Good things don’t happen to us, and we don’t deserve them

Today, 10 years from today, and 100 years from today are all the same.

You are only an actor in a play, what is yours is to play the assigned part well, not to choose the part (1). That’s what someone said hundreds of years ago. I find it curious that he was a slave; that he was assigned a terrible role in this play.

Really, why would a happy person bother with roles and plays?

It is curious that his quote is needed only by those with terrible parts. If I believed him, then I might as well believe that there is a special place in heaven for me. Where everything will be compensated.

I might as well believe that incredible patience is the best of qualities. I might also believe I will live forever in heaven, never bored of having everything everyone could want at all times with no purpose but being happy.

I wonder if habitants of heaven are allowed to be sad, or if they are relegated to hell if they ever feel sad. How ungrateful! How especially ungrateful to feel sad despite God’s best offering!

Maybe people with great parts can be equally miserable. But I am unsure if I only believe it because I’m clueless. Clueless of what how it feels to be happy; to be sufficient in what you have and not searching for something unknown.

Even if God offered me the choice between heaven and hell, I wouldn’t know what to choose. It would be unbearable to go to heaven, and to have every possible pleasure, but to still be miserable. It would mean that I could never even begin to comprehend happiness.
But it would be unbearable as well to go to hell. At some point, there will be a confrontation. I will have to explain to myself that after incredible patience comes infinite patience; acceptance, submission, and surrender. I will have to wonder about the possibility that I was one of those who enjoyed their lives, or one of those who went to heaven and remained happy.

It is too much to ask, even of God. It is audacious to refuse the best and the worst, and to ask for something unknown. Something that is either better than the best, worse than the worst, or something in-between.

 

(1) Source: Manual of Epictetus

A Random Tuesday

There is the two of us.

There is the distance between us, as if our separation was a physical consequence of repulsion.

There is the moon tonight, bright, unmatched, and incomparable. There are its many irregular reflections on the waves of the sea.

There are feelings, too complex to explain or to fully understand. But I understand fear, and my fears are coming true. I am beginning to question if I have feelings, or memories of feelings.

There is time. I remember you tonight, and I remember all the many times I remembered you before. I know that time will pass. Some people will become happy and go to heaven, some will become unhappy and go to hell, but, eventually, everyone will become nothing and go nowhere.

It’s been two years, and I still remember the late days of August and the early days of September.
It’s wrong to remember after this much time, I admit.
That is why I fear time; not because it will make me forget you, but because it makes it more wrong to remember you.

But I ask of you: Do you remember when I said that the moon reminds me of you?

Time will pass, and I will be defeated.
I’ll see nothing in the moon except an ordinary planet, nothing in this Tuesday except a random Tuesday, and nothing in you except memories of feelings.

 

To borrow the greatness of a mountain

I want to be good, you know? To have some value to someone.
Both by my own standards, and subjectively.

My story must be heard, an evidence that I have existed. And if I pass by a mountain, a great old mountain, I will engrave my name in it. I will borrow some of its greatness. The possibility will always remain that some passers will see the great mountain, and they might see my name engraved on it. They will know that I existed.

That’s the extent, isn’t? The limit.
Nothing is better than being remembered, and nothing is worse than being forgotten.

I have a feeling I will die thinking I was forgotten.
I would die the same way some wild animal dies in some of the world’s forests. A body without identity.
I would get eroded and withered, not like the summit of a mountain, but like some unremarkable rock.

The worst of the worst is that I will adapt to it, that it won’t bother me, that I will get used to that image of my silent forgotten dead body.
After all, I have become used to be forgotten in life. It shouldn’t be much harder to be forgotten in death. I wouldn’t even be there to endure its difficulty. All in all, isn’t my death easier than my life? Because I live to mourn being forgotten in life, but I wouldn’t be around to mourn over my corpse in the middle of the forest.

I am already getting used to it. In fact, I look forward to it.

I am tired, and mountains can never be tired. Even if I engraved my name, it will be weak and it will be eroded before anyone can see it. Even if I went up everyday, and engraved my name again to make sure it remains, I’ll die knowing I’ll be forgotten.

A day to remember: at night

I ordered some food. It took longer than I thought to be done, but I didn’t mind it. I sat looking at myself and thinking.

