Homecoming

My head was up in the clouds today: soaring like a lonely flying creature in the gloom of this inclement weather, allowing itself to be blown away by the gust of these stormy skies.

My only source of stillness was the thought of coming back to the university, to that one place in the world I can always come back to and call home. Continue reading “Homecoming”

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In Remembrance of Youth

Weekends are for crashing into bed and tucking yourself beneath blankets; your favorite teenage playlist banging rock music in every corner of the room as if it is some kind of a personal familiar comfort, melting the world of its temporary intimacy and sense.

Weekends are for reminiscing and travelling back in time. Your unmade bed is a space machine and your imagination are wings transporting you to a decade of wander and wild spirited youth. Continue reading “In Remembrance of Youth”

At the Mercy of Mnemosyne

The end of February always brings a certain kind of sadness to me: sharp, weighty and wordless like a falling dagger to the chest, hammering through the flesh and beating my heart to death. Out of all the months in the year, February is the most difficult to say goodbye to, because the farewell only acknowledges the arrival of a new month, my birth month, and that for me is more than terrifying.

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A Rite of Passage

“Yes to life!” was my mantra on repeat as I stepped out of the door and into the burning embrace of a scorching Thursday morning. In my head was an elaborate map of the place I was supposed to go, backed up by a paranoid prayer to the Universe begging to keep me from getting astray in the wild city streets. In my head I was thinking the worst that could happen was not to be caught in death or in traffic jam, but to be cornered by perpetrators whose stone-eyed faces and hardened hands one could always encounter along the way. I was a lanky little paranoid, screaming at the top of my lanky little lungs: fucking Yes to life!

A few weeks back, one of my colleagues had provided me a detailed direction to get to this place that is well-known for scrumptious sushi. But as dumb to directions as I will ever be, I had to trust road signs and the little that is left in my gut-feeling to get to this place locals call Suki.

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Semester Blues

It is the time of the semester once again for everyone to finally bleed: for words to fall heavy with the weight of farewells, for silence to finally speak the same. I think about this passing semester and remember not so much the days I stayed alive in crowded hallways and sticky classrooms listening to the hours tick away in slow motion, as the nights I spent awake thinking what will happen when all of these are over. I think about empty offices and the muted silence that accompanies them after everyone has stood up and left. I think about the stillness of the lonely river by the window, the ferry boats that pass every so often like time dragging away, and wonder what kind of lives people lead long after they have abandoned this place. I think about their plans, crafted well in pieces and hemmed seamlessly in place, and realize that I have long forgotten how to dream.

I spoke to my some of my batch mates yesterday afternoon, as if by accident. Their words were stars that sparkled in the dimness of own universe. They spoke of things that every average graduating student have in mind: grad school, law school, application forms, the endless pace of someone who chases after endless dreams. When they asked me about my plans, I spoke sheepishly of my wanting to retire already, to which they laughed almost as a form of contempt. I spoke of going to Europe and learning a language, leaving behind whatever there is that’s forgettable, heavy. I spoke of scratching the ground and starting all over again. My words were blunt, silly, marked by a childishness of someone who never take things seriously, but inside me was the turbulence of Tahrir Square. I thought about Berlin and a one-way ticket to everything that I have n[ever] dreamed, and realized that this too was practice. I thought about the future, the helpless attempts to decipher what is to come, the foolishness of it all.

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Roger Rabbit

The days ran on like racing rabbits in the greener meadows of my avid antipathy for all things great and unknown. I looked up and was surprised to see November with its sinister smile and its subtle claws digging 15 layers into my pallid skin. To some, this is a good thing. To know that time is passing, to feel that you are moving. But as much as I wish, I could not bring myself into wanting for time to drag its racing feet into the greater wilder world that is the future.

And this should be wrong. Wrong as in a knot that could be untangled and be undone by firmer more resilient hands. I think about the future, intoxicated with the prophetic promise of a brand new day, and imagine that in a few years time, three semesters from now, all I know of the present will melt into thin air.

The truth is, all I ever want is to graduate. It doesn’t have to be grand. There is no need for a Magna cum laude under my name. To make it all the way to the finish line: that is what I am bleeding for.

And it costs so much to bleed. There are days when I look out to the open view from the sixth floor of the university and imagine a day when all of this is over. Then altogether there’s the sound of boulevard traffic echoing into the nook and cranny of the abandoned classroom, footsteps tapping the polished floor like the ticking of the clock, voices of all sorts transforming itself into a massive form of tyranny, laughter like perfumed air poisoning the clouded sphere of corruption under their watchful eyes that glare like laser beams in the absence of all my defenses. And in the end comes the gentle reverberation of my own hearbeat slowly filling the crowded air as I try to find an escape into the equally crowded hallway.

I used to think that there is salvation in the future, for it promises a break from all of these present worries. I used to imagine a life somewhat better in the brighter days to come. But one day I stopped looking for all the right reasons to wait for the future, and pondered instead at the word ‘contingency’. You see, there is no such thing as the future, only actions taken by a human who sees and understands the greater picture of events well enough to prepare for the proper response, a human who looks through life with the frenzied anticipation for both the better and the worse, a human who is ready to accomodate accidents whensoever they take place in the midst of all that is planned.

If there is such a thing as the future, maybe it is in the here-and-now of things. Maybe it is tucked away in the very presence of the present, awaiting for its time like a flower awaiting bloom. Maybe, as they often used to say, the future is what we make of it. Better still, maybe there is no future. Only a projection of what we envision ahead of time. And that what we have instead of the future are contingencies, drawn and outlined in the image of our projected future. But like I always tell myself, maybe only time could ever tell. There are days when the mere sight of the calendar is enough to bring ache in my heart but there are days too when the thought of time passing in a slow but steady rhythm is all it takes for salvation.

Whatever will be, will be — or we let it be.

Book Review: On Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five

slaughter-house-fiveSlaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut’s absurdist classic Slaughterhouse-Five introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes unstuck in time after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut’s) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden. (Goodreads)


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