Thursday, June 09, 2005

T-Minus One Day

This will be the last post I'm putting up for some time. Tomorrow, I format my hard-disk, delink it from the house router and start afresh. I solved my data transfer problems with an external hard disk fresh off Sim Lim today. Lunch was a pleasant affair with Edward and Gloria. I picked up my new glasses and got a new pouch for my toiletries at Isetan. I'm well ahead of my packing schedule.

Tonight, I had dinner with friends I've not seen in ages. As usual, the non-practioners arrived way before the practioners. One of my friends got married last month without inviting us. Another got attached. A third's getting married next June. And I will miss all of this.

My wife, attending the dinner, asked why I was so depressed after tonight's dinner. I replied it was because I wouldn't be seeing them for a while. She quipped that it will be no different from usual - they would be extremely busy anyway, and I rarely get to see them more than once or twice a year. I didn't reply.

This time I knew things were different. The possibility of seeing them made their distance seem somehow closer. The reverse is also true. Too soon, I'll become something alien and foreign to them. For a person that prides himself on the support networks he's cultivated, it's painful to be seperated from it.

I've freed myself from the drudgery of burning CD's tomorrow, so I'm having dim sum with my mom - just the two of us. I asked my brother along, but he refused, citing his usual practice of having only one meal a day. I look forward to lunch tomorrow. I know that my mom needs to cope with me not being around.

My mother has not slept in days - and I know the reason why. My mother does not sleep at night because she tortures herself with the impossible question of not knowing whether she would have lost me today if I had gone 10 years ago.

10 years ago, I drew strength from my brother and my mother - my two pillars of strength. Today, I'm not sure who draws strength from whom. Some days I return, exhausted with dealing with my job, I look at my brother, mother and wife, and wonder why I am still here, still drudging half-assed through the same system that drove my mom to success, my brother to dejection and my wife to complicated courses of action.

10 years ago, when I asked to be sent overseas to read law, she could not because her company was undergoing restructuring, and she might have lost her job. She didn't tell me the truth of course, and tried to paint the picture that reading law in Singapore was a superior course of action - persuasion out of pure ignorance and desire to shelter me from the uncertainties she was going through.

It wasn't. And for years I resented her. Until I learnt the truth and faced the uncertainties for myself. Then I could no longer resent her.

I can't say for certain this day why I still have so much of a need to go overseas. Perhaps it was regret for this lost opportunity 10 years ago. Perhaps it was a desire to get away from here, to escape this institutionalised madness. Perhaps it was a challenge I set myself 10 years ago to be the best man I could be, and still am not.

Perhaps it was all three. Perhaps it was none. Equal parts bravado and doubt, courage and sacrifice, hope and dejection.

I know that if I turn back on Friday, I'll never have the courage to leave. And if I never leave I cannot love them any more than a mirror can love the true face of the image it reflects.

When I return, I return as their son and brother ought to have been before the disappointments, the envy, the broken dreams. Before the gradual bleed of the soul, the slow rot of the spirit. Before all the compromises. Before all this foolishness began.

I return to them whole because I will have tried, for myself - and that is all I ever needed.

8 comments:

Shortphat K said...

You will never know how big the world is until you have went out and see it for yourself...holidays don't count.

It's like a need, a desire to leave home and just be yourself at least for a while......

I know what you mean...

dagger said...

Here at last, dear friends, on the shores of the sea we come to the end of our fellowship in Middle-Earth. I will not say do not cry; For not all tears are an evil.
- JRR Tolkien

Fare thee well. Can't be there tomorrow morning due to work. All the best and keep in touch online!

toysrevil said...

your words claw at me with the impunity of truth and hauntedyesteryears and i applaud your decision and envy your path, for i remain still in my tomb ...

wish you alla the bestest and hope that you'd not stop blogging! good journey, sir ...

cheers
andy

One Little Twit said...

Well i think going overseas to study is being painted as a beautiful picture to everybody. I can say safely that most of the entire student populace would want to but the problem is whether we can afford to. I would love to, i so much want to soak in a new atmosphere and widen my horizons which i know could be achieved by studying abroad but ..

I am also an only child and my parents earn just enough to keep the family going. I know my parents will be incredibly worried and it is of course a financial faux pas for the family.

Weighing desire and family. I chose the latter. That is why i now jump eagerly at a training opportunity in Canada for 2 months, just to fulfill a little of that long-lost dream.

Anantya said...

all the best, and i hope you'll make it all worthwhile.

Mythical said...

Enjoy yourself, my friend. Back to the grind myself after seeing Carcassonne later today. Paladin, paladin...

The Legal Janitor said...

good luck and all the best!

Anthony said...

Thanks for all your kind words people. I can say that it's been VERY rough these few days, but I'm still alive, kicking and not going down without a fight.