The past, the concept.
I used to say the word “love” a lot more sparingly. I wonder what happened.
I don’t reflect on the past as much as I used to. But, the other day, I finished the book I had been working on early on my commute home. I still had a good 30 minutes before I reached Church Ave. station, and I was not in the mood to re-read dense chapters on financialization. I was also quite bored with the techno album I was listening to. So, I pulled out my phone and began to flip through some photos.
This was a horrible decision.
I remember during my freshman summer, when I had just arrived in my grandparent’s condominium in Beijing without television or internet, I had stooped into a rattling boredom. Back then, I pulled out my phone, too. Within a few hours, I flipped through all of my photos and re-read all of my text messages. I had exorbitant amounts of time to myself, and it was a time that allowed me to re-evaluate all of my connections with other people. I didn’t feel alone back then. Even though I had around lost around 30 Snapchat streaks when I emerged from the plane, I knew that I still had people to talk to when I returned from China. It was a crisis, but it was a crisis that had been contained within the infinite time that I had.
Likewise, I also had a crisis. This time, it was in a subway car, which is not a very good place to have a crisis. I wanted to write about it, of course, but I didn’t have a computer. Naturally, I wrote a poem on my phone’s Notes app:
I used to sign off my letters
I don’t anymore.
I don’t any
It is a word that feels quite foreign at this point in my life. I don’t love. I haven’t been ever able to love. This makes sense in retrospect, but there was only a part of my life when I believed that I was capable of loving others and that other were capable of loving me. I no longer believe what I used to. Experience tends to do that to me. Experience has shown me that there is no such thing as love. Naturally, since my vocabulary exists to shape my thoughts into sentiments, the word seems to have slipped away from my vocabulary. I no longer casually tell others that I love them. I no longer am able to express myself in this facet as I once could because this a part of me that no longer exists. That is the nature of things.
There was this one time when I accidentally said, “I love you.”
It was when I spoke using the word “love” as opposed to the word “luv”. It was the only moment in my history of saying that I meant that I loved someone with the full gravity behind the word. I took it back quickly and pretended as if nothing happened. It was an embarrassing moment at the time, as if I were embarrassed to be in love, if I was in love at all. I wonder if that was the most authentic moment I have ever felt in my life. There are plenty of moments when I do not say something that I am supposed to, but there are so few moments in my life when I inadvertently say things without meaning to do so. It was a moment when I truly lost control over myself. Was it my emotions speaking back then. Was it something more real, if it was real at all?
It was a time that seems to have passed by so long ago. The world I live in currently was not the world I had live back then. The sky is quite grey nowadays. The sky was blue back then… a dark vibrant blue. It was full of sadness and life. Now, all I feel is emptiness. It is a different sky, with a different color, with a different set of eyes that gaze upon it.
I am so tired nowadays. My eyes are tired. I am so tired. The words I speak are one that comes from a tired man. I can finally understand how some people could live their lives having so little ambition or desire. I don’t want to be this way. I no longer have the strength to look up at the grey sky. It is the same sky, of course, but it is a sky that remains the same while I have changed. There is a sort of infinite stillness that exists if you take the universe on aggregate. The world is moving, of course, but it produces movement in a way that aggregates into no movement. In a closed system, energy cannot be created or destroyed. I would imagine that Newton’s Laws of Motion would follow a similar rule. On aggregate, the universe has not moved. The world has not changed. It is I who has changed. But, unfortunately, it is not change for the better.
The other day, my friend had pointed to a series of modernist buildings between the Salesforce and the UBS towers on the Avenue of the Americas. He didn’t like them. He thought that they looked oppressive. I agreed and disagreed. I also thought that they looked oppressive. I loved them.
I don’t know.
It is something I have said all my life. But, here at this point in my life, I feel as if there is little point in knowing anything anymore. It is a time of simultaneous assurance and uncertainty. Professionally, I know that I want to work in a company that address political and economic topics with econometrics. That is what I know given the limitations of what I know. Personally, I have accepted that the permanence I have chased for all my life is not real. It is a facade created to keep me sane while I continue to dispense the rest of my time on this lonely planet. I wonder if I would return to the illusion when I could, when I still believed in love to liberate me from my sadness. It seems so long ago that there is little point in thinking about it. But, alas, here I am, thinking about it.
I wonder if I could ever return to that moment, when I said the l-word for the first time ever, truly meaning what I said. I wonder if I could feel like that again, when I could let my emotions take over me, feeling something more real than whatever emptiness that I am experiencing right now. I miss the softness of that blue bed, when I uttered the l-word for the first time ever.
I wonder if it will also be the last.