right (go to sleep)
by The Dreamer
she wonders if she’s left-handed because she’ll never be right, never feel right, never know right from wrong.
she feels like she is tilting off her axis, slanting like the slash between “yes/no”; the slope a positive gradient though she feels ironically positively negative about everything; the incline angling towards right but its foot surely grounded in the left.
she puts on her loosest, most oversized shirt, even takes off her bra, but that does little to ease the tight squeeze in her chest. particularly the left side.
she tells her mother: yesterday i was up studying at 2am at night when my left chest felt so painful, all of a sudden, like it was being ripped apart and forcefully jammed back in; like it was being clawed out of my ribcage and contorted out of its original shape, you know-
and what did Mother say?
Mother gives a funny pointed look, presses her lips into a straight line and says, in a rather bland tone, i think you should go to sleep.
she doesn’t tell her mother that the entire night her mind was a racetrack, and many cars were speeding past the limit, and the frictions gave her heart burns, and as the wheels skidded mercilessly across the contours of her brain, smoothening out all the original nerve paths and then leaving tire indents that rewrote all the synapses and the subsequent car crashes accumulated at the dead end jammed up all her systems left her in pain, dizzy, breathless.
(she wonders, too, if the reason for her agony is caused by her tendency to think in metaphorical concepts – what is your point, really? get to the point. ANSWER THE QUESTION, GODDAMMIT.) (( the soft, tired voice in her head struggles out, a feeble attempt at fighting back: there is no question and even if there was, i don’t fucking know, you idiot. these posts are supposed to clear your head, sort your thoughts out, straighten your confusions, not leave yourself more messed up than ever, so i don’t fucking know.)) (((another voice pips : stop this monologue, stop spilling your stream of consciousness, stop abusing the poor keyboard. it’s seriously weirding you out, no less the poor readers currently skimming through this hodgepodge.))) ((((a defeated sigh: where is this headed towards… just end this segment.))))
being the only left-handed individual in a family of right-handers can be so terribly exhausting.
it’s startling, how easily the stifling weight of burdens and responsibility nudges its way into the middle of her chest again. she reckoned that Life would have been relenting enough to spare her the agony for one hour as she readjusted herself from the one hour time zone difference, but the moment she touched down back into home ground, and messages flooded her smartphone, and the warm humid air greeted her like the smelly breath of a too-close stranger in a packed train, she felt inexplicably trapped under the unpredicted avalanche of distress.
she felt –
she felt –
there were no right words to describe it, no synonyms to explain her current dilemma.
but if she really had to put a finger on something tangible, it would be feeling neither here nor there. she wasn’t sick, but she was not feeling well. she wasn’t sleepy, but she was not un-tired. is there a word to accurately convey the summation of “middle grounds” she felt?
did you mean: the smile that did not reach her eyes?
she felt herself collapsing to the floor, suddenly eager to feel the ground: its coolness, its groundedness. perhaps that would make her feel less lightheaded, less like she was going to defy gravity in the worst way possible (like in her recurring dreams: without control of her limbs and slowly, helplessly, drifting off towards the infinite inky canvas as she desperately attempts to grasp onto anything but closes in onto air…and then gradually there isn’t even air for her to close onto…and her lungs closes up…and then her eyes closes….and…and…everything she ever knew closes in on her.)
she alludes the incessant throbbing of her head to sitting too close to the speakers all day, and also to the caffeine she carelessly injected into her system, and also to godforsaken math.
her vision has been swimming the entire day. zooming in and out like a camera lens that’s having trouble focusing and then finally settling for blurry images after blurry images.
her day went great, robust even, and she was happy, but then it drained her immensely and everything was a blur as well. passed by unfocused. a whir of activity that distracted her temporarily…
so she lies on the ground, spreading the expanse of her body across the largest surface area she can get.
i am here. i am here. i am here.
stop thinking. stop thinking. stop thinking.
shut up. shut up. shut up.
she presses her left cheek against her living room floor. from across, through the corner of her eye, she sees her sister and her mother (the sickening right-handed duo) excitedly trying on new shoes that arrived at the doorstep.
