Monday, November 11, 2013

When Love Arrives

by Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye

I knew exactly what love looked like – in seventh grade
Even though I hadn’t met love yet, if love had wandered into my homeroom, I would've recognized him at first glance. Love wore a hemp necklace.
I would’ve recognized her at first glance, love wore a tight french braid.
Love played acoustic guitar and knew all my favorite Beatles songs.
Love wasn’t afraid to ride the bus with me.
And I knew, I just must be searching the wrong classrooms, just must be checking the wrong hallways, she was there, I was sure of it.
If only I could find him.

But when love finally showed up, she had a bow cut.
He wore the same clothes every day for a week.
Love hated the bus.
Love didn’t know anything about The Beatles.
Instead, every time I try to kiss love, our teeth got in the way.
Love became the reason I lied to my parents. I’m going to- Ben’s house.
Love had terrible rhythm on the dance floor, but made sure we never missed a slow song.
Love waited by the phone because she knew if her father picked up it would be: “Hello? Hello? I guess they hung up.”

And love grew, stretched like a trampoline.
Love changed. Love disappeared,
Slowly, like baby teeth, losing parts of me I thought I needed.
Love vanished like an amateur magician, and everyone could see the trapdoor but me.
Like a flat tire, there were other places I planned on going, but my plans didn’t matter.
Love stayed away for years, and when love finally reappeared, I barely recognized him.
Love smelt different now, had darker eyes, a broader back, love came with freckles I didn’t recognize.
New birthmarks, a softer voice.
Now there were new sleeping patterns, new favorite books.
Love had songs that reminded him of someone else, songs love didn’t like to listen to. So did I.

But we found a park bench that fit us perfectly
We found jokes that make us laugh.
And now, love makes me fresh homemade chocolate chip cookies.
But love will probably finish most of them for a midnight snack.
Love looks great in lingerie but still likes to wear her retainer.
Love is a terrible driver, but a great navigator.
Love knows where she’s going, it just might take her two hours longer than she planned.
Love is messier now, not as simple.
Love uses the words “boobs” in front of my parents.
Love chews too loud.
Love leaves the cap off the toothpaste.
Love uses smiley faces in her text messages.
And turns out, love shits!

But love also cries.
And love will tell you you are beautiful and mean it, over and over again. “You are beautiful.”
When you first wake up, “you are beautiful.”
When you’ve just been crying, “you are beautiful.”
When you don’t want to hear it, “you are beautiful.”
When you don’t believe it, “you are beautiful.”
When nobody else will tell you, “you are beautiful.”
Love still thinks you are beautiful.

But love is not perfect and will sometimes forget, when you need to hear it most, you are beautiful, do not forget this.
Love is not who you were expecting, love is not who you can predict.
Maybe love is in New York City, already asleep;
You are in California, Australia, wide awake.
Maybe love is always in the wrong time zone.
Maybe love is not ready for you.
Maybe you are not ready for love.
Maybe love just isn’t the marrying type.
Maybe the next time you see love is twenty years after the divorce, love is older now, but just as beautiful as you remembered.
Maybe love is only there for a month.
Maybe love is there for every firework, every birthday party, every hospital visit.
Maybe love stays- maybe love can’t.
Maybe love shouldn’t.

Love arrives exactly when love is supposed to,
And love leaves exactly when love must.
When love arrives, say, “Welcome. Make yourself comfortable.”
If love leaves, ask her to leave the door open behind her.
Turn off the music, listen to the quiet, whisper,
“Thank you for stopping by.”

Saturday, October 26, 2013

All is Well Now

Just because one forgets, doesn't mean one doesn't care.

That is something I should never forget.

