Feeds:
Posts
Comments

The sky is so beautiful tonight. The sparkling crescent moon dances with flirting Kejora in the stillness of the all knowing Dark. The goddess of love, naked in her pearly anima, twinkles her eye at me; as if to convince there’s still beauty everywhere if you just try to SEE.

Me: Darling, I’m afraid I have to let you go.

Muse: But… why?

Me: It’s all been great. I love what has happened between us. You’ve done well. But you’re no longer needed here.

Muse: You’re gonna replace me with another?

Me: I’m afraid I need to.

Muse: NO. Only I can give life to your words. I’m your one and only muse. I give you inspirations. I give you motivations! What are you gonna do without me? Stop writing? Your life, and your papers, will be blank. Empty.

Me: Well, listen. I know I owe it to you. Many of my works, I couldn’t do them without you. You made me able to write about so many things I wouldn’t even dare to imagine before I knew you. You’ve taught me a lot. But now… I want to write something else. I want to write about what’s real to my life. I want to write about adulthood. About my womanhood. My friend said I’m like a kid who refuses to grow up. I want to grow, darling. And you’re an inhibition to that. I have no choice but to let you go if I want to be able to embrace it. Actually, we both have grown. We’ve grown, and gone, our separate ways. You see, you’re… outdated.

Muse: ………

Muse: But how about those stories from me that you still leave hanging? The Red Poppy, the Love Letters… The Four Men who Change the World! And many more… Those are great stuffs.

Me: Don’t worry, I will complete them. I will not waste what you have given and inspired. I still love them and I still believe they can be masterpieces. But I also want to move on from this style. I’m bored with it. I want to be more witty. More kickass. Less “ooh and aah” and less wishy-washy.

Muse: … You’ve dumped me, yet you still want to use me?

Me: Dumped? Now, now, let’s not get too personal. I run this company. I own your intellectual property. Now off you go.

I hate to talk about my day-to-day life, but right now I can’t find a better outlet. I am frustrated. I want to do a lot of things, but my body just can’t cope. I want to write. I have to. Badly. But how can I write when I can’t even think? I feel tired, very tired. I just want to lie down, read a book that doesn’t require any thinking, and sleep. The problem with this is once I succumb to it, I will be very annoyed with myself afterwards. I can’t lead an idyllic life. It doesn’t suit me.

Curse this body. I wish it were stronger. Maybe I should push it further.

Anaheim, May 5, 2011

That day in Anaheim, I learned something important about the USA: EVERYTHING there is big. Yes, everything.

All this while, I never really understood the degree of US’s adoration for all things plus-size. I know their burgers are bigger than what we have in Singapore, but hey, they are the burger experts, so who are we to say that our burgers are more reasonably sized, right? I also know that they have snacks and milks in bigger bags and cartons; no big deal. Maybe American families are generally bigger (in terms of the numbers of family members) than Singapore families. The same goes for clothing size. While I have to wear M, or maybe L, for Singapore brands, I could easily squeeze myself into Banana Republic’s S or even XS. No complaints; it’s instant flattery. But came dinner time, my perspective was about to change.

Cisca and I went to a sushi bar. It was a nice little place, very Japanese in its looks and name. We sat down facing the conveyor belt. I saw a plate of sushi passed by… Something was odd. I pondered a little, and finally I knew what it was. Those are the BIGGEST pieces of sushi I’ve ever seen in my life! Isn’t it fascinating? Everything in the US is made big, even for things that are “imported” from other places. I also found myself asking why. Why? Why this when obesity is a major health issue there?

After dinner, we went to a big *sigh* mall because I need to buy some things which I might want to bring to Mexico. The most pressing one: undergarment. No, no… Not that I didn’t bring enough for my trip. But because it’s damn hard to find good bras in Singapore. Let me define what I mean by “good”. Beside proper support and comfort, what constitutes a good bra to me is something that can give an honest portrayal of how big those things under it are. In other words, I HATE PUSH UP BRAS, hahaha! I think it’s one of the biggest scams people ever invented. (I may write another entry altogether to explain this :P ) And believe me, it’s really not easy to find non-push up bras in Singapore. Those that suit my needs, at least. Most of my best bras are actually from Victoria’s Secret, a brand that is hard to find here. Even if I’m not too lazy to find a store, the prices are outrageously marked up. So… whenever I have a chance to be in the US, I try to purchase as many as I need.

