You don’t have to be alone

Posted in Letters (Old) by Sandra on February 8, 2008

It excites me to imagine that at the end of this year I could be snuggling in to sleep in his arms. It creates little bubbles of joy in me that we may have enough money so that I could stay for a full month – leaving ASAP after my final examinations, and dragged back to Singapore just before school starts. I think of the stories of his house as I listen to the sound of the room. It’s strange, isn’t it, the difference of how rooms sound with and/or without people in it.

This year, my resolutions for now shall be:

– to send packages, emails, letters etc… on time.
– to pick up Spanish
– to read more

‘Til the next time then, darlings.

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Losing the Risk

Posted in Letters (Old) by Sandra on October 11, 2007

‘So you mean that everytime I want to get some bonding time with my brother, I have to buy you pizza and make sure it’s the time when anime is shown on the television?’

‘Mhm,’ he munched into his slice of Hawaiian Classic pizza.

‘Damn,’ she grinned as she settled onto the sofa next to him with her slice of Cheesy Turkey pizza. ‘I’m gonna be a broke sister before long.’

~~~

She crept into the room where her mother was, tapping away at her laptop. ‘How was your day?’

‘Same old, same old…’ the older woman rolled her eyes, and began to tell her daughter about her day. And the daughter listened, a smile on her face as she rolled around onto the bed to get more comfortable.

And then she told her mother how her day went, and how a certain boy made her laugh because he tried to sing some Hokkien (a Mandarin dialect) song- “piao~ piao~”

Her mother laughed, too.

~~~

She went to school, a lot earlier than usual. Her friend was already there, eyes closed, plugged in to her iPod Nano. Resting. Sleeping, perhaps. A few winks stolen before the long and potentially confusing lecture. She sat down as quietly as she could, trying not to wake her up.

Her friend opened her eyes, and saw her. She smiled. And she smiled back.

No need for words.

Just a smile, that said “Good morning”.

~~~

She came home to the boy she spoke of to her mother, and he was scratching away on his drawing pad. ‘A nude picture,’ he explained, and showed her the source. She was not offended, instead wondering how she would have depicted the woman herself. Curvier, sexier, more feminine, with more shadows, she supposed. He just smiled and explained that he didn’t want to do the typical drawing. And she accepted it, because that’s just the way he is.

Possibly why she loved being with him so much.

They argued, later, about her drinking. It wasn’t even much – just 1/10 of a small cup the last time she did at a house warming party. He was worried that it might increase, and become a bad habit. She was pissed that he couldn’t trust her to exercise self-control. Voices were raised and blood rushed to attention, ready for the verbal sparring. Then he apologized, and she cooled off. Easily, smoothly, they moved into the “kiss and make up” phase, and then she had to go.

‘Aye,’ he called out to her. ‘Te quiero.’

‘Te quiero tambien’.

~~~

And she is happy. Has been happy. They have become more truthful with one another, and it was easier to talk to him. But he did not become the center of her world as he was before. There were different loves for her to learn of, to experience. So she would not allow him to be her everything again, at the risk of losing everything in one fell swoop.

Letting It Go

Posted in Letters (Old) by Sandra on October 3, 2007

‘Yes, I’m over you,’ he said. ‘I’ve moved on. You need to, too. I cared, but now I’m starting to think I shouldn’t have.’Today she called him – a foolish, brash move – and questioned him. And then she cried again, even though she tried not to let him hear. Then the connection was cut.

She called him back.  ‘Anything else to say?’

‘No. You?’

A silence, then.

‘No.’

‘Okay. Bye.’

He hung up.

~~~~~~~~

I’m not so strong as you, nor so busy. I’m not so “heartless”, either. I just wanted another chance, for all those sacrifices I made. I was the one who moved out, who had to work for a living for a while. Granted, we both put in the money to call, but I called you more often in my opinion. I know nothing I say now will change your mind about the decision, but I just hope that tomorrow, you will give me some moments to properly end it.

Goodbye, my lover. My best friend, my everything for a year and a half.

There’s only so much I can take
And I just got to let it go
And who knows I might feel better
If I don’t try and I don’t hope

The Corrs; What Can I Do

Caged

Posted in Letters (Old) by Sandra on October 1, 2007

‘Do you have a problem?’

They were waiting, in the car, for the mother’s boyfriend. They meant mother and daughter. It was evening – a cool night in September. The brother was home, so in the safety of the car, the mother spoke.

‘What do you mean – do you feel like I have a problem?’

‘Yes! Me and Uncle ***** both think that… you feel caged. Like you’re angry at the people around you. Like you hate to be here.’

‘Nah, I don’t have a problem. It’s just your imagination, mum.’

~~~~~~

But later, she reflected, one night in October, that she did have a problem with people around. A bigger problem, with accepting herself.

‘The people here around me are too loud, too insensitive, too blind to the beauty of the world around, too caught up in material things,’ she tried to explain to her pillow. ‘A camera is to take pictures of you against some scenic place. Music is just music – the words don’t matter. Art is something nice to look at, but not worth spending time on.’

Perhaps that is why she needed him, the pillow responded. Because his life, his thinking, his words were from another land, quite literally. He spent hours on his art, creating images from painstaking hours of mouse strokes. His camera has been around. He believed in people, that everyone had something good in them, somewhere. And his words! Sometimes he was so careless with them, and so blunt, that she felt upset, and thought he didn’t really care, because she was someone who was picky with her words and was excessively mindful of the connotations tied to certain words.

‘Yet… so?’ she sighed against The Pillow. ‘He’s gone away.’