Thank you for reminding me of that through the friends you have provided, dear Father.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The past month, my Facebook has been abuzz with exuberant birthday wishes accompanied with loads of photos at birthday parties - a substantial number of my old ACS classmates were born in October. Here's the thing about me. I've never been fond of birthday parties or cakes. I have never envied anyone for their birthdays, how they celebrate it, or what they get from it. I've always been contented with spending my birthday with one or two of my closest friends, satisfied that I had close friends who made the effort of remembering the day I was born.
Not until now.
It's a sad existence. I never expect much on my birthdays, but this year just might be one of the worst I've ever had. While others celebrated their 21st with stacks of cards, mountains of cakes, loads of friends and barrels of booze, I could count the number of birthday wishes I got from my friends on one hand, I spent the day in absolute loneliness and one of my closest friend completely forgot my birthday.
Apparently, I share the same birthday as Andrew Scott, who portrays one of my favorite villains of all time, Moriarty from BBC Sherlock. At any other time, I would have been ecstatic about this shared birthday.
Just... not this time.
I wonder what it says about a person when his closest friend gushes to him about a TV star's birthday while remaining completely oblivious to his hurt and frustration. Does it perhaps mean that his existence is less important than that of a celebrity? Is it something else?
As hard as I try to avoid thinking about it, I can't help but wonder how many of my friends even cares about my existence. Half my birthdays, I'm forcefully reminded that perhaps my birthday isn't really worth the effort to remember after all.
I'm sorry if this is starting to sound like a rant of self-pity. But I figured since this is a blog with near-zero readership, probably the only people to read this would be the occasional stranger chancing upon this blog. I'm not generally fond of self-pity - sometimes I look at it with disdain - but I think I realize now why self-pity exists. People pity themselves because there is no one else to pity them. In my case, the only people who would pity me are people who know it's my birthday, and since there's hardly any of them - and none of them are even in the country - it doesn't amount to much at all. So I celebrate my birthday with whatever I have left - a cake of self-pity lit with 21 forlorn candles and extinguished with drops of tears, celebrated with the stuffed animals on my bed who sang happy birthday in their little stuffed animal voices.
To those who know me, you know that my friends mean the world to me. I've always tried my best to be the best friend I could to those I befriend. Maybe I'm doing something wrong, maybe most of my friendships one-sided or something, maybe it's something else. I don't know. There's so much I don't know. All I know is that it's been awhile since I felt as worthless and discarded as I've been feeling these past few days.
A week ago, I looked forward to my birthday so very much. What a naive fool I've been. All I wanted was for my closest friends to remember my birthday. Birthday messages would have meant the world to me. I adore them. Words from the heart mean so much more to me than any tangible present ever would. All I ever wanted and needed for my birthdays was to know that I meant something - anything - to my friends. That's all. Sigh. My wishes were so different... but unrealistic, I realize now.
The procrastinator here, signing back out to his sad, quiet existence...

Monday, October 21, 2013

Twenty One

It seemed an apt picture to put up, since I can start drinking legally from today onwards
Twenty-one years ago to this day, a baby boy was born somewhere in Kuala Lumpur to happy parents and probably less-happy sisters. That boy was me.

My birthdays have always been a jumble of emotions as far as I remember. On one hand, birthdays are merely a marking stone for each year that has passed since a person was born and has managed to stay alive till. Staying alive was something I never actually considered a great achievement, I suppose. It simply is, and I owe most of that to God and my ever-watchful family members than to myself. God knows how many times I could have easily been pancaked while crossing a road with my nose in a book if not for some vigilant family member around.

But on the other hand, birthdays are something to me because it only occurs once a year on a very specific day. And because every person has a unique birth date, remembering one's birthday is something that requires effort. Well, at least it used to, until Facebook came along.

Call me old-fashioned, but I really don't care much for Facebook birthday wishes, or Facebook birthday reminders. Why? It's too easy. So every year as October rolls around, I play a little game called "Who Remembered?" I am the game master, and the players are anyone who manage to discover the existence of this game.

Facebook, Twitter, Google, Skype... You name it, I erased my birthday from it. I even went as far as to block anyone from posting up on my wall for as long as two days before and after my birthdays, to reduce the likelihood of players publicizing the game. Most years, it worked, with only a slight trickle of players to discover my hidden birthday. Most years, all I ever want is to hear a simple Happy birthday from a select few whom I thought of as my closest friends. Some years, that doesn't happen.

