I am not. Nobody really is. And no one ever will be. Knowing someone well is one of the things that are just too impossible and highly unlikely to ever happen in this world we’re all trapped in. Everyone thinks they know everyone, no one believes they really don’t.
It’s a world full of masks and lies and death.
Please believe me when I say that it’s the people like you, Anon, that made me choose to be this way. I chose to hide myself because I couldn’t handle the attention. If you think that having a lot of eyes look at you every single time is a good thing, would you mind if I ask you, then, to please swap your life with me?
I don’t want that fact to be taken by everyone who knew, knows and is going to know me as the main reason why I’ve reached something, why I’m achieving something and why I’m going to hit a certain goal. I know you know what I mean.
I’m not really sure how to answer this. There are some facts about me that no words could ever convey just because they’re too shallow and yet too deep for anyone to just know without going through the process of really understanding them. My answer to this question is one of the facts about me that I’d rather let people feel and touch and experience in real life— through their real eyes, real skin, and real hearts. Because it’s real (and I know it’s real) but it’s slowly dissipating at the same time.
What I’m going to tell you is: everyone is a good friend and can be the best of all the friends you’ve ever had. The only thing is, not everyone is given and won’t be given that chance unless everyone starts to open their eyes and their minds even wider. I don’t choose the people I befriend. Although most of the time, people tend to think and even believe that I do just because of the way I think, talk, move, look and deal with things. But I really don’t. And even though I get to be very misanthropic at times, I can still really be a good friend to anyone. Only no one seems to think that aside from myself now.
It’s not a weird question, by the way. I’ve just got the weird way of answering it.
I couldn’t come up with the right words to reply to you, Madame. I’m at a loss more than ever. This is probably the wrong time to answer this message but I just couldn’t ignore this now and then come back later. You’re one of the few who have kept my virtual existence’ company for years. And that might seem to be a little, weird, silly thing but I feel that it’s not. Because it really isn’t.
I wish you well on your way to anything and everything, Madame. Please know that you’ve got my utmost respect.
When I read a book about the “six centuries of painting” from my mother’s shelves, it’s not unusual to come across a gap in the text. A paragraph, or maybe just a sentence, has been sliced out, leaving a window in its place, with words from the next page peeping through. The chopped up page looks like a nearly complete jigsaw puzzle waiting for its missing piece. But the piece isn’t lost, and I always know where to find it. Dozens of quotations, clipped from newspapers, magazines—and books—plaster one wall of my mother’s kitchen. What means the most to my mother in her books she excises and displays.
I’ve never told her, but those literary amputations appall me. I know Ann Patchett, Dorothy Sayers, and W. Somerset Maugham would fume alongside me; their careful prose severed from its rightful place. She picks extracts that startle me, too: “Put your worst foot forward, because then if people can still stand you, you can be yourself.” Sometimes I stand reading the wall of quotations, holding a scissors-victim novel in my hand, puzzling over what draws my mother to these particular words.
My own quotation collection is more hidden and delicate. I copy favourite lines into a spiral-bound journal— a Christmas present from my mother, actually—in soft, gray No. 2 pencil. This means my books remain whole. The labour required makes selection a cutthroat process: do I really love these two pages of Crime And Punishment enough to transcribe them, word by finger-cramping word? (The answer was yes, the pages were that exquisite.)
My mother doesn’t know any of this. She doesn’t know I prefer copying out to cutting out. I’ve never told her that I compile quotations at all. There’s nothing very shocking about that; for all our chatting, we don’t have the words to begin certain conversations with. My mother and I talk on the phone at least once a month, and in some ways, we are each other’s most dedicated listener. She tells me about teaching at an Elementary school in my father’s hometown and teaching English to some High School students at the library where she volunteers; I tell her about job applications, cover letters, and the manuscripts I’m always working on. We talk about my siblings, her siblings, the president, and Philip Seymour Hoffman movies. We make each other laugh so hard that I choke and she cries. But what we don’t say could fill up rooms— fights with my father, our relationship, my life, my decisions, my choices, me— anything, really, that pierces us.
