The same

 

The potential was always missed in places that are too familiar. All the cups of coffee that I drink to avoid wasting my mornings half-asleep. All the pills that I take to avoid wasting my nights half-awake. All the calculations of whether I really seized my energy, if it comes.

I chose travel, so that even if I worry about my present and my future, I would be comfortably far from my past.

But it’s the same.

I miss my past, until the new place becomes familiar. Then I realize it’s the same.

I write again in my crowded notebook. In a new language, but along the same lines. I have not seized the potential, if there’s any, in two different countries.

I should have never travelled, and the potential should have always remained not fully explored. So that it gives reason to avoid wasting everyday half-awake and half-asleep.

So that one could always say: “There is potential for things to be generally better in the future as a result of some of my actions.”

A night darker than average

 

The night was darker than average, and in my dark room what I feared most was invisible.
My thoughts were summarizing all my memorable experiences. It was all tiring, both living them and recalling them.
I heard familiar voices outside discussing general matters.
Am I dead?
(“It’s just a chemical imbalance in the brain. When there’s something wrong with your stomach, you take medications. It isn’t different with the brain.”)

I cannot deny this evil feeling I am trying to keep hidden.
I am evil, inherently evil. I can see the big picture now; all these memories fit together. They’re telling me the truth. I am evil.
(“Remember to say: I am ALLOWING these thoughts to negatively affect me.”)

I am tired of living and recalling, and this is a reasonable time of the year to feel tired. This isn’t patience, it’s uselessness and wishful waiting. You were right, Steve, you were right all along.
(“Give the bad voice in your head a name. Call him Steve! Now whenever Steve is talking to you, catch him. Call him on it. Say it in your head: “Steve is talking to me again.”)

 

 

Irrational Fear

I have an irrational fear, and it’s not my fear of flights.
It’s the fear that only when I overcome my fear of flights that the plane would crash. At my last seconds, the confidence that I most recently acquired would begin to quickly dissipate, and I would regain my fear of flights just the second before impact.

I tried to tell myself that even if my plane crashed, wouldn’t that be a relief of at least a few things?
But as soon as the plane shakes I firmly confirm that I don’t wish to be relieved today. Maybe the next flight, or some time in the future. But if it isn’t urgent, then maybe it’s best to be relieved much much later by the natural cause of old age.

When I was a kid, I tried to imagine what it would be like to be nothing. I tried to “feel” what it would be like if I have never existed. I imagined the closest thing to it is to be a cloud, or above clouds. What happens on Earth does not affect you, nothing affects you. You would be floating, but nothing ever happens, and you never die because you are nothing.
It’s not a perfect analogy, but every time I ride a plane and see clouds without being affected by the life that happens behind it, I feel very afraid.

I will just admit to myself that, for the time being, it is better to be something than to be nothing, and it’s better to be a living thing than a dead thing.
But after the plane lands, I might rethink.

What to expect?

I forgot how much I enjoyed skipping a night’s sleep. Being more disassociated from the outside world, and more attentive to my inner thoughts.

I remembered a conversation I had with my older brother last summer. He was waiting for replies about his job applications, and he seemed decided to marry next summer. He told me he was concerned that these were the last two big things to expect in life, and that would be it.

I had a suspicion that my brother and I shared the same fears, but we were never able to know it. Because when one of us expresses fear about something, the other tries to reassure him and to play it down.

This time, I had no more assurance than: “You never know.”
I couldn’t say more about the future when I feared it more than him. There’s not a moment in my life when I wasn’t eagerly waiting for something in the future. Everything great existed only in the future, as a projected consequence of my planned actions.
But I remember every self, and the diminishing expectations I had as I grew older. My 18-year-old self would be devastated if he knew his future. My 20-year-old self would be disappointed. My 23-year-old self probably wouldn’t be surprised to know about my current 24-year-old self.
I see exactly what my brother fears. In fact, the big things in my life have probably passed. I don’t even know what I expect of the next year or even the next five years.

I told him I will continue my higher education in Europe, that I will apply for the best places. If I get accepted, then I will spend a few years there. Otherwise, I won’t waste more time in education, and I’ll just get by here. He asked me if I still had energy left after all the years I spent away in college, to travel again and learn a new culture. I told him I had no choice, and I couldn’t stay anymore.

Since then, I applied to some places in Europe. But then I asked myself if I really had the energy. More importantly, I asked myself if I was ready to set an expectation and face the outcome a few years later. I have done this so many times in my life already, too many times.
I don’t think any of applications will be accepted.
I don’t think I’ll go, even if one of my applications was accepted.

A Pure Apology

Nothing remains but memories of feelings. And only now do I have a more objective view, perhaps (somewhat) similar to yours.

I still remember you on occasion, when the moon is especially bright, or when the night is especially dark and missing something.

This is a pure apology; nothing but an admittance of guilt and an expression of regret.

I am sorry.

I guess this is the classic procedure, how things like this end; nothing out of the ordinary. Many stages, but at the end is a pure 100% apology. A letter devoid of anything but guilt, regret, and memories. A letter so unlike anything I have written for you in the past.
But I stand by my apology, I was wrong and I regret having written any of them.

It’s a near impossible task for me to write more, though I want to express more. I want to remain in touch, if only by writing letters that you cannot read. But how do I address you? A past lover, or a past opponent? A stranger ? but I cannot see you as a stranger anymore.

It must be part of the classic procedure. If the apology is pure, after it comes nothing.

 

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.

 

CAM00021

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.