Blurty for a smile in her eyes and a sunflower in her hair.*.
|Saturday, December 18th, 2010|
Sipping her lukewarm tea, staring out a window that should have already been a bit more picturesque considering it was winter, she said to him. "Life isn't a metaphor, Chale." Her eyes flitted across the room in an effort to prove her point. "This room is dull. Years from know people will look back on it. Hell, it might even be a museum. And they'll say, 'this is how people lived'. They'll find meaning in the faded paint, and they'll never restore it to maintain the 'authenticity'." She took her pointer finger and dragged it across the top of the microwave, which had begun to collect a rather large amount of dust. "They'll look at this, and say that history, the most engaging of histories took place. But all it is, is two people who couldn't be bothered renovating their homes. Because we're lazy, and cheap. And anyone will buy this house anyways because it's in a pretty decent neighbourhood."
Chale looked down at the table at which he was sitting, and stared at a pen that was about to roll off the table. Tyne wasn't really paying attention to what Chale was doing, or if he wanted to speak. She just kept rolling her words out with each sip of tea.
"They'll find our fingerprints here. They'll identify us as a couple of old geezers who were too tired working the past forty years to maintain our house. Our children, long ahead of us, thriving in their youth. They'll comment on how the mismatched furniture appears to get older the further down you go in the house. They'll find the cobwebs enchanting. But its not. It's just dirt, Chale. Dirt we're too apathetic to do anything about. We won't move because we don't want to box anything up. We won't update because if its not broken, why fix it. They're just....things Chale. There's nothing poetic about life. We only make it so to give us a reason to keep attempting to move forward."
Chale ruffled his remaining tuft of hair. He often wondered what had made his wife so cynical and melancholy over the years. In fact, he noticed, the more she grew disappointed with the world, the less she did about it. And the less he spoke. The initial connection that sparked their romance had dulled over time.
He continued to stare at the table. It was made of wood. Sort of. The grain looked real, well, at least from a distance. He stopped contradicting Tyne a long time ago. When computers generated a better picture of wood than actual wood, and was coated over with a lacquer of something similar to plastic to prove durability. Was it really wood? His fingers traced from the surface to the table to underneath. His fingers found the prickly, shaved wood chips that had been compressed together to make the table.
To think, that today, it took less work to chop a tree into a million little pieces, than it was to keep it solid. And if you painted over it the vision you truly wanted, it made it all the more real. But because you were putting your vision on what wood should be, in your mind, the plastic coating would last forever. And it would be okay.
What wood. What would.
He knocked his knuckles against the wood. It sounded like wood, just a bit more hollow than expected.
"What on earth are you doing, Chale?" Her eyes grey, matching her complexion, her hair, her mind.
"Come over here for a second, Tyne." His voice was soft, but his gaze was still focused on the table. Her attitude still sharp, she made her way over to her husband and sat in the chair next to him. Noting that his gaze was cast on the table, she looked down too.
"What are we looking at?"
|Friday, December 10th, 2010|
"If you listen closely, you can hear life."
It had been a long day. It seemed to her that her entire day at this point revolved around how quickly she could get home. How quickly she could press through the wind whipping the flesh off her face and stripping her complexion to an abrasive red. When the little bell on her watch rang, she leapt out of her seat, bundled herself up and dashed toward the car.
She didn't hear the radio, didn't pay attention to anything currently going on. All that was in her mind was a routine she followed day in, and day out. Parking the car neatly in the garage so that it gave her enough space to crawl out. Clicking the button twice on her keypad so that she made sure that the car was locked (in truth, she always thought it sounded more musical that way, too).
The sound of doors opening, of shoes clanking up the cold metal stairs. Stop. Turning onto a landing that led to another flight of stairs. More clanking. Another door.
"Keys. Where are my keys? Shit...."
It didn't matter how large or small her purse was, she could never find her keys. The closer she got to home, the more she caught up with the time she was envisioning. Her hands would clasp the keychain of a now non-existant radio station that had been scratched over time and she would finally be transported into the present. Now that her rustling and rummaging had stopped, she pushed the key into the lock with a determined expression on her face.
It was all leading up to this. The drop.
The drop where once the door was swung open, she could let go of everything. Once the door was closed, the world didn't matter anymore. She kicked off her shoes, letting them land wherever they may. Her bag spilt across the tiled floor, much to what would have been her mother's dismay. With windows wide open, she stripped herself slowly with each step she took.
Click. She always did love the sound that switches made. It wasn't as if she was even in the room anymore. An orchestra was performing Adage to Rest in her honour. Quietly, it began with towels dropping neatly folded onto the toilet seat. Then, suddenly, a clap of power came from the opening and closing of the cabinet where she pulled out her hair dryer and plopped it on the counter.
The sticky noises that came from her barefeet padding across the cold tiles in search of her foot towel, meant the chorus was drawing nearer. Now, the vent was on. Drum roll.
The first step into the hollow tub was never a sure one, and it made a rubbing echo-y noise. Building momentum, the curtain was pulled and it squeaked and jolted as every ring marched farther to the opposite end of the bar. Bend.
Her fingers traced the sharpied-in sign.
All showers have their quirks, one might even go so far as to call them human in that respect. Some never became hot enough, some pulsed too harshly. Some were simply not positioned in a way that covered one's body entirely. This shower, was not without its problems. Yes, it did become hot enough. But after pulling (with some force) the knob out to start the shower, and the dial turned over to the H section, there was one spot - the ten o'clock spot that became cold. As if disobeying every natural law she could think of, the shower in that one section became colder, and remained colder than the temperature it should have been. The first day moving into the appartment, Eric had noticed it too. Back then, they would make fun of it, jump in the shower together and just try to figure out how to fix it. Obviously, more romantic fun would ensue, but sometimes, the two, like silly children would just sit in the shower (sometimes fully clothed) and let the water pour on them as they tried to understand the zaniness of their shower.
Eventually, after a month of moving in, before throwing out the sharpie that they had used to mark all their cardboard boxes, he drew a thick line beginning at the knob, and all the way out to the end of the silver circle surrounding the knob of the shower. On the tiles, he wrote the number 10, because it looked like, if the face of the shower dial were a clock, that would be where the number 10 would sit.
Naked and small, she didn't turn on the shower. She sat, cross-legged, letting her thighs numb. She traced the sharpie sign over and over again. In her mind, she heard his briefcase being opened and closed quickly before it was rested for the day by his desk. She heard the melody of phone buttons beeping while he checked their voicemail. The TV being turned on, but only quietly, so he could hear when her shower was done, so that he too, could get ready to relax himself after a long day's work.
Still sat on the tub floor, she grabbed the knob and pushed it straight to the spot. Before, it had always been a place to avoid, but today, she would bathe herself in it. What made the 10:00 spot even more discomforting was that up until that point, her body was getting used to warmer, and warmer temperatures. And all of a sudden, it became sharply cold.
The water hit the top of her head with a stronger force than what it felt like if she were standing. Cascading over her, her hair drooped over her forehead like a thick, blank wall that protected her from the harsh temperature coming over her. In this cold water, it was okay to feel vulnerable and fragile, because in her mind she could easily excuse it and blame it on the temperature of the water.
She whispered his name softly between the drops of water that fell along the edges of her face, where her hair was not covering her. Salt mixed with ice and soap she tried her best to clean herself. Wash away the pain.
Choking with cold, she thought of her life in the way of the ten o'clock spot. Eric had come into her life four years ago. Slowly, their friendship blossomed, and heat grew. Two years ago they married. Life was getting even more pleasurable. Then, out of the blue, frigid waters overcame the burgeoning flame.
