Sometimes I forget that I had a brother. It’s only when a photograph comes up, showing us both and with the rest of the family, that I recall how he was. I have almost forgotten how he was; what he was like living, animated. And when I do remember him, it always brings along a tinge of sadness; not a wave, but a tinge, as would any good memory of the past. Is it then better to forget completely those whom have passed, since remembering them or seeing them in pictures only makes you sad, only makes you wish for a return to a time you can never return to. Is it better to forget that I ever had a brother?
In the case of one being the other, and the other being you – everything collapses into nothing, because you are not that person whom you should be; and neither would that other person be the first person against whom you are to be juxtaposed. Does this all make sense to you? Because it certainly does not make any sense to me; and indeed, I have lost all sense of sense, and the days march by like mindless motors, grinding, grinding, grinding, and finally a still as it suspends in the vapid light of day.
On a more sensible note, I thoroughly miss being in Hokkaido. It’s so different from Singapore; the roads, the people, the air, the weather, the moisture, the mountains, the infinite columns of trees, the eternally enjoyable walks, the flaring skirts of the city girls and their tidy appearance. I miss waking up in the morning, early, but much later than when the sun had rose, then putting on my shoes and going out ready with a map and a motive – we always made sure to plan the night before where we wanted to go. We would take the subway in the city of Sapporo, which was almost as enjoyable as driving in the countrysides, because the carriage was always so quiet and you could observe all the Japanese people going about a life so different from ours. And at the close of the day, as the sun loses its radiance and the crowd sinks into a sleep, we return home; by that time, it would be dark already, and our feet throbbing with lethargy. The night time weather is cool and pleasant, perfect for sleep.
Of all the places in Hokkaido, I miss Utoro the most – a northern most town by the sea; quiet, except for the occasional stampedes of tourists. There are number of huge, towering rocks near the shores, one of them fixed with a long stair so you can climb to the top of it, walk around, and admire the entire town from where the tireless seagulls make their circles. Most of the meals were seafood – rice, caviar, salmon, urchin, octopus, prawns, squids. One of our meals was had at a little diner just by the dock, called ‘Fishermen’s Wives Restaurant’. True to its placard, all the cooks and waiters were women, all of whom looked like they had fishermen for husbands.
Did I tell you that I had dream where I was sitting for one of those holy proceedings and all of sudden I decided that I had enough of shenanigans, went up and overturned the bible. I also did I few other things which I can’t remember, but which was disrespectful nonetheless. And at the precise moment when I was up there causing a scene, I realised just what I was doing wrong, and so wrong that I could not go back; I was doomed to imminent condemnation. Afterwards, some people, the kinder ones were around me, telling me that it was alright, that since I knew my mistake, the consequences would not be so harsh – but I could tell that some part of them was upset at my actions.
See, I cannot expel God from my life no matter how hard I try. For too long he has been inside, and for too many hours did I deliver my thoughts unto him, that he has grown to become a part of my inner world. Whenever I would feel terribly, deeply distressed, I would whisper: God, save me, save me from this torment. And I know, reason knows, that there would come no response and no help, but I am hoping, a part of me hopes that he will save me.
Frustrating afternoon at work today. The gatekeepers were in approval of an idea that I thought lacked any sort of coherence. But they looked at it, saw its first appearance of beauty and said ‘if it hadn’t been done already, we’d send it up straight to the clients themselves.’ But how could they not have seen that beyond its appearance, it had nothing holding it together; it didn’t make sense at all. I had realised this senselessness earlier and was so confident that they too would pick it out when they saw it. But to my utter dismay – I don’t know whether to feel upset or disappointed or hopeless – they said it was good. How, how, how – just how the in the world of sense could they have approved it? It baffled me and ruined my mood for the remainder of the day. Now, either I am the one whose thinking is skewed or the world is just full of stupid and incompetent people with whom I will have to deal tirelessly with, till the end of my pathetic existence. God save my sorry soul.
It appears that I have nothing to say, nothing to add, which is why I have been kept out of the circles. And all I can do is to watch on from the sidelines, straining my ears to try and catch whatever bit of information that wriggles out of the talking space. How I wish I could be a part of everything. But I am incapable, thoroughly, thoroughly incapable; and for good reason kept out of the circles. I would only contribute chaos and confusion.
