Soaking In Gratitude

xixi

A knock echoed through my empty apartment one unassuming Tuesday afternoon and a raspy voice followed after. “Kuai di!” he bellowed and I tottered towards the door, expecting to receive yet another parcel — the result of cheapass China products and too efficient online shopping.

Receiving mail is one of the greatest joys in this tech-savvy era, but when you receive 20 tightly wrapped parcels in the short span of a week, it can turn into the biggest pain in the ass. This time, instead of brown cardboard boxes mummified in too much cellophane tape, it was a Styrofoam box.

Attacking it with skilled finesse — something I have mastered over the months of opening countless parcels, it revealed bubble wrap. A layer of bubble wrap so thick it completely concealed what it meant to hold. 2 ice packs fell out. I lost my mind. What the heck did I buy?

After layers of peeling, it revealed a 1.5 feet long (think in terms of Subway sandwich lengths) pumpkin tartlet. From who? A friend I happened to meet up with while visiting Beijing. Why? Because she bought it for me once and I couldn’t stop complimenting it. It sat there, in that huge Styrofoam box, smothered in bubble wrap and ice packs, still cool to the touch. So cool it burned a fiery hole in my heart.

I haven’t met many people after moving to Shanghai. I’m a firm believer that socialising takes too much effort and I’m not the kind to build relationships I don’t see lasting the dissuasion of time. Exchange students? Not my type. The locals however, surprise me. Generous, companionable and down to earth, they have found an incomprehensible way of wriggling into the depths of my heart. They are the kind that grow on you. The kind you never expect to root in the depths of your soul and flourish into something larger than love itself.

The Day I Went to a Cafe

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I never liked cafes. It makes me uncomfortable in a way that I can never fully comprehend, almost like being trapped in a glass chamber under heavy observation. I think it has something to do with the rise of indie culture and how people in cafes are always dressed in an artificially laid-back manner that sets my skin on fire. Intentionally comfortable dressing that looks comfortable but actually isn’t. I don’t like the indie culture very much.

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Yet on a rainy afternoon, amongst hectic schedules and intense editorial meetings, I found myself walking into Loysel’s Toy, looking for something I wasn’t sure if I was going to find. But my shoes were wet, and my shoulders heavy. For once, the scent of fresh brew and the clinking of cutlery seemed inviting.

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What was I trying to look for? I don’t really know. Perhaps it’s the budding of first loves or the reconciliation of lost ones? The serenity on the faces of coffee drinkers? Or the fluster and frenzy of the servers hurriedly pulsing black liquid into the bellies of white mugs? What do you look out for when you’re sitting upon wooden chairs and eating upon wooden tables? What captures your attention and gives you a reason to stay? The food wasn’t sublime, it never is and never will be. But yet there’s a strange attraction that cafes have that keeps the seats filled and the coffee cups empty.

I don’t like cafes, but I keep going back, only to be left more confused every time.

I don’t like cafes, but I do?

A Little Alcohol is the Best

I am intoxicated. Mildly, but surely.

I don’t evangelise drinking. I am not the devil that sits comfortably on the right side of your shoulder and coaxes you into letting down your defences into welcoming a spiked drink. I’m not.

But no one can deny how a drink (or two) can set your inhibitions loose and let you feel a little more relaxed than you initially intended to be. No one can deny how every emotion you feel is amplified, turned positive and coloured in rainbows highlighted with streaks of neon when you choose to take a sip out of the cocktail glass. I’m not saying a bit of alcohol always makes you feel better. I’m just saying that the odds are in your favour when you do.

I realise it’s always easier to write when your senses are dulled and when your fingers run on something other than sobriety and common sense. That when you learn to let instinct take a turn at churning out words and forming sentences, not only do you get a good laugh in the morning, you also realise a little bit more about yourself than you knew yesterday.

I’m not drunk. Nowhere near vomiting. But intoxicated? Surely. And whether or not I’ll realise I wrote this tomorrow remains an unknown mystery. Whether I’ll regret it or not? I already know for sure right now.

I’m a bag of happiness right now. Of magnified happiness, comfort and half-witted contentment. But who is to deny a fool of his joy and a dimwit of his comfort? No one. This happiness is mine, however short lived, however immoral. It is mine and I welcome it with unmatched, childish delight.

