Sunday, April 21, 2013

30 Greed

It’s getting really close to me leaving for Miri and seeing me pa, me ma and me sister. I’m gonna have the whole night alone, and I’ve just started to update my playlist. Last year, I didn’t do this when I spent the night at the airport sending her to Perth.
 
Greed. I might have just discovered a behavior/character that I actually belong to. Perfection and Imperfection. Completeness and unfinished business. Say, when we complete a drawing, we are actually giving up its state of incompleteness. One might ask what is there in an incompleteness, well I can’t particularly point to one answer, it could just be something that we feel about it. It could even be something that we don’t even know. Perhaps they are right, that there is actually nothing in incompleteness, or people do not value the imperfections. Maybe that is why people who completed their jobs were rewarded, sometimes even well off. Michelangelo used to take forever to finish up his paintings. He never liked to finish up his works once he worked out how they would look like in the end. I had that feeling when I was finishing up my thesis. I spent a lot of time on mapping out how it would look like, and once I wrote until the stage where I could see the end product would not deter from my plans, I never really found motivations to continue.
Perhaps it is the fear of losing something. Something that we don’t even know. I feel that way now.
I received a surprising phone call from my mother this morning. I was watching the award winning portrayal of Lady Thatcher in “The Iron Lady” starring the impeccable Meryl Streep. The second time I saw the film. Decided to rewatch it after the real Iron Lady passed away at the age of 87 this week. The call was about a potential new job that my uncle is trying to hook me up.
“It used to be about doing something; now it’s about trying to be someone.” Lady Thatcher said. In a way, I thought she gave me the greatest piece of advice I could have asked for.
The Good Rebel, the B-Side of Noel Gallagher solo project’s first ever single. I thought it was better than the A-Side. I liked it. It was my ringtone during that happy year 4 semester 2. First of May from the Bee Gees. That was also the time I did the 60 song compilation for WK’s dad. Barry Manilow, can’t smile without you. That was my ringtone, that was my mood for about a month. The days when I would quit dinner early and sit at the front porch of our house just to use the wifi to chat with you for ten minutes. The youth. The tenderness and sweetness of the purest feeling, where it all began. Miri. That three months was the happiest, some of the most beautiful of my life. Ever. Because what followed was not how I wanted it to be in the end, I wish I could turn back the clocks and have another shot. I don’t know what I would do differently, but I am greedy. I wanted the right results, I still do. I’m still working on it. That period of time, I haven’t even touched AIESEC. You haven’t changed your phone and I didn’t have to worry about Perth. WE, were hopeful.
Some day someone ought to make a film of my whole night out away from home. Keep the story line and use flash backs. At least I’ve got the soundtrack done.
You always like to quote the line from the book of Ecclesiastes, that God has everything in its time. You might even be referring to us. I hope. I never really could grasp the whole meaning of it.
In a way, since those happy days in Miri, I’ve tried not to change. I guess I tried hard. I tried to maintain the pure feeling towards you. You changed my university life story. It was supposed to end in a brotherly love but essentially wasted 5 and a half years, where I was almost the same when I first came, except the change from watching soccer to American sports, namely the NFL and MLB. Up until that point, I often regretted my decision to go Miri. I met friends, very good people. And I even learned to love the city that I wasn’t really comfortable with at the very beginning. And you were only going to go down as the prettiest girl in school who found my pendrive in the computer room.
Instead, that semester changed everything. I became myself, something that I have not lost since. I found school interesting again. I was learning again. I was living again. I breathed again, my fyp was starting to look promising again. I did so well that my lecturer was very kind to create 2 prizes for her best students to include me. And our group of buddies finally became really together, recognizing the bonds. I was belonged. But most important of all, was the driving force behind all these, loving you. I burned, I shone. Brightly.
I finally believed Nicholas’ words that he still wakes up everyday thinking about his Sharon. Because I did, and I still do. Thinking of you, not Sharon of course.
