Silence

It is very seldom that I shed tears of joy. This day, I did shed them though. Out of the goodness of someone’s heart, my brother received the best pair of hearing aids that he has ever had. He is happy about it and that is something to cry about. 

My brother was born with a hearing impairment. Over the years, it has gotten worse. He has tried a couple of times to wear hearing aids. They were always provided by charitable organizations. I am very thankful for the work that they do, but of course the quality of the devices that my brother used was in the lower range. He thus never enjoyed wearing them. He would complain that everything was too loud, giving him a headache. It was supposed to help him but those moments he was wearing them turned out to be very unpleasant experiences. To add to this, I have to confess that our family is not a very good source of support. First of all, we did not have money to sustain the maintenance that the hearing aids needed. Second of all, we did not fully appreciate its value. When Kurt says he wanted to stop wearing them, we would be perfectly fine with it. We did not have the energy to oppose this. Kurt lives a life relatively far from what is normal, but he is happy and functional. We didn’t much worry about how else life could be better.
Kurt hardly ever went to school. He doesn’t have close friends. But he survives. I’ve always wanted something better for him. I still wish he could learn to read, do math, or commute on his own. I never did do anything about it though. I am a speech pathologist. I work with other professionals in the same field as I am. I encounter individuals with special needs. I am in the perfect situation to finally provide my brother with a shot at a better life. Yet I find my brother in the same situation he’s been in since we were kids. Happy and functional, yet full of unfulfilled potential.
I do want to give myself some credit and actually deserve it. I have not been able to put my brother at the top of my priority list but I know that when he needs me, I will be there. I am working hard on improving my life so that in the future I could finally put him in the top spot. I have given my brother some things but I still owe him a lot. I am all forms of grateful for the good people who help me and my family support Kurt. Sometimes we lack motivation. Most of the time we lack money. But we are good people and we are surrounded by good people. I owe my brother a lot. Thankfully, I have a whole community lending me a hand.

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Fade


There was a lady

Who was looking sternly at me

You were standing not far away

In the darkness, I couldn’t see

The look on your face
The room started shifting

Floors were elevating

Ceilings were falling

And yet you stood, unmoved

Standing far away from me
People were saying things

Things I could not make out

What are the words that they are mumbling

For the life of me

I don’t know what they’re talking about
I stood at the end of the aisle

I could just make out the silhouette of your back 

The smoke was too thick

I had to wait a while

First an unsure step, a run, and then an attack

By the time I got to you

You were facing me all right

But those cold cold eyes

Sent shivers down my spine
I retreated slowly slowly

If I walked away slowly enough

You might change your mind and try to catch up

I walked farther away, slowly slowly

You didn’t catch up

You just faded away

Slowly

Slowly

An Ode

Image

You taught me to look at a high branch

And see it as a goal

That I could reach whatever I want 

No matter if it’s big or small
You taught me to care for a dog

And love it like family

That sure they bark, snarl and bite

But they have the heart of a darling
You taught me that the lights of a firework

Are not just some powder exploding

It is the sound that the eyes can see

When the ears couldn’t hear a thing
You taught me to love when you’re at the end of your string

Every human is good and deserving

Of the forgiveness and humanity

That from your heart eternally springs
You taught me to take wounds

As a sign of your strength

You’ve been beaten and trudged on

But you’ll fight till the end of your breath
You taught me to play like I were a kid

To ride, to run, and even to fall

You’ve sowed a baby seed

Of awe and wonder deep in my soul
You taught me to marvel at the simplest of things

Sitting on the second floor of a two-decker bus

Walking at the airport, pulling our bags

Nothing can ever match that sparkle in your eyes
You taught me to laugh and to live and to love

I am who I am because of your laughter, life, and love

Thank you for the lessons that I have learned through the years

They will be with me through happiness and tears  

Break

brain-transparent

 

My head is aching right now. I have been doing reports for work the whole day for the past two days. I meant for today to be a break. But just when I was already on my second Sunday errand, it hit me. I had to finish another report by the end of this day! It did not frazzle me too much, to be honest. I was gonna head off to my favorite coffee shop and see some friends (who, by the way, are arm-wrestling right now). As soon as I got on the car though, I felt my head starting to throb. It knew what was coming. Another bout of brain-twisting and bending. I have relentlessly worked on my last report for the last two weeks. I did not cook. I did not exercise. I did not even pluck my eyebrows. I was able to finish my report right on schedule, but I’m not sure I wanna go through that again.

