Saturday, February 02, 2013
A Newfound Weakness
I never liked referring to people by their actual names, so I'm going to be very vague and at times somewhat confusing when I refer to individuals. Most of the time I will use prepositions, but some specific ones will refer to some specific people.
At the turn of the New Year, I stood stoically with my parents on the promenade overlooking Marina Bay. Despite it being the New Year, it was quite a lacklustre celebration; it was intended to be a traditional stay-at-home dinner-cum-celebration at our house but due to some unforseen circumstances the other family couldn't make it. The fireworks were fogged by the dense humid air which trapped the smoke, obscuring virtually half of the display thereafter. Along with the half-hearted celebration came half-hearted resolutions. Though I had my aims in sight, I could only wish I would succeed. I only had two, and already within a month, I had failed one.
It could be said that when I was happier, I got hungrier. Ever since I returned to Singapore, somehow my appetite grew; could it be just because I was overexcited? The prospect was good despite being unable to meet you before the end of the semester. Perhaps I shouldn't have rushed back for Christmas. I had way too much time to spend when I was back anyway. Either way, that night, my parents and I had supper at a bar after the fireworks. It was then my father further explained to me the tensions, conflicts, and history behind his relatives and ancestors. Not like that had much significance on my current situation, but I felt it was noteworthy.
An otherwise eventless week followed; by then I had already arranged the piano duet and, if I remember correctly, was working on the 2nd and 3rd movements of my op.3. Then they arrived; the four of them came for a holiday. In between nights, I didn't have much energy to start conversations, but I was surprised at your conviction to improve yourself. Again, at this point of time, it's hard to think that this happened only three weeks ago.
The four of them and I exhausted ourselves every day, and despite some hiccups, we ultimately enjoyed ourselves, and returned to Hong Kong together on the 12th, all ready to start the new semester.
I asked him how His progress was, but I think He was genuinely tired then; however, it didn't seem like he attempted anything at all. I myself never thought about you so much.
Then school started. We met on the second day, tried the duet(to some degree of failure), and had a simple dinner. Despite that, it opened me up, as it was a type of conversation I never had before.
On the third day, I had to help my cousin at her tuition centre. I returned before dinner and was surprised you accepted my offer. Up till now, I still did not think about it too much, but your distain for Him affected me; I was His penultimate friend and was slowly going to leave Him as well.
On the fourth day, I met the first guy, and your close friend, both members of the committee, for 2nd dinner and supper. That was confusing...well, at this point of time, everybody was starting to desert Him. I offered myself as a sacrifice and had a light dinner with Him when nobody else wanted to, then accompanied both of them in Kowloon City. We had a long talk that night about Him, unveiling the facets that I have never known; some biased opinions and some hard facts, but none were positive. I told you about it later, and on an unrelated note, you shared with me the Kabalevsky.
On the fifth day, a big group of us had a dinner to celebrate (her) birthday. Again, it was relatively normal. He initiated a talk with me on the way back to hall but I turned the topic around and focused on Him. It was a long, direct talk, with the truth and facts laid bare. He seemed truly down and as of today has never been the same since.
My Whatsapp records between that day, the 19th, and 27th were lost, due to my iPod touch messing up. With the home button already not functioning properly, I had to system restore it and it upgraded to ios6, rendering nearly everything but Whatsapp itself unusuable. I was therefore unable to save the message history. I attempted re-restoring it, but this time it synchronized to a date more than half a year ago and all the Whatsapp records were lost.
We're still on the very first week though. First week. Sunday. It was here where everything started to unravel. I went for a dinner with the first and second guy. After hearing their apparent troubles, we went up to the rooftop of our faculty building and had a long talk, accompanied with alcohol. It was a great talk, really, but I still hid everything. Everything that would betray my emotions about you. Or perhaps just short of that. As a joke, they paired me with somebody else (incidentally, (her)). We all saw it as a joke. But there comes a time when jokes stop being funny.
Week two. First day, and I play along. I discover the second guy's secret by accident while nonchantly asking him questions related to my own situation. It wasn't a big deal to me then anyway.