I looked at my jeans, so washed up and faded. I bought them during my second year in my previous college, and they were always my favorite. They had coffee stains from last year, and though I washed it many times, they were still there. I wondered how many people have noticed them.

I looked at my arms. My younger brother joked a few years earlier that they were hairy; he called me a werewolf.

 

It was silent in the restaurant, and I remembered the noises the new students made throughout last week. It was orientation week. I observed that they seemed young. I was amazed by the difference between us, even though I was only older by a year.

I asked myself if I envied them. But I quickly dismissed the thought. I hoped and assumed that I didn’t.

 

I must have done a perfect job of making my last birthday unremarkable. I don’t remember what I wore, where I was, or what I did. Really, if my age is counted by the birthdays I remember, I would be still 23 years, or much much younger.

This year, however, I failed to do the same.

I thought too much. In fact, I thought enough about today that I thought of a birthday wish.

I wish I never have to go through another day like today.

 

I would have preferred if my birthday was confined to a physical place, and I could choose whether to attend it or not. It would be only a minor detail whether my age became 24.01 years or remained 23.99 years.

 

My food was done, and I was hungry but I didn’t feel like eating anymore. I took a bite, and planned to take the rest home.

I stopped by a shop to buy a pack of cigarettes and a lighter. My only other pack was consumed throughout the last year of college. I thought the day was already abnormal that it didn’t matter what I did anymore.

I remembered when my older brother and I were talking, and he said to me that we should be very grateful our parents warned us a lot about smoking. He told me that most of his friends smoked, but he never smoked and never wanted to.

I also remembered when I was in summer camp, and in the chemistry lab they showed us how much smoking is harmful through an experiment. Later, we saw the assistant for that lab smoking and we were surprised. He was in the same lab, he even prepared some of the materials on the harmful effects of smoking.

 

As I was driving back home, I regretted not going to see my sister.

I smoked the first cigarette, and then I followed it with five more. Unlike smoking in college, this time I enjoyed every second of it. I listened to Present Tense by Radiohead on repeat through the ride home. The smokes hurt my eyes a little bit and it was more difficult to see in front of me. I reminded myself that I don’t need to smoke. I could just drive off a ledge. But I always feared I would regret it when it was too late.

 

I really wish I don’t have to go through another day like today.

 

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A day to remember: before sunset

I tried my best to avoid doing anything special, or out of the ordinary. Because if today was unremarkable, I would forget it forever.

I really wanted to see my younger sister; my mother brought her along with my younger brother to see my grandmother. But it was a two-hour drive, and I could visit her tomorrow just like I could have visited her yesterday.
In any case, I was guaranteed to see her one more time when I drive them back to the airport later.

I woke up, and went to work. Just like I’ve done for the majority of this summer.

I made a mistake. I usually go to the diner at 11:30 or 1:30, when it’s almost empty. I could take my time to choose my lunch and eat it in silence. But since I woke up later than usual, I ate something quickly, and I was hungry at 12:30. It seemed crowded, so I went to the bathroom and stayed for what I thought was 15 min. I didn’t carry my cell phone, I don’t usually carry it, and I didn’t know exactly how long I stayed. But I hoped people had left. It was still crowded when i got out, but I couldn’t go back to work. If I went back I would have wasted two lunch times from my work time. So I took my plate, and left to eat outside and hoped that since it was hot few people would be eating outside. I was wrong again, and it bothered me. But I ate quickly and left. I didn’t finish my plate, and I thought I would go to a nearby city to have dinner later. It was habitual of me to go there a few times a week.

I hoped this small miscalculation wouldn’t ruin the normality of my day.

I was planning to go running after work, take a shower, and then take the necessary 1-hour drive to get good food. I could listen to my usual music on the way, and the whole lunch annoyance would be forgotten by then.

I thought my work was boring, for the most part. Ideally, it should be done by a machine and if that was not possible, it should be done by someone with an admirable amount of patience and indifference. I thought that’s why I was hired, because the others had better things to do, not because they couldn’t do it.

As I neared the end of the work day, I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to be outside. It didn’t seem terrible to stay here doing whatever, and not worrying about the rest of the day. But I felt hungry. I remembered what happened at lunch, and I remembered that it was my birthday. I knew I had to leave to get food.

A day to remember: after 12AM

The first girl that I knew on a personal level had her first baby this year. We were around 7. She used to invite me to play. Her mom welcomed me, and her dad was rarely around.

