Take care, and farewell

Dear N,  

I am not so sure it’s a good idea to write you this letter, knowing you, anything to do with feelings and emotions of mine at this moment can only be considered as “more aggravations”. I can even picture you frowning while reading and pouting your lower lip. I apologize in advance this is a selfish act of mine (again!) as I just have to get it off my chest, else I might explode like a suicide bomber (you are supposed to laugh here). But I shall try to make this less aggravating for you. 

First I must make it clear that I am not giving you any hard time, so please do not read it in an accusative tone. Just imagine you are reading a chick flick love tale, a woman’s diary…

I always asked you a million questions when we were together – some hypothetical, some weird, some for fun, and some just utterly stupid…  I have an inquisitive mind, I always do, thoughts and ideas are always racing, mostly random. You used to entertain me and my questions, when you were not in a defensive mood. So, please don’t be defensive either.

Thanks to our discussion yesterday, this letter is now much shorter, I will only touch on the subject we haven’t touched.

Now I shall begin.

Let me start with thank you – thank you for putting up with me in the last three weeks, no matter what my reasons were, I do know having me here in the same apartment with you is the last thing you needed at this moment. On the third day of my arrival, you said you felt like a prisoner in your own apartment, well, now you are released and back to the free world. You’ll find a bottle of Malbec in the kitchen, I bought it for you to celebrate the sweet reunion with freedom.  

I also want to thank you for being gentle with me, ever since my meltdown on the sixth night. To be honest I still haven’t figured out whether you were handling me and treading carefully to protect your new relationship or you were just pitying me, when I asked you about this, you didn’t answer, probably you haven’t figured it out either, or just didn’t want to hurt my feelings. Whatever it was, thank you. It must have been an exhausting exercise, being stuck between the insecure new girlfriend and the “delusional” ex-girlfriend, and the latter had essentially “threatened” you two as soon as she landed…. About that, you do know I didn’t mean to threaten you and I wasn’t threatening, right? Please, I would have found it amusing if I was in a less miserable mood. 

I came for a closure 3 weeks ago, like I said yesterday, I was numb, couldn’t feel anything, exactly like Jake Gyllenhaal’s character in the movie “Demolition”. In the last 3 weeks, I did what he did, broke things to pieces, then try to put them back together again. It wasn’t hard, I was already broken to pieces. 

I was in denial, you might be as cool and modern as McIlroy, I was certainly no Wozniacki, breaking up via a text message just wasn’t real to me.  

I wished you would have told me about your involvement with A when I was here last November, that would have spared all of us lots of pain and aggravation. Your life would have been less complicated without having to entertain me for couple of more months; A would have been happier knowing there’s one less obstacle in her way being with you;  and I wouldn’t be tormented by not hearing from you for days, nor frustrated by being ignored, I probably could have buried my sorrow into busy work and moved on…. Save you 3 weeks of hell.

When I said I forgave you for everything you did wrong, I meant it, everything, including your affair with A . 

Yes, I know all about it, the affair. 

You came so close to tell me about it in the last two days, it must have been difficult, I have never seen you so upset before, was it the unspeakable pain gnawing you in the last two days? I was very tempted to tell you that I knew about it to spare you the agony, but the fear of ruining the last 2 days with you put a stopper in me, I bit my tongue, decided to write instead.  

The affair. 

Just like you were a bad liar, A was an awful actress – she was visibly grumpy and wouldn’t even look at me when she came to the seminar last November, the same happened when we met her and her mother at the Marina after their walk. Later I figured out it’s not she wouldn’t look at me, it’s that she couldn’t, how tormenting it must have been for her to see you being with me, holding hands, happy. Was she hoping I would have left the seminar in the afternoon? Was that why you didn’t let me rest my head on your shoulder? Was that why you offered to drop me off home at intermission?  

Then the dinner with your mom, C, and L, her comments about the changes and touches I brought to your apartment, I remember telling myself she’s either extremely observant or had been to your apartment frequently enough to know it so well…  

Throughout the dinner and the tea back in your apartment, she’s noticeably agitated, fidgeting. 

