Two days ago in the midweek, I drank a bit too much and fell up the stairs. Apparently, I had insisted on using the stairs when we could have taken the elevator. The truth is, I just wanted to spend a little more time with you, and for you to hold me a bit longer. We sat on your couch and drank some more, but I babbled a lot of the day’s happenings into the glass of whiskey and let my feelings out through tendrils of smoke. You asked me if I wanted to go to bed, but I said, “I have to work in a few hours, I need to go home.” I ended up sleeping on the couch with a blanket over. And you never moved an inch while my head rested on your lap.
Last week, I played coy even though I knew exactly what people were up to, but I just couldn’t deal with disappointment so I decided that if I expect nothing, I wouldn’t be disappointed when handed with nothing. That night, I pretended to sleep, but I actually couldn’t. And while you drifted off to sleep and I heard your breathing, I closed my eyes and dreamt of film endings. I think I am a continuity mistake in your life, but you just don’t want to admit it. That morning when I woke up, the sky was still dark outside and I realise maybe I didn’t even sleep that much. But I could see your face and I’m wondering, what are you dreaming of?
A couple of weeks ago, you buried your face into my neck and couldn’t stop laughing. I forgot what the joke was, but it doesn’t mean a joke didn’t exist.
The truth is, I cannot differentiate what’s real and what isn’t. The seemingly real incidents turn out to be as fleeting as the smoke you blow into my face - I just can’t grab hold. Yet the ones that keep playing at the back of my head, that materialise and burn into the back of my eyelids, seem the most plausible and attainable.
Just the other day, my nose started to bleed and you wiped it away with your finger. The floor under my feet started to shatter and I felt it gave way.
On the way to work, while waiting for the train, I looked up from my phone and I thought I saw a man who looked like you from the back.
Everything - his outfit, the back of his neck, his hair, his shoulders, his waiting stance, his posture. Everything reminded me of you. If I could verify its authenticity, I would stand behind and see if my head fit the shoulder blades perfectly. But it wouldn’t, because he turned around and dissolved into the surroundings. I knew it would have been physically impossible for you to be at two places at one time.
Or is it not? Maybe there was a glitch in the motherboard and my visuals didn’t make it to my brain. But this morning, I felt better about myself, so I was okay with seeing a ghost of you, but then later I felt a cold hand grip the back of my brain.
Years after a displacement that could have been avoided, I wonder if I’m playing a very long, drawn video game with no end in sight. Yet. And I’m wondering, if my last saved moment was when you broke up with in the kitchen, then why haven’t I desperately saved many other moments where I could possibly go back for a do-over after the countless times that I died in the game?
And after years and years of rewinding and trying numerous do-overs that don’t make sense nor work out, I think I’m finally starting to feel the gears wearing down and the screen burning up into a permanence. I don’t want to keep going over the same restart point, but neither do I desire enough to finish the game that I may see the end.
"Are you happy?"
In another lifetime where I’m answering the question in person, I must remind myself to dig my fingernails deeper into my thighs this time round to make sure that it’s real thing, and that the feeling of tackling a disarming question head on is fear and loathing.
"Are you happy?"
My eyes snap open and I forgot what my answer was at that time. Then I wonder if I had already dreamt of a definite answer or if God had refused to let me see into my own wicked heart again.
We fight on a Thursday on the way to dinner.
If I shut my eyes tightly to try and let my brain project the images onto the back of my eyelids, I realise it’s just really only images after all. I remember you driving at night with your head faced front; I remember my body facing you and my hands were all over the place; I remember you turning to look at me with angry eyes and the car swerving into another lane; I remember the car jerking to a stop by the side of the highway as we stewed in a lethal concoction of anger, tension and disappointment.
It’s only just images after all because years later, I realise that I cannot even remember what we fought about.
Even when we’re far apart, we gravitate back to each other. Turns out we were like two cores sparking off even when just near by and when we finally collide into each other, the heat gets too unbearable, a small explosion ignites and a fire starts to burn everything along our path.
That was yesterday. Or feels like yesterday, at least. Today, I sit by my window with a drink and watch you from across; and I wonder what would a randomised, computed future with you be like.
Nothing comes up.
The January winds finally shifted and the cold snap that passed over this warm country finally went back to where it belonged. And while I had hoped that things would go back to where it was when I opened my eyes, I settled for cold fingers tucking my stray hairs back behind my ear.
"When will you stop cutting your damn hair?"
"When it stops looking like an ugly mushroom looking thing."
"It looks fine to me."
"It doesn’t to me."
"You’re never happy."
I whirled my head round, ready to argue, but I could never find the anger nor courage to be angry at people. Ryan Adams played in my head and I decided to smile and forgive you. And you smiled back.
The January winds were so cold at night and I wish I could stick my head out from the car when we were driving home one night. It was quiet and the moment I pulled down the windows, the rushing roar of the wind filled my ears and the cool wind stirred a restless heart. I know that it will be warm the time February comes, and I constantly worry about the fate of my loves that start and end in a sticky mid-summer.
This time, I simply let it fly loose in the wind and hope that whatever belongs to me will come back.
Last Valentine’s Day, I pulled together a list of films to celebrate unfulfilled, unrequited and unattainable loves in cinema. A love that is, as what the Chinese calls, 有缘无分 - fated but not destined for this life.
This Valentine’s Day, let it be a celebration of all the strange loves - the unconventional, extraordinary, and most of all, the ones that we will never understand at all.