An attempt to make sense of things in a random universe, one Friday at a time.

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Location: Philippines

Leaving my footsteps for you to find and follow, my love.

20 September 2006


After years of being on OSX, I’ve finally activated my Mail App. I have never felt the need to use that app before, since I have always gone straight to my freemail server’s main site, but in the strange twists and turns that seem to govern human life, one afternoon I was suddenly and rather forcefuly propelled to activate my mail app, and, with a little help from a Macintosh users forum I frequent, in no time at all my Mail App was up and running, and I, fascinated, watched it while it was in the process of retrieving my entire inbox from my Gmail account.

Naturally, since my Gmail account is almost two years old, I have a massive inbox – almost three thousand messages stored – so it took time for the very first stored incoming mail to pop up in the Mail App inbox window. I was alternately glancing at the tiny spinning rainbow disc that kept reassuring me that my hard disk was working on the retrieval even if nothing seems to be happening on the screen, and checking my text messages on my two cellphones, while basking in the comfort of being completely in the present. Truly there’s nothing like technology to keep us in touch with current concerns

But when the first retrieved message finally showed up, I felt myself hurtled back to when I was a different person living in a different world. November 7, 2004, a man calling me darling, sending me an email from Liberia to confirm that he did get my new email address, and asking me why I abandoned my old email address. I might as well have been sucked back into the ancient sands of Egypt, long before paper had been invented, the emotion intensified by knowledge that this was the exact same man I broke up with a year later. Tentatively, I opened each email labelled with the name of this man who called me darling, and once again read the words I told him when I still loved him, words that now seem so alien to me, words I have written to a man who now felt so far away in both space and time. In my mind I was able to conjure faded visions of myself with this man in a past life, walking with him in malls, driving in cars, eating at restaurants, watching movies, laughing, arguing, but without sound, as if even the very senses of our past selves have also begun to slowly shut down.

When a relationship falls apart, what happens to the pieces? If you never pick them up, do they disintegrate into the earth? Do they stay there for a while until they are completely blown away by the elements? Or do they simply vanish as if they never existed? When love goes, where does it go? If memories are all that remains of people we once loved, what happens to the years lived with that person? It’s not as if the time spent could be kept inside an envelope like old letters, which one can take out and read in their entirety, with not a word missing or added. Memories are very tricky things, and they tend to vanish over time. Or maybe, with the pieces that fall to the ground at the severance of every loving promise, memories gradually disappear from our consciousness and turn into something else. Maybe it becomes ether, so that, unknown to us, all past loves are up there, somewhere above us, swirling in invisible systems that modern reason and technology keep trying to debunk but not quite being able to get rid of them completely. If so, then every new relationship is wrapped in vapors of the past, every present self exists toegther with its past. If so, then every new relationship is loaded with ancient spirits of loves that had taught us the lessons we keep forgetting and thus keep learning over and over and over again.


Blogger Sidney said...

Wonderful story! Beautifuly written.

8:15 PM  

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