I asked you if A’s ok – you said she’s having trouble coping with her husband’s absence, I chose to believe it, although in the back of my mind I found it’s most unusual – she would be relaxed with company, if she’s struggling with lonesome…. 

The ironic thing about that dinner was that I was telling your mom how helpful A had being to you at work and how much I was grateful to her for looking after you… Later your mom thanked her for the very same, and I was pleased. How naive was I? 

I wish I could have remained naive. Ignorance is bliss. It’s certainly true in this case. Realize your loved one was having an affair – blow one; realize you have been lied to – blow two; realize your loved one was having an affair with the person you trusted and turned to for help –  blow three…

Each was heavier, harder, and lower than the last. 

What a fool I was.  

I had my suspicions, as usual I asked questions – as usual in my camouflaged light-hearted way, in the end I chose to believe the answers you gave. I believed that candle you have in the bedroom was bought by you to freshen up the air, even though I have never seen you used it during my entire stay and it has mysteriously diminished by half. You probably won’t remember my first comment about that candle – “I thought you are having an affair…” although I was smiling when I said it, I wasn’t joking.

And her messages were constantly popping up on your phone, constantly, weekends, late nights, I was thinking – these couldn’t all be work related. Was she checking on you? Checking what we were doing? 

So you see, I’ve already read half the story in November. 

Until I found a worn ladies top in your underwear drawer, tucked in the back, first I thought it was mine, and wondered how strange I packed a work shirt on a leisure trip, but soon I realized it’s the one I gave to A, as a gift, to thank her supporting you at work. 

If you only went on a couple of dates as you said and being “friends only” as A claimed, it is very odd her top would end up in your drawer, isn’t it? 

I must reiterate – I’m not giving you hard time, I’m sharing with you my thoughts. 

I am not going to deny that I was bitterly disappointed in you. I thought we had a wonderful two weeks in July together, then just few weeks later you started to cheat on me. I will not be surprised if it started with few flirtatious text exchanges, you are always an addict to flirtation, and A took you seriously, didn’t she? Who would not, after all you are very charming, and humorous, attentive, considerate, and sometimes endearingly awkward…  

I am sure neither of you would think it’s going to become something too serious, my guess is you two probably were passing time, or even had a pact, it was just a pleasant distraction, a welcome escape from the demanding job until her husband returns from overseas? 

Then shit hit the fan, and shit got real. A fell for you, right? 

Knowing A, her way of love would be intensive, clingy, and smothering (yes I read all that from one home dinner, two social outings, and three brief casual conversations), she would want to spend every waken moment with you and repose by you every night.  

Was that why you were not replying my messages nor answering my phone calls? Because you were occupied, day and night.  

I had always thought I was four weeks too late to save our relationship, I had kicked myself for pushing you too hard for an answer I wasn’t prepared to accept. But now, after all the dots are connected, it turned out I was actually six months behind.  

I thought I would hate you for the betrayal, but somehow there’s no hatred in me – although I rehearsed hundreds of times in front of a mirror to punch you in the guts before I board on the return flight, but I know I’m incapable of doing that.  

To the contrary, I forgave you for the affair. On the way back from Orlando, you told me the last year was the worst year in your life and the summer was very difficult. I feel sorry for you having to go through it alone, and I’m terribly sorry for not being able to be there with you.  

Do you still remember why we decided to give it a year before I join you?

I do.

1. We didn’t want the management think less of you for stealing one of their best staff.

2. We were not sure how this new job of yours would pan out so we agreed to wait and see.

Do you still remember?

I forgave you for the affair. 

What I couldn’t get over with, was the lies. 

A too, I forgave her for falling for you, I understand her pain, but I can’t accept her lying to me too. She has no right to do that.  

I went over thousands of times in my mind what to put in a text message to taunt her, as a way of sweet revenge, for her not holding her end of bargain, leaving you and me alone during my stay; for constantly texting and calling you outside work hours, like the hives appearing on your skin every night, making you itch (excuse the metaphor, but I do find it’s quite fitting), for scheming all sorts of little rendezvous by being needy, prompting you telling me more lousy lies… But in the end, I decided against it, after all, she’s not my problem.  

