Heart Or Brain

No. I’m only joking.

I mean shock.

Shock that the person I thought was a role model and a loving dedicated mother could say on the national TV things I would never expect to hear from her. And to think that I used to copy her style back in the 90s. She was fashion-forward, quite unique, creative and out of the box. Now, this…

She is one of the three hosts of a noontime program that centered around family life. No, I don’t follow it. Nor watch. I just know. From time to time a segment would pass through my feed and sometimes I click on it just to see what’s current from the other side of the world and the other day it’s about choices, priorities. Who is more important, a husband or children? That’s the topic. I thought it was old news. Everyone knows that children first and if push comes to shove and a mother has to choose, no second thought: children it is. A partner you can replace. Easily. But your own kids… c’mon, they are part of you, your own flesh and blood. You’ve carried each of them for nine months, take care of them till they are old enough to attend to themselves and even then, your task as a parent will never finish till you are dead and buried. How could you prioritize your partner over your children? It’s for me unthinkable.

I know there is an exception in every rule. Like if despite all your effort your child becomes so toxic to your existence that there is no other choice but to cut the umbilical cord. But that isn’t the same as choosing between your partner and your offspring. You are choosing for yourself and what is best for your well-being.

Apparently, not everyone thinks the same. At least, not that female host. Her co-hosts are on my side but she is adamant that she has to put her husband first before her children. Like I said I was shocked! And what surprised me, even more, was the fact that their guest expert on the topic was with her 100%.

Unbelievable!

It’s like saying if your partner and child are drowning or trapped in a burning building you are going to save your husband first instead of the other way around?

I can’t wrap my mind around that ridiculous idea. In my book, if someone thinks this way she doesn’t deserve to be a mother.

How about you?

What do you think?

Probably you will argue:

Always remember that once kids grow up they will leave you and you will have only each other.

Are you sure?

How would you know that he will be there forever?

On the other hand, even when worse comes to worst your children will always be your children no matter what.

No?

I am not saying neglect thy husband. Just don’t make him your priority especially when the children are young and needed you most. And when the time comes to choose. Never choose him above your children. Never. No matter what.

Agree?

romantic_by_sooo

Tumbleweed

The legendary tumbleweed is really a nurse crop that protects the growth of prairie grasses under its shade, and then sacrifices itself and blows away.

Almost everyone I know has something of an ancestral house. Somewhere they can always go back to from wherever fate decided to move them across the globe. A place where they could reunite with their families and friends and talk about childhood memories. Somewhere they feel safe and truly belonged. Most people have hometowns, alma maters, reunions, people they grew up with and neighbors who know them from babyhood. I know people who married their childhood sweethearts, the next-door neighbor or a sibling of their best friend. Their children know each other and go out together forming the next generation of youngsters who will follow the footsteps of their parents. Most people have a family and a home where their roots are firmly planted in a solid foundation, where their history lies and written. I don’t have those.

I don’t even come back to the place where I was born since we left before I was even a year old. Alma mater, what is that? I changed school like I change underwear. Same with hometowns. If I would like to visit where I grew up I have to go to hundreds of different places and meet thousands of different people who may not remember me at all since we leave before everything gets too familiar. Roots? What’s that? I was a tumbleweed rolling where the wind blows, no destination, without purpose.

Family is something alien to me. Not only I don’t have a place to go back to, but I have also no one to come back to. Don’t ask. It’s just the way it is. Likewise, with friends, I don’t have them either. What I had were familiar strangers whom I shared a one time experience with before I move to another chapter of my existence. Go back (even for a visit) I can’t. Somehow I always managed to burn bridges one way or the other. If I don’t someone will do it for me. It’s just the way it is.

Family, friends, hometowns, alma mater, childhood sweethearts, ancestral house, roots, If you have them, I envy you.

Tumbleweed3

ThumbelOona

You’re growing so fast Sunshine

Your clothes are getting smaller

Your face changing

You are getting bigger

Not in a conventional sense

But you are growing alright

Growing into Oona size

Thumbelina size

Forever

Compact slight petite

Tiny slight pint-sized

All elfin features perfect

A miniature person

Small beautiful Unique

I love the way your toes curl when I kiss them. I love how you look at people with your scrutinizing gaze as if you are studying them weighing knowing understanding. I love the sound of your voice when you are trying to convey your feelings in your own way, without words. I love how you smile when you hear your favorite song and how you listen attentively when your mother read you stories. I love the way your big eyes light up when you are happy and the way your eyelashes touch your cheeks when you’re asleep.

