thinking of you
April 30, 2014 § 4 Comments
My brother was fixing my mother’s things the other day, and he sent me this picture of a card he found among her drawers. I wondered why I hadn’t kept it as I usually stashed away all my letters and notes. I traced my mom’s cursive handwriting with my sight as I imagined her writing this to me 9 years ago. I would have just started college at UP then. In fact, I remember my birthday that year coincided with a Math 17 exam. It was a Saturday, and I didn’t want anyone to know it was my birthday. But Beiai announced it in class afterwards. She was well-meaning I’m sure, but I disliked the spotlight – even until now. My parents fetched me, ploughing through that road that seemed to be on the way to a rice land, rather than a school building. They had with them my mom’s favorite Swiss Mocha cake from Becky’s Kitchen because my favorite Blueberry Cheese cake was out of stock. That was the first time my mom was with my dad fetching me from school. I basked at that childish glee of a kid being picked up from school by her parents. It didn’t happen so often.
Today marks the 4th month her tangible existence is no more. I’ve been forgetting that fact as of late. Sometimes, I just feel like she’s at home waiting for me to come back. I’ll arrive from the airport one day, stories will be exchanged, she’ll give me nods of approval and blank pauses of thought. Then she’ll stare at me with smiling eyes as I narrate things rapidly, and I’ll catch myself by slowing down and asking how she’s been. She’ll tell me it’s been the same, resting at home, looking at the trees, being taken cared of by my dad and my brother, and getting bored with being stuck inside. But she’ll tell me she missed me and has been waiting for my arrival ever since. And then ask me to continue with my stories, after checking if I brought home her requests of cashew nuts and Hawaiian Host Macadamia Chocolates. She’ll gloss over the boxes as I continue to tell her about school, my friends, and my research. Then we’ll have lunch as a family, just like old times.
Old times. Times become old the moment their moment passes. But times can be repeated. They can be re-lived in different situations. Happy times, sad times, good times, bad times. The heavy feeling still comes when I think of the times of the future that won’t include my mother anymore. Will happy ever be happy as before? Or will sad be even more lonelier? I catch myself a lot of times, interjecting my mother in all sorts of conversations. “My mother liked that”, “my mother used to do that”, “my mother always said”, “my mother…”. I even write about her in my letters. I think of how it makes other people feel. Does it make them uncomfortable that I speak so offhandedly about my mother? I answer myself with a “yes”, but I go on and tell them about my mom anyway. I look past the space that separates me from the horizon as I say those things – with an outer smile and an inner tear. A little bit concerned of the awkwardness I’ve given my companion, but mostly unapologetic in a good nature. I want them to say something, but nobody ever comes up with anything.
The other day, I felt a sensation I’ve never felt before. I was dreaming in my sleep, when suddenly someone touched my cheek as if cupping it and held my shoulder with a cold hand. The feeling was so real and external to my dream, that I woke up scared. I then noticed I was almost at the edge of my bed. I had an exam that day and I was thankful I woke up quite early thanks to that. I considered a ghost at first, but I decided to attribute it to my mom instead. It calmed my anxiousness. And although I’ll never be able to prove that it was her, it made me happy thinking so. When my dad reminded me today that it was her 4th month, I was still surprised. I checked my phone screen, I checked my desktop. She was still there, smiling back at me. But she isn’t sleeping in her usual spot at home with her bald cute head that always smelled good. She isn’t holding the Ipad and checking her mail. She no longer owns any of the possessions she left. She is part of a time that is past. old.
“Imagine that you were on the threshold of this fairytale, sometime billions of years ago when everything was created. And you were able to choose whether you wanted to be born to a life on this planet at some point. You wouldn’t know when you were going to be born, nor how long you’d live for, but at any event it wouldn’t be more than a few years. All you’d know was that, if you chose to come into the world at some point, you’d also have to leave it again one day and go away from everything. This might cause you a good deal of grief, as lots of people think that life in the great fairytale is so wonderful that the mere thought of it ending can bring tears to their eyes. Things can be so nice here that it’s terribly painful to think that at some point the days will run out. What would you have chosen, if there had been some higher power that had gave you the choice? Perhaps we can imagine some sort of cosmic fairy in this great, strange fairytale. Would you have chosen to live a life on earth at some point, whether short or long, in a hundred thousand or a hundred million years? Or would you have refused to join in the game because you didn’t like the rules? (…) I asked myself the same question maybe several times during the past few weeks. Would I have elected to live a life on earth in the firm knowledge that I’d suddenly be torn away from it, and perhaps in the middle of intoxicating happiness? (…) Well, I wasn’t sure what I would have chosen. (…) If I’d chosen never to set foot inside the great fairytale, I’d never have known what I’ve lost. Do you see what I’m getting at? Sometimes it’s worse for us human beings to lose something dear to us than never to have had it at all.”
– Jostein Gaarder, The Orange Girl-
We are all writers – with our quills and scrolls
We write our stories – the plots and the twists
We create our character, their thoughts and their feelings
And when we leave this world, we leave that story – finished or undone
It is for those left, but not for them to pick up and continue writing a story that is not theirs
Instead, it is for their reference in continuing their own stories
And sometimes, on special occasions
They can have the leftover ink bottle to combine with theirs
and continue writing – this time with our ink as well