The Day You Stopped Drinking

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Sometimes I think he’s just hiding. That alter-ego that you affectionately call your delinquent past cowering behind the blinding brightness you have become. Occasionally he comes out to play when the coaxing and mellow whispers prove too tempting to dispel. But most of the time, you keep him hidden under chains and shackles, under the weight of your morose, sobriety and numbness.

I take out a beer bottle, it’s cool surface kissing my lips and sending delectable chills of pleasure coursing through my skin. All that’s missing is the celebratory clinking of glass against glass — the sound that differentiates drowning of sorrows from joyous intoxication. But the clinking never comes and neither does the happiness. It’s hidden, muffled alongside the person you strangled within.

I long to see him again, for a chance to at least bid farewell the proper way. I long to see the shadows of his writhing form swaying on the dance floor, the exact motions of his moves already lost in my memory. I long to blow him a kiss, sending with him the part of my past that should have left as companion. The part that now lives in the present, agonised and longing your return.

Excusez-moi?

WP DPWAHAHA

After owning this blog since forever, you can now find out who I am by clicking the page link right below my header. Or alternatively, visit www.braintango.wordpress.com/who-am-i.

Also took the chance to do some doodling since being trapped indoors with deadlines pretty much turn your brains into mush. A little cluttered, a little maniacal and a little too abstract to understand. Don’t ask me what it means, because I most likely have no answer too.

Happy sunny days guys, the skies finally cleared up.

Dischevelment

Tonight, there are no tears in my eyes. The dull ache in my chest has ceased its throbbing, and there is no knot in my stomach that cannot be untied. It’s not that I don’t love you anymore, or that the feelings that I have are fading away. No it’s not that. I love you all the same, if not more. I have just come to accept the fact that when you hand someone your heart, you’re bound to have it crushed in the end.

What’s the big hoo-ha over love anyway? The infinite moments you spend waiting for a phone call that ends in a matter of seconds, your heart dying alongside the fatal beep of the telephone line. Sure, he makes you happy when he turns up outside your door at midnight with a bunch of roses despite the pouring rain — but you’d definitely be happier if it wasn’t a gesture of guilt or a well executed apology. Love is messy, as messy as the fucking jumbled mess of thoughts in my head.

There is no perfect way to love someone. What seems to you like a flawless kind of adoration can appear to be a brave attempt fallen flat on the other side of the mirror. There’s no certainty in love, and that breaks my heart. No, it smashes it. And that makes it sickening, repulsive, detestable.

Love is a strong emotion, and a wrong misstep can change it into nothing but blinding hate.

I’m Looking For You

“Don’t worry, you’ll blend in really soon just like in high school.”

“Ya, that took me six years.”

I feel like a kid waiting for midnight so the magic can begin—knowing very well that eventually, the clock will strike 12, but still remain tortured by its final countdown. School’s been great, it’s just easier to feel lonely amongst people who’ve already found their place you know? And despite being lost around campus, having to battle long train rides and experiencing loads of laughter, there are still pockets of emptiness that’s patiently waiting to be filled. By what I’m not sure, but so far, loneliness seems to have been calling it home.

The feeling of familiarity has been so misunderstood—perhaps we only see its value when everything seems alien and strange. I don’t like change, and my patience and hopefulness in welcoming familiarity is running out. I know the feeling I’m looking for will come soon enough, but this time, the wait seems unnaturally long.

Back to Basics

A few months ago, my life spiralled out of control. And as quickly as I rose to what some people may consider the pinnacle of academic success, it took me just as fast to tumble back down. But I am glad to announce that I’m back in school. 🙂

These few months have really been a journey for me. Law School drop out (LSD) turned amateur writer, I had to pick myself up and brush off the dust from my mighty fall, apply for various jobs and finally walk out of the nights I would spend burning mindlessly through readings I did not understand and days in which I would end drowning in my own tears. Its not easy walking out of your comfort zone (when has it ever been?), definitely not easy having to pursue your passion when your skills don’t back you up, and worst of all (applies to me only lah), having to experience a change of environment over and over again.

