Monday, January 09, 2012

That Elusive Here and Now

"The minute you think you know you got it
Is the minute you know it's gone for good"

The Tiger Inside Will Eat The Child (2011)
by Fatty Gets a Stylist

This started out as a love letter, a distillation of my thoughts and emotions - my hopes and dreams - for a relationship that just reached four years old. It was half-written, but I already knew how the rest would go. Or rather, I thought I knew. What I didn't expect was having to erase every little word I had handpicked to give shape to the rest of our lives, and start all over with a blank new page.

It was titled "We Are Four" and in it, there was a recapitulation of Boxing Day of 2011 in the recent history of a fortnight past. Phoebe flew over to Kuching to spend the Christmas holiday with me and it was the first time we saw each other in more than seven months. 26th of December is our anniversary and even though I've said over and over again how I don't see the point in celebrating the passage of time, I took her out to someplace nice and posh enough to justify the occasion. It was a rainy Monday evening and we just sat, ate and talked away the hours as if we'd been friends for ever. Then, we went home and watched The Shining, because it was one of the only two movies I have that neither of us have seen. The other was Blue Valentine, a stark portrait of the sweet beginnings of a couple and the eventual decay of their marriage. I didn't want to see Blue Valentine because I was told that it's not a film you should watch with your girlfriend.

We don't have many pictures of the two of us.
Phoebs and I at the Hilton, 26th December 2011.

Today, I received a phone call while I was still at the hospital trying to finish my jobs at the end of a particularly frustrating 12-hour work day. I was delivering some urgent blood samples to the lab when Phoebe called.

"Hello," she began. It may have been my imagination after the fact, but I thought she sounded uncharacteristically meek.

"Hey" I said. "What's up?"

"Where are you now?"

"At work. Why? Do you need to talk?"

"I'm sorry," she said. "I want a break up."

"Oh. Okay. Why?"

"I just felt that we've been drifting apart. Don't you feel the same way?"

"No," I answered with a calmness that surprised me. "Nothing's changed for me."

That was the truth. I did not see it coming at all. If there were frays on the edges, I've failed to notice them unravel. The last months were not punctuated by petty fights or passive aggression. There was no stench of apathetic decay. I was just telling a friend right before Phoebe's visit that I'm dating the perfect girl, and said to him that some day, he'd find someone perfect for him too. Oh, it's almost funny how oblivious I was to the sucker punch I would receive today. Ha ha hilarious.

On my desk right now is a picture of how I like to remember Phoebe best: her, a book in hand, reading. I took it when we were in Kodaikanal, one of those quaint mountain stations in Tamil Nadu we found ourselves lost in those years ago. It sits in a beautiful hand carved photo frame I bought when we were there - when we spent afternoons and evenings visiting every dusty old knickknack shop in town like children.

We were children. Now she's all grown up.

I have not quite decided on how I am feeling at the moment, but perhaps I would find out when the blunt suddenness settles into a clearer understanding of when and where my life is moving to now that I've left the Here and Now. My head aches. My heart feels weak. It's as if it there's too much, far too much inside me.

And I need to get rid of that photograph. I know this sounds crazy, but I think it's killing me bit by bit. I really need it gone.

Hopes he will be okay,
k0k s3n w4i


pinksterz said...

you will be okay.

Betsy said...

take care.

Terri said...

totally didn't see it coming either!!!! :(

be okay po, be okay, be okay po, be okay *dances around you chanting and throwing down bits of twigs to keep the magic ring of blue fire around you burning*

i'm really sorry for what you're going through :(

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear that. You'll be alright as time goes by. I hope it goes by quick. Get well soon!

Zulfahmi said...

I used to be in your shoes after a few months being apart with my girlfriend...

but that was a few years ago...

Now, she's my wife... We got married last year's November

So, from that experience, I would urge u to not lose hope... If u believe that she's the one, try to get her back...

It's all up to u... even if u failed, u can at least say "I tried..."

Anonymous said...

Yeah i agree with Zulfahmi.
I m a girl myself, and I wished my ex would at least put some effort to hold me back then. It shows that he still cares if he did so. But he just agreed to it like nothing is bothering him. So I assume that I m not that important in his heart anyway. :) Show Phoebe that you still want her in your life.

k0k s3n w4i said...

pinksterz: yeah, i know :)

Betsy: will do that.

