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Before the rain breaks, the leaves fall on Orchard Road. At a street-side cafÃƒÆ'Ã‚Â©, a waitress brings a wooden birdcage back under the shelter of the counter. Buskers look up at the skies and pack up for the day. The commuters and the shoppers, however, stride stubbornly on, heedless of the impending storm. The rain is coming, and it is a lonely thing to be here - wrapped up in passing lives, alone in this urban beauty. We move so fast we can't slow down; we love a little and let go. The rain is coming, and we are all alone.
The lighthouse known as Dragon's Rapture was so named for the tragic story of a girl who lost the boy she loved to the cold grey waters of the north. For decades, she kept a constant vigil on that frozen shore, singing to the sea in hopes that it would return her lost love. Her song was so hauntingly beautiful and so filled with sadness that even the mighty white dragons paused in their flight to share in her sorrow. Now she is gone - and only the howling wind and the roar of the icy sea break the stillness.
When I die, say of me that I loved. Say of me that I loved the breeze and the grass, that I loved toast and coffee, that I loved the scent of books, that I loved dozing in the afternoon rain as a child, that I loved long bus rides alone, that I loved light showers of rain on my face, that I loved the careful inking of words unto paper, that I loved the soft sounds of the radio as I lay in bed. Say of me that I loved a hundred other things that never loved me back.
Dusk falls upon the city; descending like an icy cloak upon the stark buildings, shrouding everything in its gloom. We live in a nation of closed windows, going through our day-to-day routines without even once looking out. The city is cold without a chance of sunshine, and we lock ourselves away so we can barely feel it. Softly, softly, the silence creeps upon us, threatening to drown us out. The light is dying, and we begin to draw up our defences, putting up our tallest walls and strongest shields. One by one the windows close, and the twilight inches in.
We are on a journey to nowhere, or at least so it seems. The bus rumbles on, as it has for the past eight hours. An adventure is in order, I think, but the scenery never changes and everyone is asleep. According to various accounts, these are the people who should be my closest friends; yet I seem to be awake at all the times they aren't, and asleep at all the times they are. Ordinarily, this would bother me. Instead, I take this opportunity to poke the sleeping girl in front of me and watch her yelp in surprise.
A cup of black coffee clasped in cold hands, steaming against the grey morning sky. The air is cold and refreshing and filled with promises, chasing away the last remaining traces of sleep that are telling me to kiss you. Already, the dawn is a little brighter than it was - soft but sure, rising in the air. The world feels a little warmer in its coldness. On a morning like this, anything seems possible. The horizon stretches on for forever, and you're almost here with me. Almost. I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and draw the morning in.
The waters here are clearer than the skies are at home. Walking down an unfamiliar beach, I am faced with the sudden realization that I am alone. Behind me, the crashing surf drags my footprints from the sand and drowns them in the ocean. The breeze blows across the silent sea and echoes in the farthest reaches of the sky beyond. Love seems too big for this little planet; there is no room for it between the sand and the sea. I am alone, and there is no one else on these lonely shores. I have left them all behind.
The sea is as stormy as the sky is grey; you couldn't top this feeling with a thousand songs. As the wind howls in our ears, as the waves crash and sigh beneath us, as we struggle to keep afloat on these many waters - all we know is that we are together and we are unafraid. Bitterness is for fools; we lose it not so long as we can smile. No one but ourselves will remember who we were, or what we did. No - all that matters is that today, we were stronger than the sea. Today, we were unbreakable.
We trekked for three hours today, through mud and rotting branches, for the promise of a waterfall that turned out to be extraordinarily unspectacular. Some of us were understandably disappointed; others of the "it's the journey that matters"mentality actually enjoyed the climb somewhat. Everyone agreed, however, that the thunderstorm on the way down was a bit much. Within minutes, all of us were soaked to the bone, resorting to slipping, sliding, and jumping down the muddied slopes of that tropical rainforest. It was an exciting experience, to be sure, but I think I would have preferred a prettier waterfall.
They told us that it would be a villa, and a villa it was. The beds were heavenly after five days of living in cramped tents, all the rooms were air-conditioned, and there were even proper toilets. More importantly, there was a television so that we could catch the opening match of the World Cup. In the end, there is nothing like staying up at late nights with friends, especially friends with the uncanny ability to make delicious late night snack food. I shall not easily forget this night, and I look forward to many days like this to come.