They sell things with life time warantees. Appliances, insurance, sharpies. Some things are permanent. And then there are some things you just don't change.
She pushed the knob closed, with her eyes closed, and pulled her hair back. Kissing the 10:00 spot tenderly goodbye, she crawled out of the bath tub, slowly inching toward her towel.
She dried herself off, and put on her pyjamas, and headed toward the kitchen to start making dinner. Friends would be coming around to play cards and watch TV with her (although she knew they were there only to make sure she was okay). She gathered the black clothes that trailed from the front door to the bathroom, and it looked like no one had ever been in the home.
Like before the cardboard boxes had been grudgingly lifted up two flights of stairs to the place. Before the sharpie pen even existed.
There are times when there is no choice but to move on, despite how tightly one may cling to the past. For it feels like there is nothing more permanet than naked memories and funny showers. But, as cooking a bad meal will often tell you, its what you change that makes it good.
Her doorbell rang, and she heard her voice this time over his, "if you listen closely, you can hear life".
|Tuesday, November 30th, 2010|
Tick, tick, tick.
At the end of the room, practically touching the ceiling, hung a round wooden clock with black roman numerals on it. Chirping away, it did several jobs with its one sound. It was not interrupted by the odd footfalls stepping into the creaking wood beneath the carpeted floors that had dulled and become hard over time. It did not feign surprise at the flipping of pages, the noise that was the seat being rearranged.
Today, the clock would tell time, tempo and emotion. A quiet metronome, it held in time every note she wished to play.
Softly stroking it's exterior, she began her dance of love. To play the piano was to be romantically entwined with music, emotion and mathematics. She, like many others before and after her, knew that in order to play, in the true sense of the word, one had to strip down all walls and be completely stripped. Vulnerable to her core.
The lightest touch could ignite sparks off ivory and black keys. Nuances and subtleties swarmed in a flurry and no longer did she have control of her body. Her fingers trembled and trilled notes in the higher octaves of the piano while her left belted strong, resounding chords.
There was so much magic in being a pianist.
She would not deny that if she had not learned to play, the musical notes would appear obsolete and without rhyme or reason. The notes themselves sweet, however mechanical or outdated. With learning to play an instrument, she found that education had purpose beyond memorisation. It was her first outlet where after learning the rules, she had free reign to recompose Bach, Shakespeare and Picasso. Music, for her, was painting in a different language. She had learned the slurs, the stacatto's, the braces and millions of musical clefs. She had understood the theory, the history, but she breathed its purpose.
Her metronome clicked away in the background, playing instructor and master daemon as her hands learned that melodies can easily dance from the left hand to the right, and often they could collide. Control, balance. When she played the piano, she was sculpting herself into the woman she wanted to become, despite however much frustration it would bring to her.
It was truly a labour of love. No one in their right mind would play scales, cadences, dominant seventh chords and Hannon or Czerny exercises simply for the fun of it. They were tedious, but necessary. Like the building blocks infants grasp so that they can walk and talk, repetition meant that each time a traid or arpeggio was sung, it could be interpreted or mastered in a new way.
There is only one kind of piano player, in her mind. Those who play without emotion have yet to truly call themselves pianists, because they have not let themselves be fully immersed in the passions of life. Because that was what playing the piano was. Waltzes brought lovers together in the most cordial of fashions to swirl endlessly on elegant marble floors in elaborate ballrooms. Marches brought courage to the military of yesteryear. Nocturnes made you fall in love, and embrace the night for all its natural and pure beauty. You could play a song perfectly technically, but what good is an action without desire? If her heart did not bleed when she played, she could not grow, and the song would never even get a chance to be born.
It's easy to tell, where soul is lacking. It's unfortunate, but it does not mean it cannot be remedied in time. Like life, one must adhere to harsh rules of rhythm and melody, and it may frustrate some to the point of rigidty. Without doubt, she steeled her heart till she was numb many a time. When a labour of love is forced, it is no longer of love, and lust loses all its strength to hold the structure of music together.
It happens to all of us.
And just as the lessons ended, after 15 years of practice, week after week, she finally accepted the piano into her heart. She had felt the love on occasion, but she was more numb, and frustrated than anything. For the first time, instead of simply listing it off as an achievement, she touched the choral medley of ebony and ivory and cried love. The piano, no longer an instrument after being so heavily included and integrated into her life, was, in fact, a part of her. Its echoes rang pure, and no longer did the clock from above the ceiling tick closer and closer to when she could finish practicing. Because she no longer practiced piano like it was a rehearsal or a medical profession. She played it, she played its fucking heart out.
Whenever she could sense it, she played innocence, anger, fury and redemption. She sang eulogies and elegies, and wept romance. She danced with history and entangled fiction. She made the world her own.
And though the creaking carpet didn't creak so frequently as it did in the past, toward her piano, it was mutually acknowledged that there would never, from this day forward, let love lost again.
One soul, dwelling in two bodies.
|Thursday, November 4th, 2010|
Where have all the people gone?
I was mucking about on YouTube one night, allowing myself to both confirm and deny the affirmation that the computer isolates a being, and I stumbled upon the notion of the Uncanny Valley. Do you know what this is, my fine reader? For those of you who don't, it's a theory stemming from robotics, suggesting that there is a point when a robot appears "too" human, and when it hits this "uncanny valley" we garner a negative emotional response to it. But aside from the fancy jargon, what does this mean?
1. A friend of mine knew me. Beyond similies and metaphors, I was the back of this boy's hand. So familiar that not a single wrinkle was left unexplained. We used to be one. I was the skin that blanketed his weary and stubborn soul. He used to let me take care of him.
Without doubt there came many a time where we quarreled, and thought we knew each other better than we did. But nothing, nothing compares to the distance that has been propped up against me.
It is not that he discovered I was not the back of his hand, nor that I have two of my own. And because of this absence from each other's lives, I will never be able to accurately depict it. All I can say is that from how I feel, he appears human from the outside, and more robotic inside with each day that passes. Programmed, in his mind is a vision of me from two years ago. It is not outdated to his organised mind because he has not seen me to witness a change. Perhaps he does not want to.
Also, like a robot, I hear of updates and modifications from other sources of news. Not himself.
The Uncanny Valley in reverse is no more appealing or reassuring than the original. Yet, I cannot help but say it is more disheartening to lose a friendship so quickly that you did not feel the break, only its effects.
2. Contrary to the above example, I am not a saint, nor always a victim. I perpetrate emotions in others and do not realise until I am settled in them that I am not sure if I want them to begin with. Friends of the past, friends of the present, I cannot name you. I have already caused enough shame for all of us.
When you mature very quickly from a young age, you seem to take in account that you mature in holistically. And to an extent, this is correct. You act older, look older, sound older. As a person, you are older. But I kept myself out of a certain path, andi too, am a robot. Incapable of finding, or caring, or worse yet, incapable of trying to care for someone romantically.
"He seems alright" I say to myself, and in I jump into unknown waters. Frigid and in shock, I want to jump out, but force myself to try again. However patient I am in other fashions, I do not like cold water, and I do not like green eggs and ham. Within 10 seconds I am desperate to get back to shore, to forget this ever happened. And don't you ever for a second think that I'm not crying inside. I wanted things to work, I wanted to be happy with you. But if I can't find something immediately to work for, I'd rather be alone. I know how to take care of myself.
I don't know who you are, and I don't like what you appear to be.
Blame me, chastise me for my inhuman behaviour. I cannot deny my actions. But when I've seen so many broken relationships in the past, I feel like if it's not amazing from the beginning, it's not worth forgoing. Selfish, in my robotic nature, I ignore that there are two people in whatever relationship two people are in. I forget that while I want safety, I haven't ask if you know how to swim.