If I try hard enough, to see the positive side of her affection, I can see her bringing you all kinds of little things to cheer you up; being attentive to your every need, work and personal; acting sweet to your family and friends; and wanting to have your life organized – exactly as I would… 

It’s never easy to accept one can be replaced by someone else. As much as I dislike the fact, you replaced me with her, or to be accurate, you allowed her to barge in, to replace me. 

Nothing is more resolute than a changed heart, naive as I was, tried desperately to remind you the bits and pieces of me, of us, from the other side of the Pacific Ocean, while you were doing the best not to remember. 

You had had a change of heart. Not knowing that, I tried to pull you back, but only made you drifted farther away. 

I now can see how annoying it was for you to hear from me, and why there had been no acknowledgement from you whatsoever. 

Now I know, I’ll let it go, I’ll let you go. I didn’t realize it’s a right thing to do until the day we went to the show. I saw how unhappy you were, and there’s nothing I could do to cheer you up. 

If I no longer bring joy to your life, at least I can try not to spoil the fun you have. So I’ll let you go, set you free.  

Waiting is a tormenting game, whether it was the wait for sleep to fall, or the wait for you to reply my messages, to answer my phone calls, or the wait for the holiday invitation from you… Waiting is torture. I went to Sri Lanka because I didn’t get your invitation to the UK for Christmas, I thought that’s because after all these years you wanted an undisturbed holiday with your family and friends over the Christmas time, and I was too shy to ask you about it, so I went to Sri Lanka, it wasn’t really a holiday, it was an excuse, an escape, a distraction. 

I still don’t understand why you didn’t break up with me then and there when I confronted you last November, since all you have been doing ever since the last summer was avoiding me. Why didn’t you?  

I wished you had more faith in me, it’s the first time I was actually lost for words when you said you had never thought I’d leave my job for you. I’m disillusioned to learn that after all this time, you have no idea what kind of person I am. 

The last three weeks were the life I had planned for us, except for the tension. I had planned our daily routine would be just like that – I prepare breakfast for you in the morning, send you off to work, kiss you goodbye and wish you a nice day. After that I’ll have the household organized, dinner will be ready when you are home, in between I’ll work online, build up my little business, learn Spanish, to keep myself updated and connected with the outside world. Then we’ll eat together, I’ll listen to you going over your day, share my two cents here and there. We will get a dog, so you will walk the dog after dinner – part of your exercise. After that if you have to do some work again then I’ll read while you are on your computer, or we will be watching a movie together… Then we will go to bed, make sweet love before falling asleep, before another day start. 

If our relationship hasn’t changed, the last three weeks would be a dream coming true for me. But without your love, the last three weeks felt like three months, if not three years, clocks were on strike during the day and they moved trice the speed at night to catch up. You would be gone again before I could cuddle you for one more second… You probably felt the other way round. Now I’m gone, everything will be normal for you again. I’m sorry for subjecting you to the ordeal. 

I came here three weeks ago for a closure, in order to achieve that I have to know the truth, to understand what exactly happened, what went wrong. For my sanity, I have to know the truth. So I was hoping you would tell me the truth in person, I mean, the whole truth. As harsh as it can be, I deserve the truth. If you truly loved me, respected me, tell me the truth, please. 

I was planning to ask you if you are going to apologize to me about the affair – that will be my last question to you before I get on that plane, and I prayed to all gods up there you are not going to deny the affair. I do hope the man burnt my soul will be big enough to admit what he did. 

But I’m not sure whether I’d be brave enough to actually ask the question. 

You are like an estranged brother, albeit I’m disappointed you let the momentary weakness distracted you, albeit I’m saddened you allowed a difficult job got the better of you, albeit I’m devastated by your betrayal, I still care for you deeply, I still wish you every happiness and success. So, please, do me a favor, be happy, be good, be healthy. 

Whatever happens I will not be able to see you for a while. I have to serve the notice period at work, and have my life re-organized. 

Sorry to be a cliche, but recently this Adele song has been playing in my mind a lot, it makes me weep every time it plays on radio. I couldn’t put it better myself, Adele gets it. 

