actuality.log


All entries tagged 'conversation'

Monday, November the 8th, 2010

Wave after wave of emotion have washed over me these past days. A Skype marathon with Stacey that began Thursday evening lasted well into Sunday night. The conversation was deep, raw and revealing, and resulted in a discrete jump in our closeness. Not all that was said was easy to swallow, but I’ve begun to see much deeper inside her. And it only confirms what I already knew and acted upon: I love the woman inside.

The conversations have also made me realise something about myself. For far too long, I’ve been confusing being isolated with not having social skill. In reality, I am a deeply sensitive and socially aware individual who’s fully capable of handling himself around people. Most importantly, I seem to have a gift for understanding people and being supportive of them. And this is giving me confidence to face life that I knew not I possessed.

Sunday, November the 7th, 2010

I talked to her for a long time. I explained to her that she caught me at a particularly low moment in my life when she called a couple of days ago, and apologised for not answering the phone then. I explained to her that things are a lot happier, and that whether I am happy or sad, I have people who care about me to communicate with what I am going through. I asked her for a lot of time to grow up, and to learn to recognise and appreciate when my life is good.

I don’t think she understood entirely, but I think she feels better about how I am doing.

Wednesday, June the 30th, 2010

These past few days have been quite chaotic. Shortly before I landed, my favourite grandma had a nasty fall and ended up breaking her hip in numerous places. She’s not in pain anymore, but the doctor that performed her reconstructive surgery yesterday said she’d take a few months to recover completely. In all this activity surrounding my grandma—trips to the hospital, handholding old relatives (and coddling their grand-children!) who keep popping up to visit her, sorting out food for some of the longer-term stays, disseminating information about her progress, …—I haven’t had much time really to talk to my parents about my life; about Stacey.

A couple of months ago, I was lost. There were voids in my life I knew not how to fill. The wide array of choices I had laid out before me for when my contract in Scandinavia completed made it quite obvious: I was OK with doing whatever, wherever, in my search for something more. All this began to change as I got closer to Stacey. After spending nearly every moment with her since I first met her, it became clear to me that I was happy right where I was with her. I liked my job and my friends and my home and my city (fucking cold and dark as it can be!). Unfortunately, this realisation came just a few weeks before my current contract expired, taking down with it my intimately-linked European work/residence permit. We tried quite valiantly the last ten days or so to sort something out in terms of employment, but my months of telling people I was leaving (to teach kids) and turning down offers to extend my stay was hard to undo. Not wanting to take any chances, I decided to book a ticket back to India, and sort out how to return from there. Since we were confident things would work out on that front, I left much of my stuff back in Oslo with my friends and Stacey suggested she’d join me, transforming this hasty trip into a month-long vacation in India.

She’ll be arriving soon. We’ll be leaving soon to find somewhere relaxing that’s neither too hot nor too wet in July.

I wanted to sit down and explain all this to my folks. Talk about how I feel toward her. Talk about my life, the choices I’ve made and the ones I’m still yet to. That they needn’t worry for me. That I’m still their responsible boy. That no matter how unsure I am about the future, I’m nearly thirty years old and I’m brave enough to do the things I want to. And happy for it.

But I can’t. They’ve been distracted by another phone-call requesting them back at the hospital.

Tuesday, April the 27th, 2010

“Do you like me as a girl?”

“What?” I muttered back in surprise to meet her tired, green eyes staring softly at me. As I continued to gawk mutely, she gracefully knelt beside me on the couch to elaborate on her question. “Well, it’s clear you really like me as a friend. Do you like me as a girl?”

Of course I did! Did she think I’d have invited her home so quickly after getting introduced, and stayed up all night talking about anything and everything if I didn’t?

I am not entirely sure how it all began.

A close friend of a close friend, it was inevitable that I’d stumble upon her at one gathering or another and we’d get to talking. I think it was the evening we’d all been out to the neighbouring comedy club. The comedienne was mediocre, and my mind had begun to wander. I was drawn to the softness of her eyes and the genuineness of her smile from the instant I noticed her. Her dirty blonde hair, parted and held in place with a cute, purple clip—much like a young girl would have worn it—was framing her face and exposing her expressive eyes behind her chic glasses. The way her nose crinkled every time she tried to adjust them without touching them was adorable!