I'm sorry for letting you drown, I'm sorry for cutting your wings in the past. And boy of today, perhaps I just am not ready for a relationship.
I am immature, undeveloped, and too slow to accomodate your needs. I am not for you, and I apologise for never showing you that I wasn't happy.
The truth is, I don't know what I want.
3. So I sit, watching robotic-like humans on the television. We worry that because robots look too human we will mistake them to be human. But how can they be, when they are only what others have made them to be? They may appear to have sense of mind and thought, but they are no more human than I am. In today's world I admit defeat. With a heavy heart, I admit that it is a rarity to find compassion, and traits that we so attribute to being "human".
I repeat and write lines that I've heard before, because they sound eloquent. I put a spin on it, in the same way someone I have never met has, and we call it "unique".
I dare hope that humanity is not a folk tale, but I fear it may be impossible to reacquire.
Loving hands, we are cold.
And without lips, the teeth shiver.
We are fleshly covered and warmly driven.
But where are we to go?
|Thursday, September 30th, 2010|
To be embraced is not foreign to me. As a child I sought solace in my blankets, stuffed animals – anything that could cuddle and maintain the warmth my little body would churn. For some reason, the minute I found my baby blue blanket with the faint yellow and green plaid on it, or the magenta teddy bear I referred to only as Millennium, I knew it was home. It was an outside sense in the body that you cannot explain. It was something that without seeing, without using a single sense, became permanently and instantly a part of who you are. Intuition is often flawed and to describe it in this situation would be an understatement. This was something that once you came across it; you knew that without it, you would feel a little less secure in your new surroundings.
The human touch, for reasons unbeknownst to me, always made me nervous. As a child, I distinctly remember my mother’s sloppy, wet kisses that rubbed lipstick on my cheeks and mouth. I didn’t like their feeling, and I quickly wiped them off. The quiet scolding I received from family friends didn’t embarrass me so much as they confused me. As people would spew out snide remarks about my maintained distance from my family, about how rude I was because of it, I sat there staring at butterflies and wondered if butterflies were forced to sit through the pinching of their cheeks and incredibly tight hugs.
Intimacy was not a wonderful, warm feeling wrapped up in a neat box for me with fancy ribbons. Loving a toy, loving something you could cocoon yourself in was learning to love yourself. Whenever I walked into a room filled with others (aunts, neighbours, newly made acquaintances), they all felt to me as strangers. People I wouldn’t get close to because I just didn’t want to. To love a toy is a thing of beauty: you find the sucker you know you will hold a death grip on, and never let go. They are made solely to love you, and they will only wear thin when you are ready to let go – and yet you will love them still. To love a human, despite all wishing and hoping is never unconditional. Though absence makes the heart grow fonder, I do not know how, or what it is to love someone else. I can blame it on my parents’ relationship; I can blame it on the fragile and uncontrollable conditions I suffer in my relationship with my grandmother. Friends move away, drift apart. Whatever the case, in my heart I’ve instilled this idea that nothing lasts forever to the point where it is permanent. I don’t want to get close to anything because I know it won’t last. I’ve built fantasies in my mind to keep me going - like my Prince Charming complex, and I’m okay. Things don’t have to be real; you just have to experience them wholly, really.
But as we know, the world doesn’t work like that. You can hide yourself in a million boxes, shelter yourself from everything you’ve ever wanted to avoid, but at some point life hits you. Your dreams become reality in some form or another, and life becomes shockingly real.
My baby blanket is one thing, my mother and family another, but this – as much as I had wanted it, wished for it, now that I think I have it I’m at a loss for words. I’m absolutely confused and in a state of shock. For the past week I’ve been wandering in and out of consciousness trying to say to myself I am no longer single. It didn’t happen at all like any book or movie had suggested to me. In fact, it wasn’t anything like any of my friends had told me. To this very minute I’m puzzled as to how a few beers and a couple of hugs turned into a couple of kisses, to a relationship.
Is it bad of me to wonder if I like him? He’s the sweetest, kindest, most gentle man I’ve come across in a long while. All good signs point to him, and he evokes them with such warmth, and yet I can’t help but want to crawl back in my shell. A favourite band of mine told me “if one is easy, than hard is two”. I’ve never been with a boy before, what if it’s just first relationship jitters? He seems so blissful, jubilant – what’s wrong with me?
I’m a basket-case with an overdose of paranoia and I’m not sure what I want. I can cuddle with him till the stars go to sleep, but his lips frighten me. Sometimes all my body wants to do is push him away, but I’m terrified I might lose him. And I’m not sure if I want to be in or out of this relationship. So I’m sitting on a fence in No Man’s Land waiting for an ice cream truck, a hand, a sign, anything, really to tell me what to do.
But I know that love is not a science. If I put my hand there, and you enjoy what I’m doing that’s lust, not love. I know what attraction is, but love has 25 definitions in the dictionary and it’s hard for me to find one I can even use on myself.
To all those who complain about being single, I miss your innocence and freedom. For every move I make I fear upsetting this new part of me, this other half that I can’t control. I can’t read this person’s thoughts, and I’m afraid to near myself to them. I’m tired of crying, being hurt. I’m tired of sitting up lonely nights atop a damp pillow wondering what went wrong and how I can fix it. I’ve seen too many relationships turn sour, so many presently in an odd sort of state. I want a relationship. Not a fling – which I fear this is. But as I grow, as I push my boundaries more and more in this wondrous territory I’ve embarked solo-style on, I’ve grown weary.
It took me eighteen years to learn my body through and through. To openly love my body despite its faults, its contours, shapes, and misgivings. I could love it because I could understand it. I could talk to it, to its very soul and root out the situation. I stand next to him and I haven’t the faintest idea what’s going on, and it scares the living daylights out of me.
When he holds me, I am immersed in a sea of emotions. Lost between the beginnings of love and the fear of drowning. No one knows where we’re heading to.
|Tuesday, September 28th, 2010|
It's rainy days when I miss you most. I woke up this morning, not wanting to get out of bed, I knew there was bad weather outside. My sheets were soothing sweet lullabies of warmth in my ear, beckoning me to rest a little longer - to wait a bit more before I faced the cruel dark thundering clouds outside. I didn't have a proper umbrella, it's too small to cover my backpack and I. It has one broken hinge so that it manages to either poke me or someone else whenever I'm walking.
All the windows on the bus were open today, in this horrible weather. I closed mine, and wished that there was something besides a small backpack to warm me. I am frozen from the inside out and I know it's not because winter is coming. The leaves are soggy and they swirl together in a brightly coloured soup of autumn that sloshes as you step on it. It brings a bit of vibrance to what appears to be a dying world.
I keep my head up, and make my way onto the subway. The seasons, or at least the town is confused. April's dreary showers are drowning October's autumnal entrance, and the subway car thinks that it's best to live in the past that is summer - so the air conditioning is on. It's colder in here than it is outside and all I'm begging for is to feel warmth. Your hand holding mine.
I'm rushing down the street so I'm not late but the traffic has come to a halt and I feel like I'm the only one keeping the real time of this bustling city. I'm a strong girl. I can handle mother nature's fastest curveball and give her a run for her money. I can deal with lazy pedestrians and the drama of everyday life. It's safe to say I can handle it on my own, I just don't want to.
I don't always want to be there for myself.
I keep telling myself, oh boy, oh dream, I am not ready for you yet. But I'm not sure if I believe in that anymore. Because today I would have given anything to stay inside and watch the rain fall with you.