I was reminded of another girl recently as well. Our mutual friends tried often to “recommend” us to each other, but she didn’t seem interested and I didn’t change anything. I learned later that she was actually interested in my older brother.
I was asleep, and I was awakened by her voice outside my door. She has been married for a few years now. She was asking her 2 year old son: “Do you want to call daddy?”

Her younger sister, all I remembered about her is that she always asked me questions and always listened while looking me in the eye.

Here we are today: the older isn’t married to my brother, and I am engaged to the younger sister.

There’s also Claire. The first time I was ready, and the first time I envisioned a future and a family of my own.

I don’t know why I find it appropriate or relevant to talk about girls on my birthday. Probably because I will most likely be married by my next birthday.

I don’t know why everyone else around my age is having kids, or getting married in the first place. My grandmother a few days ago was asking me to hurry and get married. She was suggesting that it should definitely be no later than next summer.

She is the only one of my grandparents remaining.

Her husband, who I hated after his death, died a long painful death. It was a medical error, and his leg had to be cut. I visited him. He was on a bed, he was saying in a very low voice: “I’m thirsty, give me water.” My grandmother explained it was against what the doctors said. He had to be given small quantities because of something in this throat, I think. Then, He said that it was too hot, and he asked me to lower the degree on the thermostat. My grandmother waved for me not to do it, and she also explained that it was for his health. She asked me to pretend I was doing it, but I didn’t pretend. He was still awake, and if I pretended to lower the thermostat he would notice and think I was treating him like a child. I couldn’t do it to him.

My other two grandparents had alzheimer since I was a child until they died. I remember they gave me candy every time I visited. The only interaction I remember, is that my grandmother, my father, and I were sitting in her room. My father teased me by saying I should close my open mouth or I’ll swallow a fly. She hugged me and said that I was her grandson and that it would be my father who will swallow a fly.

I see my place within this family, and among us all I cannot find a happy person. Every time I meet them, I stare in their eyes. I know that everyone can smile, but no one can hide misery from their eyes. I don’t know if happiness doesn’t exist, of if it means much less than I hoped.

But at the very least, happiness should be whatever is enough to justify the costs of living. I have no justification, and I lived only because as a human, or as an animal, I fear death. I lived for no reason, and next year I’ll marry for no reason.

It’s depressing to know that after 24 years of living I am either ignorant or knowing of a very unpleasant truth.

An Unfortunate Night

I look at you, and I avert my eyes.
I look at the sky, pretty beyond description and far beyond reach.

If only I were a star, and I could part of the sky. I would be her partner, burning to add brightness to her nights so that she may never be lonely.

It’s unfortunate that I wasn’t a star.
But it isn’t unfair. And I know that anyone who looked at the sky, wished to be her star. The sky is one, and the gazers are many.

And maybe everything I say, and everything I could say, is repetitive and unnecessary.

I said this before, but let me say more of what is repetitive and unnecessary:
I wish that I was never born, that I never saw the sky, and that I never sat down gazing at her helplessly, repetitively, and unnecessarily.

When she rained, I cried hoping she couldn’t tell my tears from her raindrops. And when she stopped, I looked to the ground wishing to be devoured instantly.

 

A rough plan

I think no living person can claim to hate living, and those who truly hate living are dead.
That is what I ought to remember.

Consequently, my quest is to find the reason I preferred living, and once I find it I can abuse it. Much like those who live for food become obese, and those who live for alcohol become alcoholic.
Also similarly to them, I would overindulge in it until its appeal is equaled by the misery it brings. It would become a neutral activity, like scratching one’s ears or putting the hands in the pockets.

Eventually, after eradicating the joy I found in life, I would be deserving of being called a person who hated living.
It must follow like that. I hope it follows like that.
It wouldn’t make sense if someone truly hated living and still lived.

Aren’t we looking at the same sky?

As I looked, as I asked with no words,
As the eyes took away every cover.

As you looked for some things in the sky,
I looked down to the ground, it was lower.

You said no, with no words, and I listened
cold as winter,  and as scorching as summer.

Days have passed, and you’re gone, and I’m here
And the sky never looked any better

But I wonder if you saw the same sky,
and I wonder if you looked any better

There are those who look up to the sky,
and there are those who look at one another.