There is a word in the Malay language that comes close to describing what I feel today; tonight; the past few days:


Some have translated it to mean uneasy; others describe it as despair. I think of it as an unvoiced, deeply felt worry. It’s true – some emotions and sentiments are lost in translation, limited in description by words that cannot encapsulate its essence. I can talk about this sadness, but I can’t talk about why I feel it. Out of respect, until now – even now – it isn’t my story to tell.

I am thinking of a ten year-old boy tonight and recalling when I was his age. I am thinking – if I grew up okay, surely he’ll be okay. But over and over, I keep thinking: history has a funny way of unfolding and repeating itself. Then I immediately, pathetically attempt to perform damage control; everyone will turn out okay, I think to myself again.

I think the anger will come next. I know it too well, my cold and blackened heart.

I am trying to remind myself that no matter how much we love someone – no one will love us in the same vein with the same capacity that we do towards them. I can love you with all of my heart and might, but I do not own you. Loving you does not give me permission to dictate and force on you how to live your life; this holds true with anyone tied by any relationship.

I am thinking of a ten year-old boy tonight and recalling when I was his age. I wonder what he thinks of before he goes to sleep at night. I wonder if he thought it was all fun and games until he realized, the wheels in his brain locking into place, that this puzzle is too complex a piece for a kid of ten. I wonder if he had a partner-in-crime when the truth dawned upon him. I wonder if he’s known all along, but pretended not to, citing that he’s only ten years young. I wonder if he tiptoed the way I used to, or held his hands to his ears like I used to, too. I wonder if he will forget, because I know that I haven’t.

These thoughts, they break me a little. I lied. A lot. I lied again.

How could I have forgotten; I’m already broken.


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