how long will you be gone?


i have to write tonight because i know someone is reading. i got a letter in the mail from an old friend, and it was a nice surprise. i was ready to come home to an empty mailbox, to no one in my apartment, to nothingness, but there was a letter in there, and it made all the difference in the world. it gave me hope that i haven't been completely forgotten. on monday, a girl i knew from undergrad snubbed me on broadway. i took my headphones out to say hello, and all she did was say hey, and kept on walking. it was like the time i was at qfc with my roommate in college, and we ran into a girl who used to live next door to us, and she was all excited to see my roommate, and she barely acknowledged me. what? because i'm asian? if i had a beard and a flannel shirt, i'd bet you'd remember my name then, bitch.

but tonight i talked with people, and it was okay. i remembered that there are good people in the world who do care about things. i had the sudden urge to ask one of them to barrister's ball, which is basically law school prom. maybe the girl with the short hair and black dress. maybe our work study student with the purple dress and brown boots. i want to go to prom. i need to feel like it's not too late to start things over, to forget about the negative me who misses out on everything, who's so down about everything, and just be reborn. find redemption and all that shit.

these people talked to me tonight, and it was a strange thing. it was like, wow, you care i exist? i am talking to you and i am looking you in the eye. and i'm not bored or having to pretend or anything. i am genuinely interested. your experience is relevant to my interests. maybe it was the wine and the fact that i was tired, but it was one of those nights where you have hope for the world and you feel like good things can happen. i was sitting at my desk today, and i heard my old coworker keith's voice when he told an irate customer to be patient. be patient. i kept hearing that. like if i could actually be patient, something good will come of all those bus rides in the dreary mornings spent listening to a girl who sings, "take a long look inside because right now i'm leaving you."

i keep wondering what the point is. i have to be patient to find out. sometimes, i see a big disaster happening, and my last act is to save someone else. is there a reason i'm in seattle, living alone, working in an office? why didn't i end up speaking tagalog, living in a broke down apartment with bad lightning and no air conditioning in manila? a long time ago, the spaniards came and converted the filipinos to catholicism, so that set me on the road i'm on today. when i was that sperm, why did i fight so hard to fertilize the egg? i wonder if my words have any affect on anybody, at any time, anywhere.

on the bus ride home yesterday, my life flashed before my eyes. the night before my first teeth extractions, and my cousin rich bitch saying he and i were batman and robin and my dad's ford ltd was the batmobile, and how, after that, i wasn't so scared anymore. jenny asking me to dance, me placing my sweaty palms against the scratchy fabric of her dress, wrapped tightly around her tiny waist. riding shotgun in a van, driving past broke down nightclubs on broken roads in manila. that dream i had where i told my grandma we never had any fun together. all the times i cried when my girlfriend left me, and how i should've been a real man, instead of an annoying, frustrated child. soccer practice. watching the playoffs with the air conditioner blasting, the commentator's soothing voices. eating sushi. wondering how i look like from the back, how i'm just a round ball of black hair. getting stoned and wondering what the fuck this life is. the inside of bars and the stickiness of spilled beer under my feet. the smell of smokers' houses. signing into america online and hearing that dialing sound, then the connecting sound. playing n64 with my cousins and my cousin's boyfriend. screaming into a microphone and then regretting it later when i could no longer speak. how sometimes, i just want to hug every person i see and tell her that i don't want to die, ever. that time my internet friend told me she's going to miss being able to look out her kitchen window when she's dead. my mom with her glasses on, trying to turn on the television in the wee hours of the morning. my dad at the kitchen table, hunched over, eating a tuna sandwich with mayo on cracked wheat bread. christmas time and that little mouse who has nowhere left to go after the 24th.

i want it all, all the time, all the ups and downs. i want to be for the win.

1 comment:

H. Case said...

James, I'm so glad to read that you're feeling so committed to life! It sounds like you're on an upswing. Take care!