Occasionally, I am frozen in my seat when I watch an Edward Yang film. Stricken by a past life that vividly plays at the back of my eyelids, I am thinking, is my present now then someone’s past memories?
There’s a silent suffocation that goes on in my home that makes it difficult to breathe. I’m not sure if it’s the warm air, or the ever-increasing presence of my mother. But in the summer, particularly this month, I feel like dying more often than usual. It’s the sweaty, wet nights by the window, the listless mornings where the sun rises too early to warm up the room, and the still, sticky air which sets off the boredom. There are only so many nights where I can work late, and so many people I can afford to meet.
This morning, I really hated you. And I felt like I couldn’t possibly like you anymore. I thought the feeling would abate by night, but going outside to smoke, I came face to face with the warm air again and I knew it was a week meant for boredom and burns on my thighs.
- Where do you want to go?
- Wherever you want to take me.
1. Often I am restless and bored, but I try to kill that boredom with other things. It’s like painting a fresh colour over a layer that I grew bored off - just that I realise that the need for new coats have increased over time. Sometimes, I’m surprised at how wet the paint is when I swipe the new coat across. And I’m not prepared for it when the colours mix. But it dries up and all I end up with is a really thick layer of paint and I forgot what it was I painted over. Is it a wooden block or a piece of canvas?
2. The other day, I removed my makeup and I found myself very unsatisfied with the spots on my face and how used I’ve gotten to looking at a made up face. My face is too sallow, rings too dark, lashes not thick enough, blah blah. I knew this day would come.
3. It’s April and my resolutions for the year have crumbled. I’ll try to pick them up, but I don’t have much hope for myself.
4. The other day in Seoul, I spent an evening in a cafe beside a stranger. We were outdoors, it was cold, I was smoking and drinking iced coffee, he was smoking and drinking something else. I was watching Pushing Daisies, and I’m sure he was watching me more than his own iPad. And I wonder what happens to the lives of others constantly - not in a jealous, covetous way. More so, I just want to know what’s happening in everyone’s lives. He would ask me for a cigarette later, and I even lit one up for him. Life is funny that way.
5. I want to try and make you happy, but I don’t know what to do. I stare at your face, often at your lashes and I get a funny feeling in my stomach. I haven’t determined what that feeling is. Sometimes I’m in the car and all I want to do is reach over and touch you, but then I wake up and realise I’m a fool.
6. Today I dreamt that I was getting married to a boy I never knew. It was going nightmareishly well and I was the best version of myself. Everyone was happy but most importantly, I felt like this was real. But I turn around to see R as a best man and I immediately felt my face melting and the ground give way - this had to be a dream. I woke up on the floor and I had missed the alarm.
Sometimes like today, I let me be kind to myself and allow the indulgence of taking half a day off work to be done with life and do errands. But at the end of the day, I’m still crying on the way home and into my packed dinner and trying to figure out what’s wrong with my life. I have what I need so why is it like that?
As a Buddhist saying goes: five hundred backward glances in our past reincarnations, in exchange for walking by each other once in this life.
One day I will find someone who would be willing to love me and talk to me about Chinese cinema and cinematic culture in the 90s and early 00s. Till then, my Sunday afternoons will be spent watching re-runs of Stephen Chow’s and Wong Kar Wa’s early work.