The saying, “I want to grow old with you”, has never applied to me in all my years. And it should not, if not relevant.
When I meet you, if I have not yet, I want to let you know that I want to grow old with you.
You may lose me first, or I you. We will never know. But you will know that I will take care of myself the best that I can. I will regularly be active, and jog because when I do I am great. I will practice yoga, because it makes me feel calm and strong. I will try to sleep at a reasonable hour, because I want to have early morning days with you. I will eat whole foods so that my body will be healthy. I will put away my work and pick up a book because books are my passion. I will be less stressed because I have you to walk on this earth with. That in itself is a blessing from the universe.
I would like to see you dress comfortably when you get old, just like how you are now. I want you to wear your wrinkly worn skin with confidence like people who make art do.
We will gift each other with our time. We will write haikus full of unnecessary syllables and highlight lines of meaningful words in classic books. You will know how much I like William Blake; Songs of Innocence and Experience a heavy favorite, for it contains parallels and juxtaposes to life in absolute perfection. But most of all, a love story in poetry.
We will fight and dislike each other and find fault where there is none. I will try to be reasonable and conscious of what we argue about but I may be childish and forget to breathe and say things I don’t mean. I will walk away, hope to calm. I will come back, apologize and mostly mean it. We are best friends and lovers, both, and we will laugh at each other.
I would like to go sip on drinking chocolate with you, after we come home from a wood paneled cafe. We will be perched in front of each other, sitting on soft wool quilts in front a fireplace. I love your warmth and your wisdom, a striking balance of your strength and heart. We will talk, about life and such. About your family, and mine. Your siblings, and my one brother. I will find you vulnerable, with a bit of a guard because you have been alone for so long and i will love you, keep loving you, until you feel safe with me. I will never judge, because I, too, have many secrets.
You will know that despite my talkative and friendly nature, I am private. Many people do not know me, not really. I don’t know how to give, because I fear no one will understand. And maybe you will, because I will find that I am drawn to you for reasons I cannot explain.
While we sip on drinking chocolate, I will tell you about my uncle and his wife and how deeply it affected me when we found out she had an inoperable brain tumor. He went with her to her hometown in China, to let her go where she came. He left to go back to work. She died a few days later. I often wonder what her last thoughts were.
She had leathery sun kissed skin, and friendly, sad eyes. She gave me her goodbyes in laughter, promising me she will be back to teach me how to cook. She touched my face as I said goodbye after the New Year. That would have been the last time I saw her. Mooncakes in hand.
This story, my personal story of observing a loss, is something I have yet to grasp fully. When i tell you this, I am grateful for your kindness, and open heart. Your wisdom, in understanding. Life cannot be explained in a series of memories but a lifetime of compassion.
At some point in my life, I hope to be the greatest at something. I am marginally okay at a lot of things I teach myself, but there’s always that emptiness, the indescribable feeling of coming up short, never enough. Never good enough. I must stop comparing.
I’ve always felt an ill-consuming indifference in my life though that is not say that I spend a majority of it complaining of such things. Much of my existence has been a good one; an acceptable, tolerable and fair one that I have come to understand. Though I think, curiously, in the back of my mind, this feels like settling. I don’t want to nor do I ever want to feel like “settling”. That isn’t me, not yet, and hopefully not ever.
I’m terrified that I will never be able to get passed these feelings of monumental doom, these inner demons I’m losing to. The feeling of darkness consuming my every thought. Never good enough. Never.
Yet again, we start anew. Each day with a purpose of its own, living and breathing and appreciating life in all its spectacles and wonderment, never once looking back to dwell on a regret.
I have a strong outlook for the new year. My greatest goal this year, as it was last year, is to be a better version of myself than I was last year.
Start new everyday. It is a privilege that I will not take for granted.
Watch the sunrise and sunset a little longer. I try to capture the transition as much as I possibly can, as there is nothing more beautiful than the changing of colors reflecting off the sky. When I am witnessing pure lightness, it’s akin to seeing a blank canvas becoming a masterpiece. There are no words.