When we came back from bra (plus plus plus) shopping, it was already late. After repacking and more girl talk, there were only a couple of hours before the shuttle bus I booked to send me to LAX was supposed to arrive. It was scheduled to pick me up at 2:45 AM for my 7:20 AM flight.

It was 1:30 AM and Cisca decided to sleep. I, on the other hand, decided to write instead. There were some issues I really wanted to post in my blog, and time was crucial. Well, of course, it’s about Singapore General Election (held on May 7). But alas, just when I began to type a few sentences, Cisca’s phone rang. It was the shuttle bus driver. He said he’s already nearby and asked me to get ready. I tried to explain to him that I was supposed to be picked up at 2:45, not 1:45 or 2:00. But he uttered some useless explanation, and it seemed that I had no choice but to oblige to his indecent schedule. Fortunately, Cisca was kind enough to wake up from her short-lived slumber to walk me to the meeting point.

The bus journey was kinda uneventful, but I managed to learn another important lesson: I learned that flashlight is important. Especially for someone as clumsy as me. It was certainly useful when I dropped my passport on the dark bus floor. (D’uh!)

I reached LAX before 4:00 AM. The airport was empty. The only people awake were a Spanish speaking family who occupied a corner. I was so tired and they didn’t look friendly, so I gave up the idea of talking to them. I tried to explore the terminal before eventually deciding to find an empty bench instead.

After that was settled, the problem was finding things to do. I didn’t want to sleep for I was afraid to be late. Besides, I was so determined to publish that article about Singapore General Election. Thank God for wireless technology, T-Mobile has Internet Day Pass that I could purchase for $7.99. It was only for 3 hours but who cares. It was money well spent. I could finish my post in time, chatted with my loved one, and shared some pictures.

………

7:20 AM. Aeromexico Flight #18 to Mexico City took off.


Singapore, May 5, 2011

I zipped my luggage with some difficulties. As much as I swore to travel light, stuffing 20-day supply of necessities and an extra large duffel bag into a cabin-sized luggage was still a challenge. When I finally got it done, I was sweating like a chicken trapped in a Mexican standoff.

“Go go go!”, I told myself. “You don’t want to be late for this ultra important flight.”

And so I went, riding on a nondescript blue taxi while convincing myself that I did not leave anything important behind.

Everything was smooth so far. I checked in my luggage, I got on the plane, and 4 uneventful hours later, I arrived at Hong Kong International Airport (which name I could never remember).

Hong Kong, May 5, 2011

It turned out that my connecting flight to Los Angeles was in different terminal from the one brought me to the typhoon city. Cathay Pacific, proving itself a top class airline, assigned a gentleman to pick up all the passengers and lead them through some confusing escalators and a monorail ride, making sure they could find the right gate. That’s when I met Shan.

“Man… Without him, I would never find the gate,” he started the conversation. He talked to me because all other passengers were traveling in groups, save for a business class passenger who stuck himself to the Cathay Pacific officer all the time.

“Totally!” I replied, panting a little because all of them walked a little to fast for my short legs to keep up.

And that’s how Shan ceased being just another stranger.

He is a Srilankan born American. After spending more than 30 years in the US, he traveled alone to his birthplace for 5 weeks, reconnecting with old friends and living in the jungle where elephants bathe and fish are abundant. Now he’s on his way back to his home in LA, near Hollywood.

He asked me where I was going.

“Mexico.”

“Wow! Alone? That’s amazing!”

I was very grateful that he didn’t ask “Why???” like what other people always did when I told them my destination.

After that, we talked about many random things, from traveling, professions, hobbies, to family matters. Shan is a divorcee with one teenage daughter. Actually he wanted to bring his daughter along to Srilanka, but his ex-wife didn’t allow it. She suspected he would kidnap her and never return to the States.