As I walk down the street, with all the confidence in the world that I'll make it on time, and I don't need a hot chocolate to stop my shivering hands from falling off, I search for your face. Maybe you're him. Maybe you.
|Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010|
Is it possible that I may feel your veins through scripture? Curves, contours, stop. Next letter.
Your heart is speckled and beautiful. Each dot a person, populating the everflowing love planet that is your heart. It trickles down like waterfalls into the slosh of magma that is underneath us all. The volcano bursting to errupt into swirls of hot condensation.
And there are blotches from where we bleed.
I don't know how to fix it. I'm sorry, I see it and I don't know what to do. It frightens me. I panic. How do I hide what's there? Did I do it? I don't even know. It scares me that the last time I looked, I never noticed you that closely to see if you were crying.
We all fade to blue. To calmness we flow slowly, hoping to blissfully forget the ridges and barriers of our life that hurt us so. You called them heartbeats, I remember.
Heartbeats. Mixed for me.
It makes a pretty picture, I think.
You notice the folds, I notice the creases. You see the lines, I feel the corners.
Underneath the centre lies a white hot whole, hole. Filled with unknowns that are far too abstract for me to feel anything except fear and awe simultaneously.
I want to be smooth, like the whistler singing to the pale young moon. Like the greatest gentlemen suffering from modern romance only to realise it's all a strange form of life. It's clapping your hands, and sunflowers and fake empires. These heartbeats you send to me sound low like the Phoenix flying overhead so that not even Lizst could compose such a complicated rapture. I make no sense and you say it's no massive attack.
You said to me, that a lovely head makes teardrops, and that cat power makes rabbit hearts. I didn't understand. I didn't understand until Ani frapped at my door and gave me The National. She told me, yeah yeah yeah - it's a red letter year.
Heart of my heart, the way your pen moves across the page will always keep me locked in that time when you and I were as vulnerable and caring as the paper cover that holds a CD together.
We are a mix tape, played over and over again because we are forever.
We are the time that helps us become the heartbeats.
|Wednesday, September 1st, 2010|
"Un Americano per favor."
An American. Adding an extensive amount of hot water to an espresso to make the coffee larger in size, while changing the flavour at the same time. To create something new from what was once perfection only because our kind cannot break our stubborn moulds to which we so forcingly trap ourselves. In a land older than time, far wiser than any other, he sits and orders his usual. He complains about how unkempt this beaten down cafe is.
"Gee, Molly, you'd think they'd give this place a paint job every now and again."
Like the scenery and the people here, I rest silent. I observe. In the far corner of this caffeteria, I smell the faintest hint of a dilute glass bottle of coca cola wafting its way over, enticing the others to savour its last drops. I hear the clinking of metal spoons against porcelain plates as ladies quietly cut their bombolinis or torta capreses. This is not a town where voices need to be used.
I can't explain it properly, but this town is vibrant in a way so fragile that everytime he brings something up about it, the town is quietly butchered. He says "Hey Molly, this is like the movie we saw at the film festival last fall. Very European, the way it ought to be. Not like those touristy places that are so blase."
I wasn't looking for stylish, chic sports cars. I was looking for the clapping of italian leather heels belonging to both genders against the loose terra cotta, somehow firmly holding together its people on top of a mountain. I sought the drippings of holy water on my skin from the town's priest as he blessed me the only way he knew how, not knowing that I was not a catholic.
Bisnonna taught me to crush pine nuts with a mortar and pestle "il modo coretto" while he was taking cat naps during the siesta of the day. As a child, I thought that the more you incorporated the vegetation around you in your life, the more you would become like the ground itself. Bisnonna had olive skin, and put basil on everything - it made sense to me.
I bought a scarf to wrap around my head the way the other women of the village wore. He couldn't recognise me after I bought it, and didn't understand that I bought it out of respect. "Molly, let's go get some pizza that even Pizza Hut or Boston Pizza couldn't match."
He wanted pepperoni, parmesan, sicilian sausage (which he should have known would not be fresh since it did not come from this part of Italy), and every other Italian topping he could think of. For me, I asked our server nicely "what is your favourite?"
"For you, Senora Molly? A pizza as old as Italia. Una pizza Margherita."
Resembling the Italian flag, he explained as he poured us some wine his brother had made last summer for the pizzeria that the margherita pizza was made from tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. Made for royalty, it became a simple staple, and the only true form of pizza ever served in Italy. Not that it was eaten very often in Italy anyways. It was an American perception.
He enjoyed his pizza and made up a million well-crafted compliments that didn't really make sense.
The next day he could not find me. Or the day after. He waited a week and sent the embassy after me only to find out I had emigrated to a nearby village and wanted total privacy. I could not explain to him that this country had enrpatured me. No, freed me. It took way every obnoxious character trait the world had told me to be like, to want. I had more to learn from the picking of grain to make the pasta they ate every day then I did about writing guide books like he did.
He wrote about truth, I lived it.
With each and every movement I made along the tuscan mountains, I inhaled history and ingested its majesty. I became impregnanted with solace and peace and found that the only life to lead was the simple one. The one that felt honest, rustic, and homely.
He never attempted to come back for me. But eventually I read in the newspapers that Rome was about to open a film that very much revealed my past "Un Americano Perduto".
And so I wrote him a post card with only three words on it in response.
"Un Italiano trovato."
I still remember him, and he used to order. And everytime I hear an Italian order "un Americano", I make sure that I am the roasted beans that he drinks, and that the coffee is nothing like the false American dream he dreams.
|Tuesday, August 31st, 2010|
I dare not say a child's dreams are to be overlooked. The meandering mind through time, discovers that there are few things in life that may grant itself elation. A dream sculpted from infancy, nursed through adolesence and nurtured quietly through adulthood is a life unfulfilled. To better explain this, let me introduce you, my fine reader, to the girl who captured the castle in the sky, and called it her own.
Elsa was taught to quietly delude herself into a world of fancy. Her dreams were not spectacular in the sense that they belonged to the tales of Hans Christen Andersen or The Brothers Grimm. No, she did not envision herself losing a glass slipper, or turning into sea foam for not being a well behaved mermaid. Elsa had learned through her father's textbooks on geography that the world is an illuminating vision without the aid of fantastical descriptions not befitting to this earth.
The story she pleaded each night to be read to her as a child, was the same story over and over again. Her father, in his excited, yet academic tone spoke of billowing curtains in the night sky. Softly and sweetly dancing in neon ripples was the Northern Lights. The Aurora Borealis appeared to Elsa extraordinary in the sense that beyond civilisation and the world she knew, there existed a silencing power that confounded people for milennia. That even it's description through particle physics was a bit on the astounding and mythical side. Large magnetic fluctuations in the earth's atmosphere coming from the sun were colliding and making themselves known to earth. The reasons why the Northern Lights baffled Elsa grew with each and every tidbit she learned about it.
Scientifically, it showed not only how small she was, how humble the world was in the solar system. But how the faintest and tiniest particles could make a titanic explosion and change the current of the universe's events. However, the Aurora Borealis were a more beautiful, less painful version of such an occurence.
Her Norse background fueled the flame in her desire as her grandfather murmured and mumbled folk tale after legend in her ear about his home - her past. In his wonderfully thick and burly accent, he would say while his hands were covered in dill and mustard. As a true Norseman, his life revolved around salmon and the many ways he knew to cure and smoke it. As a child Elsa swore she saw gills on his arms from the many times he would skin them, tenderise them, and marinate their sweet juices into the stories he served to her.
