The incoherence of my thoughts/feelings prevents any semblance to narrative linearity. This morning, after posting my entry on the General Election, I was struck by a sudden thought: I want to tell him that I take it back - that I don't want to be done with us anymore. Can I take back words of this magnitude? I was almost yelling at him when I asked what was the point of him coming to see me in England. I told him straight in the face, 'I'm done. I can't do this anymore.' Later on, 'You may think it's bullshit, but whatever it is, I'm in love with you - and so I can't talk to you for a while.'
Did my subsequent conduct - two days later after one day of silence, including in response to his text messages - of calling him hours before he flew to San Francisco and telling him that I wanted to send him off at the airport because I was unhappy with how I ended things alter or change anything that I said? Is this an issue of contract formation or interpretation? What about our subsequent interaction at the airport, during which we said nothing at all about what to do with 'us'? What about the fact that when he finally arrived and I went up to him, I acquiesced to his kiss? My holding his hand? What of my failure to tell him, 'I hope we'll see each other again'? Does my failure to retract my words or alter them mean that they are therefore binding? Is this up to me or up to him?
He held me close to him just before he disappeared into the departure hall. In that moment, comprised maybe of a minute or a little bit more, I felt everything that he felt for me, the feelings that he didn't always express, my importance to him, how much I meant to him. Let me freeze this moment, so that I can keep feeling your palms pressed gently into my back, your face buried in the crook of my neck, keep feeling how it feels to be so close to each other, keep hearing your soft murmurs that I have not the time as yet to decipher. I have not the time that I want to spend with you. Time took you away from me when we let each other go and you went towards the departure hall, turning back to joke, Don't forget to vote, and I wanted to run after you to kiss you goodbye but I stood rooted to the spot. I couldn't move; I tried to be restrained and non-dramatic and I couldn't move. All I could do was watch and limply wave goodbye.
We didn't commit to anything and yet here I am, held back from living the life that I was living before him and during him because I am missing him. This sense of loss, it is physical. It is a dull ache in my chest that constricts and hurts when I am overwhelmed by the yawning gap that his departure has opened up. Don't cry, stop this, this is unbecoming; and so I get up and get out of Starbucks, The Cathay, because it is his place, 'our love nest', and I thought I could handle being there but I couldn't. I get up and I get out of there and I'm at the traffic crossing diagonally opposite the YMCA and I think about that Sunday night when he bought me the Totoro, and his silly joke about breaking into the YMCA song/dance routine right there and then.
Time heals all wounds. That is a banal platitude. But what if I don't want it to? What if I don't want to stop liking him? But why wouldn't I want to? Why would I want to carry this burden around with me, bring it along to Cambridge like excess baggage? I'd known you for a month and already I felt the difference you made in my life. Is that what I can't let go of? Do I think that I don't know how to lead a more positive and engaged life without you? I have a paper to research and write but I can't do it, I can't do it, I haven't even started and it's already Tuesday, and I can't do it because you are no longer in my life. There is a piece of me missing and it is in the shape of you. I miss you so much that it hurts.
Did I make a mistake on Thursday night? I was not at all prepared for the conversation. It was the end of the night and we were walking to Changi Point or whatever, where he was going to have a Skype call with some PhD students in about 45 minutes. Hours before this, he booked his flight to San Franciso; after that, we spent hours together without addressing the obvious elephant in the room. It was when he commented that I looked annoyed when he was sorting out his travel plans that things came to a head. 'I wasn't annoyed,' I said. 'I felt another emotion and it wasn't annoyance.'
I felt like I was going to cry. I probably looked it. He was sweet - 'I know, this sucks, but you are going to Cambridge and it's a good thing' - and then not so much when he tried to joke, 'In a few months' time you'll be like, who's this Greek guy?'
I told him that it was not funny. I disentangled myself from him, sat on his bed; he'd stopped smiling too and said, quite flatly, 'This is a good thing for you, and so I cannot be sad. I can be melancholic, but not sad.'
Just before we headed out, I told him that we had to talk about it. We talked while we walked. It then became clear that he was adamant about not wanting to commit to a long distance arrangement. I expressed my confusion at his behaviour; just two days ago, he was telling me that he wanted to see me in England.
'I do want to see you in England. I do,' he said. Then he said those horrible words again - it made sense. I guess someone so intelligent expresses himself differently, because I require more than some logical threshold to be met before I made arrangements to fly to another country for the sole purpose of seeing someone.
And then when pressed to articulate what was it about me that he liked or how he felt about me, and when I was not satisfied with what he said ('I like you a lot and I feel proud to have you next to me'), his words caused everything to come crashing down.
'I appreciate you as an individual.'
It was not the best choice of words. It was a horrible choice of words. I lost it. I started shouting at him: 'Are you sure those are the words that you want to say to me right now? What the fuck is wrong with you?'