I want you to be happy and healthy Sunshine. I want you to be safe.  Remember that I will always be here when you need me. I love you my Oona. My ThumbelOona.

040819-baby

The False Grinning Faces We All Wear

“I’ve never been lonely. I’ve been in a room — I’ve felt suicidal. I’ve been depressed. I’ve felt awful — awful beyond all — but I never felt that one other person could enter that room and cure what was bothering me…or that any number of people could enter that room. In other words, loneliness is something I’ve never been bothered with because I’ve always had this terrible itch for solitude. It’s being at a party, or at a stadium full of people cheering for something, that I might feel loneliness. I’ll quote Ibsen, “The strongest men are the most alone.” I’ve never thought, “Well, some beautiful blonde will come in here and give me a fuck-job, rub my balls, and I’ll feel good.” No, that won’t help. You know the typical crowd, “Wow, it’s Friday night, what are you going to do? Just sit there?” Well, yeah. Because there’s nothing out there. It’s stupidity. Stupid people mingling with stupid people. Let them stupidify themselves. I’ve never been bothered with the need to rush out into the night. I hid in bars because I didn’t want to hide in factories. That’s all. Sorry for all the millions, but I’ve never been lonely. I like myself. I’m the best form of entertainment I have. Let’s drink more wine!”

― Charles Bukowski

SONY DSC

Self-Defense

When I cannot sleep or too agitated to rest, I fantasize. Conjuring up scenarios in my head to cheer me up and calm me down. But most of the time I ruined my own fantasy by wanting everything to be perfect. Every move, every word has to be precise, even the lighting has to be perfect or otherwise, I cannot move from one scene to another. The keyword is feeling. If a certain setting doesn’t evoke the emotion I want to achieve, it will not do for me. When a person in my fantasy look at me across the room, I want to feel something, when someone holds my hand, whisper in my ear, sing a song, tells a joke, I want to feel it inside, I want the gesture to move me, or otherwise I will repeat the scene over and over in my head till I get it right.

I know it’s craziness but I can’t help it. If I want to escape reality, the fantasy must be damn good, or otherwise, what’s the use?

Don’t judge me for escaping the stresses and cruelty of the world 

bathtub,brunette,drowned,fowers,gazing,girl-b117b9e6243476001ac5830a40e19c47_h

The Perfect Mother

Children are knives. They don’t mean to, but they cut. And yet we cling to them, don’t we, we clasp them until the blood flows.

My daughter always said that when the time comes she will be a better mother than I am because you see when it comes to motherhood (among so many other things) I am a failure in her eyes.

Well, she’s a mother now and her baby is four months old, so far, she didn’t manage to take care of Oona on her own yet. Every day she needs someone to be there because she cannot stand being alone with her daughter. Too demanding, too energy-consuming, too tiring too difficult too scary too everything according to her. She got a list of people (cleaning person maternity help and such not included) in her network and she shuffles their schedules to fit in hers. No questions asked. Just do what she says and everything will run smoothly. That simple. That easy.

She complains that Oona cries a lot and taking too much of her time. In fact, she said she has no life anymore. Duh (eyes rolling) you wanted a baby, suffer the consequences. In fact, Oona cries because she is making her nervous, stressing the baby (and everyone around her) with her regimented rules and schedules. Babies fall asleep when they want to, no need to force them to lie in a darkened room because you find it is time for them to disappear. In my country, we leave them to drop down whenever and wherever they please no matter how unconventional that might be. Like my father said if they fall asleep in a strange position whichever corner they choose, it means they are comfortable there so let them be.

Babies cry when they are hungry so please don’t force-feed them in the hours that you deemed right. Oona is not even allowed to hold her own bottle. Against the rules. The other day She said that Oona is under the weather and agitated. I would be too if I don’t take a bath for four days. She cannot put Oona in the bath alone. Too scary. Besides, Oona doesn’t like water. I wonder why. Probably the same reason why Oona doesn’t like to be dressed up. She squeezes her into clothes that way too small it restricts the baby’s movements. I can imagine how painful it is to wear a romper that there is no room to stretch your legs without putting pressure on your neck. She said she suspects that Oona has pain in the neck. Another duh. If you are a perfect mother, you will notice that you are squeezing your baby into clothes that don’t fit. No?