Friendliness vs Friendship. I struggled a bit in 2016 trying to understand some people. Sometimes my heart didn’t want to accept what is ultimately true and I often mistaken friendliness for friendship even though my intuition warned me otherwise. I suppose I can seem naive but sometimes I feel it is a burden how hyper-aware I am in such situations. I can feel the awkwardness, yet I am unsure how to deal with it. It is like being deer-like in emotional headlights. I am aware, too aware, but somehow not accustomed to dealing with the idea of friendship on such a magnitude that I’ve created for myself. Something I want so much, but for absolutely no logical reason.
My heart is growing slightly softer as I begin to let go and understand that not everyone has the same intentions as you. When I was in school, I was unpopular and craved friendship so much that it tore me up. It meant i sacrificed my happiness for the sake of others. In doing so, I created a toxic version of myself. I spent too much time analyzing shit that didn’t matter. I spent hours writing in my notebooks, doodling away, and hours trying to understand why I couldn’t be like the other girls – naive, but well liked. In the end, it didn’t really matter. What matters is what you think of yourself and how you want to perceive yourself.
It is always harder when you are too aware. Something that is a blessing and a curse. This is still something I still struggle with, and something I hope to slowly let go of.
He is asleep. His breathing has the rhythmic quality of unconsciousness – it is shallow, regular but quiet. Slight hiss as air is drawn in through his nose, huff as it slides back out. He is on his side, his face away from the door, his knees bent and one arm tucked underneath the pillow. Asleep. A reversible condition, but I won’t wake him. Not yet, anyway. Not tonight. Someday, maybe.
When I was in China, I visited a temple on a rainy day.
I was there to admire the beautiful architecture and the peaceful surroundings in an otherwise too-populated city.
Little did I know, I was observing the daily comings and goings of a regular day, with people making a stop to and from their daily lives to meditate, pray and gather. The monks who lived there worked as any worker would, saying hello to people, fixing the lights, sweeping, cooking. This was their home. I felt oddly out of place, yet strangely okay.
It is November and a few weeks before Winter hits us, the weather here a beautiful average of 70s. Before the holiday drinks, before the sweater dresses and the holiday lights, here are snippets of my glorious summer 🙂
Half second of disorientation dissolves sharply into perfect awareness. Pain radiating from my face. Stabbing ache in ribs like a punch in the gut. Broken rib, probably. Uncertain. Hurts on inhale, hurts on exhale. It is mid morning.
Strange dream lingers: You with teacups for eyes, sharp razor blades for fingers: disturbing. Odd sensation coiled up in my chest, like a breath not caught. Distress. Fear. No. Could it? Even with teacups for eyes, it’s still only you. Sadness, perhaps. Loss. Regret? It fades. It’s morning, dreams always fade.
It is thirty five degrees outside; nearly five degrees cooler than yesterday.
The long slow trudge toward winter. Muted light peaking through the window; it is roughly quarter past nine, drizzling, and deeply overcast. Has been raining since somewhere around 4am. Will be muddy down the road; must remember to wear rain boots.
Left leg stiff, more than sore: twisted? Probably strained? Surely an Impact of a fall. Secondary injuries untended. It’s okay, bodies heal. A little pain never hurt anyone.
Mozart concerto in my head. Why? He likes Mozart. Doesn’t ever seem to know it is when he hears it. Doesn’t seem to care.
“I love that, what was it?” he’ll say, sitting, eyes closed, relaxed. I imagine what he says instead is, I love you, and means it. It is like sunshine.
It is radiating out from him, like sun heat, like rings of smoke. Though he hasn’t said it yet, only feels it, feels the urge to. And then here I am caught in the moments just before he says it, the moment when it’s utterly true, before it has a chance to degrade, fall apart. He’s about to say it, to say, I love you, to me, of all people, to me, words about to appear in the air in front of him like hazy moving clouds.
I let it hover over me, the idea, the sensation. Listening to Mozart, and him sitting in his chair enjoying Concerto B, instead of loving me, but it is so close. I concentrate, push the dire depths of my hopeless heart strings into the music. “I love” (you), he says, “what was that?”
One can only hope.
Why must I have a soft heart, a romantic heart?