“It’s ridiculous!” he snapped. “I grew up there, I went to college there, even my business is there! She would allow it if she could come along too, but I don’t want to bring her. I don’t care about her. I only want to be with my daughter.”

Then he went on sharing how he let his daughter choose what she wants to study.

Aha, a familiar subject. I told him I agreed with what he did. I myself was a victim. My parents didn’t let me choose anything but engineering, and see what happened. I didn’t do my best. And now I don’t work in engineering field. I dread it. What a waste. If only they allowed me to study psychology.

“They thought psychologists won’t be able to make good money…. Well, they’re wrong!” I said, without any bitterness. (It’s been too long.)

We talked and talked until we finally had to board the plane. He hugged me goodbye and told me not to hesitate to contact him when I visit LA. I thanked him. At that time, I remembered what my friend Aldy said. It’s funny how you’re never alone when traveling alone…

Hong Kong – Los Angeles, May 5, 2011

The flight was smooth, except for my usual breathing difficulty. I watched Black Swan and a documentary about, coincidentally, a Mexican festival. It was a bizarre event with massive papier mache of a cow and plenty of dangerous fireworks. They said it was an Easter celebration.

“You Mexicans are crazy, man… How does this have something to do with Jesus Christ?” the host exclaimed to his local guide.

Well, the cow was a representation of Judas or something. And they sort of got revenge on him by attacking him with fireworks. Really? Who cares. I think it’s just an excuse to have yet another celebration.

Tired of watching shows, I tried to write and read my guide books as much as I could. But this was proven unsuccessful. There were too many things in my mind. I was excited, nervous, ecstatic and scared at the same time. So I tried to sleep.

As they (or I?) say, sleeping is the best remedy for troubled hearts. After waking up to a breakfast and, few hours after, a lunch, I finally reached LAX.

Los Angeles, May 5, 2011

When I turned off my mobile phone’s airplane mode, I found a text message from my friend Cisca. She’s supposed to pick me up at LAX, then I’d spend one night at her place before flying to Mexico City. Being a superb planner with excellent time management, Cisca had been in the area even before I cleared immigration. I replied her, saying I had landed.

Nothing can beat the feeling of meeting an old friend. Although we hadn’t met for almost a year, it’s as if we never spent a day without talking to each other. When her car sped up on the wide LA road, I was so thankful I had a good friend to depend on in this other part of the world.

I woke up in a hotel room, although it’s more like an apartment. It was a bright daylight, and the sunshine was more accentuated by the room’s bright white walls. Pasted on two sides of the wall are rows and rows of unfinished paintings. A wide gigantic one with bright colors occupied one corner. Several others were on each side of it. Different styles, different colors… but all unfinished.

Then I saw him, a man whom I love. He whose eyes I can read and who can read mine. He held a palette with green oil paint on it and a medium-sized brush. He was working on a semi-impressionist that used nothing but green. Not bright green. It was a gloomy and subtle shade of green. Some of the paint was splattered on the wall, tainting its otherwise perfect hue.

I approached him. I hugged him from behind and smelled his neck.

“Where do all these paintings come from?” I asked sleepily.

He turned.

“Oh, they’re from Ivy. You remember Ivy, right?”

I tried to construct Ivy’s face in my mental sight. Yes, yes, I did know Ivy. A cheerful bubbly plump Caucasian lady in her late 40s. She had short red hair and wore glasses. She always smiled, and she loved paintings.

“Yes, I remember her.”

And that’s all. We talked no more about Ivy. We continued to hug. I rubbed his back, trying to feel and memorize his shape and texture. Then I held his hand, before eventually letting it go. And when he finally continued with the painting, I remembered I had to tell him a very important piece of information.

“Hey…” called I — as usual, unable to say his name, “I have to tell you something.”

He seemed to sense the importance and urgency in my voice. He put down his brush and palette, then sat next to me. He looked at me in the eyes.

“What is it?”

And all of a sudden I lost all my courage. My lips were tight. I looked back at him, secretly hoping he could read my eyes this time as well. But I knew there’s no way he could do it. We were not that telepathic yet.

