430 days. 

I kept counting. 

My fingers flicking open in order and hands always switching. Bent, crooked and flexed. New lines have formed on my palms. My fingers are no exception. I am slowly ageing without careful observation. My hands are still soft. 

My hands have always been one of the parts of my body I love. Very dainty, with clear lines and structure. Soft in texture but tough enough to fight. 

Anyway, I kept counting. 

I would deduct the dates and add the hours. Announcing it to him before smiling to myself. Encouragement is essential, and it would show him that I appreciate his effort. I really do. 

Going clean is just so difficult when it is a habit lasting for years. 

Any habit is hard to break. Even a person’s will might be weaker than the reliance on habit. 

430 days. 

The last number counted to, on 25th August 2016. And somehow I just stopped. The number still lying somewhere among the rest of my disorganised notes. Funny how I stopped then. 

I remember planning something. When it hits a bigger number. Maybe 500? But when is someone ever truly clean though? 

So naïve, I am. So misunderstood about cructhes, vices and addiction. 

Now I know that too much faith can break you. Especially when it is outside of your control. Especially when your own hands cannot tell the future that is someone else. 

But I knew. I remember asking questions every time I saw a cigarette in photographs, moments digitally recorded or a pack lying on the table. 

Perhaps my gut knew, and I chose to turn my observations to something else. Like the new scars on my right hand, from the dog bites. 

430 days of being in a grey area unknowingly. Neither here nor there. A space of unknowing and false comfort. 

How strange to look back at this now. Am I really out of this space now, even in my head? Or do I never really get to leave? 

Relative blindness. 

Untitled #47. 

I scare myself when I am reminded of how human I am. 

In the ways of piercing words and the urge to cut open to this skin. 

To bleed in more ways than one. 

How my mood can be ruined when one thing goes wrong. When a disturbance happens, and the undercurrents come rushing to the surface. 

Flushed skin and crazed eyes. 

Never calm inside. Never. 

How does it feel to be a genuinely happy person? 

Numerals. 

Numbers that never go beyond 

A certain amount 

Unpredictable fluctuations 

But predictable depletions 

Never rising yet 

Always have enough to keep on falling 

I am starting to develop a fear of checking my account balance, just like how I instinctively avoid the mirror as well as weighing scale. 

Random thought: if a disaster happened, money wouldn’t matter because it will all burn away and no longer becomes a status, but a consequence. 

So why am I so hard up about it now? 

Dollars and cents shouldn’t define us. 

But it shapes my lifestyle. 

That’s fact. 

Father’s Day. 

Father’s are figures of strength, a sense of resilience to keep the family together and the epitome of responsibility. I really believed that. When I was younger, being closer to my father was easier. He always seemed to be home more often, less strict and he is good with playing games. 

That was a time obliviousness clouded the future implications my father’s choices would have on the family. 

(More time at home is equivalent to less work, which means less money. So on and so forth.)

But when you grow up and that imagination has been proven flawed, it is difficult to reconcile what my father is, to me. And then, the questions come. 

Does a single mistake, even though it doesn’t seem like he regrets anything so far, enough to reduce everything else he did for me? 

He loved us, does he still love us despite the choices he chose to make? 

Did he really love us? 

Why does he not see the consequences of his actions? 

When he grows older and comes back to me for money, would I give? 

Is it ever an obligation to give your parents monetary allowance when you start work? 

Even when you know the money will be spent on ridiculous choices you never agreed with? 

What happens when you become an adult and your values go against your parents? 

When is the time you are able to speak up against your parents, as an equal? Is it age, holding a job, what is it? 

Does that time ever come? 

Is there even a time for that? 

The questions come and go. They make me recognise that I am not entirely okay with the current situation. It frustrates me that no straight answers exist and even I, am lost in my questioning and confusion. Never knew how annoying advertisements can be until I fund myself in this place. 

At this point, now, what is there to even celebrate anymore? 

That figure in my life, has gone. Beyond recognition. 

Too Familiar. 

This is too familiar a narrative to the point of choked up tears and a sense of shame. Perhaps we are bent on reliving the phrase that we always tend to hurt the ones we love, simply because the phrase has to exist for a reason. Perhaps we are all just cruel. 