And if you are too scared to put her in the bath for whatever reason, at least freshen her up a bit, give her sponge bath, start with playfully wetting her hands and feet in lukewarm water either in a basin or under the softly trickling water from the tap. You can apply the same method to wash the hair. Hold her head under the tap but not the face or you can use a plastic cup so you can pour softly and slowly while talking to her describing what you’re doing to distract her. Do it playfully and lovingly as not to scare her. And if you are really worried you might drop the baby or something, do it if necessary in bed putting a waterproof sheet underneath the bath towel. Anything but leaves her unwashed for days!

Not sure what to do? Google it for crying out loud. For sure there are loads of materials out there to get ideas from.

During one of my visits, I had to take Oona for a walk (and Mary the dog) so my daughter could take a rest she said. It was cold, I wear a double hoodie but Oona didn’t have a cap. My daughter either forget to give it or didn’t find it necessary. I know better than to question her judgment. Any question raises about her choices is guaranteed to be met with hysterics that lead to teary arguments and finger-pointing. We had disagreement already over the cap of the perambulator. She wanted me to close it completely sealing Oona in the darkness. What is the point of walking outside if she is not allowed to see anything? A few meters from the house I opened the pram’s cap halfway, picked some yellow flowers that were bending over the fence and hang over the hood where Oona could see them. She liked it.

When we came back, my daughter commented about Oona’s sudden changed of mood. The baby looked healthier and obviously happier she said. I think to myself: Of course, she is. Any fool with half sense would know that like with anybody, babies need to go out too. To relax, not to party like my daughter seems to prefer upsetting her own structured schedules for Oona whom she claimed a hypersensitive baby therefore susceptive to too many stimuli. But that’s another of my daughter’s many amazing characteristics; putting her wants and needs first above anyone else. A modus she practices from babyhood with her brother who learned from the cradle it is best to give way than be subjected to teary confrontation. Wonderful.

She’s suffering from post-natal depression ( she said) which costing them money going to a psychiatrist (or is it psychologist?) and all. And guess whose fault is that, her being depressed, mine of course who else. Me and my ex failed to give her a proper upbringing (emotional blackmail anyone?) and all that jazz. Excuses I find. She’s 31 years old. She is married to the boy she had been chasing all her life. They now have one of the four babies she planned a long time ago to have and bring up perfectly, they have a decent house and okay relationship, man up for God’s sake! She practically living her dream. What’s the problem then?

Sometimes I suspect her of using Oona, deliberately agitating the baby and God knows what so she can justify her claim of how difficult her situation is and how brave how wonderful how good how perfect she is to withstand the ordeal of motherhood.

Look around for God’s sake! How other mothers are doing. Are they being overly dramatic? And I mean mothers who had survived a more traumatic experience in their lives than her. There is one among her circle of friends for example. Are they using their history as an excuse to cover their inadequacy?

When I gave birth to her I was barely in my twenties, alone in a foreign country where I didn’t understand nor able to speak the language, living in a tiny studio in the marginal part of the capital with little else to go on. The only view I had was an abandoned building that put fear in my soul. My drunkard thoroughly abusive husband disappeared on weekends leaving us alone with no food and locked me and my daughter outside in the middle of the winter whenever it suited him. I had to beg milk for her from the cafes in the neighborhood and ring bells of various apartments and pleaded to let us in even in the hallway so my daughter will not freeze to death. How’s that for a reason to have post-natal depression?

With all of the horrible things I had experienced, not even once I blamed anyone and feel nothing but love for my children. I never saw them as a bother, upsetting the balance of my life or costing me energy or blaming them for not having a life. Something my daughter is constantly talking about when it comes to Oona. One time, I asked her if she once looks into Oona’s eyes and feels that whatever troubles she’s having taking care of her is all worth it. She said; “I don’t have that. I don’t feel anything. I don’t enjoy motherhood, I don’t see her as all of you see her, she’s costing me too much energy and demanding all my time, I have no life anymore, yada-yada-ya.”

I can’t believe it. What did she expect? A walk in the park? First of all, she wanted to have a baby. So much so that when they cannot conceive the normal way they went to a lot of trouble to ensure that she gets what she wished for. Wish granted. What’s the problem then? The reality doesn’t fit in her perfect vision of how it supposed to be? Motherhood is not as easy as she thought it would be? Or the idea of her failing in her lifelong quest to do better than me terrifies her more than anything.