Second day, and the joke goes on. It has placed you on my mind all the time when I heard it. I should have just shrugged it off. But perhaps my principles were too strong. Perhaps I felt it didn't do you justice. In the afternoon I went off to help my cousin but I left much earlier than I should. I couldn't concentrate. I scheduled a dinner with you, and we planned to have it on the next day.
The third day saw me not sharing a class with the guys. I had a really long and boring class before our scheduled dinner. You invited your friend along, which I didn't mind at all really. We had a long dinner where I talked way too long, way too much. I drank too much tea. But here was my mistake. I told you both about our drinking sessions, and stoked too much of your interests.
On the fourth day, we had an enjoyable message conversation. You had slept too much and by the time you woke up I was already done with a lesson, breakfast, and laundry. Everything that came with my mind seemed to flow into place, and I didn't take it too far or our of context. You invited me, along with your(other) friend, to a choir concert on Saturday. I looked forward to it.
On the fifth day, we had a chance to have a dinner together, along with your friend, with the second guy. I certainly didn't mind it then. But you went home and I had dinner with your friend, and I didn't mind that as well. The second guy started to imply whatever he wanted, and I let him be.
Morning of the sixth day. By now, for whatever reason, my emotions had started to pour out. It even seemed like it was an ominous premonition to this whole catastrophe. Perhaps the two guys just played with my fragile sanity for too long. Perhaps I was just too new to this situation. Whatever it was, I spent the whole day listening to Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No.3. And what a blissful time it was. It started with separate movements, then I decided to prepare and relax myself for the emotional journey and let myself go. I let it run, the full interrupted version with the ossia cadenza in the first movement, and wept, the full 45 minutes, with it. And from what emotions were these tears materialized from? Sorrow, despair, desire, determination, helplessness, or do I dare say it - love? At the final cadence, I no longer knew where I was - I couldn't tell whether I was in euphoria or depression.
I picked myself up and set off for our meeting. To sum it up - it was a wonderful evening. The light drizzle brought a curious atmosphere to our already-curious destination. We listened to the choir with interest and delight. We made jokes and serious discussions. Then, we went to have dinner nearby, where I had more tea - and made more mistakes while talking about randomness. The topic shifted back to the group again, and this time, you wanted in. I thought about how much a danger that was, but I had no idea then how to reject your offer - in retrospect, it was really easy. But in the crux of the moment, one usually doesn't think of it...
When I returned to the hall that night, I contemplated on your request...and went on with it. Immediately the two guys' suspicions were aroused, evident by the second guy's drawn-out awkward reply to my forwarded request. I was beginning to lose to my principles.
Last day of the week. I went to buy my phone, to replace my prehistoric phone and malfunctioning iPod, and we still had an amicable lighthearted conversation about my choice. Your plan to have your other friend stay over for several days seemed to be unable to come to fruition after realising the difficulty of not having accommodation for her. We were scheduled to have a mass dinner together at night and I called you over, but you were so tired that you never came - that shouldn't have been a big issue.
Afterwhich, the remaining members of the group, namely, me, the two guys, and your friend - had another drinking session. Still, I revealed nothing. If anything, the second guy realised I had discovered his secret and I felt fairly guilty for doing so. After your friend left, I was questioned yet again - and this time, with my principles and sanity on the line - I told the truth.
Right after I did, I knew the game was up. My true despair had been realized, my true intentions divulged. In the midst of my revelation in that cold fateful night, He walked by; now that I think of it, was that a sign? A friend that I had been with just two weeks earlier, now ostracized by nearly everyone else...did my own doing indirectly bring about all this?
That night, I couldn't sleep properly. That night was the 27th. At 23:11 I had completed the blog post prediciting my disastrous fate. It was just that, during that time, I underestimated the magnitude of the disaster. I didn't trust the two guys. They would surely leak things out. After all, the second guy had already unwittingly revealed his own secret to me. I felt that it was my responsibility to tell you myself. I didn't plan for this to reach this stage too early. But mistake followed mistake, and the price to pay for me...was you.
Third week. First day. I was deflated for the whole day, and my display was evident. I thought I had felt the most horrible I did then. But the situation was still stable. Now, there aren't any more jokes. The jokes were the real thing. And in this claustrophobia, I wanted to struggle to break into emotional freedom once again.
