This is a piece created for meetup writing Tuesdays. The theme was "Stay or Change?" Somewhat autobiographical or at least drawing on elements from my own life.
"Stay or change?"
Buddhist talk about the state of impermanence, numerous poets, artists, self-help authors spew these platitudes, all things are ephemeral, there is only one constant and that is change, or my personal favourite, Leonard Nimoy — 'A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. If change is inevitable, then why do we lament for the good old days, the constant introspection, clinging onto the past.
People who had NDEs, near death experiences talk about floating above their bodies, the light at the end of the tunnel, the sudden flashbacks reliving every frame of their life in an instantaneous montage. So even in death, we are forced to relive our past, in all its glory, cockups and monotony. I am not here to sermonize, I am not one of these self-help huckster on YouTube calling you to “always move forward, never look back”.
I enjoy introspection, the warm glow of nostalgia, the sickly-sweet moments of reliving the past, like opening a supposedly empty refrigerator and discovering the lone cling wrap bowl of fried rice. It fills a mental hunger, a safety blanket of the past, rather than the darkness scariness of a future unknown.
Is that why I still can’t get over her? She gave me up, one day out of the blue, she said sorry I don’t feel the same, I don’t love you anymore. I just don’t feel the same as I did before. Let’s be friends. I want to be independent, free.
Each word as potent as a coward’s punch. Doesn’t she remember our trip to turtle island in Borneo, waiting till moonlight watching turtles landing on shore to lay eggs en masse, speeding in a dingy scooter in between Cambodian huts caked with red mud from the drizzling rain, watching her ride a camel amongst sunset backdrop ancient Iranian ruins.
Memories she said, the past she said. You need to move on.
I had the visual imagery of booster rockets being jettisoned, falling back to the fiery embrace burning up in the atmosphere. Being discarded for the greater good so she can orbit the moon, be independent to embrace her starlit future.
Stay or change? We really don’t have a choice, change we must. As a Yoda said “Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.” So here I am in an empty coffee shop in Nanjing, flipping through another 50 tinder profiles, trying to start again.