For the record, Oona is a sweet child in nature, calm, agreeable and happy. Only cries when it matters and not at all demanding. But like all normal babies who are in tune with their surroundings and susceptible to the moods of their mothers, Oona feels what my daughter feels and it makes her nervous, agitated and traumatized. She suffers under the constant quest for perfection, order, and control of my daughter who forces Oona to learn to roll over, lie on her belly, this and that because she finds it is about time Oona does these things. I thought: For God’s sake leave her alone. She will rollover crawl and walk in her own time. My son didn’t walk or talk till he was two and a half and turned out to be a multi-talented gifted individual. Each baby has a different pace when it comes to developing. There is no one size fits all (written or not written) rules for these kinds of things. If you are a perfect mother you ought to know that you can’t give your baby a textbook upbringing. Let them do their own thing. All in due time. And if there is indeed something wrong with your baby, no amount of forcing can change that so leave them alone.

What’s the problem then?

The problem is responsibility. My daughter cannot handle it. An aunt (and uncle) cushioned and pampered her for twenty-six years- something she never appreciates (what it is she appreciates anyway) someone devoting all their lives at her beck and call- something my daughter endlessly and shamelessly practice even now among her friends and family. I may not be the perfect mother but I don’t use and manipulate people to suit my needs. I’m afraid the trait comes from the side of my family. My mother was an expert. She thought she had everything coming. I called it Annalyn syndrome. Annalyn is my sister who unfortunately has the same character as my daughter. They love to put the blame on anyone but themselves and play the victim. Own your fucking mistakes for crying out loud and stop blaming people for your own failure. If everyone uses their imperfect background as a starting point (foundation) which to build their future, then everyone would be a criminal.

I for one have plenty of reasons from all sides but I don’t go on bothering people. I’m not saying I am better than my daughter or anyone else. I am probably worse in some areas. What I’m saying is the opposite. Don’t think you are perfect when you are clearly not. Don’t claim you’ve done it on your own and don’t need anyone when you can’t even take care of your own child and need an army just to survive a day. And appreciate the help you get and be grateful instead of acting high almighty I am better than the rest. And please decide what it is you really want to do with your life instead of jumping from one interest to the other confusing the people around you. And stop using your background and upbringing as excuses if you lost the motivation and don’t succeed.

My daughter spent 31 years of her life trying to decide what it is she really wants to do and achieve. So far she is in the middle of yet another endeavor with so many on the sides that it is unclear what is her ultimate goal and where she gonna go from there.

She said she wants to have a practice (a part of a conglomerate of experts housed in one building) giving advice to families on how to run their lives and bring up their children properly. She said she has the perfect background to do it. I told her practice with Oona first and at this moment she is the one who needs advice.

And that is another problem. My daughter cannot take advice or tips (especially from me but she will gladly pay a ridiculous amount of money to a stranger telling her what she wants to hear) on how to run her life without taking it as a grave offense and switch on to the full battle defensive mode.

I understand the difficulties of motherhood. I’ve been there, haven’t I? I know that each person has their own manner of dealing with any given situation, I understand that my daughter has some trouble coping with the responsibilities but she made the choice so snap out of it and shoulder on. There are people who are in a more desperate situation that she is right now. Millions of them. She has a supportive family, an understanding brother, willing in-laws, a patient husband, a network of helpful friends and a dream of a daughter whom I will gladly take on if given a chance. So stop being a ninny, step up to the challenge and show some respects where respect is due.

And most of all, stop the quest to be the perfect mother or perfect anything because perfect doesn’t exist. She had already a dose of reality check from every corner and had to swallow almost every word she once swears she was not going to do so learn from it instead of clinging on to her unrealistic ideals that exist only in her head.

I hope she man-up soon for the sake of Oona before it is too late.

I’m not holding my breath though.

iStock_000005318605Large2e

Parallel Lines Don’t Intersect

The poem at the bottom reminds me of the time I was convinced I had a crush on a senior in high school. I was a freshman, we were both in pilot classes. The best of the best.

I was there by brain alone. No prestige no wealth not even looks. He had all of those and more. Naturally, he didn’t want to be associated with me. Avoided me like the plague. I remember enrolling in the woodworking class because I thought he would be there but no, he was in embroidery class. Joined the gardening class hoping to catch him there but what do you know__ he was in the baking class!