I am healing. These wounds will fold themselves into scars or scabs, and my body will knit itself back into health. Given enough time, sleep will make sure of it. The words, however, are a different matter - they are gone, and I am left with nothing but sheets of very blank paper. But things will be different, tomorrow. Come tomorrow, everything will be perfect. The stars will hold testament to this, and may they twinkle me to death should they feel I do not speak true. Everything will be perfect tomorrow. So it is spoken, and so it shall be.
I went down to the new Cathay Cineplex today to catch
Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles
. An art house film, mostly because I refused to join the rest in watching a movie about talking
. The film had a relatively simple premise, but it was nonetheless one of the more provoking films I've watched this year. And it got me thinking - life really is simpler than we make it out to be. We don't need to be heroes, after all. I would settle for the feeling that what I did every day had significance to someone other than myself.
Recently, there has been a strange weariness clouding my thoughts and actions, numbing me to emotion. The days pass in a haze, leaving my memories blurred and incoherent. I wonder what has happened to the things that I held important to me. I can't seem to find them anymore. My life is sinking more and more into subconciousness and dreams, and every time I doze into that realm of thoughts and hopes and dreams it gets harder and harder to jerk awake. I have no idea what is happening to me, and even more frighteningly, I don't care. Wake up!
Don't speak; I'll imagine this for both of us. A moment in eternity - sprawled in the cool grass, watching the clouds roll by in the endless sky. The breeze is a little cold, but you're warm and right beside me. All the colours are a little desaturated; faded like an old memory. Everything is quiet as it should be. Our lips are so close that our breaths embrace; I am so caught up in your closeness I never want to leave. And in this world, we never have to - we could stay here forever. Beneath the greyest of blue skies.
I'm the boy whom you delivered via Caesarean section because his head was too big. I'm the boy who you mistook for a homeless child because of his clothes. I'm the boy who used to hang around outside your house when he had a crush on you. I'm the boy who held you close because he never wanted to let you go. I'm the boy in the seat in front of you who falls asleep during every lecture. I'm the boy who softly switched your iPod to your favourite song while you were sleeping. I'm the boy behind the words.
I spent today thinking about stupidly clichÃƒÆ'Ã‚Â©d things that make my heart skip when I think of you. Like when I catch your eye and neither of us wants to look away. Or when I lend you my sweater and you return it smelling like roses. Or when we end up buying something for each other when we're overseas. And I wonder if you thought of me when you were away. And wondering makes me smile to myself at the most inappropriate times. And writing about it turns my words into doggerel. They call it puppy love, but love nonetheless.
The wings of angels hang from her ears. They glitter in the afternoon light - golden, garish, almost pretentious in their beauty. She is like one of the Meliae with her honeyed words, otherworldly but decidedly human. I love her, then, for everything she doesn't try to be - for the spaces in between when she realizes she's trying too hard and falls back laughing. For all the times she's sweet, she's cute and quiet and calm. She is someone differenter in her wiles - her days sad with melancholic smiles - and it is more than enough for me, to watch her dance.
Every morning, my father rises in the cold half-light of dawn to prepare large mugs of fruit juice for my sister and I. Every evening, he comes home to an indifferent house, and brews each of us a bowl of herbal soup. He is unsung in his thankless endeavours. Photos tell me that he used to smile; perhaps back when he had dreams for us, a father's simple hope that his children would grow up to love him. How is it then I cannot tell him that I do? What do I know, indeed, of love's austere and lonely offices?
A few months back, I found a leather organizer in an empty classroom. Opening it revealed that it was a birthday present from several close friends of the owner - each of them had written letters, memories, and encouragements in the form of colourful Post-It notes stuck throughout the book. Leafing through the carefully decorated pages of life and love, I became painfully aware of just how empty my life was. Is it wrong to be selfish, to long for something you'll never have? Forever is a long time to be lonely, and I'm not sure I have time to change.
"Wane!" Jerked out of sleep, I am aware of someone tugging on my sleeve. "Wane!" Groggily, I prop myself up against the remains of my dreams and open my eyes to find my two-year-old cousin beside my bed. "Desist, infant." I close my eyes and try to remember how nice sleep is. Undeterred, she pokes me in the eye. I yelp and sit up. "Wane!" She points to my window. I squint where she's pointing at - and indeed, it is raining. Resigned, I climb out of bed, pick her up in my arms - and together, we watch the morning rain.
