It is a situation not foreign to anybody. You are alone in the bathroom, you’re alone in your sleep. Most people are alone on the commute, alone when they read, alone when they eat. There is importance in loneliness.
I see this perhaps even more clearly now that I am part of two. Time spent without him is valuable and much needed. In fact, although we are geographically together most of the time, we spend the greater part of that “together-time” alone. I watch my dramas. He plays risk on the tablet. We play scramble. Not always with each other. I read a book. He plays carrom. Why then be together? I don’t really know. It is nice to know that there is a person sitting not so far away who will fetch me anything I need, I suppose. I don’t know why he stays by my side. It is rather unlikely that he is there for the sole purpose of fetching me things that I am too lazy to leave my bed for. We share jokes ongoing in the things we are doing separately. Talk about how clever we are because there is no need for shame. I hardly ever talk about how clever he is :P I daresay he knows it for himself.
Yet when he was at his lab’s poker trip, or when he is hanging out with the youth of his church (they call themselves “young adults”, they are all still youths to me), I am alone. I think, I walk, I ponder things too stupid to name. I dream about walking in the park with Hyun Bin haha. But not all my ponderings are frivolous.
There is importance in experiencing a loneliness that cannot be removed by any other human being. When was the last time anybody ever introspected anyway? Are you happy? Are you sad? In general? Or in part? How do things make you feel? How valid are those feelings?
Things I ask myself
Am I getting too full of myself?
What is my net happiness now and what are the primary contributors to it?
Am I letting my art go unexpressed?
Am I filling my head with junk?
Why are so many things around me so badly designed? (I’m not just talking about aesthetics, I also consider user-friendliness and profit-enhancement)
Things I think certain people should ask themselves
Am I asking stupid questions?
Am I not thinking enough?
How do I expand my scope of view?
Am I making generalizations?
Am I imposing what I enjoy on other people without considering them as individuals?
Why should my values be any more valid that another’s?
Am I really in the right field?
This past week was spent on remembering. I don’t intentionally dig up memories, some of them are really painful. But remembering is an integral part of living meaningfully. Regardless of what age you are and how limited your memory is, the things that are truly worth remembering will be remembered by you.
Things like your parents’ birthdays. Where your first house was. Chris’s mother-in-law has dementia and doesn’t remember much – you wouldn’t if you were 94-she doesn’t remember if she has washed her hair or where she’s staying right now. She doesn’t always remember to put her underwear on before her clothes instead of after. But she remembers to read the bible every day. She remembers the names of her children, even if she doesn’t remember their faces.
That’s why I always rebelled against nonsensical chinese rituals. Things like paying a visit to the columbarium to “remember” your deceased grandparents and pay your respects. If you don’t go, does that imply that you’ve forgotten them and don’t respect them? Always “call” your parents and elders to eat before you start eating. If I don’t perform this (in the manner of a trained seal), does that mean I don’t honour my parents/elders? And if I DO perform this, does that imply that I respect them? Perhaps my calling them to eat is a pavlovian response inculcated from young where the lack of such “manners” resulted in a caning. The very notion of a ritual to show respect is utterly laughable. Is the implication therefore that you don’t need to actually have respect for these jokers? just to show it? Like how the bible doesn’t tell us that we have to like our enemies, just to love them in an intelligent way? So many appearances. I have no idea how much entire generations of chinese had to close their minds and shut off their logic just to abide by these traditions.
This week, I put off remembering you.
In remembering you, there are absolutely no rituals. I do not know the exact day you died. The exact time, the exact place. I do not know where your ashes lie. I have no grave to go to. No friends to remember with- we were one of a kind. No classroom to sit in, where we spent hours upon hours in each other’s company, becoming snarkier, wittier, more disdainful of all the plebs around us.
We sat together, at the top of the pack, laughing at all the silly people below. I liked being at the top with you. We never took anything seriously, least of all ourselves. I was going to name my daughter ‘Quinn’, and you were going to name your son ‘Milk’. We were going to live forever.
It’s been 7 years since those everyday days. And 2 years since you left.
I am a faithful timekeeper.