He grew up to be the most successful individual I know past and present. Traveling around the world for his job and belongs to crème de la crème in his field. He is never married. To his job by the looks of it. He never stops studying. A Ph.D. here, there and everywhere and still going. I wonder what his motivations are. Anyway whatever it is, he made it.

A couple of years ago, his cousin – who used to be my classmate – and I came across each other online and since she was just across the border from where I live we decided to meet for old time’s sakes. I heard he will be there as well. But at the last moment, he dropped out. I concluded that even after all these years he still doesn’t want to be in the same room with me. I retreated inside my walls and never heard of them since then.

you said you like old stuff
so I bought a vinyl player
and a typewriter.
I thought it’ll make you like me too,
how could I be so futile?you said you’re into painting
so I enrolled in an art class
and practiced drawing.
I heard you wrote him handwritten poems,
oh god, this feels like drowning.you said you’re into bad boys
so I tattooed a dragon across my chest.
I saw you date your nerdy classmate.
guess I’m all too late
again.

see? no matter how many times
I change myself for you,
you still can’t see me.
no matter how fast I chase you
I’m still miles away behind
your
free-versed heart.

you said you’re still a virgin
so I stopped watching pornography.

I heard he banged you hard.

God, I deserve a drink.

~from Postcard Promise via Facebook

5

A Quote that will either Utterly Depress or Completely Inspire You.

By Emily Bartran

I should probably preface this by saying that to see the beauty in this quote, you might have to be a little dark and twisted.

Not, like, Marla Singer dark and twisted.

Just enough to acknowledge that life, in its entirety, is as tragic as it is joyous, as painfully lonely as it is rich with love and friendship and serendipitous-bordering-on-fateful connection, and as unconcerned with our individual sufferings as it is generous with extra servings of the good stuff.

Basically, it’s an unpredictable mess, but it’s the only unpredictable mess we’ve got, and at the end of the day it’s usually pretty enjoyable.

I struggle, sometimes, to remember the latter halves of all those extremes life seems to hand us—you know, the halves that are actually good. Instead, I get caught up in the waiting game: once this is over I’ll be happy again, when I move here it will be easier to make friends, my life will really get started once I do this/that/the other.

Instead of figuring out how to make the life I’m currently living work best for me, instead of actually making a change, I make plans for a change. There is a lot of list-writing and smugness for having successfully “figured it all out” involved.

But I stumbled across a David Foster Wallace quote that simultaneously felt like a punch in the face and the tender kind of hug only a consoling mama-bear can offer.

It openly acknowledges the (really) bad stuff, but it doesn’t allow me to wallow in the waiting game.

It starts like this:

“…the horrific struggle to establish a human self results in a self whose humanity is inseparable from that horrific struggle…our endless and impossible journey toward home is, in fact, our home.”

My first reaction to this was a previously unexperienced emotional combination of emphatic agreement and the immediate disillusionment of the trajectory of the rest of my life.

Trying to figure out who we are is hard and horrific and only ever vaguely successful, but because this is what society has loosely defined as part of our “purpose,” that hard and horrific and only-ever-vaguely-successful struggle has become all-consuming. It’s what we aim to resolve every day, from choosing our career path to choosing the Instagram filter that best fits our virtual aesthetic. Cue emphatic agreement.

But—this struggle is my home? No no, that’s not right. This struggle is a means to an end. This struggle is taking me somewhere.

Once I figure out who I am, once I conquer this struggle…

And it was this exact moment in my train of thought that I found myself playing that pesky waiting game again. Cue disillusionment and metaphorical punch in the face.

The aim of trying to figure out who we are is nearly impossible to separate from the massive and minuscule decisions we make as we go about our daily lives. And you know what our daily lives are? Our entire lives.

We fall in love at a bar on an otherwise unremarkable Tuesday evening. We get the call that a loved one died while we’re grocery shopping. We take a business card from the guy sitting next to us on an exhausting plane ride and that business card changes the course of our career three months later.

The journey to establish our self—to build a home that is complete with four walls and a roof and has a concrete definition of You sitting at the dinner table—is never-ending, because every experience and decision we make further informs and develops that definition. 

That means the struggle that comes along with it never ends, either.

Now that I’ve spent 613 words’ worth of your time presenting you with what probably seems like an absolute bummer of a quote, here are 119 more that will (maybe, hopefully) turn that perception around.

