The Story of a Long Distance Romance

How much can you miss a person before seeing them doesn’t make it worth it? Are you allowed to hurt this much – is the next meeting going to justify the pain you feel now? I can’t tell if, as the number gets smaller and fewer hours separate our meeting, it gets any easier. The weight of expectation is pricking holes down my arteries and it’s getting harder to breathe. If I see you and you can’t fix me, I’m going to fall apart.

I’ve weaved myself into a trap of cliched writing. The stereotypical debate is as follows: Is it easier to let go or to hold on. And I can’t let go – I don’t want to. But this pent up frustration and anger, like a wasp stinging me every time some semblance of hope crops up on the horizon; I’m not sure how long more I can take.

So I grip onto the silken thread you’ve left for me to hold onto. They say a spider’s web is stronger than you could ever expect from something so delicate you know? I’ll drag myself up, time and time again, a divide cracking me in half and I’m not sure if it’s physical or my own shortcomings.

Your happiness wraps me up like a warm bath that keeps getting hotter, searing my skin and I’m burnt. Charcoal flakes off me and in the morning I’m new for an imaginary instance.

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Weddings

I went to my cousin’s wedding this past weekend. Not to my surprise, nor to the surprise of others, I managed to forgot the last hour of the night. Champagne is my kryptonite – what can I say? I’m a spoilt, light-weight cheap drunk. Nevertheless, prior to this wonderful bubbly induced oblivion. I realized a lot, although it was clouded over by a haze of joyous banter and unrestrained dancing to Billy Jean (who is most certainly not my lover).

I was surrounded by couples; genuinely a maze of relationships, all of which, ridiculously enough, had lasted longer than 6 years. Even my 21 year old cousin had been seeing his girlfriend since he was 14 – I never realized it before this weekend, but my family has a tendency for long relationships. My parents have been married for 23 years now (their anniversary was on the first of this month, strangely enough), and before that, my mum was in a 10 year relationship. 

Despite the obvious fact I had a boyfriend, my aunts and uncles joked around (I hope!) and offered to set me up with a rather good looking friend of our entire extended family. I may be as committed as any girlfriend could be, but let’s be honest, I can appreciate a fine specimen when I see them. It was funny – I bummed a cig off of him behind by relatives backs, we stole ice-cream from the children’s’ room and downed the last two glasses of white wine (yes, a little variety in my alcoholic diet).

Nevertheless, the only person on my mind was Joe. I called him, from Malaysia, to the USA. I hardly remember it, but even when considering how bloody expensive that call is going to be, I regret nothing. I’m quite sure that I was happiest when listening to the sound of his voice – obviously my first realization of the night was how much I missed him. I missed him while I dressed up, while I made my way through ten courses, when I was foolishly dancing. I had no one there that meant enough to me for me to want to impress them, nobody to laugh at my food baby, no one to give me kisses when I stumbled back into my hotel room.

When people weren’t trying to set me up, they were asking me when I was going to get married. Would the wedding be in Hong Kong? Singapore? Malaysia? Canada? Ridiculous questions to ask a seventeen year old, who hasn’t even been to university yet. A little strange, and very stifling. The next realization that I came to was about my family – they didn’t expect fleeting relationships, and they didn’t see this as a fleeting relationship at all. I’m a little bit scared now.

But most of all, I suppose I’m a little bit happy. I love weddings – I want a big one, white gown, church, getting walked down the aisle, a full banquet and all the people I love in the world around me. This weekend just emphasized that. I don’t care if you can get a divorce readily these days, I don’t care if people think weddings are social constructs that mean nothing. I love weddings because you won’t find more love anywhere else in the world. I love weddings because everyone there, divorced, widowed, single, engaged – no matter what they are, is recognizing the presence of love. Maybe this doesn’t apply to arranged marriages, but let’s assume that those aren’t included here. The main reasons I love weddings is because, in a world that can be so cold, weddings are like a brick framed fireplace, a mug of hot chocolate, an electric blanket or a snuggie. I wrap myself up in weddings – I wrap myself up in the idealistic fantasy that I too will one day experience a day of which its purpose is simply love. 