I was overcome with emotions. I was feeling the force of all this pent-up angst that I kept bottled up over the past week and a half, two weeks, that was suddenly let loose by his appreciation of me as an individual. My emotions invaded and conquered my rational mind. I could not think. I could not assess the situation. I could not even stop being emotional long enough to ask him what capacity he wanted me to be in his life when he said that he wanted me in his life, but we couldn't be a couple. Neither could I stop being emotional long enough to comprehend it when he clarified that we would lose the physical aspect of the 'relationship' but not everything else.
I was not prepared for this conversation, which was in sharp contrast to the points that I had in mind when I met him at the Starbucks, The Cathay, on that Sunday when I thought that we would talk about things. I thought we would talk about our options; I thought that there was a third way, to keep it open and see how it went, see what happened in December, see what my schedule or life or whatever would be like after I'd got to Cambridge and had more information on what was going to happen.
All of that fell away. They were defeated by this scorching sense of hurt that I felt when he said again what he'd said from the start. I knew it already and yet, and yet, my pathetic flaccid heart had continued to hope.
As such, led entirely by my emotions, I told him that I was done. I told him that I couldn't talk to him for a while; implicit in this was 'I can't talk to you until I get over you'. I was shattered after that. I cried on the train all the way from Expo to Outram Park and I didn't give a fuck at all who was there to see. He texted me at 11pm, saying that he hoped I was feeling better, but I couldn't bring myself to answer. I couldn't bring myself to text him for the whole of Friday. It was only when I woke up on Saturday and was seized by this urge to see him before he left, an urge which neither tennis nor post-tennis shower diminished, that I called him and asked if I could send him off.
I wanted to tell him that I hoped we'd see each other again but the words never found their way to my lips. When I was on the train after he left, I saw a message from him: 'I will miss you.'
It is shocking how two people who are supposedly intelligent and good at written communication are so fucking shit at communicating with each other. I could've said something at the airport, but I didn't for reasons that I can't even discern, let alone comprehend. He never talked about whatever was going on between us unless it suddenly occurred to him in a middle of an amazing date, which then led to angst on both sides for the next day. In theory, therefore, I could pick up my phone and text him, but I don't because...I don't want it to be a knee-jerk emotion reaction to the situation? I want to be sure that I can emotionally handle having him in my life, but in a reduced and not-here manner, before I reach out and make contact? I don't know. I don't know.
I cannot decide whether I want to put this behind me or not. It is too soon, for sure; it's not even been a week. I'm also PMSing and these hormones are disproportionately magnifying my feelings and emotions and angst and melancholy. Perhaps that's why I'm refraining from contacting him. But what if I wait too long and it's too late?
I wrote to someone that I know purely online about this, and he said that it sounded like a 'rubbish rom-com'. If it were a rubbish rom-com, we would have a rubbish but perfectly scripted happy ending. Isn't it too bad that this is real life?
It would not be untrue to say that, as much as I like him, I also like the idea of him. But what is there not to like? He is 5 years older; I've always had a thing for older men. He is incredibly intellectual; I've always wanted someone who is at least my equal. He is exotic, but not because he's Greek.
At the same time, I don't just like the idea of him. I like him as a person. He seemed to think that I didn't know him, but that's even more bullshit than my claiming to be in love with him. He's pissed me off almost as much as he's made me happy in the span of a month; I cannot stand his annoyingly non-communicative habit, especially when he's engulfed and engrossed in work; and he remembers about half the things that I say, and doesn't even remember that I don't eat meat. I would undoubtedly lose patience with him over these things as time goes on, but the point is, I don't view him through rose-tinted glasses. I am aware of his annoying flaws. But something kept me going, and this something is currently keeping me hanging on.
He made me laugh. We had fun together. Then again, saying that we 'had fun' together is understating the connection that we had, running more deeply than just 'fun'. It was not casual. I meant something to him, which I didn't fully realise or appreciate...until that moment in the airport when he hugged me goodbye.
Is that why it is so difficult to let go? We had to go our separate ways because our lives didn't coincide long enough to build a solid foundation. It wasn't due to any inherent personality clash. In fact, we fit.
I know that I will get over him if I really wanted to, and that once I am over him, I will be over him for good. When I move on, I don't look back; I am ruthless in that regard. The problem, then, is that a significant part of me doesn't want to. It's the same treacherous part that kept hoping for this to work out during that entire month that we saw each other. It feels like such a waste to just let this go; 'this' being, of course, a genuine connection, a rare sort between two people who could've been a formidable couple had circumstances been different.
On Monday evening, when I was on the train back home, I was so despondent that I started looking up flights, even desperately looking up flights from Singapore to San Francisco, thinking maybe I could squeeze in a US trip in between Bali and London.
What was shocking was how expensive and long it is to fly from San Franciso from London. It's about 11 hours at least and those flights are $2,000 (not sure if SGD or USD). The 'cheaper' ones are even longer and they're at least $1,000.
I can't afford that.
How funny, or not at all, to think that I almost went to Berkeley for my LLM.
I am so tired. I am so annoyed at myself for being utterly unproductive for the last two days. This has to change tomorrow.
This entry took me about 2.5 hours to write.