"Elsa, when people saw the Northern Lights, they no speak. You whisper when you see Northern Lights, and the spirits of the night that made beautiful show for you, take you away. You do not laugh, you do not gasp, you sit in silence looking above at its magnificence. You know this word magnificence? It is Latin and Greek word (and here he spat for everyone knew that he only adored Scandinavian mythology) for greatness beyond measure. The Medici's (his teeth now grounded upon each other in frustration) used to call their balls Magnificences. You see, world tries to be magnificence. World tries to be as big as world they live in Elsa. Sometimes, you simply cannot compete with majesty of the higher powers, and this is why we respect the Northern Lights. And to speak truth, I never could find words to say when I saw Northern Lights".
His words were distinct and sharp and they matched every stroke of his blade as he sliced the Salmon so thinly and precisely. He spoke of Norway, of it's legends and truth as if it were all the golden word which would not be argued. Whether or not he truly believed it to be that way, he spoke with confidence that would make even the most doubtful sure of what he said. And there was something about his no nonsense and almost intimidation toward the grand green lights that shone from the sky that comforted Elsa. Both far and wide, there was not much that kept her dreams away than the sheer physical distance of living so dully in a warm climate, away from the mystical adventures of mother nature up north. Alas, Norway could have been a fairy tale for it was bred to her from childhood and sown into her identity as if it were something tangible.
And yet she never seemed able to grasp it. She drew, and read, and spoke to every interested individual. She did not capture the thirst of her imagination.
All she wanted was to experience this unmatchable magic.
|Sunday, June 13th, 2010|
As if every word in the english language was presented in front of me to speak, and yet I was strangled, gasping for breath. Despair. That is what I feel.
The world I have been living in has been akin to a fun fair that never ends. I am placed on a myriad of rides, each one unique and challenging in its own way, each one distracting. And with every step I place in line or on the platform into the ride, my focus is concentrated on the task at hand, and I forget my ultimate goal, my home.
Home is a far away land, it has almost become myth. My clothes have lost their old smell, and I feel my soul has too. Perhaps what hurts me the most, is that at the fun fair you are not a fan of each and every ride. No, you have to mentally prepare yourself for each one so that you may embrace all its loops and difficulties. I have slowly begun to adapt to my new world, and in doing so, have only pinched myself on occasion, and not truly thought of home. As the hours wore on, I felt something in me slipping.
There is a fine line between conquering your fears, and becoming a person past your fears. I know that I fell off this line. For one grows and sows both new with old to create a solid foundation. The other stumbles about in a shambly old mobile home like the temporary fun fair I am visiting that only comes once a summer. It breeds new and mixes it with temptations and danger. The first bite of cotton candy is dangerous, the second fun. The third, the fourth are blurs, and just as quickly you can think of them, you have added candy apples to create a sickly, rotten cavity.
There is a cavity in my heart that I did not notice until it began to bleed and hurt. To describe it as unfortunate, as frustrating or disappointing would be inaccurate. Multiply these with remorse, regret, and weave them into a dismembered cobweb torn apart by mean little children and you will get an inkling of how I feel. As I struggle for breath, I am bleeding out what I used to be. I did not prevent or catch my disease before it began to spread. Malignant and menacing, my heart swears like a sailor, and phones home as a reflex and not necessarily as a need.
It is confused, damaged, and paralysed.
Aren't fun fairs supposed to be fun?
The person I wanted to grow into, a person less afraid of heights, more open to challenges is not entirely the person I have become. I can teeter on the ledge of the ferris wheel, but cannot handle wobbles. I found that I do not take breaths on roller coasters, and can occasionally become irritable because of it.
I have been rude to the kind employees who spend their dull days waiting in lining catering to my every need. I apologise and it does not suffice my wounded soul.
At this fair, we go as a group, we leave separately. We leave as separate entities that are somewhat strangers to the people we once met.
I cannot vow to avoid such things in life, for too many times have I lost myself, only to catch sight of the sparkling, shining girl I want to be, I used to be. She, the one I want to be, was always in the past - when did I grow weak? Where was I given broken stilts that I was unable to fix?
My only hope is to take a photograph, as I have done when I first came here. Before my journey, I brought my favourite memory in polaroid form and stuck it in my pocket where I knew it would be kept safe. In this photo I have memorised every contour and frame so that it is not a picture, but a visible, physical memory. I look at it and I am there, I feel the warmth of the loving embrace, and I am home.
Let me take a photograph of the person I have become, keep it next to the other so that I know what I want to feel, and what I do not.
For those I have wronged, I am incapable of fully healing the wounds I have carved into your fragile bodies. I have mistreated you in every way imaginable, and it is against my nature to act in such a way. To say that I am human is a poor excuse, so let me say that I now know I have gained from it, and will make sure to do the best that I can, so you may not incur the pain I have made you suffer in the past. You did not deserve it.
|Friday, March 12th, 2010|
They tell me that the past is clean. Beautiful, precious - untainted and unhurt. But does that make it innocent, pure - a virgin from all the sins we've ever known?
I stand before two empty suitcases.
Who are they to tell me that my past is disinfected from all ails when that which hurts me, haunts me still? In my heart there festers and curdles spoiled moments in time that won't go away. They may give over time, like the colours on the suitcases, like the handle that won't properly go up and down anymore, like the back left wheel that squeaks whenever I turn it.
But the past isn't a suitcase. It can contain my world, but only a part of it. My body, unlike anything else I've come across is the only treasure chest which may encpasulate everything in the world that has to do with me. In my mind runs a thousand thoughts and nerves that quietly jot down everything. I am my own personal archives, to which I have become it's primary visitor. I am the archivist, donor, researcher, and the wandering curious person who happens upon something that for an instant appears extraordinary.
Unlike a suitcase when it wears thin, I cannot simply just throw it away and purchase a new one.
Today I have two suitcases in which I must pack things I need, and things that will help me. I am to go far, far away - what do I bring? What do I want to keep? What must I regretfully let go of? What is it I that choose to silence forever?
It's an interesting job, packing that is. Because the job of packing involves unpacking, transferring, preparing. You take the world you've got now, in whatever stability it is, and you take things. You take a toothbrush because you want to make sure that people will like your smile wherever you go, and that you don't have to take a sick day to go to the dentist and pay an unnecessary bill for having a sweet tooth. You pack a toothbrush, because you've grown attached to it these past few months. Not packing it would mean you would have to buy a new one. A new one where you have to get used to its contours all over again, break it in, and make sure all the toothpaste is washed off the bristles. And you have to make sure, that when packing your toothbrush you have room for it. Think about it, instead of your toothbush, what else could you fit into that tiny gap into your suitcase? Is there something else that belongs there instead? Is the toothbrush something you really want to take with you? Is this who you are?
My life did not contain the glamour and elegance that a film did - where every still and shot could be put onto a postcard. Of this, I am certain. Of this, I can shake my unclenched fist at the world. Because it did happen, I cannot deny that. I do not know where people get this silly idea that we remember the world the way we want to. This is not the case with every detail and aspect of the mind. There are some things I simply cannot twist in my head so that it appears to me, justified. Life happens. More importantly, life goes on, especially including every conflict, turmoil, and trouble the past inflicts upon us.
I may cling to the parts I enjoyed the most, yes, that is true. I may take with me certain pictures and trinkets that remind me that it wasn't all bad. That through the gloomiest and murkiest of waters, light would still trickle and reflect itself upon our world. But I would like to argue, to these two suitcases, to the strange new land I am to embark on, to you, that what I bring does contain both sadness, and joy. Sadness in that the memories attached to these things cannot be relived, that they once were true and can now only be remembered, recalled upon. But there is joy in that - however I may pack this suitcase, when I return some things will have left, and some new things will be replaced in their stead. That sadness shifts and moves but never leaves, and like our memories has the ability to fade but never disappear.
