I want to be knocked out cold, fall into a deep coma, only to come back to life after 5 or 10 years. The thought was one I had since my school days. It kind of exhilarates me, thinking about the what-ifs that comes with the prospect of falling into a coma and more importantly, waking up to an unfamiliar world.
Imagine this. Ten years ago, the first iPhone came out, and it was a revolution. Ten years later, we can’t believe that that was just ten years ago. Mobile phone technology has exploded exponentially at the speed of sound, and that is just in ten years. That is just mobile phones. How about other things? Surely, a lot has changed. So, how does it feel to open your eyes to that change, without the graduality of living everyday life and seeing it for yourself? How does it feel to be thrown into the centre of, from the perspective of a comatose person for ten years, an abrupt change?
The confusion and thrill is what made me thought of it. And at the end of that thought, another came to mind.
I’d like to experience that. I’d like to be tossed into that turmoil of catching up with the world, of catching up with people, catching up with reality, of beating down the depression and confusion and build the determination to come out as a better man. I’d like to experience that and at the end of a long hard road, stand up tall with puffed out chest saying “I survived change! I survived loneliness!”
Yes. That is the essence of that thought. Loneliness.
This thought came back to me yesterday, after long buried in the crevices of my mind. Waiting for friends for a dinner get-together, I was walking aimlessly through the crowd in a shopping complex. The day before, I was also walking about in another shopping complex through another crowd, only that time there were three of us dudes. Perhaps walking in a similar setting two days in a row enhanced the difference of the two days. Perhaps it was the A Shape of Light album I was listening to that made me realize how lonesome it felt, walking alone in the midst of a crowd. The raw sound of piano keys and the grating of static resembling amateur recording resounded with the grating feeling I felt in my own heart. I felt hollow. I felt left out. In the midst of thousands, I was one without comrade, without kin. I was swallowed but left intact, not digested, like the fibre that we eat and defecate day to day. I was insignificant until I meet those friends, eat, talk, and laughed, and became insignificant again after I left them. But I wasn’t sad about that. I wasn’t depressed about feeling hollow, about feeling being left behind. No. Not at all.
And that kind of made me relieved and worried at the same time.
That made me remember a conversation I had with a bunch of friends a few weeks back. We were talking about eating alone in a restaurant and how it must’ve felt awkward to be seen like a nail stuck out of a board, eating alone. The other three were all saying how it must’ve taken a lot of guts to even do so, and how that would catch the attention of passers-by. I said it doesn’t and people won’t even realize or give a shit about you eating alone. Impossible! How do you know that? was the response I got. And when I told them that I know from experience, that I frequently eat alone in the middle of restaurants and cafes, even food-courts, they went silent. Pity swelled in their eyes, pity which I told them to keep to themselves as I do not feel the least pity for myself. Man’s gotta eat, man’s gotta get his grub. So the circumstances of how a man got his filling doesn’t matter. And the conversation ended then and there.
There is a connotation among the common populace that being alone is pitiful. That connotation was common to me once, but has become more and more estranged to my mind lately. Sure, the food doesn’t taste as good as when eating together with someone else, but other than that, nothing’s changed. The substance that enters the digestion tract is still the same whether you eat alone or with company. And as the days pass by, this loneliness that comes from being alone, especially in a crowd or in the middle of the city has somewhat charmed me, and I have became more and more mesmerized by the beauty that comes with the silence of loneliness. That grating sound and feeling in my heart has somehow transformed into a beauty that I can’t experience when around others. The sky seems further than how it used to be. Heck, I even realize there is a sky when I’m alone. Something I always forget when with others. And another epiphany of sorts came to mind after all these alone sessions.
I am finding loneliness beautiful. Precious, even.
And this is what scares me.
Also a few weeks ago, I was working my morning shift whit three gorgeous ladies, all whom are married, seniors at my workplace. One of the akaks ask me the big Q: When will you be getting married. To that, I answered, I don’t know. I honestly don’t. And it seems like there is nothing pushing me towards that, towards marriage. Those ladies frowned at my answer, and again, pity came in their tones. “It’s interesting. You should try it out” was what Nas said the other day, and I agree whole-heartedly. But as the days go by, I am more and more inclined to feeling that marriage isn’t a necessity. This thought scares me. Is it because I find beauty in loneliness that this idea crept into my mind? Perhaps.
But in truth, it is not the idea of dying old and not getting married that’s what scares me the most. In my mind, there is an understanding that marriage changes people for the better. Marriage is the converging of two very different, very individual lives. And to do so commands a lot of strength. To come out of it as a couple, a victory in the essence that one has become a better person, as one has overcome the challenges of toleration and selfishness. One becomes an improved person.
To me, the idea of conforming to the thought of marriage isn’t necessary is what scares me the most, because if I do conform to it, I am agreeing to the idea that I am content with the current unimproved me. I will fail to get over toleration and selfishness. I will never get the bonus stats of a married person (and the troubles that come with it). I will only finish life in normal mode, never getting a whiff of victory when playing hard mode. And I don’t want that.
But I am getting more and more accustomed to this lonely life. Even tonight, walking alone from the food-court opposite my apartment complex, with puddles of rain water the only sign left of a great downpour earlier this evening and Youkoso! Hitoribocchi blaring through my earphones, I still find my lonely state and the world overlooking it beautiful. I still find looking at neon lights from a lone pair of eyes without anyone to discuss with about those lights and their reflection in the puddles of water somewhat melancholically sweet. And with it, an unsettling feeling creeps into my heart. A warning blared in my mind. I cannot enjoy this more and fall into the comfort of being alone any more than I have. Reaching my apartment, a suggestion pops up to support that warning.
Perhaps it’s time for me to find a life partner.
11th December 2017
Youkoso! Hitoribocchi is a track from Welcome to the NHK’s OST, which literally translates into Welcome! Being Alone (or Loneliness)