There was a time when I once thought
that everything was possible.
Where dreams could come true
if we chased hard enough.
Where people could properly love
if we tried hard enough.
And then one day, you realise it’s not going to happen.
Not because you won’t try.
Not because you haven’t tried.
But because – you can’t.
Who said I can’t?
Is it that defeatist voice in my mind
Or that low morale in my heart – you ask?
It’s a lesson learnt from being alive;
It’s a message from the people around me;
It’s countless situations that have proven themselves.
It’s reality setting in.
And suddenly, I think no more.
No more wishing for the day I walk in the open fields, hoping to scale the mountains and seeing the villages on the other end of the peak.
No more wishing to live in place without fear or tears, and where it feels like home.
No more wishing to feel that sense that has since become estranged – that sense of hopefulness and cheer.
There is a time now that I think
Nothing I want is ever possible.
Too long ago was there a feeling of lightness; those moments of laughter and times of joy. Too rare and unfamiliar is a genuine smile from the heart.
Too uncommon is there anyone who would care for the broken.
Everyone embraces the good; bolsters the accomplished.
There are some who subdue evil and fetter the bad.
But the broken remain broken.
Unattended, unnoticed, uncared.
Too long ago.
How bad do I want it?
They kept asking.
I wanted it so badly, but I wasn’t allowed to.
No – because it wasn’t right.
Whose standards, you ask? I don’t know. I don’t know anymore.
And suddenly, there is nothing but defeat. There isn’t anything more than a feeling of nothingness. There is an immense surge of worthlessness, if worthlessness was meant to be something.
And then, that was the end.
How bad do you want it?
Perhaps that wasn’t the right question anymore.
Perhaps the question is: Can you want what you keep wanting, or should you give it up?
“My breaths are short and raspy,” she whimpered, “it’s like I’m unable to lift my lungs with the air that enters. Well, I don’t even think there’s any air getting in there.”
She paused for a moment, before taking in a deep breath of air – one which she felt nothing of – and continued, “I’ve lost all interest in anything. Those days where the cafes looked cozy and the restaurants seemed grand? I don’t think I fancy those anymore.”
After pacing up and down the same path more than twice, she starts again. “I can’t seem to think right, and I can’t let these tears stop. I don’t really know why, but I feel so down, down, down and down. I can’t even get my feet to listen to me!” she cried.
She looked up at the sun that seeped through the branches. Her knees gave way. Her tears fell on the roots that peeked just above ground.
The trees whispered in the wind, “heartbroken”.
Merry isn’t merry when it’s Christmas.
Merry lost her loved ones – at least those that mattered – and had no one left to speak to when she was down; when she was proud; when she was in pain.
Merry could not understand why everyone was celebrating, when there was little but sadness that enveloped each living hour of her life.
Merry thought what it meant to be living in Hell, and while she tried hard to get there every holiday, she soon realised that she had been walking right through it all these while.
Happy isn’t happy as the year comes to a close.
He hasn’t achieved anything for the past 360 days.
What’s with the overly-positive tunes in the malls; and cheery greetings that everyone is throwing in at the end of a conversation?
He didn’t know that all problems would dissipate at the end of the year and disappear in the air.
He hadn’t found a solution to his job or relationship – nothing had gone right so far.
So while all those loving couples and perfect families went through the last days of a year, nobody remembered those who struggled to find joy in this fantastical world of festivities.
It seemed easy – “just be yourself”. Oh, those hated words.
How he hated it that the “himself” others saw, simply wasn’t real.
He had bent his back to make things happen. He had gone the extra mile – and another extra mile – to get what he wanted (and failed). He had been someone he hadn’t been, just to get what he wished he could. Wished. It remained a wish.
Funny how some people get what they didn’t even want, effortlessly.
Yet those who yearn, and make a concerted effort, never get there.
He heard the song on radio, repeating lines he no longer knew if they were true.
He hadn’t realised how much his life had changed since he had met her.
It had only been three months since their last meeting, but each day that went by without her presence felt worse.
He didn’t want to change her life; he couldn’t, anyway.
The knowledge pained him – wanting so badly to, yet knowing he shouldn’t, couldn’t, and wouldn’t.
It wasn’t as if she would agree to it; she had too much to lose.
It wasn’t as if she would, anyway; because she would never know.
No, he didn’t want to change her life, but he missed every moment he once had with her.
He didn’t deserve her time. He wasn’t entitled to see her smile. He had no right to hold her. Because someone else did.
“And I don’t want to change your life…” the song played on.
Didn’t he? How imprudent of him to have gotten into this state. Pathetic, to say the least.
He knew he couldn’t change her life; he could only walk away and slip away into the darkness…
She knew better this time.
Even as she felt the knots scrunching up in her tummy, and the creepy-crawly sensations that slid around within her chest, she merely let out a soft sigh.
Her fingers itched to call him, but it was less than two months since they last spoke.
No matter how much it took for her to suppress the urge, she was certain it would get easier. Watching the clock tick made it better, she persuaded herself. As long as day turned to night, she was certain she could let the feelings pass too. Perhaps it would be better not to make any rash moves, she reminded herself. She did not need another rejected call to ascertain that he cared less for her that he claimed he did. It wasn’t the first time she had to endure such emotions, and it surely wasn’t the last.
But she would learn, she reassured herself.
It had taken years, but she was positive that she could learn not to think of him.
Writing about it did him more harm than good. It didn’t make him any more certain about the situation. It didn’t help him forget her. But strangely enough, it didn’t help him to feel better about them either.
He tried to describe as vividly as he could, the day he had met her. He wrote fervently about the light that lit her silhouette, her eyes that glittered with the sheer hint of light that night. Then he typed fastidiously in an attempt to document every word and touch they had exchanged over time.
As he tried to weave their tale into a coherent story, he realised that there was hardly a story. No, there wasnt. There were countless expressions of affection from him to her. There were endless nights that he longed for her that it hurt his body and soul. There were infinite moments of closeness that he once held on dearly to. But to say they had an experience to retell or a relationship to cherish made almost a mockery to the true definitions of the words.
Perhaps putting these down in tangible words could help, he thought.
He kept up with writing, scribbling, typing, and back to thinking again. But slowly, as more days passed, less made sense. Feelings began to fade, and his resolute was evidently shaken. He could hold on the the last threads of memories, but the emotions were drained.
Did you still like her? They asked. This time, he wasn’t sure anymore.
He wasn’t upset.
He wasn’t tired or stressed.
He definitely wasn’t angry.
He was just being himself.
“Serious as hell,” someone whispered, in sync with the rustling of paperwork that piled on his desk.
“Moody bugger,” another said, as he frowned at the 600 e-mails he had to clear.
“Authoritarian!” a murmur was heard just as he backed his chair away and hurried to the next meeting room.
No, he wasn’t upset – not technically. He wasn’t tired or stressed – not really. And he definitely wasn’t angry.
He just want to get the work done and move on with life, preferably without the fools that lingered in his presence, trying with their limited capacity to speculate his emotions.