“…

Let me photograph you in this light

In case it is the last time

That we might be exactly like we were

Before we realized

We were sad of getting old

It made us restless

It was just like a movie

It was just like a song

When we were young…

…”

N – take care, and farewell. 

With love, 

x

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Self Appraisal of a Broken Heart

This is hard.

Much harder than I expected.

For the first time I am not in control.

Not that I’m a control freak, I do usually know what’s happening around me, my brain would think and analyse, and my heart to feel and sense.

But not this time, neither my brain nor my mind is working, my mind is blank, and my feelings are numb.

What’s happening?

Here’s what I know –

We were in love, for 3 years, I thought he’s the one in my life.

Then he got transferred to US 11 months ago, we didn’t give up, we carried on.

He texted to break up this Feb, 4 weeks later I arrived his apartment, self invited.

I want him back.

He doesn’t.

So the end should be pretty obvious then, there’s not much room for confusion or ambiguity. If this was happening to anyone else I would have screamed and shouted at that person and tell her to let go. I have screamed and shouted at myself, but it didn’t work. In the end I flew all the way from one side of the Pacific ocean to the other, searching for the answer that I may not get; In the end, I screamed at shouted at him, for letting it go.

That’s just stupid, of me.

Yes, I’m aware, I know it’s stupid, yet I’d rather be stupid.

I also know by coming over and had few text exchanges with his new romance, I’ve made his days difficult and myself top of his black list. It wasn’t my intention, somehow I just couldn’t think of anything else, I was angry, desperate, so another act of stupidity.

One third of my holiday has gone, although only a week, felt like a lifetime. He must have felt worse. I also realize if I leave now he would be much happier (or rather less grumpy), and his days could be much simpler (I am not sure about his life, life is always complicated). But no, I can’t leave. I’m too afraid. I don’t really know what exactly I’m afraid of, I am just scared, too scared to leave. As if I leave now, I’d fallen into an abysm of misery.

Coward, a dreadful coward.

It seems his hostility has gone, ever since my meltdown two nights ago. My facade of acting tough finally crumbled, I had to walk out his apartment, but only realized there was nowhere to go. That moment of solitude, was overwhelming.  That moment, I was terribly, terribly, weak. I still am.

I found a couple of video clips from the Take That concert night on my phone, someone in the work group chat must have had sent these to me and I must have had been too busy to watch or even notice these were sent.  What an inconvenient moment to watch them now, the lyrics woke up every single trace of sadness in me. I wept. Later an Adele song came on radio, more weeping… And after all these times I thought all love songs were silly?!

I read all the inspiring quotes, I’m sure they are right, I agree I shouldn’t let this define me and my future, I agree I deserve better.

But why, why I still can’t let it go?

Alas, I wish it was that easy, that simple, that logical.

“You will be in love many times in life, but only one love will burn your soul forever” – is this the one burning my soul?

 

A Book List

A friend of mine nominated me on facebook, I must admit I was relieved to realize the nomination is actually about books… But to me it’s probably as challenging as the other one involves water and ice. So many books have taken me to amazing places, met fascinating people, experienced their times, I shed tears for their joy and pain, I imagined myself lived their lives… Sorry if it sounds melodramatic, when it comes to books, I just can’t help it.

My all-time favourite of English books would be (in no particular order):

The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris (all 4 books, the whole series) – I absolutely adore Hannibal Lecter.

–  To Kill a Mocking Bird by Lee Harper – I would marry Atticus Finch anytime, I would choose him 100 times even if both Atticus and Brad Pete asked me at the same time…

Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome – Uncle Podger cracks me up every single time when I’m frustrated at work, for that reason I would recommend it to all my colleagues. .

Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less by Jeffrey Archer – an absolute masterpiece of plotting…

Jane Erye

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Then in the last few years, I enjoyed very much reading the following:

Pillars of the Earth, and World without End, both by Ken Follet

A 100-year Old Man Who Climbed Out of a Window by Jonas Jonasson

The Book Thief by Makus Zusak

Water for Elephant by Sara Greun (the movie was an utmost disappointment)

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards

The Kite Runner

Curious Incidents of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

A Whole New World by Daniel H Pink

This summer I picked up a book called ‘The Shortest History of Europe’ by John Hirst. Not my usual subjects but the author made it such an easy yet informative read I would like to recommend to you all.

