Belonging and Belongings

The other day I moved out. But I remember quite vividly the day I moved in. Life had done one of those weird things where your whole life collapses. I had gathered some of the rubble into a bag and a small box. That’s all I had when I moved in. I walked in, put my bag down and placed the little box next to the bag. I sat down on the chilled tiled floor. It was a 2 bedroom flat. Well, it was actually just 3 empty rooms. The colours in them looked exhausted.

Emptiness is a strange thing; how engrossingly present it is in its absence. Its mercy lies in its nothingness. There’s nothing here. Nothing to hold. Nothing to see. Nothing to feel.

I didn’t want to disturb the emptiness, for many months I didn’t buy any furniture, besides a bed and a fridge. I wanted to stay empty, present, yet absent. For a long time, no one knew where I stayed. Once in a while, the phone would ring, probably either my mother or sister. A customary greeting;

”O kae?’ – where are you?
”Ke teng” – I’m here.

That was all that I could account for; that I was here, somewhere.

I would go days without going outside. My breath foul from words unsaid. My body numb. There’s a profound uselessness in talking, or breathing, or feeling. Seven billion years from now, the sun will die. Every last star will be defeated by a vast nothingness. The universe will collapse into itself. All that is will be as if it never was. Every bone will break, every lung will be defeated, every heart will collapse into itself. All that you are will be as if you never were. Seven billion years from now, the memory will die. This is the absurdity of time, the stupidity of life.

So, for days I would not go outside. I would sit in silence, watching the Sun’s tragic attempts to break through the thick curtains that I never opened. I lost track of the days. Weeks bled into months.

Then one day, my son moved in with me. He was barely 3. I was barely alive. His laughter mocked my solitude. His dirty shoes in the passage and crewed scribbles on the wall insulted my emptiness.  His smile drenched the dull colours on the walls.

”Papa, open the curtain”, he said, beaming.

That was 5yrs ago. The other day, I moved out. Moving is a strange thing; packing yourself into bags and boxes. But life is one trip and not everything can fit. Then you have to go through those aspects of yourself that you want to take into the future. Then you have to decide what to leave behind. What to forget. What to let go off.

On the day I moved out, the curtains came down. I had never really realized how beautifully the suns shines…

Depression is real.