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It's time for us to find our way out of our halcyon daze. No more early nights for us to read ourselves to bed, and no more lazy mornings for us to just lay and enjoy a warm bed on a cold day.
The quiet shuffle of the papers lets one fact hang in the air — that we're in this together.
Tacit glances to each other affirm that someone's always there to help.
A passing smile and our 'good mornings' make life a little easier to bear.
One thing I'm glad for — our longest nights will never be spent alone.
Let your breath be taken away, let the wind take a little colour out of your cheeks, stare a little longer at the things that make you gape. I want to miss this life when it's over. To sit and cry and laugh for a little while.
Is it hard to enjoy the moment knowing it's going to end? If things don't get any better than this, at least it's good to know that this will be the best experience I ever had. Until the next time the path bends your way, I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts.
Starving off for a week and a half can definitely not be good for me. Maybe I'm paranoid, but I'm geared up for an upcoming down. I'm suspecting it's because everything's just pointing toward some disquieting and impending crisis. When this year started, I told myself to be ready for some long nights, but the bargain drove itself to the limit. Sure, I'm having fun, but right now, I'm not sure if it's what I wanted. I'm a sort of dilemma and the world seems more than ready to crash down on me as I trudge (my weary way) home.
The little chalk figures on the pavement are someone else's story. Sitting on the curb never felt this good. I've been plugged in all day, watching the cars go by. From down the street, I see children playing in the sand.
I remember when I was like them. I always wanted to empty the sandpit, I'd take my little plastic spade and shovel up one spadeful after another after another. The sandpit never got any smaller, but the pile of sand outside always got bigger. Hope always triumphed over circumstance then, and, in a way, things didn't matter that much.
The mornings start out dark and uncertain, and it's the most delightful time of the day. As the light begins to stream in, so do the people. Their quiet chatter is interrupted by the loud sighs from the exhaust as the buses break at the bus stop outside. They roar off to the drone of traffic slowing down just in time for the morning rush hour. By now, a small crowd would have gathered at all the tables, and the light is already turning from a twilight blue to a fluorescent daylight. The day only gets worse from now onwards.
t's not a race. There are no prizes for the runners-up, there is no place you'll need to end up it and there's no pride, and there's no glory. And in a race, there's only one side. On either side, past the carefully-traced lines, we're pissing our pants — our war games never came this close to death. We all want the same thing, and that wasn't for our side to win, but for ourselves to survive through this. Not lying beneath the ground, but walking on it without a limp, and without crutches. In this game, something's got to give.
Dinner was always taken to the gentle urging of my dad — eat more, eat more when he heard our chopsticks clinking at the bottom of our bowls. We ate to the buzz of the electric fan, and the faint chatter of the TV in the background. Conversation never lasted long, but the presence of everyone was overwhelmingly comforting. When I had finished my rice, the small blue fish at the bottom of the bowl would wink up at me.
My sister and I would retire to the living room while my mother clinked and clanked around the kitchen, washing up.
Played a little tennis today, and got reminded of how miserable I am at that game. Haven't been out in the sun for a while now, and the pace at which I couldn't catch up was unnerving. I was already tired out of my wits, but the sweat did me some good, I guess. Stuck up in the high fence, a weather worn tennis ball mocked me for my inaptitude and I mocked it back for its predicament. The gentle
of the racquet connecting to the ball was pleasant. It's nice to feel something solid once in a while.
Things are still too big for me to get around. I'm so glad that I'm in my place for now. Days like these don't come often and right now I just want to sit around and take some time to enjoy this place before I'll have to move on again. We don't have to shout out loud, we don't need the loud noises and bright lights. We need people who care. I, for one, am thankful. We may not have arrived yet. In fact, we have a long, long way to go. But one thing's for sure, we've come far.
Ten days into the month. It's still the same old lazy me not doing anything much. I'd say I've come quite a bit, but still am very far from arriving. The little time bomb ticking down tells me that it's a little under fifty days away, and, as usual, the panic isn't there yet. I'm faithfully ignoring what my phone profile tells me, and it just might be because I've looked at it for too long a while. I need some change around here, got to get myself out of this stubborn shell.
Got promises to keep, catch up later.
We'll both try to forget, but it's uncomfortable — exactly the way fate would have it planned. Each second at the traffic junction only makes each of us more aware of how empty the passenger seat is. Now we realise how excruciating it is to stand in queue without a distraction. We're still trying to find our way out of each other and into the rest of the world.
