All Alone

“Why do people have to be this lonely? What’s the point of it all? Millions of people in this world, all of them yearning, looking to others to satisfy them, yet isolating themselves. Why? Was the earth put here just to nourish human loneliness?”
― Haruki Murakami, Sputnik Sweetheart

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Tegami: Photograph [手紙-写真]

こんばんは (Good evening). 手紙 です (Tegami here). Checking in live from Washington, DC. While I take my turn to photograph the First Lady, I’ve pretty much isolated myself from the loud, political, obnoxious crowd and ass-kissing protogs. I ain’t having none of that ass-kissing, my friend Rashid always says.

It’s been three days since my second attempt at capturing myself with this wicked camera. If he hadn’t come in time and annoyed me with the emotions he riled up in me that wasn’t suicidal—I could have been immortal, and free, in a sense.

Now I look back to the broken past, I’ve tried to forget and mentally suckerpunched myself for attempting to bring back the dead with its foul odor and decay.

I will admit I’ve always been eccentric. Ad as a youngling, I prided myself in that oddity—but I was never without insecurities. Little lady trying so hard to be different, she forgets who she is—she bemuses, “Who I am really? Who am I even?” And at that age, you couldn’t really answer that, not without having a wealth of experience on your back. She just needed to grow up some more and get some backbone. And stop thinking about death.

I mean, I look back at this pimple-faced, chubby, dole-eyed kid that reeked of childish naivete cry and breakdown and soon enough, she will be tired of crying and breaking down. She needs to see who she really is again.

And oh, she knew herself internally so much, but who was she in the eyes of many?

She appeared like a spoiled brat, stubborn, who picks who she talks to. Easily excitable in certain circumstances but easy to scare and humiliate in most circumstances. Dislikes and obvious small talk—though try as she might, it’s still something that she can do occasionally—who was always eager to make jokes about herself. Maybe even too much, to the point where people question if she’s just joking or she’s really that self-depreciating.

She liked to get personal and get under your skin, but not any deeper—unless she wanted you as a companion. Used to be passionate about opinions—and occasionally indulges in intellectual arguments, but generally likes to keep to herself. Maybe even too much on this aspect too. Selfish and self-centered. Foul-mouthed and impulsive. Can be very cheeky at times.

Let me tell her how I overcome it. This.

When you focus on other people, not yourself. When you focus on their poses, their smiles, their frowns and the way they carry their lives—immortalize them through your lens and really see. Watch. Observe. Judgment is allowed but judgment is not final.

Oh, and trust yourself. You’re better than you think you are. Don’t get too cocky now, spoiled brat. Get no help from a Shinigami (Death God) and construct your own vertebrae to lean on.

“No one knows you better than I do, so listen to me. And trust me. We’re in this together.”

Finally, there was a hush in the crowd as the First Lady steps to the stage. I hold my camera steady, ready for the kill.

I made a mental note for the piece of human tearable paper that I was in the past: Look out now, and watch.

Millions of shutters synced to the solemn atmosphere as the First Lady went on for her speech, yet here I was still waiting for the right angle. I held tight onto my camera, screaming in my mind, screaming at her.

TAKE A FUCKING SHOT!

Glasses clinked, the murmur becomes full blown chatter and I snapped the perfect photo. Time to get out of here before the police comes.

Normally Open

“You’ve always wanted this, haven’t you? Even as a babe, it’s all you’ve ever dreamed of, all you’ve ever talked about. Now it’s in your grasp. What are you waiting for? Why haven’t you braced yourself for what was coming?”

His eyes drifted away from the knowing gaze of his old man. Wishing 10 years back he had the same wisdom he adopted now. “You can see it in my eyes, can’t you? The wrinkles on my forehead, the furrowing of brows, the subtle way I try to keep my mouth from frowning. I yearn back for the times of my past and I feel like a fool for not having any sense of precaution. It’s true when you say that I should be careful of what I wish for. I’ve grown older, but I’m not any wiser.”

The old man’s features softened and he put a gentle hand on the young man’s back. “But it’s not too late. What is diseased can be cured. Don’t give up. There is no harm in your openness and willingness to love—and hurt. Pick yourself up and brush away the dirt. Follow me and trust the Gods in what they’ve given birth in you.”