Touch is good. Finding something in common with people is good. They will know this memory from somewhere even if they haven't experienced it themselves. The urge will always be there. You know how they say that print will die because the Internet will take over? And then years from now print will resurface and it will be the best thing? The Hug and Touch will be like that, see.
But in the meantime, human beings will have to make do with robots and automated replies. "Make do" is the wrong phrase because they would think of it as the norm, so truth is, they will not know better until they are presented with an alternate truth. You can say I love you out loud, you can express anger by throwing things, you can shout if you're in pain. Not every emotion can be said with an emoticon, no, no. Once human beings know this, they will start letting go of their phones. Look at them with disdain, throw them.
People will begin to look each other in the eyes again. Laugh together. Hold hands. Somebody will be watching his girlfriend spill into his room through a door that has never been opened and he will feel something for the first time. The girlfriend will walk towards this boy, and she'll have a hundred questions on her face but it will be the prettiest the boy has ever seen her, emotion! Depth! Confusion! Before this day, she was blank. Answering in code over text messaging. Right now she's in front of him and she's singing. It's instantly his favorite sound.
There will be a cacophony of "What is happening and why does it feel so new and yet so familiar?" Someone, somewhere, will be assaulted by a distant memory of a person asking for help, him promising that he will try, and forgetting about that promise altogether. Where is this person that needed help now and was she able to get what she needed then? What is this memory for, the man will furrow his brows and hold his head because it will start to hurt. Memories will come like an avalanche, and he will hold on for dear life.
It will be months, even years, of relearning. They will come to know how long they've been prisoners of disconnect. How bad they had it, but also how good they're having it now...now that they have each other to count on to make sense of this new world where they can touch and love and laugh together. They will miss laughing even if they have never done it, they will miss it every single day that it will be the first thing they do when they wake. Every morning across the world is the sound of genuine, sleepy laughter.
The Tip Jar