I broke up with Failure last night
He was devastated
I was relieved
He asked me how long I had known
I said over a month now
He asked what was it in the way he made me feel that made me think I could not bear to live with him
I said “you choke me and if I don’t leave I will be the one who gets hurt”
He asked me to show him what I meant.
“Lay down with me one last time and lay bare your soul”
And so I lay
For the first time I dared to reveal my nakedness to him as if maybe by understanding how we had come together, I may learn how to avoid him in another lifetime
I asked him how it feels to be unwanted
“You don’t beat around the bush, huh?”
He warned, “This might take a while.” I nodded
And so we lay, head to chest as he took us back to the start to when he first lay his eyes on me
He mentioned so many occasions I had failed to notice him
Like the time during my year off of school, in between biased diplomats and uncommunicative bosses when I had questioned my decision to take a leap out of the cycle
He said he had wanted to say hi then but he knew it was not the time
“What do you mean?” I interrupted.
“Well love, with a rejection letter from the embassy and a few tears on the face, you devised plan B, C and D. You created a whole new experience of your year off of school focused on things you enjoyed. There was no way a girl like you would want a guy like me and so I relented. ”
“So what changed your mind?”
“You. With time you slowly started accepting the idea of me. It was kinda like the Japanese phrase: ‘koi no yokan’: you had that feeling when you meet someone that you are going to fall in love with them. Maybe you don’t love them right away , but it’s inevitable that you will.* ”
“I don’t understand.”
” I have come to suspect that your feelings came about with certain events in your life this year. Maybe, it was when you put all that effort into attaining your health goals but despite the strength gained, the scales read the same. Or maybe when I saw you giving up on the hair journey, postponing it to next year because the timing was not right. And then there was that time you kind of lost consistency with YAWA, when you knew there was more you could have done but just didn’t get to doing it. But when I really knew I had you was when I saw you survive school, like never before. Seeing you long for the weekends and dread Mondays was the ultimate sign. And so I found myself with you as you found yourself with me. Unsure of where our future lied but for the moment, certain that a culmination of events had brought us to this place.”
“Was there a time you doubted it…us?”
“Yes…There were the people you hid our affair from and those you told but who disapproved. The friends who reminded you, you could do better than me. Then there was Mecca, somehow everything seemed tolerable with Mecca. But what brought us to where we are now was your spirit, your relentless spirit. Somehow you always knew you were made for something more and you tried to leave so many times. Sometimes you almost left, but life would bring you back to me. How do you stay with someone whose greatest longing is being away from you? I had fallen for what could never be, but being me instead of ending your pain, I awaited the inevitable.”
“Do you think I’ll come back this time round?”
“It’s all up to you. It always has been. Hopefully, if you do, it won’t be for too long… at least for your sake.”
“So how do we end this?”
“Beautifully, because even with me you were still whole.”
*Nicola Yoon, The Sun is Also a Star
The great thing about being a late December baby is that I get to reflect on the end of the year and the end of an age all at once. So this for me was 2016 and 20, great but with an overwhelming feeling of failure. I am not saddened by it, because for me, to fail means to have tried and despite all the happenings in life, I am still whole. I have learnt to separate the self from the doings of self.
Many people tease the idea of resolutions. After all what separates this periods is just but a millisecond, if you can’t make the change immediately, a new year will not make a difference. I agree.
However, what I have chosen to view as a new year and a new semester, is a full-stop. The end of one sentence and the beginning of another. Yes, it’s still the same page, but so many things can change between two different sentences with the use of conjunctions. So here is to a new sentence, continuing the narrative but with a different start. Here’s to “But then came 2017…”
Happy New Year!