I am happy that "how" it is I am to pack this suitcase is not a question I ask myself. I even have a fair idea as to what I want to take with me. What torments me, is that what I want to bring, what I am prepared to take with me, will not fit in the allotted space given to me. A suitcase is a physical thing. A barrier, a boundary we cannot step over or else incur injury and penalty. My mind may be an archives, but sometimes without hard documents not everything can be triggered when you need them to be. Not everything in the mind can soothe you when feeling a page of an old book can make your new home feel a little less strange to you.
In my heart I will make new friends. I will learn new things, and they will squish and fit themselves in my overcrowded soul. They will pack themselves in knowing that at some point I will die, explode. And that they too will need to find a new home to transfer to.
I touch the zipper of my suitcase, and wonder under the dark night sky. We are not suitcases. We do not lose ourselves, because we can never find ourselves. We are not a pen or a sheet of paper that you can easily misplace. No, we are constantly learning who we are. Learning a book, that, like our universe has no end. Because to our knowledge, and much to our satisfaction there aren't answers or concrete endings to everything. We go on, because we are constantly moving, being unpacked and packed. We travel to new places, and learn a little bit every day.
|Friday, January 22nd, 2010|
I woke up today. In front of a cold, battered down orphanage where innocent children are fed hope with their bread, and dance in the rain and only seeing the reflection of the sun peeping between the clouds.
I picked her up in my hands, and we cried.
I saw the little girl in me, abandoned and we both didn't know why. I told her I was sorry, I was lost, and I knew that if I left you here you would be safer than if I held your hand to my heart these past few months. Honey I've been down roads you never want to see, never have to see, I've just got the lessons from them, and I hope you can forgive me. I didn't want to lose you, I can't believe I let go of that shadow, that bit of me that says "this is who I am."
You don't know who I am. They call me thief, and liar. They throw stones at my face, and even those outside aren't quite sure who they're throwing them at, or why. They see only the What, and they do not know the shackles we've walked in.
I want to say I put you here for you own protection, that I would always come back for you. Beautiful girl, don't dialate your eyes for me, don't ruin those pretty lashes, I've put you through enough.
If I didn't come back, I want you to know that I prayed someone would find your love, and your magic. You are so special that if you knew how contagious your smile was you would have cured wars a long time ago, and I've come to tell you that there will still be angry people in this world.
Little girl, hidden away but not forgotten, lost but not unloved, I've betrayed you.
I'm not quite sure What it is I am becoming.
But I know I need you along the way. Little girl, I'm sorry, and I love you. You have no reason to trust me, and I understand. I don't know what I look like to you right now, I don't know if I have to take off these facades that have held me together, that eventually brought me to you to show you that I am scarred. I want to show you the hole where you used to be. I want you to know that I've been bleeding, dying, trying to cover this patch up with something to help me grow up. They told me I didn't need you anymore, and that I had to put you away. I thought maybe there was some method to their madness, baby girl I am shameful.
I am ashamed, and cold, and unlike this crumbling old home there is no light in me that feeds me happiness that tomorrow will be a brighter day, because I don't know what that is anymore.
Baby girl, my angel. I beg your forgiveness, and ask for something I do not deserve. Lend me your giving hand so that I may hold onto your strength, and let me follow your light. I swear it will be my cross and crescent. I will hold you till it kills me. You are forgiving, kind, strong and wise. You were always the one I wanted to be, and you've let me wander off too many times, and yet you've always let me see you.
I do not deserve you, wonderful child who I used to be.
You let me go, because you wanted me to learn things for myself. I don't even know if you knew that.
Jewel of my eye, love of my life they glitter happiness and success down those streets out there - they make it sparkle so that you can't see the toxins that they cover. Because bad doesn't outshine the good, you only feel it more.
Let me stay with you, in this house of dreams and comfort. I stepped too far and thought I could fly, and I left you thinking it was time to move on. I thought if I took you with me I would be raped, you would be kidnapped and held hostage by the things I encountered without you, and thus, when They stabbed my wound, I couldn't hear you crying. I didn't see the bad, the pain that trudges through the glitters and sparkles of false joy.
I am home again.
"You may leave me again" you whisper into my ear. Oh honey you're more afraid that I am. Hopes don't make you fat with the riches of love, they don't satisfy the hunger, only fuel it.
I will fall to my knees, and cry with with the pain and happiness that I will have as I sow you back into my heart, little Alexandra. We may not be whole again, we may have some missing parts, but baby, I need those, we need those, to keep me from leaving you again.
Hit me when it hurts, and help me swallow my fears. I vow that should you ever have a nightmare, it won't be me again, and I will hold you till your tears turn into sleep, and a peaceful smile creeps upon your face.
We cannot escape this world and its lures.
We can fight it together.
|Sunday, January 17th, 2010|
I'd been thinking about this day for a while. Not like my wedding day, which I'm not sure if secretly or not secretly every girl at some point has thought about it, but, it crept into my head every once in a while throughout the year. I was thinking about The Gala.
The Gala is a very formal ball that my college holds every year, exclusive to its students. Essentially, it was prom times ten. Because alcohol is allowed and flowing freely like a water fountain. And it's not such a sin to be high an hour or two into it, so long as there's no pre-drinking or pre-smoking for this party. We have to be a bit classy for it.
I'm talking it down now, and whining a bit about university. Let's rewind here.
The Gala is a beautiful ball, where tradition asks the boys to ask the girls on Pub Rush Night. This night is about three or so weeks prior to the actual event, where the party is tiny and often involves the gender of the night who has to do the asking intaking way too much pseudo confidence. Tonight, the boys would line up on one side of Roost Hall, and the girls on the other. Underneath 200 year old chandeliers, glistening with love and nostalgia, reminding us young men and women of yesteryear were in this spot at this time too doing the same thing, and feeling the same nerves.
I had rushed a friend for our first ball, and despite the highs and moments of awkwardness, I didn't regret it for a minute. So when the Gala night came about, the night I had dreamed some cute guy I was getting to know would gather up the courage I had always been able to muster for some reason, but never the other way around....the night where he would play Prince Charming for a second and run across the room to be first to get to me, whether or not someone else was running toward me, the night where someone would ask me to a dance for the first time.
I know, it's a bit sad that I'm in university and that hasn't quite happened yet. Let's just say there are logical reasons for it not happening in the past. I don't do short term relationships, one night stands, because, well, I can't handle them.
I don't like getting hurt, and I know that I just haven't met the right guy yet. Not even close.
So it was a bit ironic when Pub Rush Night rolls about and all my friends, including the boys decide to nix the rush. We waltz about the town and grab a few slices of cake in a coffee shop, and head back to the common room to watch movies and play billiards. It looks like no one's ready to change their minds quite yet.
"Shit! Sandra, I forgot your sleeping bag in my room! I brought over you pillow and your book bag, but I forgot your sleeping bag! These heels are killing me, so could you just run really quickly back to my room and pick it up now so we won't forget later? Here take my keys!"
She throws them to me, and I take a few seconds to injest what she's just said as I walk back into the court yard where her building of dorms are. Jonathan, whom I've probably only seen once sober, and that was during the day, was smashed to the max at 11:30 and talking to one of his friends in the stairwell. He noticed me, but was too busy discussing about whether or not he should bang this girl who's been staring at him all night. I laugh, Jonathan is a real sweetheart once you get to know him, but, he has his moments.
I walk down the hall way and into Leslie's room and pull out my bag. I keep it in my old hiking backpack which I've only properly used to go camping in Arizona once. But, it works well to hold a sleeping bag when you live at home. And home is a good hour away from school, and that's driving - not taking the transit.
