hello//archives//goodbye

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

home



1. Far away

I said my goodbyes. I gave everyone hugs but couldn't look anyone in the eye. Instead, I pressed my cheek into every chest, every neck and I closed my eyes and took deep breaths. Technology can transmit many things, but not a scent, not a sweet breath, not a stink of a boy's sweaty, after-sport, adrenaline-soaked T-shirt. So, I breathed it all in while I still can.

And on the plane, I cried and cried and wished I had held every embrace for just a second longer. Time had never before felt so tangible, so measurable in separation and space and sorrow.

Landing here, being here was and is still, surreal, unreal - even after 2 months.

But I need to be here - I need to walk away from comfort and warmth, away from ready smiles and welcoming arms, away from everyone whom I have ever defined myself by - I need to grow up and I need to do it alone.

In these few couple of months, I have Googled washing instruction symbols and their meaning, I have read a thousand recipes and learnt that cooking is both common sense and a science, I have given up on trying to love beer and given in to my irrational, reckless love of hard liquor - every day I discover something new, about myself or the peculiarity of people or the way of the world.


2. Friendship

Once, I asked a friend who was going on a holiday when will he be coming home - and his reply (or his refusal to reply) really, really surprised me.
He refused, refused to answer me and instead, insisted to know why I was asking him that question.
I told him, truthfully, that I was just making conversation - and he called me a liar -

'why?'
'nothing. just asking.'
'you never ask anything without reason. why do you want to know? do you want me to go somewhere with you?'
'no.'
'liar.'

I was stunned. I never realized the extent of my silence until then.

My point is - I don't speak very often and I am terrible at small talk. I don't make friends very easily, I don't come across as the friendliest person and I am also very particular about my friendships.


On my birthday last week, a friend I met here wished me at midnight and said -

'you're one of my new best buddies. you know not everyone can click right?'
'i know.'

My point is - I've been thinking about friendship and what makes it work. I've been thinking about all of my friends and what makes our friendships last, despite the distance and the differences in the lives we lead.

And as ridiculous as this is going to sound, I think that a friendship can only be formed when there is a meeting of two hearts - when there is an ability to agree, disagree or agree-to-disagree, when there is a sharing of memory and history and when there is a certain volume of candidness and confidence - but not everyone holds out their hearts, not everyone wants to go down so deep.

My point is -  sometimes, the emptiness in certain conversations suffocate me. There is nothing more frustrating than faking laughter or more tiring than faking excitement.

There is no loneliness quite like being surrounded by the wrong people - and it really makes me long for the right people a lot more.


3. Finally

I wonder: how will I remember this place when I leave?

Before, I thought I would go home and carry on with my days and nothing will have changed. I thought that this year here will become nothing but a distant memory, significant only to my own mind.

But now, I think something has shifted inside me. Now, I think I will go home with new eyes and new love -
this summer girl is missing her summer country.


Wednesday, October 05, 2016

rindu

i want to write you a long love letter to tell you how much my heart aches
but for tonight, this is enough -
you, me, puppy and a slow drive home
everything I miss in one picture

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

pearls

every other night, you like your supper with some late night TV 
but tonight, you sit at the dining table, facing me

but we both look down at our bowl of noodles and slurp noisily
to make up for all the words we refuse to say

you had handed me a bag of plasters and ointments
i will be alone when i fall sick next
alone on a foreign land
and you told me you couldn't think of anything else to get me
you had already bought me boxes of herbal tea for when the weather turns icy

and i said thank you
i know the unspoken words behind each gift
i know the thought and affection that made you
sit at your office computer and think of all the contingencies, 
all the emergencies, and walk to the pharmacy

i hear in your voice as you tell me to drink more water, sleep earlier, go to the doctor's
i hear what you dare not say
i say, yes, yes, okay, okay
and i hope you hear what i dare not say too

you want to tell me that you will miss me, that you are already missing me
and i want to tell you that i have been crying myself to sleep for a week

but we drown these words with others
we hide them with the pearls and hand each other oyster shells
we disguise them as foams of the sea and send the waves ashore
over and over and over again

behave yourself, take care of yourself, call home
i will, i will, i definitely will

i also want to tell you
don't be sad, it will be less than a year before i see you
please don't be sad, please don't cry

but we don't have that kind of a relationship
(i hope you hear them anyway)



//i am already missing home so, so much, and i know it's silly! because i will only be gone for a year, two at most..but life isn't made up of years..it's made up of moments and i'm missing out so much :(