Now I’ve done my bit, I’m interested in what your list would be.  

Have a nice weekend!

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Object

Image

After being away for a while, I am not sure this is the best WPC comeback for me, for as much as I have tried, it’s just impossible to make a picture of an uncooked pig’s leg any artistic, or even less unattractive. I’m sorry for presenting you the raw stuff this week – my entry – a pig’s leg, unprocessed.

As Cheri correctly pointed out, photographs tell stories, so do museums. This piece of exhibit was on display in the Singapore Pranakan Museum, unfolding the wedding ritual of Pranakan Chinese, along with many other interesting objects.

For your information my dear reader, Pranakan means ‘descendants of…’, and in a multicultural society like Malaysia or Singapore, it indicates one’s ancestry roots and cultural background.

Back to the object itself, pigs have always been important sacrifices in Chinese religious life, they would be offered to various gods and goddesses on numerous occasions. In this circumstance, a pig leg is part of the gifts to the bride’s family from the groom’s, acknowledging they were receiving a virginal bride, a status was crucial to a girl’s reputation and her family’s.

By the way, the bride’s family would cut off a small piece of the pig’s leg and return of the rest to the groom’s family, a gesture of being courteous and also hoping the new family would look after their beloved daughter.

I was equally surprised and amused by this piece of knowledge, I hope you would find it interesting too.

Wish you all a nice week ahead! x

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Community

This is a rather late entry, however I’m glad I still have the opportunity to share with you what have caught my eye, and mind.

Recently I visited Singapore Biennale – If the World Changed. Among many inspiring exhibits, I found this one suits the theme of the week the best.

The title of the exhibit is ‘Waiting Room’. I am going to quote the visit guide: “Waiting Room echoes the many episodes of ‘waiting’ faced by transgender persons, such as waiting for a family’s acceptance, for the legalization of official personal documents, and for confirmation of and acceptance into regular employment. The installation is constructed to mimic a typical clinic, presenting an all-too-familiar journey in the lives if transgender persons as they undergo various phases of constructive surgery, before what is considered the defining procedure: gender reassignment surgery. The chairs, pamphlets and posters are imprinted with drawings and messages, appealing for public openness and understanding while sharing the complexities of the situations faced by the community.”

Thank you Shieko Reto.

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Weekly photo challenge: Unexpected

On a whim I went to Jordan early last year, until today I wish I stayed longer. With no doubt Petra was absolute the highlight of the trip, for 3 days I was in the ancient city from dawn to dusk, wandered among temples and shrines, and lost in history and heritage. I can’t remember where exactly I found this little figuring of roman solider, standing between rocks, quietly. I was not sure how long he had been there, and I am not sure if he is still there. If you are visiting Petra in the near future, maybe you will meet him too at a turn of stairs.

Have a good week ahead.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Habit

Usually when I saw the subject of Weekly Photo Challenge I knew immediately which photo I would submit, but this time I was stumped. There are a few things make up my daily routine, however, capturing them in a photograph is not easy. I was thinking about it when I wondered down streets in Singapore (by the way, exploring a city on foot is a habit of mine when I travel), a sign caught my attention – ‘red dot design museum’, without thinking twice I entered the eye catching building (and popping in museums on trips is another hard-to-break habit of mine), it was there that I found inspiration for this week’s challenge.

For those don’t know me, I’m obsessed with packing things in to containers, I have a bag in my handbag for daily essentials – keys, wallet, notepad, pens, and phones, etc. I have a pouch for coins, another pouch for cosmetics, and another for chargers, wires, and earphones. The same applies for work and home: everything has a container – all remote controls go to one basket, all magazines go to another, DVDs would be packed in boxes, stationeries are in various holders, paper in folders…. Even for those things usually strewed around, I would find another box to be their home…

My life is packed in various containers, whether it’s a box, a basket, a case, or – Tupperware.

Yes, Tupperware. The ubiquitous colorful plastic containers, that organizes my life, your life, and every other family’s life, is my answer to this week’s photo challenge.

Wish you all a good week ahead.

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