When you have had a loved one suffer for a prolonged period from an illness, and then had to watch him die, the pain usually does not come until later. That is because at the outset of his death, you can still recall the agony in his eyes, and how he could do nothing save breathe – and sometimes even the breathing got frighteningly difficult. All the things he wanted to do he could not, and so little did he smile. For so long did you watch him in this debilitated state that you wished on many occasions at his bedside for him to sooner go. And finally when it was granted, and he went quietly into the night without anyone’s knowing, you felt a mix of grief and relief. At the funeral, you cried, of course. But otherwise, you kept reminding yourself that his death was a good thing, since his suffering was now no more; you tell yourself further that it was natural for a child like him, with his disabilities and deficiencies, to expire earlier, much earlier; and that it was merely nature taking course – and how could anyone get angry at nature taking its course; as if to rebel against the human mortality! So it was that you calmed your sorrow and appeased your sobs, and went back to distracting yourself with the endeavours of the living. But the days go by and his absence becomes more and more felt. It is hardly believable to you that he is gone forever; that you shall never again see him or hear him or be able to touch him; he survives only in the pictures and the memory, which to say cruelly little. You begin to forget about the suffering in his eyes; all you want is to see him one more time, breathing, alive, being himself, inimitable Ryan that no amount of memory can amount to. But there is nothing, not a single trace; for life departs whole. So sometimes, in your purblind desperation, you imagine, just for a moment, that he is at some place else, maybe at his school, and if only you went there, you would find him sitting in his class, playing with his friends, and then upon seeing you, greeting you with his cheery excitement – all as is perfectly preserved in your memory.
Every time she catches me writing in the office and I casually try to hide my screen from her curious eyes, she’ll ask me if I’m nearly done with my story, and sometimes if I think I’ll win the competition – or if she’s generous, laugh about reading my story once its crowned the best. In truth, I haven’t even began. Or I’ve began a hundred times and never once followed the tail to the heart. That is my problem; I’ve been writing so much on this blog and so frequently with prose of this short length that I’ve forgotten how to write any further than would a blog post normally permit. What a pity, what a pity! But please, lord of mercy, let me write more; plant in me a raging idea that will see no competition; let it light a sure path for my mind and let my mind have the determination and stamina to pursue it for as long as it would shine. Lord of mercy, let me write a most splendid piece for the crowd.
Being a copywriter is so easy. Why is being a copywriter so easy? Every time I am handed a new assignment, they tell me that I have three days to complete it. Within three minutes I’m done with it. How could they have thought that it was so difficult? What could have been so difficult about writing a few short lines and sprinkling a glitter on them with your imagination? It’s so easy that I am beginning to doubt the veracity of the job. What’s the point of being a copywriter if everyone, anyone can easily be one? In any case, at least I’ll have time to write about other things and still get paid. But what a paltry sum we’re paid. Almost like the salary of a mendicant – and indeed, the work of a mendicant!
I dreamt last night that I was having a most terrible day, but not the sort of tragic terrible; rather, a mundane terrible. My glasses broke into two. It was a brand new pair. Then I took out my old one and found that it too had broken into two. And so I had to put on the older pair which I don’t really like because its too rectangular and small for my face. I was also not having any particular fun in whatever activity I was participating in. It’s like being at one of those parties you don’t enjoy, and yet you’re staying there hoping that somehow something will happen and make it far more enjoyable; but really you already have a fantasy in your mind which locks your happiness in place, and no other circumstance would ever make you happy. So it was that my mundane day was terrible, and when I got home, I ran immediately into my mother’s bosom, hugged her tightly and started to cry about my terrible day.
I surmise that the cause of this dream was the discomfort in the throat that kept me coughing and jerking when I so desperately wanted to fall asleep. Lying in the bed was torture. And the torture must have made its way into my sleep as well.
The air, I’m not getting enough air. That’s the reason why I’m getting these headaches all the time. What I need is some fresh, healthy air. If only there were a tall hill, a mountain, I could visit, clamber to the top of and inhale its salubrious breath.
A plant was placed in my room recently. Green are its leave; all too green. I’m nt sure how much it has helped my cause; the cause of my breathing better air, that is. Or maybe it’s the soil that’s getting little particles in the air and my breathing those particles in is what’s giving me those headaches. I don’t suppose I shall ever get to the root of the problem.
I seem to have disowned all my friends because of this flu. No one talks to me anymore. Or more correctly, no one talks to me anymore because I don’t talk to anyone anymore. I just want to recover that’s all; i just want to be better, to feel better, to be hopping around again, to not be bogged down by this silly weakness; I want to be free to achieve!