In between Thoughts

Jennifer ngan photography
In just a short couple of weeks, I will be making my way to Alaska to explore the vast, and open land of rugged terrain, snow globe landscapes and wide expanses of space. Ominous, quiet tension of cold will be in the air, lurking about. Something about that cold will be different than anything I’ve ever experienced.

Mystery is enchanting. 

The grey skies, the gaseous rays of dancing lights, the sheets of stars that will be painted in the sky – a mystery in and of itself. I have always been moved by the unknown.

I’ve always been interested in cultures and communities, the human spirit. My desire to travel here was inspired by my curiosity to see a place in the most desolate of times. Trading comfort for less greener pastures, if only to see with my own eyes how small we are in this vast universe. 

Just a Repost From Another Lifetime 

Though it still holds true, at times. 

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.

Welcoming of the New 

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. 

Chapter 2  excerpt 

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.

I sat still in my own emptiness, letting it wash over so that I, too, can begin again. 

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.

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Chapter 1: untitled wip 


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.

Rainwater 

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.