It sounds silly perhaps, and I suppose readers might be wondering why I would perform such an idiotic act of intentionally hiding my birthday if I wanted people to remember it. I do want people to remember it. But at the same time, my selfish side needs to know that people remembered it not because of some social media reminder, but because they cared enough to remember today and what it means to me.

Gauging friendships by one's ability to remember dates is probably an unreasonable method of doing it. Some people are just better than others at remembering dates, and after all, my birthday doesn't exactly occur on a remarkable date. On the calendar, it is just another day. I don't blame anyone in the least for not remembering it. I really do not. No one is obligated to remember my birthday, and I've always thought of birthday wishes as a gift. Given and received, but never asked for.

I suppose it is during moments like these when I'm thankful no one reads my blog anymore. I could have written this on a piece of paper and thrown it into the fire, but that would have meant nothing. A tree that falls in a forest doesn't make a sound. It only makes a sound if someone hears it.

So here I am, typing this out in a place where there's a chance of someone hearing me.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Bored. Bored! BORED!

Hello all. Someone. No one. If anyone is reading this at all. Quite frankly, I won't be surprised if no one ever reads this, and I don't suppose it would be anyone's fault but my own. I did neglect this blog for quite some time after all. Fortunately, the name of this blog does reflect my frequency in updating it rather well. I'm not too sure if I named it so because I knew I would procrastinate, or I procrastinated for the sake of maintaining the identity of this blog.

I like to think it's the latter. Yeah. It's definitely the latter.

I think.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't update this blog because I had nothing to write about. I thought of many things to write about. Stories, remarkable events (though remarkable doesn't necessarily mean interesting), thoughts, frustrations, yearnings. God knows how true that last bit is. I guess the nice thing about having a blog that no one will read is that I can bleed my thoughts out and... no one will read it. In any case, I suppose the only honest answer as to why I haven't been writing is one that is quite obvious and simple. 

I. Am. Lazy.

There. I said it.

Anyway, so why start now after so long? Well, turns out that boredom can be quite a good motivator, it seems. Or a good reason to find a new distraction, whichever it is. I'm sure there's something else really important I should be doing right now other than update a blog just because I got bored. Practice my Japanese, lift some weights, clean my room, count how many cornflakes there are in a box of cereal. Etc. 

In any case, I think I've run out of things to rant about for now about being bored. Maybe I'll continue in a following post about something else. Hmm...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Our Own Heaven

