Addressing Ares and Constantine

My Symphonies: Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It by Stars 
Open by Rhye

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“You smile and the world goes away.” –  Cliff, The Woolgatherer 

For those of you who do not know (which I guess is pretty much everybody), I have two imaginary friends. Well, they aren’t exactly my friends, but they’re more like my alter egos. And in line of my being a Gemini, I’ve always treated these two as twins, mainly because they look very alike in my head anyway. One is basically the evil twin, and the other one is the cherub. And as I went through all those processes of self-search and self-creation, I found that I am in fact the sum of both characters. It is almost like I am both Ares (the abrasive, vindictive twin) and Constantine (the gentle, more open twin), and as I keep on reading the two of them, it’s starting to sound like I am talking to myself – my full self; my conscious self. We are looking at two very dissimilar beings here. One, the dreamer who has chosen to make love to his imagination and fantasy, in what is non-existent, because he has lost faith in reality, and the other, the realist who acts tough but also knows in his guts that he is lonely and is also in need of love—a real one. However, in all their differences comes this one thing I am sure is common about the two of them: they’ve both been hurt big time. It’s just that one grew miserable and desperate and the other grew cold and bitter. I find it very interesting, how these two characters within me throw sentiments of love and grief at each other but at the same time conceal what it is that they both seem to really want. It is undeniable, the dramatic amount of intellectual tension and emotional desire between them throughout this entire existence so far. And today, I have decided to actually talk to the twins in my head in a form of a letter.

First, for my old friend Ares…

Dear Ares,

I dream. I know it’s probably quite bizarre. Kenn has dreams? Yes, I can feel the skepticism from you right there. But seriously, I do have dreams. I have always dreamed of actually being in university (specifically Yale), getting a degree in Literature, getting a job as a junior editor for a Lifestyle magazine right after graduation while working on my first novel, and then working my way up the social ladder, finally achieving my secret dream of becoming a best-selling author. You know, the “right path”, as they say. But everything turned out very differently now. None of those things were even close to happening on the first place. And so I guess it’s safe to say that those “dreams” have drastically turned into fantasies—the hardcore ones—the ones I know deep in my guts I will never ever get the chance to experience in reality. However, this hasn’t stopped me from dreaming once and for all. No, I haven’t achieved any of those things in the “right path”, but I don’t blame anybody for that. It was a choice—my choice. And so I continue to dream every time I travel for long hours across the country. As the sun’s warm rays hit the train’s glass windows every morning, and as the fresh breeze of air brush through my hair and into every corner of the vehicle’s interior, and as flocks of birds grace the skies in all their free glory as they disappear from my point of view, I begin to fantasize about having the most romantic dinner date of my life—the one I’ve been dreaming of since I started admiring people, which was probably when I was nine or ten. See, I dream of an epic moment on a yacht on a warm Saturday afternoon, just as the sun begins to set. And I have organized everything for this perfect moment to actually turn out perfect. There is a dinner table set for two, an ice sculpture that says “Kenn+whatever the lucky guy’s name is”, an acoustic local band I hired to play songs by Angus Stone, Radiohead and Edwin McCain, and a cute little kitten that wears a locket that contains a picture of me and ‘the lucky guy’ around its neck. And the only dominant colors are white and red, except for my suit, which is black, and except for the kitten which is beach blond, and except for the guy who plays the harmonica, who wears a beige sort of vest and a blue tie, and except for the sun, whose orangeness has touched the ocean’s innocent shade of gray and dark blue, as its rays caress the still water, creating an illusion of glittering, shining bubbles and sparkles which, after a moment, begin to appear like countless of golden floating lanterns spread generously all over the massive body of water upon which the yacht floats. And then there’s this familiar sound: the sound of Calvin Klein leather shoes nearing, and then a blurry image of a guy in a red-and-white suit appears. And then I look away for a second and a half to see the sunset at its most colourful, and then I look at the image again and it is now clear: the boy I love, in his most beautiful, and me, in my most romantic. The two of us sit beside each other, looking into the sea, as dinner is being prepared and as the band serenades us. I sit right next to him, with my hand on his knee, as we fall in love all over again.

See? I dream. And I know that I told you before that I don’t believe in commitment? Well, that hasn’t changed. I just said I dream of that perfect date, with someone I love. And it can last longer or it can end the very second after the band played Creep by Radiohead. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that I love. And even if I lose, so what? It’s better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.

And now, for the loving Constantine – the less of the two evils…

Dear Constantine,

You’ve always been there. Even on those times when I built walls around my heart, you were there. You chose to sit against those brick walls and patiently wait for them to crumble. You’ve just always wanted to be free, to just get everything over with so you can dance in the air like you dreamed of. But dear, what does being free mean? What does it really mean? I live in a world where there are limits, boundaries, rules. How can I ever be free? No matter how hipster-ass I try to be, there will always be that stinging gut feeling that I haven’t done everything I wanted to do in life. That something is lacking. And then I realize: it’s love. It’s the factor that’s lacking in all of my freedom-filled life. I think that love is what will set me free. And I know that I’ve been quite skeptical about the notion of true love, but that’s only because I’ve been hurt too! I’ve had my heart broken just like everybody else. I just can’t believe he wouldn’t stop bitching about how he could bleed to death if he got cut. Hell, I’ve been cut and I’m still living. Because I still have hope that someday, somehow, someone out there will find me. And we will find each other. And the moment we do, we won’t lose each other ever again. And we don’t have to possess each other. We just have to love. Freely. The way that you love birds, and his sweaters, and the way we love the sunset, and the long drive along the coast, and the way we love the sky, and the ocean, and the breeze of fresh air. And we don’t even have to be together forever. Forever doesn’t exist. But this moment does. This very second. And that’s what matters. A reason to trust in love again.

Hugs, kisses and axe kicks to you both,
From your master

Twenty-one Love Letters

My Symphony: Dead End Kids by Joe Purdy

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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.

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