Monday, January 24, 2005

Living Death

It was pleasant to sift through my emails and click through IMDB.com after three days away from home. Messy room, clothes astray, bed unmade, but home nonetheless.

That pleasant repast stopped as I noticed my friend's nickname on MSN Messenger (something about not being able to sleep and crying tears of sadness). I asked what's wrong.

"My female labrador died," she sobbed virtually.

Shit, I thought. Death.

I hate it.

There are certain subjects that I have never been able to talk well about (then again I suppose a lot of people have the same problem), and this is one of them. I always have a difficult time consoling people. I don't know whether that is because I fortunately have not had many deaths in my life, or whether I just lack the nous to say and do 'the right things' (or both).

I just know that it means that I am not able to make other people feel better. And I absolutely hate it.

The thing about death is that it is not a part of life. Cyclically, death comes after life. In our life, it cannot co exists.

And yet, it is so much a part of life that it brings with it disappointment, hurt, anguish, and pain. Someone we know die. Our pet. Our closest friend. An aunt. It hurts because their lives, their cycle, is a part of ours. (I suppose the only way we can immune ourselves to that pain is to live like hermits, self-exiled from the rest of the world.)

And yet, somehow we manage to find a way to blame ourselves. If only we had called more often, if only we had spent more time, if only...

If only.

...

I don't know what else to write. It is all very well for me to sit here and spout all this. The time will come when this will serve to be nothing more than cockbull logic, impractical in nature, as we grapple with the emotions that swirl and erupt from the deep. When anger, hurt, pain, frustration, regret, disappointment, bitterness, and vengeance prevails in the fact of cold hearted logic and petty little cliches that serves to do nothing more than stir that melting pot even more.

I talked to my friend for a bit, trying to console her. I didn't think it went well, and she went offline soon after.

I kicked myself. Hard.

Reloading the Faith

Trips on the LRT tends to be unremarkable. At times little more than glorified tins of sardines with pushing and jostling to get on board. No more space? No worries; just hold your stomach in and hold your breath as the amalgamation of sweat, deodorants and body odour permeates the air.

They tend to be normal.

There are days, however, when things are different. There's space to sit down, time to read, and clean-smelling air to breath. However, these days are rare. Even rarer is the time when someone talks to you.

"Interesting book there," said a man on Thursday night, erupting me from the world that Being the One. A book postulating the possibility that everything that happened in 'The Matrix' is real (not impossible, mind you).

I glanced over to this 'humaton' who interrupted my journey to be 'unplugged'. "Yes it is," I replied, keen to get on with my reading.

Then a thought hit me. A friend of mine recently posted on her blog challenging her readers to be friendly to a stranger (see The Particular Ordinary). She wrote of how we generally do not take kindly strangers for fear of being hurt (somewhere along those lines anyway). A valid point, with a valid counter point: that the fear is not unjustified. No shame in admitting it, for I too am afraid at times.

But those are the times when I forget that a lot of others feel the same way. They are afraid for the same reasons that we are: that others might harm us. This fear, like the LRT rides, became a part of everyday life. They became normal.

What if we are not so afraid all the time?

"It's about the Matrix. Have you seen the movie?"

"Yes, I have." He paused, swayed involuntary by the snaking of the LRT. "You know, a lot of what the movie talks about is very similar to what Islam talks about..."

The next ten minutes or so were spent in a pleasant discussion of Islam and the Matrix, of movies and religion, of how both can be used to complement each other (my view, that). It was enlightening, an experience that ended prematurely. So prematurely, that he almost missed his stop. In the scramble, he just managed to fumble me his card.

I sat back, closing the book and slipping away into my Official Islamic Conference bag, feeling content as I folded my arms and smiled to myself.

Challenge completed.

Eyes Wide Shut

It was around 2:30am on Sunday at my friend's place and after a night of stars, full moon, and an unfinished session of 'Session 9', I was ready to turn in for the night. Shifting and turning on the mattress laid on the floor, I had already shut my eyes when my friend asked from her bed: "Why does love has to be so hard?"

"Oh no," I thought to myself. Nothing to do with her, but I know once I get going, I won't stop for a while.

I shifted up on my elbows, straining my neck towards her, eyes still shut. "Well," I began, knowing full well what I mean but wondering whether the following words would convery this, "it doesn't have to be. What it is depends on what you want it to be."

She grunted, then turned to me in the darkness. "But why does it have to be painful?"

I paused, not entirely disagreeing with her. "It doesn't have to be," I repeated slowly, buying myself time. "It can be painful, frustrating, annoying. But it can also be wonderful."

She grunted, not saying anything. I imagine her to be staring at the ceiling, mentally tossing over what I said.

"It can be wonderful," I continued, "simply because of the fact that we are in love. Why does it hurt? Because deep down, we feel enough for someone to cherish them, to care for them more than others, to want to be with them. It hurts because we are not able to be with them, to care for them, to cherish them. But the feeling that we get when we are with them, talking to them, laughing with them, that makes all the pain and frustration worthwhile. Because not everyone get to feel that, and we should count ourselves lucky to feel those things."

She stirred. The rustle of her duvet tells me that she turned to the other side. The following silence blankets the air, before I settled down and pulled my sheet over my head, wondering whether I myself believed what I had just said.

It was 3:42am the last time I checked my watch.