Dear One.

“Where did you come from bright star?
What heaven did you leap from dear love?
How can I spell your name without the sound of autumn underneath my tongue?
Without acknowledging the levers who bent me in half
Bless them for bringing me to you
How can I say your name without also breathing the words, “My God I found you”?
How can I ever speak again with this mouth when it has found where it belongs?
When you touch me, I’m a bed of callillys
I will make a house for you and fill it with evergreens
I will paint sunsets on every wall so you can only see beautiful things
How can I say love without wanting to fold myself into you like a thousand paper cranes?
Dear one,
I was halved the moment I was born
The other piece of me is inside your mouth
And I was found whole the moment you spoke.”
– Mary Lambert, “Dear One”

***

It all began at the start of the year. I promised myself that I would want to spend time to those close to me. Many are turning 18 this year, and to me it is a sacred ceremony often accompanied by a ritual which involves more than just cakes and gifts. To me, this ritual is a luscious broth stewed with the finest ingredients; a combination of efforts, contemplation, sincerity, laughter and love. At the start of the year, I promised myself to celebrate the birthdays of those around me.

My plan first began on 26th January and it has since been carried out in quick succession one after another throughout the year. And from all these celebrations, I realised two intriguing factors:

  1. Surprises are hard to create. I have spent hours and days thinking of what the person may like or dislike from the past experiences I have had with him or her, before proposing to those who might be interested in participating in the celebrations. It did dawn on me midway that the same tricks and tactics cannot be reused, not because of originality but because of a mere coincidence that I have a small social circle.
  2. Money is an issue. I fervently deny the seemingly unassailable notion, “Money cannot buy happiness”. Face it, we are living in the 21st century, which depicts a materialistic, fast-paced and self-centred world, and at several points in life we lust for materialistic comfort. Having said that, I do now see a need to address my stance. Money can buy happiness, and happiness comes in the form of experiences. From a virgin trip to the zoo, to a new set of boxers, to a special festive edition of Yankees Candles, to a new set of sports attire, and even a simple movie outing, all these need money. And I am just a college boy.

Then it came to me that it would perhaps be my turn. While I enjoy spending time rationalising why this particular choice of mine will make the other party’s day or simply put, surprise the other party, I thought I would have been immune to surprises. I call this the “having-spent-so-much-time-devising-tricks-and-somehow-over-think-and-getting-immune-to-surprises” theory. It also hit me that perhaps others might think that all the previous efforts placed to celebrate birthdays might be an overarching self-centered attempt to get them to celebrate mine. At this point, I was undoubtedly paranoid. I then began hiding all traces of my birth date on social media platforms, and hastily but cheerfully dismissing inquiries on my birthday.

So, I was more than surprised today when I got punk’d. In short, I initially devised a plan to celebrate a friend’s birthday early, which falls a day after mine, only to realise that it backfired (much thanks to a group of nefarious and devious tricksters) and ended up celebrating both. On the other hand, he had thought that he was there to celebrate my birthday, and ended up getting mind-fucked as well. I recall a hilarious sight, where everyone were singing the birthday song and the two of us were singing (literally) to each other. Nonetheless, cheers to free food!

It had fun! It was memorable. Thank you all who have remembered my birthday even though I was trying to hide it, and being there to celebrate it with me.

I love you.

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