Maybe it is how love is really just about choice, that makes everything sharper at the edges and scarier. 

Because we all know that years of relationships mean nothing in the end. The moment you choose to have out and to search for the greener grass on sides you have yet to visit, the love evaporates and ceases to exist. 

(Of course it depends on the intentions of the relationship in the first place, the reasons for leaving, the level of honesty and how the hurt is being discovered. Every relationship is different, and that’s why we may fail in so many ways with no one with a clear answer to share with.)

Suddenly you are free and the other person is free falling. You look at this face of years loved and feel nothing. To go from sparks to nothingness is a darkness in itself; never to realise how you found yourself in this place. The hands you yearned for are now let go off, with your own arms hugging another body, another soul so similarly but different enough for excitement. The crying face that used to break your heart and keep you up for days, now merely stains you with guilt that you can shrug off. Not think about. Not care about. 

After all, that love is no longer your burden to bear. Yes, it has become a burden, a bane and a burnt out flame of used to bes. 

And the entire process starts again. Never-ending. (Marriage is not a destination nor a remedy. Just a hope for stronger commitment and a legal bond that will hopefully strengthen resolve.) 

How do you say you love, only to turn your back on them when someone comes along? When you choose to hurt them deliberately? 

This has always puzzled me, though this narrative is too familiar for comfort. 

At this point in my life, I have found an answer that will keep morphing as I live but I hold on to for comfort now. 

I think this happens, because the choice of love was simply not strong enough for you to resist fulfilling your own desires (that probably weren’t communicated or swept under the carpet). Because your fear of disappointment, your being afraid of the consequences, laziness in not saying that you didn’t want to work on this anymore, was greater than “us”. 

You felt you were more important, than the other person you fawned over and wanted to protect with your life. But really, you wanted to protect yourself first and only when that was fulfilled did you open up your arms for someone else. 

Is that love though? No one knows the answer, but this question is worth thinking over. 

And would the problem be solved, if it was ever that simple, if two people came together only to love the other person more. 

Has that always been what we are all searching for? 

On a separate note, have we all thought about and are aware that love changes the way a person grows and someone being in a relationship, you might have contributed to the change that started to drive you away? 

How do you love a changing person? How does anybody love you? 

How do you love yourself? 

My heart is tired of hurting for other people, and I am tired of all this unanswerable questions. 

(Closest to) Silence. 

I remember watching this entire film that was silent. Yet it wasn’t called a silent film, because its exploration is about silence and not about the genre itself. I remember being fascinated, intrigued and a huge sense of calm wash over me. 

Today, I wonder if I can find silence but I know I can’t. The world is too noisy and the city never sleeps. 

Here’s a list of experiences I have that I think are closest to the silence I am searching for. 

Echoes in the mental chamber

Radio play on an Uber

Highway at 3am 

Heart beating in ear drums 

Air-conditioner whizzing 

Speeding motorcycles every blue moon 

Flickering toilet lights 

Wasp hitting the mirror persistently

Applying make up on my face 

Breath of the sleeping body next to you

Rustling leaves during windy weather 

Flowing tap water 

Construction workers digging underground 

MRT doors closing at every station 

Buzzing of traffic lights 

Yawns in a quiet classroom 

Shifting in bed under comfortable comforters 

Purring of a lonely cat under the void deck

Applying body foam to skin during shower

Clicking of high heels 

Lights going off past midnight 

Lights coming up past midnight 

Shy kisses on closed lips – slow and deliberate 

Running fingers through hair

Humming 

Crickets in the dark 

Echoes of the heart

Bare arms. 

(End of March. April is beckoning and the insomnia is back, so is school. Plenty of things have happened. Many reactions I have or had, but now I am still processing and wondering about the side of events I am unsure about. Hazy and all grey in view. Some quiet will help but when the silence is plagued by endless questions, my overthinking will swallow me alive.) 

Left the house with 

No rings or bracelets 

No sleeves to hide my ink

No hand to hold

No baggage to strain my fingers 

Left the house with 

Bare arms 

And a face bare to share 

Sleepless nights without words said 

Left the house with 

Freedom in no pretence 

– 

Bare arms to gesture my thoughts 

Shape the air when I speak 

Hold onto the thoughts I take back 

And wave away