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Its my second day at school, and although I’m not quite close to being happy again, I think I will be soon. I can feel opportunities bashfully hiding in corners of my lecture halls, and seedlings of comfort eagerly awaiting blossom. I cannot say I feel right here, but I think I will feel that way soon. At least I hope I will—and that’s a great start.

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P.S: I’m the new food writer for Poached Magazine, so show me some love when you spot my reviews!

Revenge is For The Heartless

When you love someone and they break your heart, you remember it forever. You may fall in love again, you may get up on your feet again, but the feeling of having your chest ripped open and your heart slowly torn to pieces? That feeling never really goes away.

I used to love you. I used to notice you in a corner of the school canteen and feel excitement bubbling right in the middle of my chest. I used to run right up to you and give you a huge hug, because that meant that I got one in return. I got a hug from you. A hug you gave so damn well, it felt like sunshine pouring into my cold wet soul and keeping me alive. I used to laugh with you, I used to watch you cry. I used to haul your sorry drunken ass up a cab and to my house in the middle of the night. I used to love you, right from the very tips of your fingers, to the marrows of your bones. And for a brief moment of time, I thought you loved me too.

But the funny thing about time is that a second to someone can end up being years to another. And perhaps a blink of an eye to me became a far too long for you. Does it hurt when you remove someone from your life? Do you rip them out like band aid from a wound, or do you like to light a match and watch them burn up in flames? I hope it hurts. I hope it hurts like hell. Because maybe then, you can feel a quarter of the pain you put me through.

But hey, the good news is I no longer do. I no longer love you. After the million and a half times you broke my heart? Consider it a miracle I took so long to lose faith in you. Anyway, here’s a parting gift for you: When someone breaks your heart, remember to break theirs too. Only this time, do it better, do it harder, and remember to hold back your tears when you hear yours splinter too.

Too Close For Comfort

Sometimes I wish everything were easier. That toothpaste magically capped themselves back after use and that tissue boxes never emptied. Sometimes I wish everything were easier. That hearts didn’t get broken and friendships never faded away. Sometimes I wish everything were easier. Maybe sometimes, more than sometimes. Every moment, I wish things got easier.

I can still hear the familiar tone of your laughter reverberating in my ear. The high pitched, semi laugh-semi giggle that erupts from your tiny frame whenever you’re amused. I remember how you used to lie on my shoulder and tell me your darkest secrets, as though my reputation as the class loud mouth were nothing but a lie, and that you were able to see through the layers of my shell and into my loyal tightlipped core. There is a photo of us on the corkboard hanging on my wall. The one where our hair was still short and your head was so close to mine we could pass of as Siamese twins. The one where we were both lying on the table, the one where we were both smiling like we had everything we wanted in the world right next to us. The one where we were actually happy together.

But like to every happy thing that happens in life, something happened. Oh wait. I’m wrong. Nothing happened. There was no spark between us anymore. For some reason, you stopped running to me with the latest gossip, murmuring excitedly about so-and-so who was attached to so-and-so.  For some reason, you stopped exchanging you-know-what-I’m-thinking glances with me when our gawdy looking literature teacher walked into the classroom. For some reason, you stopped wanting to curl up by my side and lay quietly as though my breaths were your favourite melody and my shampoo your favourite scent.

I miss you. I miss the way I was unguarded when I was your friend. The way I can probably never be now. I wish things could go back to the way they were, I wish we never grew up. I wish things could be so much easier such that when I look at your Twitter timeline, I could will myself into believing I was there with you during every update.

Life is difficult. Life is too difficult. You live everyday wishing you were dead, and you slowly die every day wishing you were more alive. Perhaps I don’t even miss us being friends. Perhaps you just happened to be the catalyst in putting together all the negative thoughts and broken relationships. Perhaps viewing your timeline on Twitter just served to make all the feelings of worthlessness, of loneliness, of utmost helplessness collide. Perhaps it was just time for me to realize that things were getting too complicated. That life, this jumbled mess we call life, is too difficult to ever figure out. That we are all just tiny specks of dust scrambling to discover the meaning of life, only to realize that this is a question with no answer.

I wish things were easier. Everyday.