And after all the jacks are in their boxes, all we can do is stand and stare. Steel our nerves a little and shove our hands a little deeper into our pockets.
I have no idea how watching the earth from up here in slow motion could've gotten me so addicted. The curvature of the mottled green surface below is surreal and unfamiliar, and I wonder for a while whether I've ever been down there. I'm so caught up that I can feel the wind outside in my hair.
I want to stop the world and stay up here for a while longer, but the signs that I hope wouldn't light up light up, and the announcement start to make me a little uncomfortable.
One and a half weeks — that's my record.
Four words loaded the gun, but I didn't pull the trigger. He pulled it himself and shot himself in the foot, suddenly swung in a contrary emotional direction and started going all quiet and angsty. Black shirt, blue jeans, walking away at a quickening pace, it was perfect for an indie movie. (Except that it wasn't)
Tried a call on a phone to see if he'd pick up (but I wasn't going to apologise), predictably, he didn't. But it was good that he didn't cut the call. I didn't try calling again. (He might've cut it on the second try.)
Found your name scratched into a table the other day, along with the name of some old lover you've already forgotten. You've tasted it in flesh, in blood and in a hundred different places. You were always the one who would boast of doing it first, or doing it earlier than anyone else did. After you've climbed every mountain you wanted, left your name on a thousand different hearts and countertops, two words can sum up your life and experiences — so what?
And you probably saw it coming when you realised scars bear testament to something you couldn't remember anymore.
Ever heard one voice from over two thousand people? I was surprised that today was the first time I heard it after such a long while.
It's still eludes me how a group of people with nothing much in common can come together and do something breathtaking. When I think of the magnitude of the things a common dream can do (or, is doing), more often than not, I'm at a loss for words.
So all that transpired in a little under two hours, and thank goodness, to no buckling of knees or rude surprises. At least not until afterwards.
Today was a pale-faced, eye-rubbing, sleep-inducing predicament. Got to rush a little less, and rushed a little more. Sense an impending crisis by the yawning of the storm clouds that crowded the sky. It never came — not yet anyway. Danced to an endless beat and relaxed a bit and crashed some cars. It's my high for today, and maybe for the rest of the week. Got to get away for a little while, and yes, I've confirmed my trip at the end of this year. Got a few months more to go. Going to enjoy this year while it lasts.
Left by the old way today to the lights and sound of the construction workers systematically destroying and constructing stuff. The electric crackle in the air and the shower of sparks that fell to the ground as they drilled and sliced would accompany me all the way home. Nine, ten months or so since I left, and the place hasn't changed much. The tiles in their strange red-brown gradient, the peeling green railings and the creepy space between the lecture theatres.
No matter how much I tell myself that I don't, I still miss that place.
You can't go back.
How long does it take before you realise I've completely missed your point?
The price you pay to be socially engaging is way too high. You'd peddle your soul for an insincere conversation if it meant that you would have someone to talk to. You're cheap, only because you're desperate. Too bad I've never seen an honest side of you, and too bad that I'm not in the place to judge. Don't try too hard because a fall flat on your face is painful and very public and embarrassing.
It doesn't take a genius to realise that I'm merely pretending.
This shouldn't be it, but inexplicably, it is. People shift around all the time and somehow, it becomes normal. But we never really do get used to it, do we. In the last few weeks, time moves faster than you realise and all of a sudden, it's time for you to go. It's tremendously sorrowful. You've probably got a million places to go, and a bagful of things to do, but you've also got dreams to leave behind. It's going to be unnervingly unfamiliar, and you're going to miss a lot. That's your trade off. Ours, however, is to wait.
It's so awkward how cinematic it is to reminisce. I remember the bleary-eyed mornings and the shock of coffee draining into the system. I remember my first pull on the cigarette — so poisonous that I swore I would never touch another again. I remember most of all the hours I would spend, awake and struggling, trying to convince you that I was right — whether was it my faith you were questioning, or my opinion you were seeking. Our conversations were always tilted precariously in your favour. And I remember the taste of your name on the tip of my tongue.
This time she's climbing Jacob's ladder. Getting back into the bedlam after so long around familiar faces has been unnerving. There's going to be seemingly too many things to handle. Cabinets to fill, stairs to climb, cups of coffee to down over long nights to pull through. Somehow or other, she's going to have to find a way to squeeze in some time for some hopes and dreams to slide between the pages of her planner. But she needn't climb these steps. Angels pass her daily on the sidewalk if only she'd bother the lift up her eyes to look.
