Twenty-one Love Letters

My Symphony: Dead End Kids by Joe Purdy


I missed that last Voice class. You know, the one where you all sat in a circle and took some time to think of the great things about each other, and to say your brief yet meaningful thank you’s to the people you’ve been with through this journey. Sheila sent me an e-mail containing the S’s messages to me. I read them just now, and I can’t help but be in a state of bliss.

That we have gotten to know each other in a way nobody else has is what makes that one year so special. I know that this isn’t the end, but I also know that things will never be the same again after graduation. So this is it: A parade of gratitude to each of you.

“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride. I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close.”
– Pablo Neruda

Twenty-one Love Letters

Dear Travis,
Thank you for the poem, for every single smile. Somewhere along the momentary highs, lows, cynicism and introspection, you made me feel not alone.

Dear Simon,
Moments of rage, moments of bleakness, of chaos, pain and lethargy—that’s when I think of you and everything I feel just changes. Thank you for your generosity and your kindness, and for never failing to bring love into any room you walk into.

Dear Aaron,
Gone are the days of wondering if someone so pure and so warm-hearted exists out there. The knowledge that you’re right there, seeing the same stars I do at night, makes this world so much safer than when I first found it.

Dear Daniel,
I know you. No, I don’t mean you on your Friday nights, or the way you like your steak, or how you react to the sight of a snake. I do not know the specifics. But I know your energy, I know your passion, I know your genuine kindness, your goodness. And sometimes that’s all that matters.

Dear Arochi,
The wisdom, the laughter and the warm embraces will always be remembered. I’m glad you are the way you are. There’s no other way better than that.

Dear Emma,
Sometimes I see myself in you; how you are always on top of a precipice, letting the wind move you gently to and fro as the dark clouds delight in your inner pain. And then you smile.

Dear Yuji,
What you are had always been wonderful, but it wasn’t until I’ve discovered who you are that I saw something beautiful.

Dear Navshin,
You are an inspiration. I will forever be grateful that the universe has been formed and created. I know you will always be a part of it. We are one.

Dear Jesse,
You, sir, are a leader. Thank you for your dedication, your fearlessness and your undying hunger for what it is you want to achieve. You have brought to those sixteen months a kind of a showcase—an exhibition of guts and glory.

Dear Janine,
You are a walking book of compelling stories, a woman who can never be aware enough of her sparkle, her gift, her strength, and the tantalizing truth that she has to hold on to that fairytale dream—that one true love she truly deserves.

Dear Riley,
Thank you for those small talks that momentarily brought up jolts of clarity and misery. Getting to know you to a degree has given me an experience of life, love and everything in between. I know you will keep radiating.

Dear Toni,
I think I know the reason for my recurring dreams. I can never thank you enough for the nostalgia, the danger and the pain. You showed me what it’s like in the other side… how it is to soldier on… what it is to burn.

Dear Rodrigo,
Your free spirit never fails to fascinate me. Teach me how to see the world in Technicolor, to brave the days without remorse and perplexity. You are amazing.

Dear Richard,
I look at you and I see someone I can potentially fly kites with. Thank you for your generosity and honesty; for those times the whole of you was screaming, “Freedom!”

Dear Liam,
You saw me when I was invisible. There is this vitality in you which I hope will never wither. You are the rock upon which the bravest soldier stands. Throughout those twelve months, you have become multidimensional in my eyes.

Dear Travis,
That hug could’ve lasted a second longer, but I just had to break free from it so I could see the sensitive, loving gentleman that you are. You are worth it.

Dear Julia,
I can never thank you enough for being one of those flowers that bloom in adversity. You are someone I always wanted to meet in the visible world, and I finally did.

Dear Graeme,
The last time I looked into your eyes, I saw a little boy in pyjamas and a valiant man holding a gladius. You are a riveting ball of love, hope and dexterity. I cannot express enough the joy I found in getting to know even just a fraction of you.

Dear Mallory,
I do not know how someone can be so delicate and vigorous at the same time, and how in all of this fallen world’s woe and entropy she finds a quiet place of happiness. Your authenticity and compassion are undeniable.

Dear Audrey,
Maybe it was that pink shirt, or because I am nineteen. We somehow found our way down memory lane and laughed at what once felt like the end of the world for me. I found a big sister in you. You are a firework. I miss your light already.

Dear Carlos,
Anyone who has gotten to see you is so lucky. Since day one, I’ve seen in you a man who can thrive and not just survive. You are a friend, a brother, a student and a mentor. But most of all, you are ray of sun, giving warmth, lending light, keeping me company through this journey.

You are all special. Thank you for the rollercoaster ride. It has been the best one yet.


Seven Hundred Thirty-two Point Five

My Symphony: Little Wonders by Rob Thomas

Our lives are made in these small hours, these little wonders, these twists and turns of fate. Time falls away, but these small hours… these small hours still remain. And in the end, we will only just remember how it feels.

Yesterday, I was so carried away with the knowledge that it was my beloved mom’s birthday (March 23). We talked on the phone for roughly 30 minutes, and then I went to bed at quarter past midnight. I woke up to a new day, took a shower, ate my little brunch and just after I drank the very last drop of my apple grape juice, that’s when I realized that high school is already exactly 732.5 days ago.