Terri: i just noticed that your blog is named "here and now". didn't it used to be something else? anyway, i'm doing okay, but i think i might be in some sort of state of denial.

Anonymous: being alright is my forte ;)

Zulfahmi: congratulations! anyway, i don't believe in "the one". i disabused myself of that notion years ago. in a way, i'm all grown up too. thanks for the friendly advice anyway - usually, i say the opposite to my recently-heartbroken friends.

Anonymous: we had an agreement, phoebe and i. we won't break it unless we mean it, and if it's broken, we won't fix it.

yuhhui said...

sigh. long distance always suck. But hopefully one day, you guys will be together again.

mg said...

sorry to hear about wat happened, i was in phoebe''s shoes but probably for different reasons, sometimes it's for the better, i know you don't think it's for the better but life's just like that. focus on your work and hopefully time will heal your soul. good luck!

Vin Tsen Gan said...

Hey man, I know this is outright cliche but, time heals. It really does. Even though we've never met, somehow I know you'll be alright. Steady bro.

nicoletta said...

read this post a couple of days ago and tried to think up some elaborate message of comfort. couldn't.

somehow it didn't seem possible that a post could be in both kategories, "Phoebe Days" and "Life's Little Tragedies" at once. silly observation but you know.

and of course you'll be OK, as long as there are enough years (or months or weeks)between that day and the present moment. that's time for you. your readers love your blog; you just keep writing =)

c3rs3i said...

Sorry to hear. Who knows why things have to be the way they have to be...

Feel better soon and wish you both the best going down your separate paths.

k0k s3n w4i said...

yuhhui: long distance didn't really suck for me.

mg: no point wondering if it's for the better or not. i just got to move on. what happened to your blog?

Vin Tsen Gan: i repeat that cliche to other people all the time because it's true. i've been through shit like this and came out okay - so yeah.

nicoletta: thanks. the thought you tried is as good as any elaborate messages you can come up with, haha. the posts tagged under life's little tragedies were almost exclusively about my ex-girlfriend. it is a bit strange to relegate phoebe to it, but i can get used to strangeness.

c3rs3i: well, people fall in and out of love. that's a given. i never thought it would last. i just didn't expect it so soon.

tendol said...

uh, oh...didn't see that coming at all. Stay strong. Sending you waves of support and best wishes from across the Pacific and the Himalayas.

A. H said...

Oh this is just great.. I'd hate to make this about me but now that she dumped you how the hell am I suppose to come and whine incessantly to you about my break up?

Ah well at least you're not on any antipsychotics.

ap said...

i've got to argue Zulfahm's case again because while you have made your deal in earnest hope of being better than foolish lovers who test each other on the verge of a heartbreak, she is only human and a woman at that, which from what i know ensues a certain built-in capacity for constant reevaluation of a relationship, and so needs reassurance from time to time. As you said if you did not see it coming at all you are either too much caught up in work or simply oblivious or both, and refusing to question or challenge her decision in the least bit even when you are doing so internally is neither candid or honest. Well you have your affections well documented here, but unless she resents you i believe one prefers a conversation. So her statement was that you drifted apart, but does that mean she doesn't love you anymore? I'm making large assumptions here about her but to me it sounds more tentative than final.

k0k s3n w4i said...

tendol: don't worry. i've been through this before :)

A. H: well, now it's going to be a give and take. you'll have to hear me whine incessantly about my breakup in return.

ap: our relationship was built on the foundation of several ground rules we laid down from the very beginning - it's the reason why we rarely fought. in fact, in all four years, we literally never rowed more times than the numbers of finger i have. for the record, that particular rule was hers. that's why it felt so final to me. and there was no "we drifted apart". she drifted away.

mg said...

my blog is back.. went off radar for a while.. :)

ap said...

I got pretty worked up in my last comment because I was in a similar position back then, as in I was dumped but after giving it a few years, reigning in my horses and well never talking to the ex except for the occasional birthday, during which I could never fool myself for long that I didn't want him back, but he never gave me any chance for hope either, until we met 3 years later(with my dad in tow on a backpacking trip, might have eased the furiously beating heart a bit), we got back together since then. Isn't it strange how the person you loved seems forever a mystery to you, either in or out of love, may seem palpable for a moment but you really never never know. I appreciate you filling me on the details while I was being right nosy and misconstruing as I like. I'll rest my hopes and wishes except that you get some peace. Heartbreaks are tolerable with proper self-affirmation.