It’s easy to enter fear street with a horror movie because you brace yourself for the blood and guts, kills and spills, and you know what to expect. But being alone in your room (and imagination) and reading eerie and disturbing short stories will teach you fear and loathing like you never knew; and probably ranks the top of my “why did I think this was a good idea” list.
Bodies work in the strangest ways. After months of learning and undressing and recalibrating and disarming, I’ve come to realise that you can understand a body, but perhaps never know it at all.
There are some nights when I still think of and am reminded of old lovers, bodies and ghosts, but as with memory, they become hazier and I cannot tell if it’s a real thing that I’m missing, and in a sense, perhaps it is for the better. Yesterday, I closed my eyes and I know something is finally for real, for real, for real, because I can feel the shivers right at the tips of my toes, and the tingling go straight to my teeth. This feeling is real, and this is reality.
In order to understand men and relationships and all the messy things that come out of it, I let them have all of me. But as it turns out, that so-called all of me isn’t that important and special after all. That’s why you can have all of it.
I cut my hair this afternoon and 12 hours later, you run your fingers through my hair; they escape much faster than before. “It’s really short,” you say.
"Didn’t you want to keep it long?"
"I do. But I don’t know what to do with it."
I never really had a chance to do much with my long hair and my short hair seems to have an affinity with all the boys. The last serious relationship withered away slowly just as my hair touched my shoulders — the longest it had ever been at that point in time — and it was a pity because he couldn’t wait to see my hair grow out. But instead of cutting it off to signify the end of something, I just let it grow and grow because I couldn’t be bothered and it turned into somewhat a signature look. And now I just keep going shorter and shorter because I don’t know how else anymore.
"Just let it grow out." You mumbled a bunch of words as you ran your fingers down the back of my head and caressed the back where the baby hairs stuck out.
I blow a whole bunch of smoke in your face before resting on your shoulder. It’s easy to say.
Picture of Tony Leung from cinematographer Christopher Doyle’s visual and narrative diary, Buenos Aires, of his participation in the making of Wong Kar Wai’s film Happy Together.
He wrote: “We shoot wallpaper patterns — not for nothing to do but as a ‘symbolic reference’ to the personalities of our characters. The floral lotus pattern is Leslie, colourful, exuberant. The black-like pattern, repetitive, enclosed upon itself, unrelenting is a hint of what Tony’s character is about.”
Being an adult in waste and abandon is being wearing only your underpants and picking up the newspaper off somebody’s front door, and coming back into bed pretending to love someone else. Even if you have any sort of shame about your body and how much you hate it, you try to hide it just so you can prove a point — that you really try to pretend to love yourself so other people can see that you can at least attempt to love them. Because everyone seems to want to see that sort of logic so much.
In other separate nights I’m drinking till I black out and wake up and black out and write drunk tweet after tweet after post and post on different places, and send it into the hells of publishing — in drafts. The hells where random sentences survive and thrive and grow bigger on the pools of anxiety and desperation, which twist and scream to try and get out.
As it turns out, I’ve been deluding myself all this while. The parallel life had been one full of emotional intimacy and with it came all the physical benefits while the alternate life which I thought would come to fruition turned out to be a quick fuck most of the time. And in my head, I’m just laughing every day. Life is funny. And the things you have you’re never satisfied.
On Friday night, I really couldn’t be half-assed to take off my dress, but you insisted because, “the dress will be dirty”. I stared at you for a while and then decided, you’re right, my dress will be dirty. And it’s best to just feel dirty instead of being dirty I guess. A body is a body.
Halfway during the ride home, driving through the tunnels, I felt an inexplicable need to cry.
In this lifetime, I fell in love with a physicist at the wrong time and if he knew how to manipulate time and space and turn the past into the future, we would be perfect. If the physicist turned up at my doorstep with that letter from ages ago and said, “let’s change our future”, I would try all over again. But none of us were brave enough this lifetime, and will never be — and it is an irrevocable variant that would stain the futures so badly no matter how many pasts we desire.
In the next karmic cycle, I fell in love with a memory that was too good to be true, even with the flaws that I gave — the marriage, the unavailability, the volatility. But my memory is decaying and the half-life is increasing and I forgot if we were even that good in the first place.
In the dying days, I fell in love with a biologist who doesn’t know how to look hard enough into my heart and insides (or maybe doesn’t want to?). In between flashes of electricity and pain, I close my eyes very tightly and wish that this lifetime, our brains were perfect and the best for each other. And I have nothing else better for our present — because reality is so boring and the short circuits in our brain make us badder people than the better people that we so badly want to be.