Everything about her screamed a serenity and a positivity that fascinated me, and I soon braved myself to approach her. Before long, we’d retreated from the group to walk along the pier close by, so that we could focus just on each other.

I remember the smell of the cold ocean breeze hitting my face. I don’t recall anything I said, but I can’t forget how easy it was saying it. That’s been one of the most wonderful things about being with her. Her ability to let you know she genuinely cares about what you have to say: listening, empathising, sharing; without judging. The words escaping her moist, pink lips are ever cheerful, soothing and supportive. You know those people who’re born with innate abilities that make their career choices almost beyond question? I don’t think it will surprise anyone who talks to her for a few minutes to hear that she’s a psychologist.

Parting that evening felt incomplete, but I didn’t think she felt the same way. I was wrong. The next morning, I woke to an e-mail fondly reminiscing the things we’d shared, and sharing some more. How she’d felt challenged by me, and how that was a very good thing. It was clear we had so much more to say to each other, and we decided to meet again as soon as we could. After a few days apart, where annoying life responsibilities—like that lecture I needed to prepare for—got in the way, we found ourselves together at a park. No other friends this time to overwhelm me, just us.

What began at that park in the late afternoon transitioned to my humble abode around midnight. It was early in the morning when she asked me the question; her tired eyes beckoning me for a response.

I wanted to scream out the obvious answer: “Of course! Of course I really, really like you.” But I didn’t. My mind wasn’t prepared for the candidness of her question and it stalled, suddenly nervous, needing to think it through. After a brief, awkward pause, I composed myself and answered it in a strange manner. An honest answer, but still very strange. I don’t know where it all came from—all those probabilities and percentages and all that talk about not being able to open up so much to her if she were a boy instead. I went on an on, talking in circles for what seemed like an eternity until I finally felt I’d blown it and asked, “That wasn’t the right answer, was it?”

“There isn’t a right answer or a wrong one,” she tried to reassure me. “I wanted to know what was going through your mind, and I felt comfortable enough to just come out and ask you. I knew you’d be brave enough to give me a thoughtful answer.”

I’d told her earlier my pantry was bare, and she now suggested we leave to go find breakfast. Quite certain now that I’d blown it, I started to tremble; I spent minutes tying my laces which normally take me seconds. As I was kneeling on the floor fumbling with my shoes, I remarked, “I am not going to turn the question around on you. But I am going to ask you why you asked me.”

“Because I didn’t want to do something indecent,” she sighed softly as she stepped closer beside me. “Indecent? Whatever do you mean?” I egged her on, half-smiling now as I slowly rose. She met my smile with her own. “Like this,” she cooed as she raised herself on her tippy toes and kissed me.

Sunday, November the 15th, 2009

There’s a sweater which, whenever I wear it, never fails to get people fawning over me. It’s this chic, patterned item that works well on its own, but yesterday I had it on as part of a more formal ensemble that aimed for something of a “preppy British schoolboy” look.

The sweater struck again last night.

At a quarter-past-three, as the party was finally winding down, she was huddled close to me baring her every insecurity. She was too drunk to make her own way home, and I only wanted to watch over her to make sure she could safely hail a cab. But she had other plans.

Pressed up against me for support, here she was—one of the prettiest, most confident and capable people I’ve known—telling me how insignificant and uncertain of herself she felt. Her low-cut dress was doing little to hide her ample chest, but I hadn’t the urge to gawk. I held her supportively and listened to what she had to say, trying my best to calm her insecurities with my calm voice. Telling her how I honestly felt about her and her accomplishments; reminding her that she was still young, and had plenty of time ahead of her to explore anything she felt passionate about.

