Picture: drawn by Justin Wong
4:57 am: The minute goes by painfully. I turn on my side but my eyes remain wide open. I am a distracted thinker. I feel a compulsive need to have eight different thoughts at once. At this minute, my thoughts occur to me in four different languages. Almost as if I was thinking about the uncertainties in four different ways.
My routine has collapsed. I am doing productive activities but strangely enough, I don’t feel productive. I feel unrooted, stripped of a proper goodbye. I try to shut my eyes but a voice tells me that it is sunny there. The weather becomes nice close to Easter. It’s close to 1:30 in the morning there, I am usually up.
The strange thing about uncertainties is that we try to mend them. We try to mimic our routine as much as we can, to cope, to breathe, and to feel alive. To feel normal and to reassure ourselves that eventually, everything will return to normal.
It’s a conflicting feeling, a feeling of guilt. A guilt of being in a safe place but feeling inadequate and insufficient. A guilt of privilege that, what’s keeping me up tonight is so minute compared to what people outside my tiny bubble are enduring.
Knowing this, I can not stop myself from being disoriented. My life from a few weeks ago is now a memory. Plans for the future are now ‘what could have been’. Then, there are the memories that you etch into your mind, in fear, that you may not remember the times you laughed, cried, or merely lived life without much of a care for tomorrow.
Saying goodbye is always hard but it is exceptionally so when it is not foreseen. It’s even harder when the unexpected just requires us to look closer. In Chronicles of A Death Foretold, Gabriel Garcia Marquez writes the journey of an impending death. A death that is expected and certain, slowly creeping up on you but still surprises you. In many ways, for many of us, the sudden ending of a chapter in our lives was upon us, ever so slowly approaching but it was there. So while I try to convince my insomniac state that uncertainties are just unobserved spectacles, I think of the weather. I think of it here and there. April is upon us.
April is usually a lovely time of the year. I’ve always thought of April as the start of a new year, a new cycle. April is when nature’s cycle begins. Peeking outside my window, I wait for the sun to rise and dream of April. It’s cold outside, there is a chilly morning breeze. It’s usually warmer this time of the year. Warmer in April. I guess I’ll be searching for April in May.