It's a regular Thursday night at my college, what can I say? In all its strange ways, its vulnerabilities exploited to the last drop, it's almost a bit endearing to feel that in some way, we're all insecure. So when I came back to the stairwell to see Jonathan and his friend still there, deciding that prorogation was a horrible idea, and that the name was even funnier. They didn't even notice me coming back up, just as they hadn't notice me go down the first time. But He did. He quite literally came out of nowhere, because I carried my hiking bag that held my suitcase in front of me, like a shield. I don't know why, I had a pretty outfit on - hell I was wearing a short skirt and heels for the first time in months! I guess it was quicker that way, I didn't think anyone was going to see me. But He did.
I still don't know his name, but his face was familiar. He saw me coming, and stopped whatever he was doing, wherever he was going, and opened the door for me. I said "thank you" more sincerely than he'll ever know, and replied with an equally sweet "you're welcome", and I could have kept staring into his eyes forever.
I didn't fall in love, but I wanted him to rush me.
The evening sounds wonderful, doesn't it? Midnight rolls around, the Pub Rush unfolds without me. I'm with my girls, all upside down on a tiny single-sized bed talking about if you can jinx a person if you both say "hmm" at the same time.
It was a perfect moment.
It was my going to the rush night, without actually being there. I'm not that into parties, but a cute boy opened the door for me. He's probably forgotten me by now, and I might never see him again, and this got me thinking.
These perfect moments, are they to be acted upon?
One moment He can be wonderful and perfect and everything you ever dreamed of and more. But you only know him in that moment, what if you were to get to know him, and that image would change? What if he wasn't nearly as wonderful as you had envisioned? Was that moment meant to just be a moment?
Maybe I am a bit like Ted Mosby, always searching for the Right One. But what if it was one of those moments where he walks into his wife's room-mate's room, without knowing his wife-to-be is in that room, because he hasn't met her yet. What if, someone you passed a glance with a year ago, is the one you'll end up being with?
We say that life is too short to waste, moves too quickly to ponder too long on a subject. But if each moment that passes through the hour glass is as precious as the next, what does that say? These moments, can we afford to just enjoy them? Let them sit in a frame to remember fondly in years to come?
In a world comprised of moments, of moments measured where your breath is taken away,
how do you know when to act?
|Friday, January 15th, 2010|
It's 10:15 pm, North American Eastern Seaboard time.
Half an hour ago, for reasons more akin to the irrational and inexplicable disease than any logic we may attain, my house burnt down. Down to a crisp, only few pillars of masticated wood remain, wet with the fire engine's spit, it's soul burnt and dripping down like bad mascara.
Tonight, my house spontaneously combusted.
I was eating dinner by myself, eating too hot to the touch chilli with corn bread that had freezer burn because I was too busy this week to make it myself from scratch. I was watching the local news channel on the tiny tube television I leave on all day, all night in spite of the environmentalists' warnings. Ever since I came back from my trip, I don't like to be alone.
It's been a year since I visited Kenya. That was the last time I boarded a plane, visited an airport, owned a mirror.
I was fresh out of university with a degree in my hand that said I could really change the world now. This little piece of paper gave me credentials and said that I actually busted my butt between parties these past four years. I was no Craig Kielburger, but I wanted to be.
So when the letter came about that there was going to be a volunteer trip to Western Kenya, in the Teso district to help build schools, homes, and provide water filters I jumped on the bandwagon. It was a new adventure because I was tired of eating sloppy, bland residence food they might as well serve prisoners in the nearby penetiary. I was tired of the city life, the suburban life, and going out to the rural parts of this country just bore me. Nothing was new, exciting, exotic, bursting with life and flavour.
So I went to Africa.
I'd never been south of the equator before, not even the Carribbean. I haven't seen a place where it's summer all year round, where the ground is cracked and dry like chapped lips in winter begging for moisture. It was a shock for me.
It was shocking to witness young children raped of their innocence and childhood to pay off their family's debt, to survive. I saw it every day on television, just like I had two hours ago in my kitchen with my feet entwined around the bar stool. It's embarassing to say that after so many ads on tv, on the radio, everywhere - I've become numb to it. It wasn't out of sight, out of mind, but I couldn't relate to it. In my world the streets are paved and people complain until the cows come home when the power goes out during a thunder storm. We abuse all our resources, and you struggle to find any.
Today they had a special on the news about children and violent video games. How this one little boy in Wyoming shot his brother with his dad's skunk rifle because it was like what he saw in Modern Warfare 2. He thought his brother would come back to life, and he didn't understand the consequence of his actions.
I saw those commercials every day, I studied case study after case study for four intensive years, and it never hit me. I didn't understand that ignoring it and living my life as if it wasn't real, and you didn't exist, that someone else would take care of you.
It didn't hit me when I landed on the dry terrain with the noon sun squeezing my pores to help relieve the drought I was embarking myself upon. I didn't understand when I spent two hours in a twenty year old jeep with more miles on it than there were inhabitants in all of Africa. The rickety bumps made me feel like I was on a roller coaster, and the grazing gazelles by my side made me feel like the Kratt brothers. It was surreal. It was a reality created and augmented to feel a little less worrisome and horrible than it was.
You live in a beautiful land, and yet you cannot always enjoy it because you are too worried about how to handle your neighbours' swollen eyes and their discharge. You didn't know what trachoma meant. You were just so happy to see some old t-shirts that no one would be caught dead with in the Northern Hemisphere because it went out of fashion 10 years ago. You jumped, and danced, and were filled with such emphatic joy that it left me confused.
When you hugged me, I knew I needed to remember this moment at home. But not just for me, because that was the point of this trip. I can make a difference, but I am one person. And while one person can change the world - imagine if we join together. I pulled out my digital camera so that I could take a picture of you with your best friends holding up your brand new soccer ball in your hand-me-down clothes.
You ran to the camera, having heard something about the crazy contraptions the rich folk carry with them that remind them of their home.
It's two hours since my house caught up in flames, and I know you can't fully read this yet, but in a few months when you will have mastered English I will mail this to you, because I do love you. I should be filing insurance claims, should be calling my parents, but I'm not.
Because the only thing I took, the most important thing in that house when my world fell apart was the photo frame hanging on the wall of my bedroom. I coughed and hacked, wheezed and inhaled the carbon dioxide and monoxides in the air. I made it up, and I grabbed the photo I took of you and your best friends that day, and cried.
The firemen and policemen didn't understand why that was the only thing I took, why I took it at all. But you have some idea, and you too will understand why I felt that way when you will come visit me some day when you will have achieved all your hopes and dreams.
You ran to the camera and looked at the freshly snapped photo, was stunned at the sight of it, and looked up at me and asked: "Which one is me?"
And that was the moment I finally understood.
|Saturday, November 28th, 2009|
Winter is coming.
These sneakers don't keep my feet warm anymore, and thin socks are merely a veil of hope that keeps one living in a past that will only be born again in a time too far to think of.
I'm wearing jeans, and every rift of wind that blows against my somewhat stable soul makes me feel naked and exposed, and yet, if I wore leggings the cloth wouldn't cling to me tightly enough. If I wore both, I would be a childish fool, who would still find excuses to describe this inescapable frigidty that I'm feeling.
I'm looking down, if only to see the world at a different eye level.
It hasn't rained that recently, but the mud seems to be ever present. It squishes underneath my worn out shoes, and it mixes itself in with the grass that's half dead. And for some reason, whenever I see mud like this, I think of freshly dug graves, of you.
You used to say that if it's raining at a funeral, that person died unwillingly, it was not their time to go.