(“ma, how come you buy her shoes that are 100 dollars but refuse to pay for my 9 dollar shoes?” “your sister is different, her feet are more delicate.” )
she realises belatedly of the pool of liquified salt increasing in its volume at an alarming rate, and her mother’s nagging “water ruins my precious wood floor, so no moisture!” floats into her consciousness, so she tries to make her tears stop but why won’t they stop for christ’s sake.
she’s afraid that if she opens her eyes, the tears will be uncontrollable.
“jean, go to sleep. you’re tired.”
“i’m not tired.” i’m crying.
“if you’re not tired, why are you lying on the floor?”
she gets up, and sitting upright and vertically, the tears flow without resistance now.
“i’m crying.” she admits in an almost-not-there voice.
“w-why are you crying?”
“i don’t know, mom.” she really doesn’t.
a perturbed sigh. “go to sleep then. go and bathe, take your meds and go to sleep.”
she doesn’t want to bathe, she thinks if she eats another panadol she’ll overdose and she’s not tired howmanytimesmustsherepeatthat.“i don’t feel right.”
“that’s because you’re sick.”
“….you think the school counseller will let me talk about my troubles.”
“to talk about how sad you are that you’ll never marry your korean idols jimin and yoongi?”
“….yeah.” that’s not really it, but sure.
“don’t be stupid.”
“i don’t want to sleep.”
“seriously, i don’t get what you want, jean.” there’s a note of finality in that voice. it signals: this conversation is over.
she opens her mouth, and it’s weird, the words don’t spill over like her tears do. so that’s where all the dams were. in her mouth instead of her eyelashes. she tries to say i want you to explain to me why i’m feeling so sad and so done and so defeated and why it feels like nothing matters anymore.
but instead she says, to no one in particular, “i’m going to sleep.”
in the parliament, she’s the only leftist in a constituency of right wing conservatives.
it’s useless to argue anything, really.
so she has to help herself, right? (i mean…left.)
she googles “how do you know you’re depressed” and “are you depressed even when you feel happy sometimes” and “why am i sad” and “cute babies laughing” and “everything sucks” and “why do i feel high and then low” and then finally “why am i depressed for no reason at all”.
she prays to no god in particular: please don’t let me be depressed, not again.
but then she stumbles upon a video on youtube, and the voice says:
when i think of depression, i think of a foggy cloud, just that kind of dark, hazy, unclear thing which is…hard to understand. and that cloud kind of sits on your head and it kind of consumes you and makes you very unclear about alot of things in your life.
and it’s dead on.
here we go again.
a song, titled: left.
but it’s all she’s been listening to.
she can never get tired of its melody, memorised by heart every single intake of breath the singer takes in between words, and unabashedly puts it on repeat.
every time she listens to it, it’s like reliving that moment when she discovers the left-handed scissors and can finally smoothly cut through a piece of paper.
kind of like finding an oasis in a desert.
I’ve mended the wounds of the old times
Seeking refuge in an unfamiliar stream
Time rushes forward, breaking up you and I
Breaking up our pulses and heartbeats
Memories are left at a window
I’ve whitewashed the alley of the old roof
I’ve buried the mottled tears
After turning a corner, I lock the story up
Could you open up your hands
To let me die in your embrace
Holding your left hand
Tenderness is scattered in my hand
I once gave you too much
My heart was once broken
But after that it would always be bigger
Holding your tenderness
Wasted chances were scattered in my hand
I need the caressing of loneliness
The silence after a hundred flowers fall in the rainy season
Perhaps I would slowly forget how long it has been
she hates how inspiration strikes only when she’s in pain and broken.
but then again, light and colours spill in when there are cracks.
she’s left with only words (and bad puns) as comfort.
and you know what, it works.
(she’s really going to sleep now.)
钧 x x
j e a n x x