The morning ruse

Beep beep beep

Your alarm sounds exactly at 6.00am. You switch that evil thing off and force yourself to get up immediately because you cannot afford to be late in a country where being on time means getting there 10 minutes early. You turn on some music to pace yourself in the morning. 1 song lasts about 3 minutes – so it should give you a gauge as to how much time has passed while going about your usual morning routine.

Wash up. Shower. Get dressed. Head down to the cafeteria and have your breakfast. Make small talk with the other people living in the dormitory. 7.30am, head out. Wait for the 7.41am train at the same platform you wait at everyday. 

When the train arrives, it’s a strange thing to say this, but from here on, you actually know who you’ll see and what to expect on your way to work.

There’s the middle school student who speaks to his imaginary friend on the train. On your left, there are two students studying English. And the sloppily dressed high school delinquent with his bags placed all over the floor standing at the train door. Sometimes, he pretends to care about his English homework but all he does is scribble nonsensical answers, then folds his homework and shoves it into his pocket. At the next station, there will be two old men who rush into the middle of the train, rudely pushing everyone out of the way. From time to time, you get to see that beautiful elegantly dressed lady board the train and all the men sneaking glances at the pretty little thing. She pretends not to notice, often seeking shelter by looking at her cell phone or to the ground. As you exit, you’ll see the same pretty guy waiting at the door. 

When you arrive at the lobby, you greet everyone you pass by. Even the security guard greets you on your way in. You feel like your presence is acknowledged, but you also acknowledge the fact that salutations here are an obligation and they probably don’t really care if you had a good morning or not. Still, it feels pretty good.

You enter the lift, and you recognise the people taking the same lift with you. You see them every morning, to the point where you can enter the lift and without speaking a word, they’d press the lift button to the floor you’d always go to. 

Everyday, on repeat.

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What it means to miss someone

The first time you start to miss someone, it happened out of the blue. You feel a bit stuffy, but you think to yourself:  Hey, it’s okay. Everything is fine. It’ll get better. You can get over this. It’s a piece of cake.

You throw yourself completely into an activity. Immerse yourself in it so you don’t think about that person. For a while, it seems to work.

The second time you catch yourself missing that person again, you get reminded of a memory you both used to share. And you wonder to yourself why there is something gnawing at your heart. So instead of addressing it, you immerse yourself into even more activities – to the point where you have no time to think about anything else, and you get so exhausted you don’t want to think about anything anymore.

The third time, you tell yourself maybe you’ll indulge in some old photos you have with the other person. You know, just to reminisce. You catch yourself smiling a few times. You find yourself reliving those special moments captured in the past. And surely, your heart starts to ache a little.

But you can’t stay like this, right? I mean, it’s not like you have stopped talking to the other person. But what do you do during those moments when they are too busy for you? So you start meeting new people, hoping they’ll fill the growing spaces in your heart. For a while, the thrill of getting to know someone new distracts you from the one you want to forget.

Then, it starts to get difficult even talking to the person. It feels like your heart is going to burst. You miss them when they’re not around, and you miss them even more when they are. You feel like dropping all you have right now to see the other person but you can’t. You’re here. They’re there.

So you tell yourself the adult thing to do is to control yourself and wait. You listen to music as a cathartic release. You hang around with new people in your life more often, but you find yourself always comparing. But by doing so, you only seem to miss that person even more.

Until one day, you finally tell yourself you were wrong. It doesn’t get better. Everything is not okay. Since when did this person creep into your heart like that and take up so much space in there, such that when they leave, they leave behind a gaping hole you cannot replace?

It hurts.

And after holding it in for so long, you simply let the memories hurt you.

You let yourself miss this person like crazy. You re-read messages you receive from the other person like a mad obsessed woman. You relive the emotions you got when you received those messages again and again. You indulge in your memories alone. You talk about the person to others until even your mouth gets tired of talking about them. You let every single raw emotion out and turn them into art, music and words when nights get cold, and dark and long and lonely, with only three words hanging at the tip of your tongue that you simply refuse to say out to them:

… I’ve missed you. I missed you. I miss you.