Mom says that now.
I know its me holding you back. I know that its my prayers every night, the ones I make not half-hearted, but almost out of fear that I may lose you.
Dear God, hear my prayer.
Thank you for this day, thank you for everything you've given me.
Thank you for the food you've placed on my table.
Please bless my mother, father, grandmother and I with love, happines, good health and fortune.
Please bless Mica with the best health in the world, the best happiness in the world, please let her know how much we absolutley love her.......
I almost lost you once, and even though you're slowly fading into a memory, where I have to think to remember your voice, I don't think I could live through it again.
I have midterms next week.
In a mess of papers as frazzled as my hair is, I see nothing. Nothing at all.
There are words, there are colours, there is white and black and nothing.
It's like the people that pass me by on the street, some are my friends.
And we laugh, and drink our cares away and there is nothing beneath us.
Nothing we allow to escape through a cough, through the falling of fall's leaves.
In an effort to prepare for winter, we bundle our mouths, and ears, and hearts, and forget not to love, but to accept the fragility of ourselves.
On these busy city streets, in my fashion forward apparel, I see women walking to and fro, and hollowed up inside. They are chocolate easter bunnies. They are lovely, empty, made up just for you, and they are wrapped up so you can't see the truth.
I see dirty rags, and hot dog vendors, indie kids and vintage clothing stores.
I see it, but I don't understand it.
Winter is coming, and I'm already numb.
Where was it that I froze up like the naked trees that are the only signs of season besides decorations in the city?
Where was it that I grew tired, and lost, and alone....
"Oh my god, that looks so beautiful on you!"
"That's just a lie! -" and the crowd chimes in..... "even before apartheid in South Africa there were elections....."
The bottle has never looked so beautiful, with its curves and contours, it beholds a secret, and it promises a temporary escape to the bliss you want to live in every single day.
I pretend to do my work. I console needy friends who don't want to know me, I sleep. I wake up, I eat, I attend class and I walk, and commute, and these things you could rip up into a million tiny little pieces, throw them in the air, and now matter how they fell to the ground, it would be the only things in my day.
I walk blindly, without touch, without sight or sound, and where there is darkness, it is because there is an absence of light.
And where there is cold, there is an absence of warmth.
I think of you, if only to try to bring back some feeling into me. But I don't even know if that's me anymore, if we're supposed to move on, to let go.
I find things to worry about, to define myself again.
I look for secret paths, ways to give food away, in hopes that someone sees that I want to be a musical box.
Or at least a christmas bulb that flickered on and off a rosy-coloured burst of energy that gave off warmth.
This city is for strangers.
|Friday, November 27th, 2009|
as i opened the front door, dismally regarding the naked rawness that winter brings to the world, a gust of wind swept me back into my home, rushing emotions into my heart - the want of you.
we are so fragile, in this world we built. in this world we built so that we would always be safe, and warm, and protected.
i look ...through windows, i put on mittens, i do everything under a guard of safeness so that this hurt doesn't materialise.
and then i remember, the friction that laughter, love, clasped hands and windchill scraping our faces makes it all worth it.
because the winter cold makes us red, paints us tender and fresh - and makes us real.
i would do anything with you.
|Sunday, August 9th, 2009|
i could never be a painter, or a proper composer.
couldn't depict with perfection the
the sweet chaos, release and power
that came from rain hitting the ground
richoeting it off walls, windows,
couldn't command the timpanies with the same noise like that.
couldn't make people understand the sheer beauty in its all-mighty form.
my clouds look like cotton balls,
my paints are acryclic, acidic,
i could never be a dancer.
never have my toes tap in a fury the way
that sang a song of wisdom and entertainment.
i was like a garden hose,
a leaking faucet.
never could turn an umbrella upside down.
never could make your heart spin.
never could knock the power out, even if only for a second.
i make flowers grow and they love me.
they breathe green, and yellow, and blue.
their melodies are timid and all-knowing as they sit beneath
large sycamores, small blades of grass, squrieels,
smelling of fresh,
i am silence.
the silence that rain makes, that rain leaves.
because before everything,
we're happy, laughing.
and then it comes, pouring.
pouring, rushing, streaming, crying.
it is a giant release.
it is a great cleanse.
it is God scrubbing his drawing board clean as best as he can.
but somehow chalk dust still remains,
you can still see a different shade of black sometimes, with old words.
sometimes all i see is you.
what is it, to be clean?
people say a lot about rain.
people say a lot.
how the springkling drops that echo off
means carrying an umbrella everywhere you
go, so you don't
but the plants like it.
it's a cool drink of water for them.
perfect weather for ducks.
we like to say that.
we like to say things.
we like to hope that
the sun will come out
that the old man
bumped his had and couldn't
get up in the morning.
because of rain.
because rain makes the world just a little darker,
little grayer than usual.
we feel the dampness in our
socks from our cheap shoes,
from our cheap paying job,
and if it weren't for the rain,
no one would notice.
not even you.
rain makes us crawl inside
as if we were, no.
by its magnificent, omnipresent and mighty force.
that rain can make the clouds spit electricity
that we call lightning.
because naming things makes us
that rain makes the clouds clap and boom thunder,
and puts litle children underneath beds in fright.
that the rain can make a mighty wave
and crash us into a river, a tsunami,
because we foget,
in the midst of our windshield wipers beating faster than our hearts that,
the sound has gone.
the asphalt doesn't dance in ripples and
sometimes a rainbow comes.
maybe like the one with the leprachaun and the pot of gold.
it painted my windows with colourful drops and fog
that would condense and drip down like a fallen tear,
down the softest cheek.
it made the world a little quieter.
reminded me that we all are helpless, sometimes.
through clouded lenses and clumepd eyelashes
we can still see a little
and when its all over the world smells a little cleaner.
the grass a bit greener.
a new coat of paint.
you sing rain to go away
and all you see are
impremeable jackets and
and yet the garden grows.
|Thursday, July 23rd, 2009|
Look at me. Don't bury your face in the sand and say that a million excuses like distance, and not knowing about something can keep you from trying to understand me. You put your foot into this, and once the mud hits your skin, you can't lie and say you don't feel the layer of thick wetness touching your ankle.
Look at me. Look what I've become. Look that I'm many things you didn't account for. Do I disappoint you? Have you changed, have I changed? Have we both had something happen?
I knew it. I knew it since the moment you sat me in the chair and didn't understand me for the first time. I felt this was the end of what used to be. You said we grew, grew closer. And I believed you. But ever since, I've been more fragile than a broken piece of glass, and all I can feel is your sharp, six inch stiletto crushing me into even tinier pieces. You say you sympathize, empathize. I believe you.
Look at me. I'm crying.
Do you think I play the pity card? Do you think I've become overly sensitive?
I think I've been hit in the ribs one too many times this summer, and it's never happened before from people I care about. I didn't expect this.
Look at me. I'm not excusing myself. I'm tired of doing it. You don't accept the way I act unless I do so. I could tell you I'm overworked, stressed beyond belief about piano, and about paying for university. About maintaining sanity in the face of my parents, about a million other reasons that have made me into this. This person I don't want to be.
LOOK AT ME. Look at me please. Look at me for who I am. Not for my excuses, not for what's happened that makes you think like its two puzzle pieces that don't fit. See me for the person you know I am, and try to understand and love me, like the way I have always done for you.
I never put you in this position. Never expected to be here either.
I'm glad I am though. New roads teach you new things. So even with dust in my eyes, even with a million obstacles and hurdles in my way,
look at me.
Look at me. Look at me.
Blurty for a smile in her eyes and a sunflower in her hair.*.