monsters

I want this to end. The nights crying silently on the phone, feeling bad and self-hating about something you said.

Yesterday I was more or less forced to go to a party. It wasn’t so bad because it was a pancake kind of party and people didn’t drink. I didn’t enjoy being around them, but I didn’t suffer either. Maybe it’s nice to be detached from one’s emotions sometimes.

However, during that 5 hours, I kept feeling the urge to go home and suffer. To be in pain. As I was walking home from the metro, I was somewhat relieved that I could finally do that. There was a strange sense of comfort when I thought about the pain that awaited me in my loneliness.

The girl who hosted the party talked about this guy in our class who asked her out then got devastated when she rejected him. He thought they were something because they slept together; the sex was good, but she didn’t love him. She said that he told her about how unhappy he had been all his life, and that she was his last bit of happiness. Everyone gave a mocking laugh and agreed that he was full of self-pity, or ‘misérabilisme’, as one of them put it. I had the same reaction, but now that I think about it, I feel sorry for the guy. Maybe he was truly unhappy. Maybe he was hoping that by exposing his vulnerability to her, he would gain her compassion. Maybe he just wanted to share with someone who he thought might care. I was uncomfortable about him becoming a topic for gossip, but then again, if I were her, maybe I would despise him too.

Unrequited love is sad, but at the same time no one is obliged to love you back, so maybe it’s just a natural part of being human. Then I think about my best friend who recently had a heartbreak, and I try to put myself in her shoes to imagine what she’s been going through, but I can’t. I think about you, since you must be suffering right now, but I can’t feel that either. I’m incapable of imagining anyone’s pain other than mine, let alone understanding or sharing. What an awful creature I am. Maybe I do deserve to be unhappy.

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the farewell

Tôi hay tọc mạch ngó vào những căn nhà hai bên đường, để cho cái nhìn của mình len lỏi qua khe cổng hay lớp lưới trên hàng rào. Ở lối rẽ đầu tiên trên con đường tôi đi bộ từ nhà đến trường mỗi sáng là một căn nhà có cửa gỗ đỏ. Một dây leo mảnh dẻ độc nhất tách ra từ giàn cây bám trên bức tường bên cạnh, bò ngang mặt đất và bám lên cánh cửa đã bạc màu. Có lẽ lối vào đó đã bị bỏ hoang từ lâu. Hoặc không ai còn sống trong căn nhà đó nữa. Dây leo ấy đã thẫm màu đỏ từ lần đầu tiên tôi gặp nó vào một ngày cuối tháng Chín. Những chiếc lá lưa thưa mong manh đến độ tôi cứ nơm nớp lo sợ là chỉ qua một đêm thôi chiếc dây sẽ trụi lá. Nhưng đã hai tháng trôi qua mà những chiếc lá vẫn bền bỉ trụ lại. Có những ngày tôi đi thẳng qua mà không nhìn, sợ rằng sẽ thấy không còn chiếc lá nào. Mỗi tuần, dây lá ấy lại mất đi vài chiếc. Tôi không đếm, chỉ là cảm nhận về một sự trống trải lớn dần trên mặt cửa gỗ. Chiếc dây leo ấy hiểu hơn ai hết khoảng trống trong tôi, cũng như nỗ lực uể oải để níu vào cuộc sống này đang cạn kiệt dần, dù không bao giờ tắt.

Mùa đông đang thở ra những làn hơi băng giá đầu tiên. Chỉ còn lại hai chiếc lá. Sớm thôi, tôi sẽ chuyển nhà đến một nơi khác, trước khi được thấy dây leo ấy hồi sinh.

le café

J’avais envie d’un café.

J’étais en train de lire un roman sur une femme qui cherchait à mourir. Avant de se suicider, elle s’est donnée trois mois à vivre. Dans les trains.

Je lisais un passage dans lequel elle s’asseyait dans un café devant un carnet vide, en attendant son prochain train, dans une ville anonyme. Elle l’avait voulu à tout prix, ce carnet, et pourtant elle ne savait pas de quoi écrire. L’ambiance de ce café a suscité chez moi une envie subite de caffeine. La lumière chaude, les fenêtres vitrées qui donnaient sur la rue. Être à la fois avec des gens, et séparé d’eux.

Je me suis décidée à sortir pour chercher un café qui ressemblerait à celui dans le roman. J’avais un endroit en tête, mais je ne savais pas où il se situait exactement ni s’il allait me plaire.

Dans le métro, j’avais envie de poser mes lèvres sur la main d’un inconnu, puisque celle-ci, accrochée à une barre, était au niveau de ma bouche. Cela ne m’aurait pas gênée de le faire.

Il faisait froid. Gelant. Glaçant. Je n’ai pas trouvé ma destination initiale. D’ailleurs, il y avait du monde partout. Les gens joyeux et bruyants. Tout ce qui me désespérait.

