Thursday, September 29, 2011

Strangers With Faces

Moving on isn't always easy. Vacuuming a lifetime of memories into two unequally sized bags, sleeping through an early morning flight, and settling into an apartment you now call home, isn't always as casual as movies make it out to be. There is no soundtrack playing in the background, no slow motion effect to emphasise the drama of it all, no last minute delays prompted by the knight in shining armour asking you to stay (not that you would anyway). It is what it is. And what it really is is a short abstract describing how ends justify the means.

Because then, you start meeting people. Beautiful, beautiful people. The black baby in the stroller, the blonde boy sleeping on his father's chest, the ginger haired man wearing a suit reading the daily newspaper. They come in all colours, forms, and sizes. And there are so many of them. Yet they all share one thing in common. They are strangers with faces. They don't know you. You don't know them. They smile and you smile back. They get on and you get off. And that's pretty much the end of the relationship.

Some, however, engage in small talk, which is perfect for someone who is not so keen on having very long conversations. But it's not enough. It never is. That sparkle in her eyes, that naive cuteness in his smile, the way in which she sits, he stands, or reads, they're not enough to define a person. They might be a good indication, but they're not enough. Because in the end, words are the ultimate key to the soul.

Indeed, when you do get around to having a decent sized conversation with one, or two, of them, the stranger with the face becomes an individual, a person, a man or a woman with a family, a history, a life. The stranger becomes your classmate, your flatmate, and eventually, maybe even your friend.

The stranger could very well become your knight in shining armour with an expensive hand watch accurately set to the Big Ben.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Clean Slates

The concept behind a clean slate is rather simple. For instance, the metamorphic rock doesn't necessarily have to be shiny and sparkling to start with. Some stains are permanent, and it doesn't really matter how many hours you spend on your knees, with a bucket of water by your side and a scrub brush in your hand, because in the end, even though you manage to visibly hide them, deep down you know they're still there. You know you're not fooling anybody, except maybe yourself. And that, truth be told, is not such a bad thing. It keeps you grounded. Maybe even hopeful.

When you're born, when you're still curious to the colourful halo singing lullabies that's surrounding your head, decisions are made for you. You are given a name, regardless of whether you like it or not. You are forced to suckle this white liquid, which you later learn is called milk, out of this weirdly shaped balloon, even though, if it were up to you, you would refuse to have anything to do with it. Simply put, you are imprisoned in a cute little body and you have no say in what happens to it whatsoever. The slate is tainted by people other than yourself.

But then, as you grow older, you assume full responsibility. The downfalls, the mistakes, the victories, they're all up to you. Every experience you have ever lived through, good or bad, has made you who you are. And yes, you can clean the slate and start fresh (or almost), but the stains are still going to be there, as a reminder of who you were and where you came from. So what you can do, instead of cleaning your old slate Cinderella style, is get a new one. The purchase is expensive and non-refundable, and it cannot be exchanged under any circumstances.

The newly purchased slate, however, is also pure and unstained.

Not to mention fake.