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I think my earlier life was characterized by chaotic impulse. Today, I’m numb and deliberate, a defense mechanism by which I could function on a day to day basis in my professional and personal capacity. Capitalism seems to have dominion over my sense of being, placing efficiency above happiness.
When did it all change?
I think I became what I am today in a slow and gradual fashion. Like how crabs are slowly boiled alive and they don’t realize it till their flesh starts sloughing off in the shell (I imagine). The chaos in my youth was bound to attract new and exciting experiences, good and bad. I drank it all up as a young law student in a foreign land, the birthplace of my grandfather. Sure, my first drink was in KL. I laughed, I puked, I promised, I puked some more. But in Bristol, at Uni (where we had a bar! A BAR!), where drinking was the norm, I understood what it meant TO drink. I am not off on a meander here. Alcohol had a huge and mostly happy part to play in my youth.
Yet the chaos also brought crashing down upon me the dysfunctional all-devouring emotional black hole that was Diana, My First Mistake.
To digress a little, prior to her, I’ve nearly flipped the SUV over in an ill-advised display of hormonal machismo. Ive rolled the dice on many a drunken trip down from Genting, because we were too broke-ass to afford a room after downing at the top, bootleg liquor from Brickfields in paper cups and ice from Projet, as much as we could steal, mixed with Ribena and water (treated tap, not mineral). I’ve jumped in front of a car because I didn’t want to live after my cat went missing. I got bullied as a kid and brought a tiny pocket knife with me. I lunged at my tormentor when I had enough, fully intent on ending him. I had earlier, way earlier, murdered my blow-up Ultraman with a plastic knife from a masak-masak set I had when my grandmother said she loved Ultraman more than me.
Those were in truth, mere follies. I say Diana was a Mistake because in my naïveté, I gave permission to someone to metaphysically cut me up, kill me, and eat me. Evil as subtle as that would not come in uninvited. It is averse to violence, preferring more insidious methods for spreading its toxic contaminants. She hated everything that made me happy, because that meant I wasn’t at that given time, getting my happiness from her.
Worst of all, she sucked dry the significantly more happy memories a young boy had of his first truly happy yet effervescent relationship preceding their parasitic, longer lasting one. She hated Jessica because the afterglow left in her wake shone brighter than could the black hole ever hope to achieve.
(I pause to write a text to Jessica. I haven’t properly worked this out before, so I try to say it as I recall)
“Jessica. Shiet. I was just thinking back to Bristol. I cannot imagine how many times Diana brought you up while we were dating and she was unhappy about something wei. She was seriously fucking toxic in the same way Dale was I suppose.
I’m still haunted by the emotionally traumatic shit she put me through, that was seriously NOT a good starter for my first relationship.
By contrast, there was you. You were beautiful, your smile always started in your eyes. It is telling that I do not remember the first time I had sex (yup, she popped ma cherry 😅). But I sure as hell remember my first kiss and the circumstances leading up to that. Nasi goreng kampung had something to do with that.
I think I proper loved you.
Waking up next to you the morning after, riding the 70 bus to uni in the grey fog. I held your hand, put my arm around you for warmth. Maybe I held on a little too tightly, my eagerness unguarded. My Omega has found its Alpha.
You took the lead and you broke up with me in a couple of days time. I was so upset and bewildered, but somehow that paled against the generally bright backdrop of our time in the U.K. My first love, my first heartbreak. I’m pretty amazed that we could still be friends after.
Aaaanyway, thanks for making my time in Brizzle a meaningful one, Kentut. I wish we had this conversation back in uni if for nothing more than a laugh, but I guess it’s never too late to tell someone how they made a big and positive difference in another’s life at some point or another, right? “
(I debate sending this to her. She has four kids with a Chinese looking man named Daniel, like yours truly. The stars align but dangerously here. I choose not to).
Why am I spending so much time fixated on my Mistake? The memory I have of Jessica is just as real. I have been preventing it, caught in the gravitational pull as it were, from helpfully nurturing the compassionate thought processes and decisions I should be making when approaching dating. Instead, I end up fearful that the next woman I see is just another Mistake in the making.
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