The Lights We Don’t See

Someone has already written the words I wanted to say. At least some of it. The same story, same beginning, same realisation, arriving when feelings were already tangled, clothes on floor, and fluids exchanged. It’s old, so old that I feel like adding anything more to it would just be a bore, especially when the reception is most definitely the same: righteous people will tell me to shut up. Of course, part of me is fierce to argue that this isn’t entirely true, that what I had was different, future has yet to come. But again, anyone will insist that their experience is unique, their actions made sense, what happened to them and between them with someone else must mean something. Honestly, I don’t know. I don’t have an answer for that. I don’t know if I even need to… for this particular story.

Something happened and it seems like the butterfly has really flapped its wings this time. I find myself in the middle of a road I sometimes forget I’m walking on, and from where I stand I cannot see what awaits me ahead. It’s just a thick layer of mist which could reveal anything, good or ill. The odds clearly aren’t in my favour but strangely enough, I’m in no rush to run to the other end. This might merely be a coping mechanism but it might well be a wonder in disguise. I think finally I’m slowing down. I want to feel as much as I can. I want to savour the moments like when I tasted the last sip of that Old Fashioned and fell asleep on the train home looking like the happiest homeless person, or when I started listening to jazz with a pair of good earphones and read Haruki Murakami. I know. I should have a vinyl record player and a proper writing desk. Not now but maybe soon.

This might just be a thing about age, or the butterfly effect has begun hitting. Either way, the world I’ve grown used to seems to be shifting a little — very slowly and subtly but distinctively. My senses become heightened, my steps softened. I listen, and suddenly people shine in ways I couldn’t see before. I’m enriched with an incredible dose of humanness. You know, people will always fit in some sort of narratives or images if you put them on a timeline and try to make sense of them like there’s an encyclopedia definition somewhere. But people, in any moment you’re truly with them, can’t be boxed into any narrative or image or definition. They aren’t their past or their future or the invisible baggage they carry. They aren’t their job or their possessions or the roles they play in every relationship they have. No word or sentence will ever be able to contain them fully, and their journey doesn’t even have to make sense. Because they’re right here. They’re this entirety, this human being who is alive and whole and interacting with you, and it’s all that matters.

I’m also alive and whole and uncontainable. With my flesh and bones and the words I say and the warmth of my touch. I could guess what people might regard me as. That Asian girl at my office. That random girl I matched with on Tinder. That writer girl who seems to be obsessed about sex. That cute, young girl I spent a few nights with. A short break when I needed, a sweet memory I return to now and then. The person who came to my life to teach me one thing, whichever it is resolves their cognitive dissonance. Or even, she’s a wonderful woman, she’s the love of my life and I must let her know. These are all fine. Because after all, it’s not really on me, or something for me to prove otherwise. What someone thinks of me is exactly what they’ll ever get from me. It’s their decision and I respect that. It’s their reality and it’s always right for them however they want it to be. And it’s okay. I have my reality too. Eventually, I will need to tell myself a few lines like that in order to move on anyway.

One day I will forget about a lot of things and a lot of things will stay forgotten as long as nothing will come and awaken them. Nothing might come and awaken them, and we will quietly pass by each other, telling ourselves different versions of a story we can never be so sure about. I still don’t have an answer and maybe I’m just a coward for even thinking this way. But it’s not like I have many choices. It’s the best I could do for the other half of my story, for the soul I feel so deeply, for the light I see so clearly. Sometimes you meet people and circumstances don’t allow you to hold on to them, to tell them every day it’s going to be okay. You can only hope that they’re safe and happy and will find their answers. You can only be patient and trust that good things will come to the giving hearts.

The lights we don’t see are often the ones that brighten up our life the most. Who knows they will show us the way home.

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