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

grocery store

there's a game we play when we're at the grocery store - 
you will walk ahead, quick and purposeful - you know what you are looking for
i will trail behind, slowly and leisurely - i am looking for nothing, looking at everything
you will turn around and see me seduced by yet another pretty packaging
and you will  turn the corner and run to the end of the aisle
i will look up and see you gone 
and i will look down every aisle and see not a shadow of your being, not a whisper of your breathing

sometimes, i will walk around blindly looking for you
sometimes i will continue looking at the shelves until you return
sometimes i slow down, sometimes i speed up

but you always appear again at the end of the aisle,
laughing at my crazy eyes
and throw your arm around me
while i whine why did you disappear, while i wonder where did you go

these days, i've come to expect a disappearing act whenever we're at the grocery store
but i will still panic and you will still laugh

i hate to make something that is fun and funny to the both of us sentimental
but one day i will tell you
how much i cherish the moment when i first see your face peeking at me from around the corners of the aisle
how you smile and when i say smile, i mean the laugh lines on your cheeks and around your eyes, i mean the white of your teeth and the light of your eyes
how much i love being tucked under your arm and the tenderness of your embrace

when i say you are so much fun, these are the moments i think of,
grocery shopping on a Wednesday night.




Small comforts

In the small, sleepy town that your father grew up in, there is nothing to do. But all we need is you and i and a roomful of small comforts.


Every night is a routine. Every night is a ritual. Every night, your uncle makes tea - and that too is another routine, another ritual. Water collected from the mountains, boiled in a heavy iron kettle and poured into a tiny clay teapot. Tiny comfort. Tea leaves steeped in still-smoking water, timed to the exact second and transferred to yet another tiny clay teapot. Another tiny comfort. Three small teacups of perfectly brewed Chinese tea. One for him, one for you and one for me. Three tiny comforts.

And i sit, sipping tea, mostly silent, and listen to the two of you talk. There is a sort of happiness that comes from being allowed to share your family and your history and your memories. The sort of happiness that is close to the feeling of belonging, closer still to security and closest to contentment, the easiest of all pleasures and the hardest to reach. One larger comfort. The sort of happiness similar to that which comes from a small hand patting my knee and a pair of sweet, sweet eyes asking to be lifted onto my lap, from watching your uncle's two daughters kiss each other on the cheek just to make me laugh, from the two saccharine souls offering me their toys. Two larger, louder comforts. 

When his daughters have gone to bed, the three of us sit in the front room and watch one movie after another. One comfort after another. When the clock strikes two, he stands up, stretches and wishes us good night and he too, goes to bed. When the movie ends, we stand up, stretch -

- but we won't go to bed yet. You and i are always the last ones awake in your uncle's home. All we need is you and i and a roomful of small comforts.


Every night is a routine. Every night is a ritual. Every night, we wander from the front of the house to the back, to the bedroom by the kitchen where we have staked our claim, to our roomful of small comforts. Every night i would walk close behind you as you trail through the house switching off the TV and the fans and the lights. When the whole house has been given over to the night - to the moon and her watchful gaze, to the stars and their winking eyes, to the owls, the bats, the insects, the creatures of the night - we will talk in whispers and follow the lone light that comes from our room of small comforts.

Here, there is no one else, but you, and i am myself.

All i need is you - and an air conditioner to escape the hot bay town weather. The temperature drops a thousand degrees during my deepest dream. All i need is you - and a duvet that is silk on one side and cotton on the other. You steal it all for yourself in your sleep. All i need is you - and two super singles pushed together but we will squeeze ourselves on only one. I toss and turn and in my dreams, i fall off the canyon, off the wagon, i fall in love with you - and i awake in the gap between the two. All i need is you - and dark curtains, no lights. But you left the lights switched on and when i awake, i thought day was still night, i thought day was still a dream.

I guess, in the end, all i need is just you - you on your stomach and my head on your back, you on your laptop and me in my book, you asleep and me awake and watching you dream.

All i need is just you and breathes shared like conversation, body heat shared like embrace, everything shared like forever.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

burn

it's funny

just last night
i was sitting at a table
window behind me, window next to me
and the whole of sunway lit up beneath me

cards in one hand, tequila shot in the other
the sound of glass on glass
eyes squeezed shut tight
laughter that eases the burn
(and burden)

and tonight
i am sitting at a table
window too high above me
ceiling too vast beyond me

pen in one hand, eyes on the screen
the weight of tangled thoughts on a heavy heart
eyes shut against the tide
questions, accusations
(burn, burn)

--

i am shutting my eyes -
come morning, maybe i'll smile for you

just, no

no
the answer is no

and i don't owe you a reason why
i don't owe you any explanation
no buts, no because
just, no
(inhales, exhales)

maybe i don't feel like putting on pants
or maybe i don't feel like putting on a smile
or maybe i want to sleep in a little longer
maybe i want to hide under my covers and cry my day away

maybe i am tired, is that reason enough?

leave me be
you cannot change me
or my mind

i hear you, i heed you
and i love you

still, no

--

sometimes, frustration is a tangible weight constricting my chest.
right now, it is heavy and it is hard to breath.