As a child, all I wanted was to advance into my adolescent years. The years when you experience your first date, first heartbreak, first party, first driving lesson, and all the other ‘first’s you can think of. When I reached my adolescent years, all I wanted was to be independent. I wanted to drive myself around, stay out past midnight, or move out and live the grown-up life. Now that I have a full-time job after university while paying off my car loan and student loan, I want time to slow down; not because of the multiple new stresses in my life, but because I realized as I add years onto my life, so do the people around me.
My parents aren’t the same young, hip, energetic parents I remembered from when I was five years old. They’ve grown more frail, with more wrinkles around the corners of their eyes, and more weak in terms of what they can physically handle. Then I started to realize that not only were my parents aging, but my grandparents were also aging as well. It’s a simple concept really, if I add years to my life, my grandparents will too.
My grandpa turns 91 this year, and I’ve never realized that he was so much older than I was. He used to tell me stories on how he had traveled to so many places on a ship as a young man. How he could “wrestle 50 tigers” if he wanted to. But now, as he’s about to embark on a tough journey of chemotherapy and radiation therapy for his cancer, all he wants is his children and grandchildren to not worry about him.
It’s inevitable that people grow old. But Time, can you please slow down?
It’s life’s little things that really take my breath away and allows me to really take in everything that surrounds my life. My family, friends, sports, and career have always been top tier items in the ‘glass jar’ of life that I live. I’ve always envisioned myself at the age of 30 with a stable career, living with my significant other, and perhaps with one or two munchkins running around to keep our daily lives interesting. But slowly, the ‘legal-age-21′ birthday turned into the ’24-year-old-and-still-single’ celebration. I started to convince myself that I’d someday have to be alone and survive these cold winters cuddling up with my rabbits – both who don’t necessarily love to snuggle with me either. I feared for the day someone would reaffirm my thoughts and insecurities and told me ‘Yes, you’re going to be the few people in the world who will end up single for life’.
It scared me.
And it drove me insane to see my friends all coupling up with their significant others, coworkers showing up to company functions with their dates, and couples on the streets holding hands. It drove me so insane that I decided to try online dating.
Nowadays, online dating is the norm – how else am I supposed to meet people while working in this bustling city of ours? And I must say, I was one of the people who would say things like ‘Oh, you met online?’ followed by a judging thought. Or the ‘but, its online dating….’ and continue to judge in my mind.
But that’s not how it is anymore. I have accepted the fact that online dating apps or websites really help you meet people around you whom you would’ve never met otherwise.
If it wasn’t for online dating, I wouldn’t have met him. We’re still in the early stages of this exclusive relationship that we’ve established and though we’ve already hit a bump or two, he’s never failed to make me laugh and smile after our small arguments.
I remember telling him that I didn’t want anything serious out of the fear of actually falling for him. Falling for him and then having the sweep up the pieces of a broken heart after him realizing he was ‘just too busy’ or ‘didn’t like me enough’ or the usual ‘let’s just stay friends’. Returning to dating from the end of a four year committed relationship wasn’t easy, but finding myself, for the first time in a long time, falling for someone so easily was terrifying. As scary as it sounds, it really is a leap of faith. It’s trusting in God above that He placed him in my life for a reason.
And I’m willing to risk it.
The introverted part of me was screaming for attention. I wanted time alone to self-reflect and ensure the decisions I made were of my own. But simultaneously, I wished for someone to comfort me and tell me everything was going to be okay. Someone to reassure me that one day the tears will stop flowing. Someone to tell me that soon enough, the sun will start shining its rays into the windows of my life again.
I needed to become friends with loneliness. I needed to be comfortable being by myself and had to start relying completely on myself again. I had to become independent all over again.
I did all that. I was able to stand up on my own again. When I made choices on my career, I didn’t have to discuss it with anyone. When I decided to colour my hair and cut off 4 inches, I didn’t have to consult with any body either. I returned back to my pre-relationship self where all I had to rely on was myself.
Then I met him. Things hit off well. I enjoy his company and his humor. His personality is charming and down-to-earth. And I found myself opening up myself merely weeks after meeting him. I had just begun to learn to lean on my own again. Am I really ready to start falling again?
At this moment, I really don’t care.
I couldn’t care less that you’re returning home to Taiwan. I don’t care that you passed your courses and is awaiting graduation. I don’t give a rat’s ass that you’re being in your ‘antisocial’ state and not want to talk to anyone, including me.
All these years of me enduring your various mood swings and antisocial antics have built this wall around my emotions. I don’t allow myself to drink alcohol, afraid the liquid will show my true feelings. I don’t allow myself to cry because I know when I do, it won’t stop. I don’t allow myself to fall in love with any other man because of what you’ve done to me.