I think I may have audibly sighed with relief and solace when I read the rest of Foster Wallace’s quote. If words had the power to physically tuck the anxiety and expectations surrounding life, in general, away into a dusty little corner of my mind, that’s exactly what these words would have done.

Interestingly, though, I’ve shown this to a few people and each of them had completely different interpretations and responses to it.

So, the rest of the quote will be left here without any other comment. I hope you feel the comforting arms of a mama-bear around you: 

“…finally, the door opens, and it opens outward: we’ve been inside what we wanted all along. Das ist komisch.

20160619_114424

The Mailman

Imagine death, as a corporate looking mailman.

with his black suit and red tie,
black pants, and black leather shoes.
a brown leathered sling bag all the way to his waist and a blue cap on top of his head as it overshadows parts of his face though you can still see his smile.
sure, it somewhat looks creepy, but he tries to be a cheerful person.
he leaves the house before sunrise and proceeds to work.
delivering presents in every houses, with a little note on top of every gift that says,
“you’ve made it today, here is a gift from me. sincerely, death”

inside the box, is your life, for you to use today. the dew of first breath in the morning, until you wake up.

death never fails to deliver his presents in every house,
because each house is different every day.

some look as bright as the sun,
some look as colorful as a rainbow,
others look as dark as his suit,
but most are pretty normal.
but nothing stays the same.

most days, no one is there to receive his gifts, but he never feels sad about it.
he just cheerfully knock on your door or ring the doorbell.
though, when no one answers, he carefully places the present in front of the doorstep and leaves,
for he has no time to wait — he needs to finish all his work before sunrise.

oftentimes, someone is already waiting by the doorstep to receive the parcel.
from then he tries to bargain, he is not a businessman nor business inclined, but he gives you the freedom to choose between the gift of life or the package of eternity.
if you choose life, then he will give it to you, whether you want it or needed it. a chance to see another day.
yet if you choose eternity, as he always had in reserve for you, when the right time comes, then, that is the time you need to leave your home and pass on,
but he will let you bring the boxes that you have,
the box which once contains life is now filled with memories, a gift for you to take with you.

funny, how death gives us more presents than Santa could ever give, no matter how naughty or nice you have been.
how he gives us more chances, more than God ever did.
and yet, he never asked anything in return.

death is your ordinary cheerful corporate looking mailman, that never fails to do his job. though he may be sometimes under-appreciated, he still finds his way to deliver his gifts each and every day.

Words by Clarke Stein

krylonproj1

The Past Comes Peeping Out Again

By accident, I came across a familiar name online, a name I know so well. A name I’ve seen written on railway sleepers outside our house once upon a time. A name which was converted into numbers as a part of coded messages written on walls around the neighborhood meant only to be understood by me but meaningless to others. A name that has now an extra name added to it, inserted in between and belonged to a familiar face of a stranger. How did it happen?

The face belonged to a friend. A son of one of my father’s workmates and buddies. His father was trying to couple him with me even before I set eyes on him. I always nod and politely smiled whenever the topic was brought up but deep inside I was not the least interested. Judging by the appearances of parents and siblings, this phantom boy who worked in the city will never be anything to me. And so I thought.

Till one sunny afternoon, I was trying to read and heard a commotion outside. Peeping through the slit on the wall I saw two young men carrying air guns chasing each other across the train tracks. I found their accent funny. Clearly, they were from the south and speaking a dialect I heard my father used sometimes. I wondered who they were.

I saw the older of the two boys again during an old fashioned barrio fiesta dance. He was more good looking than I remember, looking like a city boy that he was, fresh and modern. I was charmed.

I wish he wasn’t a show-off. I wish he didn’t dominate the dance floor, I wish he wasn’t so sure of himself the one hundred percent crush I initially had for him reduced by twenty-five percent after his performance that night. On the way home, he deliberately stayed behind to have a word with me he said and I thought: This is it! He gonna professed his undying love for me. But what he actually said was he got an eye for my friend Rose and could I possibly help him to win her heart. The seventy-five percent crush plummeted to fifty after that revelation. When I heard that he was the phantom son of my father’s co-worker, the remaining fifty percent went all the way down to zero and we became best of friends. That’s the face the familiar stranger belongs to.

The name is totally another matter.