Jars

I collect jars – see through, lightweight and almost impossible to hold. I fill them up with anything find, poking holes in the top of the lids, just to make sure the lights buzzing inside don’t die out. I’m not really sure what these lights are, or I guess what I mean to say is they’re not any particular one thing. They’re your sock wrapped up in my sheets, so lost that you have to go home with one bare leg under your pants. No one knows that, except for me.

That’s the best part about these jars – they look pretty from the outside, but they’re just for me to understand. Oh, the light that’s glowing a little dimmer over there? That’s the lollipop the dentist gave me when I was six, that actually chipped by tooth, which sent me straight back into his chair. Greatest marketing scheme ever, I have to say.

I collect jars – they line the shelves of my mind, arranged chronologically. Usually the ones furthest away can hardly be seen anymore, but everything is relative. Some of those that are almost out of reach burn the brightest. Strangely enough, one of those is when you tore my favourite blanket in half when I was 5. A little nearer is one when I accidentally spilt water on your laptop. And most the brightest one of all is when you left me/when I lost you.

/

You wish you hadn’t said it. Looking back, it probably meant nothing. A flimsy exclamation in a brief moment of passion, two drinks in and vast distances away from any form of rationality. The result? Glowing smiles and a gossamer promise, wrapped around our ankles.

Do you regret it? You definitely thought it at the time. Maybe if you hadn’t have said it, it wouldn’t be true now. But it was so weak, so lacking in the conviction that now exists. Did you need to say it without meaning for it to develop meaning at all?

And now you speak it everyday. An over-saturation of emotion, so much so you can hardly recognize its strength at all, yet the it remains. What was once gossamer has turned to diamond chains, its prefect edges slicing into the bones of your angle. They wind their way up your legs and you feel the grip tightening around your chest. All of a sudden, breath stops, time stops. You’re frozen. You couldn’t get out of them if you tried.

The chains still glitter, maybe more than they did before. 24 carat diamonds that imprison you. You long for that submission, you feel like it empowers you. You craft a spell for yourself, a wave of your own wand to forget the pain of the stones digging into your skin. Pray that ignorance remains – hope that you’ll be numbed from it forever. The chains are the most painful of burdens.

And then you realise, maybe the words were better off said without meaning. Meaning is weight, meaning results in hooks, digging into your skin. You’re now sinking.

A veil of gossamer has never seemed so appealing.

Souvenirs and Calendars

Reminders of memories past, reminders of memories to be.

I have shelves of souvenirs above my desk in my study, next to my bed in my room and scattered in various locations all over my house. I pick up a teddy from Hawaii and I’m reminded of the boy I met during the summer of ’09 who I always wished I had gotten to kiss on the cheek, just because he seemed so sweet. There’s the incense from Hanoi still on the chest of drawers which smells like the store I bought it at, where there were filthy floors and spotless windows. Souvenirs mark where we have been, a trail of achievements and memories that are physicalized into tacky keychains and fridge magnets. They help us to remember the beautiful without being beautiful themselves.

Calendars are opportunities. Write in everything you want to do – write down a time, a place, the people. Stick to what you write, you’ll do so much. You have memories coming in packages; human packages, travel packages, food packages. Calendars help to ensure you can look back and cross out achievements in your life: went to the dentist on the twelfth, check! Hung out with my best friend, check! They’re more satisfying to look back on than to write on, but you can’t have one without the other.

But if calendars are of the future and souvenirs are of the past, what is of the now? Do we have a shelf in our mind where we start stacking our experience? Is it in a glass box in a pedestal perched in our brain? What if we haven’t planned for the now in our calendars? What if we forget to buy a souvenir to take home? So you have now and it’s glowing in your hand, but it’ll dim soon. You have an energy supply but only for a while. Write it down, take a photo or tell a friend. Keep the energy surging, but don’t blow a fuse – too much energy and the meaning is lost. 

You lose souvenirs, you neglect calendars and pretty soon now ceases to be “now”. Clear out your house, throw away the empty boxes. Uncluttered memories are memories that last.