“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsh
“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”
— Haruki Murakami, Kafka On The Shore
As I sat on the worn-out seats at the airport waiting for my flight, the feeling of nostalgia slowly creeps in.
Coming back always feels like entering into a time wrap. Nothing seems to change but it does.
I love this town, before it becomes a city; before the timed traffic lights, new establishments, high rise buildings and concrete highways.
I love this city for its simplicity; for the familiar creaks on the wooden stairways, chipped paints on statues, serene environment in the park, and the sunset view by the beach.
I love this city for the friends I have made and lost; the simple conversations, the laughters that echoed, the memories inked in photographs.
I love this city for my family and relatives; for the people that love me and teach me invaluable life lessons. The people that watch me grow up and forgive me for my shortcomings.
I will always love this city. Even when I spread my wings and learn to fly, this is where I will always belong. This is home.
Till we meet again.
I don’t know you well, but I lost you anyway.
I lost you on the way from Zadar, three years ago. After I received the unexpected notification, I remembered looking out of the van down the scenic road, and nothing much after. It was as though as I ate an ice cream too fast, except that the brain-freeze lasted longer than a few seconds. The world then felt as though it simultaneously sped up and slowed down, like a broken record player.
That day, I walked into a tiny church, while the rest of my friends were enjoying the scenic view of Croatia. I sat at the pew alone as I mourned for you. I lit a candle and prayed for your safe journey. And once again, I struggled to cope with the brutality of loss. You were a difficult person to know, with your barrier up and ego high, but you were family. Despite that, given the circumstances of how you left, it pained me to know that you may be alone in your final moments.
I hardly looked at the photographs taken during the trip since, knowing that behind posed smile that looked natural were seemingly forced. As days turned into weeks and months into years, I learn to cope with grief, one of the many inevitable life lessons that shape and define us.
But once in a while, I look up at the sky sometimes, and hope that wherever you are, you finally found peace.
I haven’t been writing lately. Writing was a way for me to let go; to ink away piece by piece the memories that I cling on to, until there is nothing left to weigh me down. And in this space I call my own, I have always been writing about myself and little about anyone else. As much as solitude comforts me, my life does not consist of my own self; it is intertwined and shaped by the people I meet during this journey. Continue reading
“Everything will change when your desire to move on exceeds your desire to hold.” – Alan Cohen
Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote: To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.