Thursday, 1 March 2018

Too Much Is Never Enough

Towards the end of January, Firu came back home to Indonesia and stayed for the entirety of February. As something for which I've been waiting for the last 3 years or so, this instilled all sorts of reactions on my part. I expected the happiness so intense, my mouth would rip in two from all the grinning and beaming I wouldn't be able to help. Yet I didn't expect all the tears and emotional turmoil from not being able to see him every second of every hour of every day. Insane, I know, but the life I left with him was one where we could literally wake next to each other. I guess I expected everything to revert back to how it used to be, if we just see each other again. Maybe we could go back to being young and carefree, completely oblivious to adulthood and all the anxiety that comes with it. But nothing ever happens the same way twice and I am left disappointed by reality.

Don't get me wrong, I am still extremely ecstatic that he's come home, even for just a brief moment. We got to experience all the new and old things together again. This felt both like a déjà vu and something completely unfamiliar. Those eyes still warm my heart, those hands still guide me through and those shoulders still offer protection and comfort. But this is uncharted territory, we've never been here before—him coming to visit me in a place we were both born and raised, from a place we slowly morphed into adults a thousand years ago. It felt both nostalgic and uncomfortable, as if we don't really know if we fit right in anymore.

Here's the thing: he didn't tell me he was coming until he was already there. He caught me completely unawares. I'd already given up on the idea of seeing him again for maybe the next five years—but now here he was, ready to take me in with all the cellulites and hairy limbs and flaws invisible to the internet. And what if I never recover? It took me three years to make peace with the thought of touching him, breathing the same air as his and feeling the heat of his body next to mine again. It felt surreal and exhilarating, but also scary, because it's as if he reset the clock all over again. Will it take me three more years to be okay to be without him again?

While we are still a loving couple, I can't help but to notice that our relationship has grown a whole lot more complicated than it used to be when we were much younger. Adulthood brought with it new flavours of anxiety and burdens that we weren't entirely prepared for: finances, societal pressure and career. Whatever happened to the people who believed that love conquers all? Was it naïve to think that we could overcome hell and high water, if we only have love for one another? Mind you, ours is still a perfectly functional and happy relationship—one that I'd fight tooth and nail to preserve—but I guess I just miss the simple inner workings of my mind from way back when. The mind that hasn't yet learnt that distance is the tower of babel made of steel and concrete, that some worlds are not for you to save and that feelings are individual languages often lost in translation. 

The past 30 days have been a bonding experience like never before. I felt like I kept saying the wrong words, driving him further away from me in a way that geography alone can't do. But, somehow, he kept coming back to me, like a wave at the beach. He opened up to me the way a morning glory does right before dawn. For what felt like the first time throughout the whole of our relationship, I saw him vulnerable with some of his cracks and craters exposed to me. All these concerns and pressures I've never seen before. How could that possibly be when all this time I thought he was perfectly smooth and beautifully untouched? Wasn't I supposed to be the one with all the scorch marks and carved out parts? I lay my hands on his wounds, hoping that my touch would heal them, if only a little bit. Then, just on the second-to-last day, he showed me the best day of the past few years. Without realising, he's reminded me of all the ways he could cherish me, of all his gestures I always see when my eyes are closed tight, and of why we believe we fit like two puzzle pieces. It'll take me years to live it down, I'm sure.

Now we are once again oceans apart. My tears still flow down the stream, but I'm forced to get up to another day of pretending I know what I'm doing. It may seem like everything goes back down to earth, after spending so much time in the clouds, but I already know that it's not going to be the same again. I guess I thought if I could touch him, I'd be able to capture him forever. But it's not time yet. Someone once asked me whether I wanted to keep this going until then, but it's not a question I can answer. If I'd had the choice, do you think I would choose this constant pain in my chest, this endless stream of tears, these days of feeling like a zombie? Of course not. Who'd choose the in-between, if they can have everything? But we can't, and so we endure. That is the best we can do right now. Let's face it—it'll never be enough, but it'd have to do for now.

'Til we meet again!

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