So what to do? I want to take tomorrow off. I do hope there is nothing that has to be done. This brain needs some break.

Love?

flower

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. Yesterday was the first time I understood Valentine’s Day. I think it helped that I was in a place where you would not be ostracized by the fact that you don’t have a date. Valentine’s Day was just another date on the calendar. Coming from where I came from though, I still felt that this day was special. I’m just glad that I was away from the girls carrying bouquets of flowers from their boyfriends or boys carrying bouquets of flowers for their girlfriends. It is like scrolling through Facebook. You see a little piece of other people’s lives and you spend the rest of the day questioning what you have done with your life to not deserve a bouquet in your arms. Being away from all that is like logging out of Facebook. It’s freedom. It allows you to make your own meaning of life.

And love. That is the only meaning of Valentine’s Day for me. Technically, I do not understand that word. But as ambiguous as it is, it still makes more sense than chocolates and flowers and diamond rings. I watched Girls yesterday and one of the characters said that love is the easiest thing in the world. I want to protest. I really do. But somehow, I can’t get myself to. Every moment that I was breathing in Valentine’s Day air, I was being reminded to be grateful for my continued existence. And every time that I was greeting someone with a heart-felt “Happy Valentine’s Day!” I was shouting it in the face of someone that I cared about. If love then had to be explained, I’d probably use its middle name, appreciation, or its nickname, caring, somewhere in the definition. Two words that are beautiful enough for me to understand love.

I used to despise Valentine’s Day. It was a reminder that another year had passed with me buying Ferrero Rocher for myself, not having allergies from pollen-ridden flowers in my arms, not braving the traffic with someone holding my hand. It turns out, all it takes is getting on a plane and landing not too far away. I can buy my Ferrero Rocher. I can have allergies from other things besides flowers. And I can sway my arms while walking alone. I am all right. I am amazing. Valentine’s Day is about love. And it is what I have within and all around me. Happy Valentine’s Day everyday, everybody.

 

Unfriend

two-friends

I unfriended him today on Facebook. I feel tears marching their way towards my eyes. I feel a frown slipping its way down my lips. I feel a heartbeat thumping against my chest. I feel moisture in my throat drying out. I feel a weight resting on my shoulders. I feel a throbbing coursing through my brain. This is how sadness feels. This is how anger feels.

This is a step that I am proud to have taken. I don’t know if it’s the right step, I am proud nonetheless. I have held on to that hope for far too long. To be honest, I know that I still am holding on. I am still waiting for him to change his mind. I am waiting for everybody to change their minds. They never have. I don’t know why I am still hoping that they ever will.

My shoulders are getting heavier still. My breath is getting shallower.

I am proud of what I have done. That is all there is to it right now. There is anger, sadness, disappointment, discouragement. But I hope still. So pride. That’s all there is to it right now.

Cheshire

 

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
“I don’t much care where –”
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

-A conversation between Alice and the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland

I wish I had been the one to have this conversation. I’m afraid it might have gone differently though.

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
“I don’t much care where –”
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

“No, wait. It actually does matter. I wanna go to that castle on top of the hill. I think I wanna rule this kingdom. I have always wanted to be a queen.”

“Well, in that case, you have to take that road to your left.”

“Right. Thanks… Uhm, no. Look at that beautiful beach with the sea glistening, winking at me. I have always liked the water. Oh, and I could already imagine the feel of the sand under my feet.”

“Through the forest behind me you first have to go.”

“Yey! Thanks so much… But wait, if I wanna go to the beach and have fun there, don’t I first have to go home and finish my homework? It’s been lying on my desk for ages. So… which way is my house?”

“From right where you came from, don’t you think?’

Nervous laugh. “Right. Sorry for the trouble. I’ll be off then. See you later.”

A second later…

“Cat? Cat? Caaat? I need your head right now… Or at least your mouth so you can talk to me… About that ‘It doesn’t matter which way I go”, I think I wanna try it out. So, uhm, where should I go?… Right, it doesn’t matter… Hm, but you see, that doesn’t make much sense. What if I…”

“Boo!”

“Ah!!!”

I fall off a cliff and die.