And she is an angel in her own right, but she never realises how much she does. A quick smile and a drop of a dollar to the man in rags makes his day. Every day. A small basket of bagels for a worn out colleague after lunch fills in the smile that was missing. She remembered the birthday of the lady that served at the coffee place and made her cry with joy. Little deeds drowned out by the greater schemes of things she has to deal with. Got to find a way to walk a little slower here.
Today was the sort of day that made me want to start all over again. Go back and unscrew the things I've screwed up, go back and somehow un-disappoint all the people that I've disappointed. Wait a little until I feel I'm fine again. Talking to some people I've been out of touch with for a while, shared a little about the things that irk us.
But seriously, it's been a while. I haven't really taken the time to think through things that've been bugging me for a while now. On hindsight and in three simple words, I screwed up.
We all grow old and find out the unpleasant fact that all that supposedly stand to reason never really do. Life is often interrupted halfway through his unpleasant sentence for you, and things take a turn, never for the better. For someone who didn't sign our social contract, you've got fewer tricks up your sleeves that I would have imagined. The things that go off kilter and off tangent still take you by surprise sometimes, even if you do pretend to be unfazed. Your actions always betray you because you're less of the maverick you make yourself out to be.
Remember the street when you're up there. Remember all the noise amid the poetry and the music. Remember the drinks we shared and the secrets we whispered. Remember the pain of falling on the asphalt. Remember the mistakes and all the risks we'd take. Remember all I gave, but more than that, all you gave. Remember a million different stories you'll never hear elsewhere. Remember the persistent beat that directs the flow down here. Remember all the grit and the dirt and the reality being lived out down here. Remember the street and how we used to make things breathtaking.
I'll take my chances now. It's been more than two years and things are slowly, and finally, patching up. I'm counting down the days to when I can look you directly in your eye when I talk to you. Somehow or other, I'll have to stop ignoring you, and you, me.
We've built a city of ashes and it's us that have to unbuild it. To slowly, cautiously pull it apart so we don't choke on our handiwork. We crack a joke or maybe two, and ask trivial questions. I'm starting small and it seems to be working so far.
Twenty-three things I'll miss when I'm gone
1) Her cooking (and real food)
2) The sights and the sounds
3) My bad manners being tolerated
4) Loud conversation and honest laughter
5) Waking up late
6) The heat
7) The humidity
8) Long weekends
9) Long walks on those weekends
10) The coffee
11) Long bus rides
13) Early nights
14) The monsoon rains
15) Not understanding and daring to ask
16) Ice-cream melting too quickly
17) Friendly cabbies
18) The newspaper
19) The constant fear
20) Face-to-face conversations
21) Saturday morning cartoons
23) Eating together
What's it like leaving? The excitement overwhelms you, and in less than six hours, you're ready to go. Or maybe not. Somehow or other, you'll have to leave something behind, and it's not merely that awkward feeling you get when you've forgotten something. Parting words and a last dinner today, and somehow, you end up wondering how much mum will cry because she can't bear to see you go. You know she wouldn't cry until you're out of sight, but the thought burdens you even more. What's it going to be? Eight, nine months in cold weather and other strangers.
It's time for some change. We all look back sometimes and wish we could somehow edit out all the bad bits and pretend life is great. But it isn't, at least, not all the time. I never did love every single moment to bits, I never did love every single person wholeheartedly. There's a whole lot I want to cut out of my life story, but if I cut them out, I'd never appreciate the good bits. But I don't recall a single person who hasn't, in some way, made life marginally more tolerable to live. Thanks, anyone and everyone..
It was one of the best times I had this year. Improbable as it may sound, I found myself on my birthday night sitting by the sea on a rainy day, watching the waves come in and the planes approaching on the flightpath. Gave me some time to think about everything that has been going on, which I realised was quite a lot. I've always promised that I would give myself some quiet time by my own to pause for a while and reflect. I got my chance today, but I'm afraid that I wouldn't have much more like this,
What a way to end August. From now on things start to slow down and speed up in the strangest of fashions. It's been a fulfilling month. We've gained some and lost some.
One year ago today was fun. Looking back, I miss a lot. I miss the great days and the unabashed foolishness. I miss being immature and not having to excuse myself for it. I can't say I'm not proud of the old times. I bloody am, and can't bear losing them. Then again, you can't go back, no matter how hard and how many times you try.
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