I can pretend that I like beer. But it would be like when I pretend that I'm sad when I'm not. Or like when I pretend I can write. Because I don't like beer - I don't understand beer; beer vexes me. Beer is bitter like coffee but with none of the kick. Not that I liked coffee when I started - I was pretending to be emo. Then I got used to it. Maybe it's like this with beer. Damned thing. I've been drinking and it doesn't get me anywhere. And beer won't ever get you back to where I am.
There will be no songs written about our love. We are singularly unromantic in our angst, beautifying what we can't see. I would paint us immortal, our feelings sublime. Instead, I think about you at the most mundane of times, like when I am making a sandwich or watching Taiwanese idol dramas. And it is at mundane times like these that I miss you the most - when the love on the television makes me wish I had a photo of us in my wallet, but the only photos I have of us suck. Even though I don't want them to.
There used to be lions on the landing. Stately in their brightly coloured manes, they endured our deprecating comments with unruffled dignity. Back then, our hearts were in motion, and the songs we loved kept us alive. There was still time for us then - across the street, around the corner, beneath the echoes of laughter and faded memories. Time for us to lose ourselves in love and brightly coloured paper lions. But now they are gone; the stage is silent and empty, and no one remembers those days. When there were dreams in the air, and lions on the landing.
There is nothing here but darkness and silence. Leaning back against the wall, I find myself surrounded by a clutter of dusty costumes and forgotten props. There are strains of distant conversation, of people talking and the occasional bout of laughter, muted through the cold walls around me. Footsteps echo occasionally, passing by, never stopping, echoing, echoing in the quiet. Voices call out to one another in the darkened corridors backstage. Closing my eyes, I find myself strangely at peace. Someone else has been here, once, and felt the same way that I do now. But it's just me tonight.
If I could, I would have kept you with me forever. I would have held you close and never let you go. More and more, I am beginning to realize that words are useless in describing the depth of feeling I have for you. But these words are all I have; it is all I can do to keep writing in hopes that you will continue reading my thoughts. I will write myself to death, if it will keep me in your memories. I trace your face in ink, and your silence fills me up. You are my hundred words.
You sit tentatively, a bewildered Helen, alone upon your lonely throne. You're caught between all you wish for and all you need, trying to find something to believe in. No one will ever know you, loveless, nor will they see aught of you past the beauty of your grace. What are you hoping for? It is a dirge of the beautiful, a requiem for the silent - a song for the destruction that lies in your wake. The city awaits, but you are already gone. It's all a farce - there is no divinity here further than a different kind of humanity.
It's so much easier to die for someone than to live your life for them. But the stained mug and the scattered sheets of paper on my table tell me that I will. I know you're no longer there, but I tell myself that just because I don't see you doesn't mean you don't see me. So I hold true to myself and you, and try to be the person I think you'd have wanted me to be. I breathe for you, still, chasing after the ghosts of the past. But you're no longer there, and I'm no longer alive.
There is nothing wrong with getting someone lemons for their performance. Lemons are far more interesting than flowers. Lemons are yellow, edible, and used in a wide variety of culinary dishes. Lemons are pretty, not unlike flowers, but in a wholesome, cheerful manner. Lemons evoke scenes of blue skies, sprawling fields, and a single, solitary lemon tree - splashes of yellow against a background palette of colder colours. No part of a lemon goes to waste - you make lemonade out of the juice, soap scrubs out of the peel, and - oh alright, I don't know what lemon pips are used for.
Turning around, I am surprised by the sunset. Already, the dying light of the sun spills unto the street, flooding the steel and concrete of the city with brilliant hues of red and gold. How many sunsets fly past my window in days that I am not looking? We are gifted with sunrises and sunsets, simple beauties that too-often go unnoticed, drowned in the passing of day-to-day life. I knew them through the eyes of a child for but a fraction of my existence - yet only the naÃƒÆ'Ã‚Â¯vetÃƒÆ'Ã‚Â© of a child is as alive as the colours of the sunset.
The view at the window is empty but for the sky. You come here on quiet afternoons, sitting with a book nestled in your hands, alone in an empty room. What do you see in that sky that moves you so?
The soft summer days rush past like an ocean wind; there is no way to hold on to them. Memories are caught like dust in the light of the sun, transient and fleeting, fading into dreams, into nowhere. The lazy clouds roll past the blue skies and continue to where the sunlight ends.
She is waiting in the air.
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