in control

i remember sitting under a tree in the dark, unknowingly among some ants, stupidly crying over a letter from a boy i thought i loved. i don’t remember the contents of that letter, other than my joy of hearing from him turned into despair with the words he wrote. maybe that letter is still in the box of letters that i keep at home. i don’t care anymore. it’d be pathetic if i did.

i remember the tears gently rolling down my 7-year-old cheeks as my mother led me through the departure gates. we were relocating to hong kong for goodness knows how long and somehow i understood every bit of the uncertainty and sadness that came with the move. although i’ve stood at many airports and platforms of train stations in years to come, i don’t think anyone has ever sent me off that way since then. i’ve certainly never cried that way ever again.

i remember sobbing on the phone under my blankets when i learned i would not be leaving malaysian shores in the pursuit of knowledge. the person on the other line was probably shocked by my rare display of emotion and who could blame him? it took awhile to accept my fate and while i still think about it sometimes, it is easier to let time numb me to the humiliation i felt.

crying is a sign of weakness to me. i’ve never seen my parents cry and the few times i’ve watched my sister’s eyes turn red were among the most uncomfortable moments of my life. of course there are nights when hormones and life overwhelm me and i let unreasonable, irrational sadness wrack my body until i fall quiet from exhaustion of emotion, but i always wake up guilty for not having more control.

and it’s all about control in my life. hasn’t it always been?


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