That isn’t the main thing here, The Pillow chided her lightly. The issue is how you view people around you. I know you’re always thinking of “there” – that “there” is better than “here”. But when you get “there”, it would become “here”, and yet another “there” would pop up.

She was speechless. She was in Singapore, and she wanted to go to the US, or to Europe. Anywhere at that moment sounded better than Singapore. But what would happen when she reached the US? She would want to go to Puerto Rico, or where-ever someone special might be. And then from there? She would want to go to somewhere where their lives would have a future. And then for the children. Then for retirement. It was a never-ending circle.

‘What would ultimately make you happier?’ LD50 interrupted her, as she began on a rant about nothing in particular.

She was stumped. She didn’t know.

But you wanted to say “him”, didn’t you? The Pillow pressed, a knowing sign in its comfort. So why didn’t you?

‘It sounds so childish!’ she exclaimed. ‘I can’t possibly pin all of my happiness on a single person, can I? He wouldn’t like it if he found out…’

But the thing is… you already have. That’s why he needed a break (up), remember? Your expectations were too—

‘I know, all right?!’ she exploded at The Pillow. ‘I know! Stop reminding me! If I didn’t have such expectations, I wouldn’t have pushed him over the edge and-‘

Shush, The Pillow comforted her. It’d be all right once you find yourself, away from your mother… She’s the problem, isn’t she? You can’ do what you want when she’s around because you feel criticized by her. Even the rolling of her eyes pains you, because you know that means that you didn’t win her approval of that particular action.

‘That’s what he used to say,’ she mumbled against the fabric of The Pillow. ‘He used to tell me two things all the time; one, that it’s my mother’s fault I’m like this and two, that it’d be all right in the end… and it was like the one thing which made me feel secure, in those days…’

At least he woke you up to the fact that your mother probably screwed you up mentally at some point of time, The Pillow murmured, and sang her a lullaby.

The Pillow stayed quiet then, damp from her tears, and she fell asleep, eventually. All these words, and he would never read them, because he just doesn’t like reading.

A Lesson In Love

Posted in Letters (Old) by Sandra on September 29, 2007

She came away from the relationship torn, regretting, teary, and hoping against all hope, that he might be like the guys in television programmes or movies, and run after her.

Of course, he didn’t. He kept away from her, expressionless, while his family still continued to contact her through Facebook, leaving little messages around, telling her not to worry bout her Spanish, because at least she is trying.

She had asked him the question impulsively, after a week or so of minimal contact with him. He was too busy, too tired, had too many responsibilities, and couldn’t give her the attention she wanted. Demanded, perhaps, she grudgingly admitted. But she never expected that he would agree. Because she took him for granted.

And he, on his part, said yes. Yes, I want a break-up. Yes, I am sure. Yes, take care too. Yes, yes, yes… and he faded into silence again, enveloped by his life on the other side of the earth. Life went on as normal for him: he still did his chores, still talked and had fun with his friends, still studied for his upcoming examinations, still had the bustle of his family roll around him like a safe cocoon.

She, on the other hand, let herself be crushed by his absence. She cried herself to sleep almost every night, and woke up weary and puffy-eyed. She looked at the emails he sent her, the essay entitled “Why I Love Her”, listened to their songs, replaying his voicemails, and gazed at his pictures. The smiling face on the screen, the cheeky expressions upon that face… and she tried hard to drill it into her, that she and him were no longer. That he was gone. That she had to stand on her own.

He missed her, he said. His voice wavered dangerously when she called him one evening, unexpectedly. He spoke slower, breathed deeper, tried not to fall past the line and end up crying. She heard it, and her voice became unsteady, too. Don’t cry, she told him. If you do, I’ll end up crying too.

Does it help if he laughed instead, he asked, dissolving, thankfully, into chuckles. Not tears. She tried to keep herself from laughing and crying at the same time, and managed to laugh more. A smile spoke through her voice, as she questioned his sanity. People around would laugh at someone crying and laughing at the same time.

He grinned, a triumphant word. “Yessss.. It worked!’

She fell silent, for a while, remembering how he tried to cheer her up in the beginning of their relationship whenever she was down. He would try and make her laugh, anything to make her smile and shoo the dark clouds away. Good times, she mused.

‘I still love you, it’s not that I don’t love you anymore…’ he told her. ‘I just.. don’t want a relationship right now.’

That day, she was happy. Nothing could pull her down, even though it was an early class she had. That day she walked with a spring in her step, anticipating his call every hour – because he said he would call. But the hours passed and he didn’t, and soon she was on her way home. A shadow of discontent crept into view, but she simply smiled at it, hoping against hope.

She learnt that love between two people – the kind of boy-girl-relationship – was fragile. She realized that she had been holding expectations too high of him. She acknowledged that she had been depending on him. She understood that he needed his space, even though they were physically so far apart. She still regretted her impulsive question. She still missed him, and wanted him back. She still thought about him every hour. She still wanted to hear his voice or even to simply read his messages.

Of course, she couldn’t. She hoped, against hope, that he would initiate a conversation. She wished, against reality, that he wouldn’t want to sleep so soon after she typed “Hi”. She prayed, against her desires, that he would find someone better and more loveable than her, that he would be happier without her.

She remembered the good times, the tough times, the bad times, the easy times. The fun times. The games, the trust, the commitment they made. And those made her smile, because she realized that he truly loved her even though she didn’t understand at that time. That he truly wanted the best for her, even though he wasn’t with her. That he deserved so much more than just her.

She learnt that she shouldn’t have rushed things because she wanted to feel closer to him; nor demanded so much of him that she was blind to his needs.

She’s still regretting… but maybe the days will help her ride her now de-supported bicycle again.

(more…)