w r i t t e n   b y   D a r r e n   Y i p
Courtesy of Whitney Ng
There are three kinds of sinners: Those who kill, those who steal, and those who don’t obey their parents. Papa always said that all sinners go to hell. But he also said that God can forgive those who kill or steal if they pray for forgiveness. It’s only people who don’t listen to their parents who are never forgiven, and people like that go to a special place in hell because it is such a big sin.
            I believed him. It wasn’t hard; Mama died soon after giving birth to me when she tried to steal me and run away from home. Papa said she died because she didn’t listen to him, so that’s why God decided to punish her. God could have forgiven her for stealing me from him, he said. But Mama will still go to hell because she didn’t listen to him when he told her not to run away with me.
I was confused, so I asked why Mama was punished even though Papa wasn’t her parent. Papa then took down the big Bible from the wooden bookshelf and opened it. He pointed out a verse in it and read it out to me, but I didn’t understand it. Papa laughed very loud, and then he explained that the Bible said wives are like children, and that they must always obey their husbands. If they don’t, God will punish them, just like He will punish little children when they disobey their parents.
I nodded slowly, and then said to Papa that I was sleepy and that I wanted to go to sleep now. But Papa said no. He said that he wants me to play a game with him in his bedroom.
“But Papa, I’m sleepy,” I complained.
“I know, sweetheart. But it’s just a short while. Papa promises.”
“Can’t we do it tomorrow, Papa?”
“No, Kailey. Now do as I say and go to my room.”
“But I don’t want to.”
“Now, Kailey! Do you want to go to hell? Or have you already forgotten the time when I showed you how painful it is like to burn forever in hell?” Papa took a few steps towards me, his huge form towering over me.
I flinched, and almost automatically, my right hand reached over to grip my left arm, where there was large pink patch on the bottom side of it. Papa had said that he wanted to show me how it is like in hell, so that next time I would remember not to make God angry by doing “sin”. He had taken me to the kitchen, and sat me on the counter beside the stove. He then lighted up the stove. With a firm grip, he took my left hand and guided my arm right over the open flame.
I cried out; I couldn’t help it. The fire was so hot that it no longer felt like heat. All I felt was pain. It was so different from the gentle warmth that I was used to when I warmed my hands at the stove during the winter. Tears poured down my cheeks as I watched my skin turn from pink to red, to a darker shade of red. I tried to yank my arm back, but Papa’s hands were like rocks.
“Papa! Let go of me!”
“Do you understand what it feels like to burn in hell now, Kailey?”
“Please, Papa!”
“Answer me, Kailey.”
“Yes! I understand! Let me go!” I screamed.
Papa let go of my hand, and I immediately pulled it back towards myself, only to cry out in pain again when my left arm touched the fabric of my dress. My skin was an angry dark red, and oh God, it hurt. The very air itself seemed to be burning that part of my arm, and it felt like a dozen knives cutting into my skin when I brushed it against my dress. I used my right hand to scrub my face – my entire face was wet with tears and sweat – and hurriedly jumped off the kitchen counter and ran out of the kitchen to hide under the table. I sat there sobbing, while trying unsuccessfully to avoid touching anything with my left arm.
I heard Papa come near before I saw him. A moment later, his head appeared as he got down on one knee and faced me. He had a thick dark beard and moustache that made it hard to see when he was smiling most of the time. But this time, I would have seen it from a mile away. I didn’t like his smile. I tried to scramble away to the other side of the table, but Papa grabbed my legs as I did and dragged me bodily back towards him. My left arm scraped against the cheap carpet, and I screamed in pain as Papa grabbed my shoulders and made me face him.
“Kailey, Kailey, Kailey…” he gently murmured as he rubbed a rough thumb over my wet cheek. I felt his fingernail scratch against my skin.
“Now do you understand why Papa always makes you listen to me? God doesn’t like children to disobey their papa’s, and God will send these children to burn in hell forever. Papa loves you, and Papa doesn’t want you to burn like these bad children. This is just to help you remember so next time you won’t make God angry.” His voice ended in a whisper.
These memories flashed through my head as I looked back up at Papa standing over me. I knew that look on his face. It meant that he was going to get angry soon if I didn’t listen to him.
I knew the game that he wanted to play, but I never liked that game. I always felt a bit of pain between my legs in the mornings, and sometimes Papa gets a bit rough when he plays and accidentally hurts me. Sometimes I get bruises and scratches too.
But that look on his face meant I didn’t have a choice. So I slowly moved my feet up the stairs and pushed his door open with a finger. It creaked open. I felt the wall gingerly with my hand for the light switch and turned it on before stepping inside. The bed stood in the middle of the room, and the wall was covered with shoddy wallpaper that had more rips in it than I could count. There was a strong smell in the room; the same smell that is in the fridge when Papa leaves an open bottle of beer in it. I made my way across the room and sat down on the chair in front of a desk that was littered with cigarette butts.
A minute later, Papa stepped into the room. I felt my body shiver, but it wasn’t because of the cold. His eyes looked towards me immediately as he carelessly flung a hand to flick the lights off. The room went dark.
“Let’s play, Kailey.”
I was seven then.

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Year Ago

It all happened a year ago
When I arrived here and came to know
That not all was as the TV had shown;
By God, it was the land of the unknown!

An endless summer marked the days
In the blessed land where I was raised.
But here, autumn leaves and winter snow
Marks the time that passes ever slow.

Of cultures and traditions,
Or dreams and ambitions;
A clash between the East and West?
To join the two shall be my quest.

I used to be a joke in my friends’ eyes,
For they said I was a white in disguise.
“White on the inside, yellow on the outside!
Look, a banana!” they laughed and cried.

Yet, here I am in the Land of the Free
Eating rice and drinking tea.
“Kanasai!” remains my favorite curse,
And thus it shall be till the day of my hearse.