March 24, 2010 (High School Class 2010 Graduation).  Two years ago, I never really thought that I would write about this one day. When I was in high school, all I ever wished for was to get out of high school. I couldn’t wait to put those four years, which I considered a heavenly hell-like ghetto paradise, behind me. But now that I am in a new country where no one really knows me at all, I begin to find out how much I love my high school days. It’s almost like the only certain thing that had happened in the past. High school is still fresh to my memory. All still appears clear to me: the hallways, the classrooms, the textbooks I used to carry with me to school, the names and faces of teachers, the canteen, the university football field (which happens to be my favorite place in the world), the subjects I really really hated (which I’m sure I’ll never get to encounter ever again in my life), the high school park (even if I never really spent a significant amount of my time there), the lobby, the tall, shady trees which made breathing through those four years a lot easier, the gymnasium, the amphitheatre, the lockers, the armchairs and the energy of each student in the department. But apart from that, what resounds to me the most is the fact that everytime I think about high school, I instantly get this weird, giddy notion that all of it feels like just yesterday. And it does. It does feel like 24 hours ago.

I can never really completely explain how much I feel right now. I’ve never really felt anything like this before. It’s that feeling that you’ve lived so much in the span of two years, but then you look back to the years before that and you notice that you’ve never lived like you’ve lived high school. Yes, high school was full of drama and superficiality. And I often doubted its purpose. I even reached the extent of cursing it. But I take all that back now. I was a kid, and I may have said and done things which didn’t really make sense then, but actually ended up defining who I am now. So yes, high school was a lot of work, but it was also definitely an array of subtle yet vigorous  life-defining moments that taught us lessons which are everlasting. And I don’t know if the rest of my batch mates feel this way, but I do. I do feel that those cliques, those social codes, those rainy days of cramming, those stern classes, cheesy puppy and first loves (which we all thought would last “forever”), those cute little notes we made, those little fights (which then seemed like World War 3), those academic and social competitions, those dry and dire hours of bearing with Drafting, Math, Physics and CAT, those flag ceremonies (which I usually skipped), those numerous mass services in the oratory (which I also skipped), those moments of staying in the campus past hours, the tiny bits of “suffering” and the overall tragicomedy were ALL worth it.

High school graduation is already two years ago. A year from now, I will remember this day as I type in “March 24, 2013…”


Here Goes the Wake-up Call (To the Graduates)

My Symphony:  This is the Last Time by Keane

For the past few days, I had been going through a lot of cycles of stress, anxiety, depression, remorse and even anger. I completely thought that the whole world is just against me. There were even times when I didn’t get any sleep at all just because of thinking about how I made the wrong choices and ended up in the wrong side of the bed. I just sort of wished that I could just stay in this city, study in the same school for college, be with the same people for the next four years of my life and live practically the same everything all over again. Simply put, I wished that High School wouldn’t end.

And I believe that I’m not the only one who feels this way. I mean, let’s face it. High School is quite cute. With all those rules, constant schedule and basically a cyclical life, being in it had been carefree, fun and definitely enjoyable. But the truth is that being in it is actually getting suffocating and even frighteningly shallow.

But accepting this fact isn’t that easy. We all have to go through emotional days, sleepless nights and overflowing buckets of tears.

Well, I admit I’m not yet over High School, and I’m absolutely not yet over with everything. But after reading an entry by a well-known author (an entry which I’m just about to present to you), I suddenly heard the wake-up call. And it was a bomb.

This goes to all of the graduates of 2010, especially to my batch and more especially, to my friends.

Closing Cycles by Paulo Coelho

One always has to know when a stage comes to an end. If we insist on staying longer than the necessary time, we lose the happiness and the meaning of the other stages we have to go through.

Closing cycles, shutting doors, ending chapters whatever name we give it, what matters is to leave in the past the moments of life that have finished. Did you lose your job? Has a loving relationship come to an end? Did you leave your parents’ house? Gone to live abroad? Has a long-lasting friendship ended all of sudden?

You can spend a long time wondering why this has happened. You can tell yourself you won’t take another step until you find out why certain things that were so important and so solid in your life have turned into dust, just like that. But such an attitude will be awfully stressing for everyone involved: your parents, your husband or wife, your friends, your children, your sister, everyone will be finishing chapters, turning over new leaves, getting on with life, and they will all feel bad seeing you at a standstill.

None of us can be in the present and the past at the same time, not even when we try to understand the things that happen to us. What has passed will not return: we cannot for ever be children, late adolescents, sons that feel guilt or rancor towards our parents, lovers who day and night relive an affair with someone who has gone away and has not the least intention of coming back.

Things pass, and the best we can do is to let them really go away. That is why it is so important (however painful it maybe!) to destroy souvenirs, move, give lots of things away to orphanages, sell or donate the books you have at home.

Everything in this visible world is a manifestation of the invisible world, of what is going on in our hearts and getting rid of certain memories also means taking some room for other memories to take their place. Let things go. Release them. Detach yourself from them. Nobody plays this life with marked cards, so sometimes we win and sometimes we lose.

Do not expect anything in return, do not expect your efforts to be appreciated, your genius to be discovered, your love to be understood. Stop turning on your emotional television to watch the same program over and over again, the one that shows how much you suffered from a certain loss: that is only poisoning you, nothing else.

Nothing is more dangerous than not accepting love relationships that are broken off, work that is promised but there is no starting date, decisions that are always put off waiting for the ideal moment. Before a new chapter is begun, the old one has to be finished: tell yourself that what has passed will never come back. Remember that there was a time when you could live without that thing or that person. Nothing is irreplaceable. A habit is not a need. This may sound so obvious, it may even be difficult, but it is very important.

Closing cycles. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because that no longer fits your life. Shut the door, change the record, clean the house, shake off the dust. Stop being who you were, and change into who you are.