It belongs to someone else entirely. Same town, same neighborhood, same young dreamers club (he was the president, the other the vice) but different looks, different age category; he was older. Twenty-six to be exact. I knew right away he fancied me. Actions speak louder than words, right? He showed it in so many little things but he never made an attempt to voice out his feelings or formally court me. I confronted him with it and to my surprise, he didn’t deny what I already knew. When I asked him why, he said he was not a teenager anymore to give in to impulse, too old to be foolish. I was a handful he said. Starting anything with me was like picking a rock to bash your own head. I was too much for him he said. I called him a pussy and he laughed about it. We laughed about the whole thing. I was not the least insulted nor angry. The whole conversation was bordering on funny, a joke. But we understood the seriousness of what being said and not said. We accepted it.

He was a frustrated engineer to be, dropped the dream in favor of drinks. He carries a big scar across his stomach. A souvenir from a street fight which almost killed him. If he learned some lessons from the experience, it didn’t show. Life goes on.

I went away in search of a better future. I lost track of the people I once knew. Forgotten almost. Never seen them again nor I set foot on the once familiar turf once more. Now I saw online a stranger who is carrying his name wearing a familiar face of another.  Too much of a coincidence. It piqued my curiosity and started to dig deeper.

Well, it turned out to be this: Mr. Frustrated Engineer married a sister of my once best friend. (Why they all ended up together eventually? Too little choice? Too lazy to cast the net wider? Whatever) Mixing the name and the looks perfectly well. There are six siblings to the familiar stranger. All good looking, all degree holder. Three of them engineers. Not bad I thought. And the familiar stranger who is bearing the name of his father, well, he is an engineer too. Surprise surprise. Kudos to him and to the sister. Despite circumstances, they managed to raise a family of well educated talented young people who will be parents to more successful future generations from my past. Making me wish I am thirty years younger and back to the place I tried all my life to escape from. Fancy that.

And to him, he made the right choice by not choosing me. It would never work out. I am too much of everything for somebody like him. For anybody for that matter. The best way to keep me is to set me free. Something my husband understands so well. And by the way, he’s also an engineer.

Well, Mr. Frustrated Engineer… Do you still remember the song you used to sing to me while strumming your guitar?

This is it:

Something New In My Life 

by Stephen Bishop

I guess I wanted something new in my life
A new key to fit a new door
To wake and see a different view in my life
The one I’ve been waiting for

Dreams like everyone I had a few in my life
Who knew that this one would come true in my life
I knew the moment when you touched me
You touched me

You’re like a sudden breeze that blew in my life
A new face, a new smile, a new song
And now I know I wanted you in my life all along

You’re like a chance I had to take in my life
I found you and couldn’t lose you
And all the difference that you make in my life
The feelings I never knew

I guess I must have saved an empty place in my heart
For you to come and fill the space in my heart
That long before I said, I loved you
I loved you

Whatever happens, this is true in my life
When all the springs have come and gone
Whatever doors I may go through in my life
Whatever else that I may do in my life

You’ll always be the something new in my life
From now on
I know there always will be you in my life
From now on…

81514.5885.big

I am made for Autumn

Yes. The colors, the atmosphere, the way the light slant through the trees and on everything. The sky mix of hues, lavender orange pink purples and blues… The chilly breeze and evening fires, the rain, the smell of earth, late-blooming perennials shorter days and early nights. All of those makes me feel peaceful and warm.

HERO_GardeningAutumn19

A Wet Man Does Not Fear The Rain

Is that so?

When you hit rock bottom the only way is up?

Dangerous are the people who got nothing to lose

They up the stake and go all the way.

I feel like that sometimes.

Other times I worry about everything and nothing.

But one thing is true

The more you have, the more scared you get of losing them.

Same with people I guess.

The more you love them, the greater the fear.

Watching thriller and detective films sometimes, I curse when I learned that the leading character has a family, children especially. I think to myself: How stupid you are to have an Achilles heel. In that line of work, better to live alone and have nothing you cannot walk away from when the situation calls for it.

If I have got my wish, I am living that kind of life. Solitary. Lone wolf. Always in transition, nothing to lose, never vulnerable.

I will be a Ronin.

Yeah. I like that. A secret fantasy of mine.

I never walk into a place I don’t know how to walk out of.

And I never took a companion I cannot shoot in the head without a second thought.

crossing_with_teddy_by_darkness_in_the_lens