Monday, October 6, 2008

It's a wonderful life

Growing up is full of disappointments. You realize that your toys break. And that broken toys usually don't un-break. You realize you'll never shoot fire out of your palms or levitate things with the force of your mind. You'll realize that people can actually dislike you, and will be too eager to let you know. You realize what shame is, what modesty should be, what actions cannot be and what some results will never be.

But you get over them. Innocence lost, right? Tough exterior, savings accounts, self-pity, girlfriends, acceptance, loans, understanding, insurance, ex-girlfriends, fitting in, insecurity,shaking hands, knee braces, tolerance, anxiety, pleasure, pain, your mind, your body. Somehow the fact that all this is so fucked up doesn't register at all. The hamster wheel is way too engaging.

But as much as one is immune to the scars that the world inflicts, the changes it does on others can be quite striking. Growing up, the world around us is stronger. People are smarter. Of quick wit. They have solutions. Answers. Broad shoulders, healthy faces. But people age. They die. First it's some distant aunt of dad's cousin twice removed. Ceased to be? Oh. Ok. Then it's granpa's brother. You gotta admit, he could never remember your name. Well, 1 less source of candy. Soon there's a pattern. A call at 4 AM. A quick nod. Parents need to go to the big bad hospital. Don't fuss about lunch today, please? Soon, the world starts getting smaller. One night, the favorite granpa pukes blood for 2 hours. Next day, mum wakes you up with an expressionless face. Who're all these old people in the house? Why're they crying? Sit on granma's lap for a hug. Oh look. Granpa's body. Just like in the movies.

You see an aunt every day of your life for 15 years. Then you don't for 2 years. You bump into her on the street. She's thin. Wrinkled. The voice that sang everyday now shakes every now and then. The circle's getting smaller. People are mortal. The strongest old woman in the family dies. Just like that. She said good night, and didn't wake up. I knew her all my life. A year later, the other granpa dies. Hmmm. His favorite grandson can't help the orderlies prepare his body. I do. In the mortuary, I notice his body, all wrapped up is on the floor of the van. Wow. What if his heart is trying to beat? That's it? They don't show that in the movies.
 
A year later, I hug my favorite granma. Someone takes a picture. I ask about her, she's happy. We both know. The picture hangs in my living room for a year. I tell her "you're coming here next summer. You're so tiny you'll be my carry on luggage". We both laugh. We know. 15 days later, she catches a cold. 2 days later, she's gone. 

6 months later, my mum sends me her latest pictures. She looks exactly like her mother. I tell her that. There's silence. "So. How's work? How's the girl? Are you happy?"

Yeah. I'm happy.

8 comments:

purely-narcotic said...

The sincerity of the post, so touching.

Thanatos said...

Thanks!

a million different people said...

*hug*

Thanatos said...

*hug* back :)

Joe said...

oops, i think i commented on the other blog by means of a slight error in judgement.

my bad.

waving fronds of coconut leaf thingys.

peace, if you will please.

Thanatos said...

@ Joe

Yeah, I noticed. It's all good, though all that anger must be hard to maintain...

Joe said...

hahaha yes, it is.. these are trying times, what with the credit crunch and all that! the bar's sinking and my patrons are refusing to pay for drinks..

sigh.. my kingdom, my kingdom for a horseshoe nail.

Thanatos said...

Yeah, well. I had no worries because the person you commented upon can defend herself :)