J’ai fini par aller à la bibliothèque municipale, pour me réchauffer. C’était un dimanche et on y sentait une ambiance presque festive. Ici, on essaie de rendre les bibliothèques moins bibliothèque, et les musées moins musée. Mais que sont-ils au juste ?

J’ai observé des gens : le public était majoritairement enfant et famille. Je me suis rendue compte que j’étais dans l’incapacité d’imaginer autrui. Le sens de la vie des autres m’était obscure, voilée.

Je suis sortie sans savoir où aller. Finalement, me voilà. Puisque j’ai continué à avancer, je ne suis pas revenue en arrière. Peut-être la vie consiste à ça : avancer sans savoir vers où. L’importance est de maintenir ce mouvement en avant.

C’était un peu comme faire du funambulisme. Se tenir équilibre et avancer sur un fil. Si c’est vraiment le cas, la vie tient à si peu de choses.

La bibliothèque allait se fermer. Il me restait encore du temps pour trouver un café. J’en ai trouvé un encore ouvert près de mon arrêt de bus. Mais l’envie s’est évanouie. Au début, le café s’était présenté comme l’objet d’une quête. C’était ce qui m’avait embarquée dans un voyage et m’avait amenée dans des lieux. C’était pour ce café que j’avais continuer. Mais j’avais su que je n’y irais pas, et que c’était seulement un prétexte.

Il faisait déjà nuit. Je n’ai pas toujours eu mon café.

the body

I often feel so small and light that my existence doesn’t count much and I can go unnoticed or even disappear without having any effect on this world. Nevertheless, I’m still a body; I still eat, urinate, occupy a residential unit, and have my identity registered by all kinds of authorities. I may feel dead, but my physical body keeps functioning. Dying is not that easy. I have to deal with this cumbersome thing which is the body. And as humans we have built a whole culture around death (that is essentially for the livings). It’s as if you could never escape.

until when

So here it is, the end of summer. An entire three months of love with two people whom I treasure the most and who keep giving me reason to stay alive, even sometimes against my will. Going back to life in France and seeing people again feel less like a burden now. It’s not that I’ve regained the taste of casual company. But I’ve managed to shelter myself from the exasperation that it may cause me.

I wonder how long this feeling will last. How long I can be okay. Because I need to be okay – not that I desperately want to be ‘cured’ or to be normal, but it’s exhausting to go through a breakdown, and I don’t know how much longer I can still endure that, how many breakdowns I have left until I completely give in, and fade. The truth is sometimes I do want to live, when I think about our future with all the things that I want to share with you and the life that we would have together. But I’m tired, I’m just so tired. I’ve never been a driven person, I always leave the battle to other people. So how can I strive to find myself a place in this world, which involves competing and calculating for the sake of self-seeking?

The only thing I ever fought for so vehemently, that I though I’d never quit, turned out not to be even a thing. It has drained me. I can feel my faith crumble to the point of irreparability. I might not be unhappy anymore, but now there’s a cynicism lurking beneath every positive feeling I have. I’ve given myself this summer doing purposeless things. I thought that maybe when I finished those books, I would be healed. Now I realize that there will never be a deadline for healing. My best friend needed two years to ‘get over’ her story. But she didn’t set out to do it; it just happened. So I feel better now, I might actually am, but I also might not. I can only keep going about my days and see what happens. Until when, until when.

l’attente

J’attends mon amie à la sortie du métro. Le vent humide et légèrement glacial traverse mes cheveux. Je m’assieds sur un bord de mur et reprends ma lecture. Il s’agit d’un recueil de nouvelles de Le Clézio, mon auteur préféré. Des “faits divers” transformés en récits poétiques et brûlants sur des vies en fuite. Je m’évade tout de suite vers des terres lointaines, dénudées et abandonnées. Le temps de la lecture rallonge ainsi la “vraie” durée de mon attente.

Depuis que je suis arrivée à P., j’ai appris à lire dans n’importe quel endroit et à n’importe quel moment. Souvent, mes temps de lecture correspondaient à mes temps d’attente. Souvent, j’attendais une seule chose. Et souvent, j’attendais devant les entrées du métro. Alors, aujourd’hui, quand j’attends mon amie, je me sens emportée vers un autre espace-temps (au sens anthropologique du terme), et plus spécifiquement, vers la ville que je viens de quitter. J’ai l’impression d’attendre la même chose que j’ai attendue tant de fois là-bas. Désormais, peu importe où je suis, ce sera mon unique objet d’attente. Et je tarde à quitter le livre des yeux, à mettre fin à mon attente, afin de rester dans cet univers où ce sera toujours toi que je voir arriver lorsque je lève la tête.