My apartment faces west. Even it’s early April, there are afternoons when the room temperature rise to twenty-five degrees Celsius; but after the gorgeous sunset, it gets colder than an average winter day in Taiwan. Just like San Diego, where I used to wear flip flops to Woodstock’s right before they were about to close, and re-warm myself with some freshly tossed and baked.
Nevertheless, even here I have been, in Pacific Northwest, I had an unexpected visitor, M (or J, or Y, whichever she’d like to be called). It’s surely amazing somebody, fourteen, asked me if we’d still be in touch after getting into (or out of) college, while we’re now both in our thirties sitting across Santouka’s table, with our…hey, I am not sure if this is something I can say publicly on my blog.
It’s almost as thrilling as some day, home, I was entitled to play music through the smart speaker from my collection. And I went from Hikki’s with Apple-bachan (sorry, just can’t quit this), to Freya’s 這樣愛你好可怕, and — brace for it — 最愛的人傷我最深, a song released when even I was just a primary schooler. And I still remembered how to sing. With my alter-vōx.
And for all these, together with a slight dip into my ten megabytes worth of chat logs with M, I got zapped by my memory and decided to pick up My Sister’s Keper again. More than seven years later, now with all my expanded vocabulary and experience in the States and an actual marriage to someone with disability, I came to realize more.
And such realization isn’t anything but an epiphany. Not that I’d wish it to be anyway.
Another realization that struck me was, alas, my memory isn’t as good anymore. I even got confused why I didn’t see a line in the book, only to recognize it was only in the film.
Then I got reminded by my very self why I shouldn’t be reading fictions that involve everyday life more than establishing an archival; why I shouldn’t be running my fingers through my Filco on old chat logs and old received files; and why even though I could achieve greater if I were alone, I would still choose interdependence.
Because alone I’ve never been. I’ve always been lonely.
Yet, even with this dogma always in mind, I guess my primary school self would still be thrilled to know S and I keep in touch in our thirties; my junior high self would still be horrified to hear about my aliveness past my thirtieth birthday; my senior high self would still be perplexed to learn I still haven’t got the surgery by now; my undergrad self would still be agonized to bear the news that D and I would reunite in the last year of our twenties but also never meeting each other in person anymore; my San Diegan self would still be disappointed to discover F was still nowhere to be found (and she might as well already have fulfilled my junior high self’s wish).
If I am to drive from the southernmost point of I-5 to the northernmost one, it kinda terrifies me that I wouldn’t make digressions or any sort.
It’s not the car, it’s not the timeline, it’s not even me. It’s just I had been hoping when I head into the Beautiful British Columbia, everything would turn different.
And yet, San Diego was different. Irvine was. Los Angeles was. San Francisco was. Portland was. Seattle was. It’s me who’s remained, and will still remain, the same.