Already on the first day, you were unexpectedly in the practice room the first guy usually occupied. And the second guy was just adjacent. I went into that room too, where he pulled you in and struck up a conversation obviously awkward in my situation. It was hard to bear; it was too much a joke I could stand. Curiously, He came in and played for you even though it was evident that you didn't like Him. Still having a lack of appetite from my emotional turbulence, I rushed back to the hall to retrieve my scores which I had forgotten to bring for my choir session. I spent the brief remaining time talking to you and your friend again after He had left; it felt much more comfortable without the second guy around.
I was given a brief reprieve during my choir session. The harmonies from one of Mozart's vocal works suddenly, surprisingly, liberated me and gave me new inspiriation. I immediately had a 5-part structure written out for a fantasia. That night I asked you for another duet practice session the next day, which you enthusiatically agreed to, and tacked on the offer to have dinner to boot. Kabalevsky was involved somewhere in the conversation and I helped you print your assignment.
Day two. 29th January. Just earlier this week. This day saw my mood noticably change, and I still attributed that to the Mozart. We had a successful practice session, and then the fateful dinner.
Perhaps it was the situation, perhaps it was the context of the conversation, but somehow, my fears were swept aside, the repercussions unconsidered; I moved towards the point, not sure why, or having even thought twice. Even when we were right on the line, you were still clueless; that was my cue, the last chance, the critical breaking point, for me to turn back. But yet, the impulsive, unintelligent part of me urged myself to move on to the final stage which tipped the equilibrium. And at that instant, I collapsed emotionally, shivering at what I had done, soaking up everything I had ruined.
Whether you were really strong or merely putting up a front, I have to applaud you. But then again, it wasn't your first time dealing with such a situation. But this situation is different - we were destined for at least close friendship - until suddenly, unnecessarily, I put myself in a highly suspicious light. You had known nothing before then, but now everything I do seems to become more unreliable. I don't know if you thought about it as much as I had...but whatever the case, the danger is to think too much. And even when I knew it, I had fallen into this trap.
I thought, by doing that, I would have relieved myself from the emotional turbulence. Instead, it plunged me deeper into the feeling of uncertainty. Immediately, as we officially parted for the last time as of now, the ominous feeling caught up to me. In my selfish quest to attempt to solve everything myself, I had forgotten about the most important person I should have thought of. At that time, I regretted not entirely trusting the two guys. It was indeed, youthful ignorance from an ageing individual.
You told me I could tell the two guys what happened, but I think I've said too much. Many times after that I've seen them in person, and the pain in my heart itched to reveal everything - but enough was enough, and I had to regain my practice of abstinence. We pretended nothing had happened, and scheduled a group dinner(all 5 of us) the day after. It was my chance to patch things up if I could, my opportunity to show my resilience.
Naturally, I virtually couldn't sleep that night. Lost, all I could do after I returned to my room was sleep. I was awakened, partly due to my roommate, at 2am in the morning yet I felt I had already slept a whole night. I lay awake most of the night, and got up much earlier...on the Third day.
Despite the planned dinner, the second guy only told us that morning he wasn't free until 21:30 at night...which caused you to be unable to attend. I understood you had to finish the Kabalevsky task. Nevertheless, I asked if the remaining members still could have the dinner, which you initially agreed. But the first guy somehow wanted to insist on not going ahead with the dinner ourselves but wait for the second guy, and the meeting didn't materialize. We postponed it till the next day, which we could all agree on.
The rest of the day trickled by with intense pain. As if fate wanted to stab another blade into my already wounded soul, I unexpectedly met you at an event, but it was only a glimpse and all I did was feebly return your formalities. Afterwhich, I returned to the practice rooms. Suddenly, nobody was there anymore, and the rooms seemed to induce claustrophobia. I sat at the piano and practiced the same two pages of the first movement of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No.3 mechanically and routinely. My fingers were moving, but my mind wasn't there. Soon enough the notes fell into place, but each time I played the same passage, the only thought that progresses was of a certain situation which could have been.
Our message conversations were now abruptly short. At most, a total of 20 messages would conclude a topic that I initiated. As everyone in my situation does, I feared asking too many questions would annoy you...