There were a few things about my behaviour last evening that leads me to believe I just might be growing up. First, the thought of taking advantage of her drunkenness didn’t cross my mind. Instead, I felt strangely protective of her. Second, I didn’t fall head over heels for her simply because of her closeness, slinky dress or soft scent. I was looking to be a supportive friend; truly wanting to reassure her that her self-doubts were unfounded, and make sure she got home safe. And finally, it was through reassuring her that I realised how secure I am about fundamental aspects of my self. I might not have figured out where in the world I will be next year, or what I will be doing with my life, but I have no underlying fears about how much I know or what my capabilities are. This awareness of self made me feel rather special, and allowed me to be calm and reassuring without thrusting any of my own neuroses to the fore.

The fact that I was able to serenely pull off all of this—with my actions not being motivated by anything ulterior—makes me feel so much more of an adult. An emotionally-mature adult capable of healthy, sincere relationships with the people I care about.

In other words, I’m beginning to think that maybe it wasn’t the sweater people were fawning over. Maybe it was me.

Wednesday, May the 6th, 2009

I don’t know what I did to cause it—I sure as hell don’t lift heavy things—but I seem to have thrown my back. It’s been hurting like hell ever since I woke up last morning, and I’m having a hard time moving around. Or sitting. Or even lying down.

This wouldn’t be so bad if I had nowhere to be, but I’ve had a lot of itty-bitty things to take care of lately—like spending much of last morning in queues at the neighbouring U.S. embassy. Actually, it really wasn’t all that bad, it took less than a couple of hours in total—my back just made it seem a lot longer.

I was there applying for a visa to enter the States. I plan on spending some time at M.I.T. next month and later attending a cousin’s wedding in Georgia (I think). I’m pleased to report that there weren’t any problems or unpleasantries with the visa proceedings, and my travel plans are still on.

While I am in life news mode, I’d also like to report that my mom will be here in a couple of weeks, She plans on spending a few weeks in my home before heading off to the U.S. (separately, we’ll rejoin after my M.I.T. stint) to partake in the festivities of the aforementioned wedding. I need to make my home a tad more habitable (like buying a few chairs!) before she gets here, and figure out fun things to show her, but that’s not the direction I want to take this tale.

I gingerly broached the subject of her needing to draw as much enjoyment from this wedding as she could—for she wasn’t going to experience any of it at her own son’s. I’m nearly certain I’m not having a wedding wedding even if I ever were to get married, and she should have her fill of festivities elsewhere. At this point, I was expecting a disappointed tone on the other end of the phone, or at least a solemn talking-to—but nothing. Instead, she nonchalantly goes, “Oh, but I’ve always known that. You’ve been hinting ever since you were four that you felt weddings were a waste of time and money. And I tend to agree with you.”

I don’t know why people don’t believe me when I tell them I’ve always felt jaded and old.

Thursday, March the 5th, 2009

In the midst of a heart-to-heart, Cecille’s mother broke down and sobbingly admitted to her that she’d aborted Cecille’s unborn baby sister when Cecille was still a young girl. Now a grown woman, Cecille responded in the only way she knew fit—offer her mother some solace and quietly grieve the loss of a sister she never had.

Meanwhile, her sombre and supportive fa├žade served to mask the only thought running through her head—I wish it were me instead.

Sunday, October the 21st, 2007

If you think I’m odd, then you haven’t met some of the people I hang out with on occasion. I happened to be in a curious conversation with one of the more colourful ones earlier today about the joys of cross-dressing. This is perhaps a tad out of the ordinary, but much of the comic entertainment we derived from the conversation had little to do with the topic at hand, but instead stemmed from how serious she believed I was.

As an offhand jab at my entirely unhealthy diet during my self-imposed writing lockdown, I’d remarked that I certainly had the “breasts for the job.” Emanating from my speech-impaired lips, she got to hear this as “dress for the job.”

And the fun ensued.

My foppishness now misguidedly established, we were soon knee deep in shades of mascara and how many kisses different brands of lipstick can outlast. Not to mention, best practices for hairless legs. And, I don’t really recall the specifics, but at some point I believe there was even some critiquing of a porno involving a transgendered couple—each person perfectly looking the part and playing the role traditionally assigned to the other sex.