My last stay in Miri was like a second chance. It was so disconnected from the previous 5 years. I started studying Christianity. I changed. Miri changed. You were no longer there. I really could feel your absence. It was like the 3 days you went to KK the year before. Or when I went to St Joseph looking for your previous shadow. I felt your absence. I even asked Wendy to talk to you when you posted something weird and then deleted it. You never wanted me to know. But I guess I’ll always do, its him isn’t it. That night, we ate out. I was at Bintang. The rest of the boys were picking their prom night shirt. Somewhere at the old wing there was a free wifi. I stood there refreshed my chat for hours, waiting to hear from you or Wendy. I nearly missed the ride home too. These days I would just go to Starbucks.
The greatest thing about my gang in Miri, is that we could always talk to each other. We could always talk up, participation from everyone, not just one or two people leading the way. It is so different with Gerng and the lot. I’m usually quiet. Perhaps we’re too disconnected. The years where I formed who I am today. I spent two thirds of them in miri.
In the end, I looked around and I realized a few people did ever so well in their years in Curtin and Miri. Fulfilling. Mine will be of regrets. I wished I could have done more. But nonetheless I walked away being the first ever AIESEC EP of the University. I walked away knowing I’m better than a lot of people and knowing if one day I found a dream, I have to capacity and the endurance to see it through. I walked away loving you. I walked away alive because I believe one day I would see you again, and when God, would finally, mercifully, shine a light on me.
One became three McDonald’s. One became two and a half cinemas. The American Toasts, the Pakistani fried chicken, the pointing of Ms Lim’s door for advice of the day. I’ll never forget where I watched you sitting alone for an hour on Open Day, the SOB walkway where we first met after you broke up and I was on my way to a repeating subject; St Joseph; or the day when I knew I love you, at the library discussion room. Or the night I told you I spilled my beer in Robert’s house. Or the times when I told you Que Sera Sera. When I would consume like 50 jokes a day and pick the best few just to amuse you. Or how you agreed to bring Guinness and Big Macs to my funeral. And speaking of big macs, on how I used to call you big mac. The sleepless nights I had, roaming in Alan’s room, just like right now, thinking of you so hard? Don’t even mention. And I prayed for all your exams and tests since that fall.
We can all laugh at how I made you a cake last year and confessed. But the stark contrast of it being a really serious endeavor at the time will always be with me. That’s what it felt like, burning yourself.
I hardly remember what went on for the first 4 years. I needed pictures, I needed people to tell about them again, and I needed my finished films list. But the last two semesters, the two fall seasons, everything is so clear. The first fall, it was also the time of Giddens’ “Apple in my eye” film. Although Malaysia didn’t catch on until December, I was on the same wave as Taiwan and Hong Kong, which premiered in August. You were the apple of my eye. In another sense, people remembered the flick as a breakthrough for Michelle Chen, and the boyish high school memory of Giddens himself. But I remembered the film as a regret of Giddens. He loved the girl. He loved her, even today. He was sorry for he couldn’t love her like he used to. The stark contrast of the good young days versus the reality of grown ups. It will forever be in his regret that he never got to be with her. You were the apple of my heart. And just like me, Giddens would love a chance to do it all over again, he doesn’t know what he would do differently but he would want to do it again.
One more song, Avril Lavigne’s When You’re Gone – “All I ever wanted was for you to know, everything I do I give my heart and soul”
In a way I hope you might turn up, just to say hello to old friends again. You’re probably reading this, so if you do I would ask for a picture. No more. If I do, I would die in peace. I do know for one thing my friends will ask about you. I’m already thinking how to answer when they ask about you. They really would like to meet you. I dream of bringing you out with them. Perhaps it’ll only be a pipeline dream, something that never happened until the day I die, but I dream. Hey, maybe we can visit my friends in Sabah together this year end?
“Right Now I wish you were here, damn damn damn, what I’d do to have you here” – Avril Lavigne Wish You Were Here
What started out as a small bit of trying to articulate the greedy attributes spawned a five page (and counting) memoir of that night in the airport. I’ll keep the memoir myself, just not to bore the masses. This is almost 3 pages long nonetheless. In a way this is all me before doing AIESEC in Hsinchu. Another new perspective.
I miss you. Going back, and overnight in airport again, I will always look for you, that pair of seats where you were right beside me in the airport arrival hall, and every corner in the old town again. Maybe the Starbucks bartender might say “Nice Cap! Sir!” again? If he does I’ll tellyou about it.
yours as ever
Leo

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