That night, I had a horrible time trying to sleep again. I was sweating all over; turning, writhing about on my bed. Whether I had dreams, or nightmares, I don't really know. But there was definitely an adverse effect on my state of mind.
On the fourth day, I woke up optimistically. But the first guy just had to ask whether we were really going to have a dinner instead of asking for a mutual time and location. Perhaps you were really busy, or perhaps that little sense of doubt within us gave you an excuse to avoid the potentially awkward meeting yet again, and you replied you had to finish up your task. It was postponed for the second time, and my chance for immediate redemption was again interrupted. In the early afternoon I was given some reprieve from advice sought from unrelated persons, but in reality the situation seemed bleak. Another painful and lonely evening passed, where I tried to complete the first movement of my G major sonata...
I had by now resigned the chance to be with you, and just hope that you would still take me as who I was before. In a bid to forgive myself from my frustration I decided to return to the faculty building that night after the first guy mentioned that he was unhappy about something. This was despite him mentioning that I looked 'angry and confused' earlier in the day. Perhaps externally, the misery had taken its toll. Later, an awkward group conversation ensued which continued late into the night. Some parts of it were about Him, but in the end I felt...nobody was really getting anywhere.
Then came the fifth day...and finally we get to the present. (I started this post on the night of 1st February.) One whole month...yet in only one month, I have cumulatively felt more internal pain than I have had throughout my whole existence. Granted, experience comes with it, but a sacrifice was made in return.
Cruelly, fate was toying with me yet again. While waiting for my turn to meet the head of department, you were there too...although you were late for your intended timeslot. We had a few normal words, nothing more, and I shouldn't think too much about that.
The weekly assembly session was one of the most fascinating I have attended. Even though I detected heads drooping beside me, I sat straight and took in everything the programme had to offer, namely a very good pianist playing works only recently reconstructed originally from the Romantic Period. It was rare that hearing a piece the first time could move me so much. Granted, my emotional centre had been displaced, but I was still thoroughly captivated.
I was then thrown off by the second guy, who randomly grabbed my coat while he passed by after the assembly. It might have been a subconscious act, but it not only hindered my direction of movement, but also displaced my raiment. Infuriatingly, he did it again when I passed by him again at the elevator awhile later. I lost it slightly and gave him a scathing look, then drew a comparison to Him. Perhaps it was the accumulated stress which resulted in my distress, or perhaps he was really overdoing it...but it was a sort of irritation that I hadn't showed for a long time. And I regretted it. He apologized and I forgave, but it showed, more obviously now, that there was indeed something wrong with me. And you must have known, given the way the encounter was blown up and discussed in the group.
Tonight, we managed to strike up a message conversation. But after barely 10 minutes, you cut it off. Despite me already nursing my healing soul this was yet another devastating blow to me...unless you really weren't intending it, I got the signal. After all, it was the same method you used to ignore Him...
Even in the midst of typing my recollections, He looked for me...and we had another chat. With my will more resolute I divulged nothing to Him, but He seemed to know something already. Even as we more seldomly meet face to face, He could tell that I wasn't my usual self...though He had bigger problems to solve. It brings to me the fear again...that you might avoid me as much as you do to Him. But I have done nothing inherently wrong. At least, I never meant to.
And now it seems that all hope is lost. The good thing is, in this short time, I have already seemed to pass the most difficult part of self-realisation and forgo what I had initially aimed for. My goal now is to salvage that friendship with you. You are not a person I want to make or break for the sake of it; nobody deserves that in my eyes. The things we talked about in this brief encounter...they were true and sincere, nothing more, nothing less. My impulsive and naive spirit has led all of us into this mess...and for that, I sincerely apologize, to everyone in the group. Despite my tendency in trying to find one of the two guys to pin the blame on, I know that I could have handled the situation better; it was all of my own doing. And now I have paid the price.
I am only but a greenhorn in this field; the final unexplored quality of my life. Granted, I am older than all of you, and sometimes I see the other problems you face as insiginificant to me, but this is one aspect which truly doesn't scale linearly with age. Perhaps it is again related to my inherent personality and principles of treating others, but it seems like I cannot ideally maintain every single relationship with every single person. And this, this seems to be my newfound weakness.
Please forgive me.