I’m in love with a man who disappears into his own world when something bothers him. I’m in love with a man who doesn’t allow me to fully heal my wounds. I’m in love with a man that doesn’t know how much I suffer every day just thinking about what we used to have. I’m in love with a man who just simply does not care about me any more.
I want to lie to myself over and over again, and think that he really does care. But if he cared as much as I cared for him, he would know how much it hurts to see him the way he is.
At this moment, I am done.
I don’t want to love you anymore.
I haven’t written about you for a while… It’s as if I didn’t have anything else left that I could write that I haven’t written already. At first I started writing about you because it made me feel better, that I could tell someone, anyone about you – except you. I thought somehow, you’d figure out that after all these years, I still love you and a miracle will happen to allow you to realize that you are still loving me too. But now when I write, I don’t know what to feel, or how to feel, even.
Tomorrow marks one year since we started speaking to each other again. It also marks the one year anniversary of a milestone event that I will never forget – my baptism. It was the day I proclaimed out loud to the world that Christ is my Saviour and was baptised at Kitsilano Beach along with eight other people from my church community. I remember you posting on my Facebook post asking me why I never told you that I was getting baptised. I had replied that I did tell you, but even if you did remember amongst your busy life, it would’ve made no difference – it wasn’t like you could’ve witnessed it anyway. It annoys me how one of the greatest days of my life is also linked to one of my most painful memories. Being baptised should be a wonderful blessing; a memory that reminds me of how my life is nothing but God’s grace. But it also reminds me of how no matter what, God somehow leads me back to you.
I’ve done enough sulking and I’m tired of being sad. There are still days when my heart wrenches from having to accept the fact that we will never be what we were again. And it hurts time and time again when I’m reminded that some lucky woman will have the joy of waking up to see you every day. But I know there will be one day when God will show me why he placed you in my life and everything will make sense. And until that day comes, I’m choosing to be happy.
On the good days, my mind is focused on the task at hand. Whether I am calculating water depths at work, or working out at the gym, my mind is concentrated on things that allow me to push away other thoughts. Then there are these bad days, where a small phrase or question you’d ask would set things off like a bomb and trigger the emotions I’ve tried so hard to cover.
Your graduation is coming up and you’re beginning to think about your future career. We were talking about it yesterday. I had urged you to continue applying for an intern position so that you can complete the last of your graduation requirements. I also encouraged you to seek out positions in Taiwan so that you can spend time with your parents. It was then you asked me: “What would you want?”
What would I want, you ask? Of course I’d want you to come back home, and you know that. Come back to where we both spent the majority of our school lives trying to navigate what we thought our lives would look like. I want you to come back to me so I can easily wrap my arms around you and never let you go.
But I didn’t allow myself to say that; instead I told you all I wanted was for you to be happy. I wasn’t lying when I said that, though. I do genuinely want you to be happy and I want you to be able to spend time with your parents that mean so much to you. But we both know if you were to return back to Taiwan, it would be so much more harder for us to talk, to Skype, or to see each other.
All that doesn’t matter, wouldn’t matter. Because as your friend, I don’t have the authority nor persuasion power to to tell you to come back. I can’t tell you that I miss you. I can’t let you know that I am still longing for your hugs, your kisses, and your touch. I still miss you holding me while I fall asleep. Heck, I even miss how you grind your teeth while you sleep.
What really does matter is that you’re happy. Because loving someone means if you see them happy, you’ll be happy as well, right?
But how come I still feel like the knife stabbed in my heart is still there?
During one of our random self-worth talks, I asked you if we can always be friends no matter where we venture to in the future. You replied: “Do you think I’ll let this friendship go so easily? If God had it meant for us, then we’ll always be friends.”
It has almost been four years since we met, and almost as long since I’ve fallen for you. During these years, we both grew up a lot. The two of us who met through a friend in one of Hong Kong’s hottest pubs slowly matured into two individuals stepping into the workforce.
I walked with you through these past years and I will continue to walk with you through this journey. I will watch you stumble, fall, and stand back up to grow taller. I will be there holding your hand when grief strikes, and will be there handing you a glass of champagne for celebratory events. I will always support you like you need me to, like you’ve always told me how you looked to me for encouragement.
“Do you think I’ll let this friendship go so easily? If God had it meant for us, then we’ll always be friends, we’ll always be what we are.”
And that is exactly what I’m afraid of. I’m afraid God won’t let us be what we are for the rest of our lives.
Because I know what we have right now can’t remain as is.
Some day, someone is going to replace me. She will watch when you stumble and help you stand back up to grow taller. She will be there holding your hand when grief strikes, and will be there to hand you a glass of champagne for celebratory events. She will be the one who supports you because you’ll need her to and you will look to her for encouragement.
She will take my place and make you happier than I ever could.
And I don’t think I can cope with that.