I guess I just miss her now. And I guess that’s possible even without any reason at all.
Sometimes we’re forced to hide in order to be found. Sometimes our hearts need to be broken so we could be able to breathe. Sometimes our minds must go crazy so our hearts would grow. And sometimes a solution to a problem is another problem. Sometimes we give up and throw some things away to see what else is there for us. Sometimes we walk into the dark because the light is so bright and it’s already hurting us. Sometimes we run after the things that are not for us just so we can trip and fall and get exactly what we deserve. And sometimes— sometimes we need to die in order to feel alive.
So here I am, hiding and broken and troubled and burden with insoluble problems. I’ve given up one too many times and thrown a lot away, marched into the dark abyss, ran after a number of trouble on loop for a long time and wound up in the midst of a raging storm.
But yes, here I am— and you have probably guessed it by now. Yes— oh, yes, yes, yes! I am dying so I could feel alive.
Death. I mean, go ahead and mull over it. You are actually going to realise something. Or some things, to be exact.
To tell you the truth, I did them the favour that none of them ever had the guts to ask me to. So I guess I don’t. I don’t have a consciousness, a morality, that is.
Normally, I would answer this question with a sob, and then laugh because I’d realise that I don’t have any reason to cry and yet I still did and I still do every once in a while.
Does that answer your question, Anon?
No worries. I know exactly what you mean. You’re not the only one who said such words to me.
It’s funny because I hate myself most in the morning. Baby, you should’ve told me that much earlier. I wouldn’t have spent most of my life sleeping during the day and waking up only at night because the darkness gives me such bizarre comfort and security.
You can save me if you want. You can save me if you can.
Yes. I’m trapped in the same situation, as well, Anon. And I’m really just waiting for something— anything— to happen. Because I realised— and (I know) I realised too late— that it’s exhausting to be the only one who keeps on looking for the ways out when obviously, everyone’s just playing you (because you played them first or you’ve been playing one another until you’ve reached the point where everything seems to be controverting and mind-boggling and just plain crushing) and you will never be anywhere near the antidote to some toxicant or the solution to your problems.
To tell you the truth, Anon, I don’t know half of what I am typing right now. I’m way too high on life and all its grand miseries. I’ve been way too high on it all. So I guess I’m just going to say what everyone keeps on saying (because hey, isn’t it true and cogent enough, though? Hasn’t it always been?)— everything will be alright in time. We’ll get too feel relief and comfort and lesser pain, somehow.
I’m currently in a state where everything I’ve ever known and everything I’ve ever had seem to be totally at large for some vague and baffling reasons. That no matter how hard I try to do things— remind myself how to do things, start learning how to do things one more time— nothing seems to work.
It feels like everything that I can do and everything that I’ve got to do and everything that I’ve got to offer have gotten sucked up into some baleful vacuum and that’s just how it really is.
I no longer can, Anon. And this is all my fault so I apologise. But if things get back to how they normally are, or just anywhere near the usual, why not?
I am burning my self— setting it on fire, watching as I slowly turn into hopeless, pulverised ashes, waiting for the autumn breeze to fly it away until it completely fades into nothing. I am simply waiting for the end to come.
Days have passed me by like the waves of the ocean— discreetly lashing, painfully undulating, eagerly splashing— leaving me breathless and gasping for air. I am merely here, yearning for the end to come.
The truth is, we create our own purposes in this world. We think about and imagine in our minds what should be, what we should be dealing with and all that should be happening and existent to somehow lessen the already inextricable and unsolvable confusion of this puzzle we call ‘life’. We visualise our dreams, and how they could be possible to an extent that they’d feel real. We build houses where we store every last bit of courage and confidence that we have, construct buildings filled with our hopes and passions, and fabricate towers and skyscrapers where our faith and sanity lurk on the apex until some brilliant something or massive nothing comes and happens. We compose the lyrics of our own music, write the words of our own stories, sketch our own portraits, develop the films of our own pictures, mold our own perceptions, form our own illustration and view of the panorama.
Everything is real and fictive until they’re not. We are the truth and lies; fantasy and reality are us.