I don’t want to open my eyes yet; reality is never quite as interesting. My subconscious is mad.
Nose runny, forehead sore, mild ache in left mandibular lateral incisor.
Eyes are watery, moisture from what exactly? Damp eyelashes. The fuck. Unconscious tears. Would I cry if I lost him? I think I would. Emotional wound is like a too- overwhelming physical one, prompting a physiological reaction.
The world is a hazy gray place once the eyes are open. The dull light of morning. Off-ivory, bare walls, bedroom door shut tight, dull ceilings and the pattern of raindrops and streaks on the window.
I will continue on, I always do. Humans have the ability to adapt, and it is inevitable, this loss. But the memories, they will never be taken away.
Charles is moving around the kitchen; water boiling in the water kettle. Boxes and boxes of teabags against the tabletop, next to the sugar squares. He’s still groggy, probably didn’t sleep well. Nightmares again (of course). One of these days I will just barge right in there, I will stop Charles’ nightmares with the sheer force of my will. I will stare them down, and fight them. He’s swearing under his breath now, why? Tired? Frustrated?
Charles’ tired feet against the floor, walking toward my bedroom with a mug of hot liquid in his hand. He walks more carefully when he’s bringing me a cup of tea, as if something dreadful will happen if he spills it. Sensation in my chest, like my heart smiles as he approaches. I know the symptoms of being desperately, wistfully in love. Sort of wish I didn’t, but you can’t wish feelings away.
He taps on the door, like a polite housemate. A creak as the door opens slightly. I love that he doesn’t care what I think about it; he comes in because he needs to, because he wants to. Wants to see that I’m all right, whether or not I’m all right. Charles, he’s like a sunrise rising from the horizon. He feels like warmth sneaking into a cold place. His hair, dishevelled, his face full of sleep. I want to kiss him, I want to wrap myself around him and never let him go. Morning is not so gray when he’s here. He is my palette of colors. Swatches of meadow light, in a dewy tropical forest.
He calls my name, voice is rough; hours of not speaking through the night. A rusty instrument. Imagine someone, hidden away in a cave for years, living a life of sleep and prayer, not speaking to a soul for years, then trying to form words with vocal chords that have been so disused they’ve forgotten their purpose; the human body needs to be used to fully function. Like your heart, says the my knowing subconscious. Like your heart, Luna.
Metaphor: not really my area.
Charles sits down on my bed, the small of his back against leg. He is the very definition of colors, of warmth. Must act bored, act vaguely annoyed.
He’s set the tea down on my bedside table, his hand moving to my face.
“How are you this morning?” Always the protector, my Charles. No matter what happens. Light touches against my cheekbones, testing the bandage across my forehead, his fingers trace lightly at my torn lip.
“Fine. It’s fine” Deep breath; accidental cough; wince from the pain. Charles’ hands against my chest, only the thin material of a t-shirt between us. Eyes flutter shut again.
“Pass me my tea.” Not a question, it is a demand. And finally trying to talk. Heart beats weirdly. Warm mug in my hand, warm fingers on mine. “Thank you” I say, it is not uncharacteristic but I meant to say something else that will confuse him. He stops, and I open my eyes and watch him. He smiles. He looks concerned. I must look not great.
“That’s all right,” he says. His voice is gentle, soft like his hands.
I will put on my rain boots before going up to the mountains. It will not be difficult, and I am intensely private. I enjoy the solitude. I will walk carefully for Charles’ sake and Charles will hold my arm, in a friendly way. He loves another, and while it is heart wrenching, I want him to be happy.
We will have dinner, and I will eat, at Charles’ insistence. Maybe soup at a shop next door. A quiet little cavern. And when we come home again I will play some Mozart to write, the music for him really. He will keep his eyes open. And he loves the music.
And that will be enough.
There are remnants of rainwater on your skin; the beautiful planes across your face. I find you beautiful, your graceful being like the sunset itself.
We are wandering through the woods, meandering through despite the thick clouds. We are hand in hand, comfortably silent, walking past fallen logs and tree skins.
We laugh and dance, and watch the sun leave us. Miles and miles of lush green trees, we fell together into our world – time stops. We do not.