She did seem kinda bummed when I clarified I really didn’t have a super-secret closet filled with ultra-chic feminine clothes.

Even so, good times were had by all.

Comments Off on Crisscross
Tuesday, August the 17th, 2004

Not so recent background: I was talking to my mom when I was back home about “marriage and stuff”. By which I mean I was mentioning classmates getting married and what not. That slowly led to a lot of “stuff” that’s not really pertinent to the discussion here. Anyhoo, that ended with her vehemently declaring 23 is too young to get married, and I sat through her rather long spiel. OK, so no one’s in any real hurry now, are they?

Recent background: A few days ago, I get an e-mail from her telling me my oldest friend is getting married. Now, this friend’s mom is one of my mom’s best friends. The kicker here is, my friend’s 23.

Hilarity ensues.

Excerpts from a conversation with her today:

I say:

now, regarding d’s marriage, what happened to the 23-is-too-young mindset now?

mom says:

i think the guy’s parents put a lot of pressure and even now these people don’t know how they were talked into it.

mom says:

engagement should take place this sunday.

I say:

that’s easily one of the dumbest excuses i’ve heard

I say:

anyway, just wanted to tell you that’s the real world. not 23-is-too-young

mom says:

ok.got it

mom says:

i guess when they thought about the whole thing,they had no reason for not proceeding

mom says:

apparently heard decent stuff about the boy and all that

I say:

except of course her education, career opportunities, time to try and do fun things, gather life experience etc.

mom says:

right

mom says:

things happen all the time wahgnube,and some decisions change.That cannot be helped

I say:

then you must not sound hell bent otherwise until 20 seconds prior

I say:

people need to learn to make up their minds and be consistent

mom says:

ok.

I say:

and further more, i remove your ‘they’re so young’ saying rights when i mention classmates of mine are / are getting married

mom says:

ok.

mom says:

i only meant as in boys and not girls

I say:

that’s even stupider sounding

I say:

because we’re less responsible, immature and incapable?

mom says:

not you,but most boys may not be capable of handling family responsibilities at 23-24

mom says:

thats all.But there are exceptions

I say:

that’s besides the point. you cannot have double standards. what sort of example, as a parent, are you setting for your son?

mom says:

generally it takes a boy in this part of the world around 26-27 to gethis footing in life

mom says:

no double standards wahgnube.

I say:

ergo it’s ok for a woman to get married whenever, but it isn’t for men. you encourage men to be doctors and woman to marry them? hah

I say:

i love the way i worded that

mom says:

then again,if i had a daughter i might have got her married at 23-24.who knows?

I say:

that’s going to be my catchphrase that owns all catchphrases for this sort of discussion with anyone, ever

mom says:

i can see that

mom says:

are you in a frame of mind to settling down in life(as in having a family etc)?

I say:

no, but that’s not the point is it?

mom says:

exactly the point.Different people are different

I say:

the point is you will somehow magically decide i am not ready even if i felt i was

I say:

but if i were a woman you’d say ok, fine

mom says:

i wil not.Even if i was given the slightest inkling of your need to settle down,i will be the first one to go with it

I say:

i am just having a blast because just two weeks prior you were telling me how young everyone is and now this happens

I say:

and you’re apparently totally ok with this, but not with anything else

I say:

point in all of this being, this is how the world seems to work.

mom says:

i get the picture

I say:

and it is surprising i’ve noticed some things regarding its functioning that other people miss

I say:

which is a very very rare occurrence i might add

mom says:

nobody attaches so much importance to each and every occurrence

I say:

i do, because this is a big deal, and this is so anti how you sounded a short while ago.

mom says:

hey,i am not anti-marriage

I say:

who said anti marriage? i said anti 23 year olds getting married

mom says:

right.i stand corrected

I say:

and i am patenting my “encourage men to be doctors and women to marry them” quote

I say:

it will go down in the annals of history as one of the most brilliantly articulate takes on what’s so blatantly obvious

mom says:

ok.time for a change of topic, now

I’m going to hell, aren’t I?


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