“I… uh… I… I’m pregnant.”

He was silent. For a few seconds there, he just looked at me. Finally, he uttered a sigh, and forced himself to smile.

“Wow… Congratulations.”

“Thanks…”

“I didn’t expect it to be this fast.”

“Well, I told you….”

“Yes, yes, you did. And I am happy for you, really. It’s just that….. Is that why you come?”

”I… I want to see you one more time before…..”

Suddenly he grabbed both of my hands.

“I understand,” he said, “say no more.”

Then we just looked at each other while holding each other’s hands, just like what we did sometime ago in a corner of a chain restaurant. Another uncomfortable silence, albeit a good one. He’s happy for me; I knew he didn’t lie. But I also detected a little sadness in his smile.

“This is really good news,” he eventually said. “Is your… partner, um… husband happy?”

“Yeah… Yeah… He is very happy. Maybe he’s happier than me. He already talked about putting the crib next to his side of the bed and all. I’m happy too, but I have my, you know, worries… and fears.”

“And I’ve told you not to think too much about it.”

“I know……”

After a while, he released my hands.

“Well, I have to finish the painting,” he said, then walked toward the wall where the green painting was. He picked up the palette and the brush and continued his work.

Suddenly something crossed my mind.

“Why did Ivy give away a bunch of paintings?”

“She got them in an auction,” he replied. “She didn’t know what to do with them, so she gave them to me. And I thought you like paintings. So I brought them here. I thought it would be a nice surprise. Too bad you woke up before I could even complete this one.”

“Ahh… Thank you. That’s so sweet of you. Yes, you know how I love paintings.”

I walked toward the rows of paintings. This time I paid more attention to them. Now I could see that he arranged them on the wall in a hurry. It was quite a sloppy job. Some of the masking tapes he used to paste the canvases to the wall stuck out.

Then my eyes stopped at the gigantic painting. What a colorful piece it was. It was a painting of a girl with dark large eyes. She wore a flowery blouse — very Mexican, with red roses and pink gerberas spread around the neckline. The original painter only managed to finish half of her face and three quarter of her black wavy hair. Around the girl were sketches of undefined figures in pencils.

Then I moved on to the painting he was working on. It was a building, maybe a house. A house so narrow, it reminded me of those in Oliver Twist. The initial painter did his sketches not with pencils, but with green paint. My soul twin was trying to finish what the painter couldn’t. Apparently he faced some difficulties. He’s not bad, but it wasn’t too good a job. I didn’t have a heart to tell him that painting wasn’t really his thing. It was my thing; he should just stick to music.

Then I looked at the rest of the paintings. Each of them. Some were done in surrealism, some realism, some dada, and some even in the style of Vietnamese painting. It was a vast array of random styles. The objects varied too. Some still lifes, a few portraits, country sceneries, and some buildings and city views. But the more I looked at them, the more I felt uneasy. There was something about these paintings that bothered me. They looked random, but somehow they seemed connected. I just couldn’t pinpoint what the connection was.

I went back to the painting he was on. I observed the brush strokes. I felt eerie. The green paint made me feel like puking, and I was pretty sure it wasn’t morning sickness.

I moved back, away from the paintings. Something felt horribly wrong.

“You… you said Ivy gave you all these?” I asked him again.

“Yes, she sure did. Why?”

He turned his head to check on me.

“What are you thinking? Is there something wrong?”

“Yes, there is. But I don’t know what. How did it happen? When did she give them to you?” (Nothing… It’s just very peculiar. Why would someone auction off a bunch of unfinished paintings? And even weirder, why would Ivy buy them?)

“Well… She came to my house yesterday. She brought the paintings in rolls and asked me if I want them.”

“Just like that?”

“Just like that.”

By that time, I was really curious about Ivy’s intention. She surely could find better use of the paintings than just giving them to him. He wasn’t a fan of paintings. Ivy was. Maybe Ivy knew I loved paintings too, but she didn’t know I was going to meet him.

“What’s wrong, Kat?” he sounded worried.

“Uh… I need some fresh air,” I gave him a lame answer.

Something was off, I was very sure. I just needed to figure it out. I panicked a little. I needed to find an excuse to bring myself away from this room for a while.

“Do you want anything? I’m going to the nearby shop to get some coffee.”

“Mmm…  A Bonafont?”

“Okay, I’ll get a big bottle for you.”

I put on my jacket and hurried to the door.

“Kat…”

“Yes?”

“You OK?”

“Yes I am, don’t worry,” I smiled, trying not to make him worry.

I rushed through the door, down the stairs. When I finally got outside of the building, I couldn’t hide my relief. I breathed deeply. Then I reached to my pocket to find a pack of cigarettes and a lighter. I nearly lighted up a cigarette when I realized it’s not good for the baby. In a moment of annoyance, I threw them all to a dustbin.

I walked to the shop, my head down.

Ivy… Ivy… I tried to recall what I knew about her. I was thinking and thinking when a sudden realization struck me in horror. My eyes widened. I stopped. Then, half running, I rushed back to the building.

When I finally entered the room, I was panting.

“Who is Ivy?!” I almost shouted.

He was puzzled.

“What do you mean, ‘Who is Ivy?’ You said you remember her.”

“Yes, I remember her. But I don’t know her. In fact, I’ve never met her. I don’t even know what she looks like. The only Ivy I know is my junior in college…”

“Surely you’ve met her. Otherwise, how could you say you remember her? Didn’t you meet her when you were at my house?”

“No… No… Think again. I only went to your house once. You didn’t have a guest at that time.”

“Mmm… I guess you’re right. But I must have told you about her before.”

“And why would you do that? We didn’t even talk that much. Listen. I thought I know Ivy. When you mentioned her name, I could picture her in my head. She’s a redhead in her 40s. A jovial lady whose eyes always smile behind those glasses. But now I realize… it’s not my memory. It’s yours. You know Ivy.“

“Naah… Now you’re fooling with me.”

“No, I’m not. Remember how we could have the same t-shirt? How we picked the same souvenirs? The same food from the menu? Remember how I could read your eyes? And you read my mind? Remember how we would sometimes say the same thing at the same time?” I desperately tried to explain.

He shrugged.

“This is creepy.”

“This certainly is. But never mind about that… Now look, I have a bad feeling about these paintings. You have to tell me who Ivy is.”

Once again, he put down his palette and brush. He was patient enough not to dismiss what seemed to be my insanity. He pulled a chair and sat.

“Ivy… She’s Norma’s friend.”

I had a weird dream this morning.

In my dream, I woke up in a hotel room, although it’s more like an apartment. It was a bright daylight, and the sunshine was more accentuated by the room’s bright white walls. Pasted on two sides of the wall are rows and rows of unfinished paintings. A wide gigantic one with bright colors occupied one corner. Several others were on each side of it. Different styles, different colors… but all unfinished.

Then I saw him, a man whom I love. He whose eyes I can read and who can read mine. He held a palette with green oil paint on it and a medium-sized brush. He was working on a semi-impressionist that used nothing but green. Not bright green. It was a gloomy and subtle shade of green. Some of the paint was splattered on the wall, tainting its otherwise perfect hue.

I approached him. I hugged him from behind and smelled his neck.

“Where do all these paintings come from?” I asked sleepily.

He turned.

“Oh, they’re from Ivy. You remember Ivy, right?”

I tried to construct Ivy’s face in my mental sight. Yes, yes, I did know Ivy. A cheerful bubbly plump Caucasian lady in her 40s. She had short red hair and wore glasses. She always smiled, and she loved paintings.

“Yes, I remember her.”

And that’s all. We talked no more about Ivy. We continued to hug. I rubbed his back, trying to feel and memorize his shape and texture. Then I held his hand, before eventually letting it go. And when he finally continued with the painting, I remembered I had to tell him a very important piece of information…..

That’s when I woke up for real. And I asked myself. Who is Ivy? Why did she give away a bunch of unfinished paintings?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.