Runs on food and music, will sing for chips and pasta.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Letter twenty-five - Day twenty-seven of your vacation

Dearest J,

I just realised today while I spent time in your room, that I am a widow.  I am your widow.

Bought wantan mee for your family after my pilates class today, like old time.  I went to see a doctor after dropping the breakfast off.  Throat is inflammed.  Went over to the Diligent Actors Workshop, thinking I was going to show up to tell them that I won't be joining the day's session because I was suppose to lie low and nurse the throat.

But I stayed the whole session to watch the rest at work.  Today's work were Yeats' Pugatory & Shakespeare's sonnets, and physical work for actors.

I went back to your place after that to get lunch and to hang out.  Your aunt from Penang, the one we went to visit after my Penang gig and brought home a box of scrap cloth for Mama one, I don't know her name.  Anyway, she is my inspiration today.  She is 70 and not living like one.  She is single (I think) and she is a picture of calmness, she still feeds the strays outside her house.

I napped in your room with the door open and drifted to a peace sleep listening to the chatter outside at the dining table, it was peaceful and serene.  Marina also came by for the afternoon.

Slept for about an hour and a half on your bed before I pulled myself up to join the lepak session at the dining table.  I finally reluctantly left at round 6 to go home to get ready for the night out at TP's musical...

The Singing Market musical is funny and the singing blew me away.  TP was so funny!  

Tomorrow's my first hat party outing with the girls and Peter!!

Tell you about it after the party :)

Love

B

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Letter twenty-four - Day twenty-seven of your vacation

Dearest J,

I did it, finally got down to register a company for myself.  It's now official, Souldoc Productions is a unit.  My first choice Soul Music has been taken.

Just got home from a late rehearsal with Christine for my first acoustic gig.  We kind of sorted out the 4 songs.  

My throat has gotten worse today.  I might need to see a doctor for some antibiotics.  I am getting all edgy over this.  It's late now and I just want to sign in to tell you about the registration.

And it's a project for me to be sleeping earlier everyday...

Going to clean up, freshen up and go to bed.

Looking forward to writing again tomorrow, it's something I look forward to doing everyday.

I miss you dearly.

Love,
B

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Letter twenty-three - Day twenty-five of your vacation

Dearest J,

It's a busy week.  I made an effort to go to bed earlier last night, it was still late, like 2am.  But it was a conscious effort, I am going to try to sleep early everyday.

I decided to hang around at the hotel yesterday after my sound check, instead of going home to wait till show time (10pm!).  I was packed into a room full of dancers, goody bags, performers (MJ impersonator Reizo!!!!), and very glam-up ladies of Bonita.  I had three long hours before my turn to perform after I was done with sound check and make up, and dinner.

A pic of Jordan Sam aka Reizo, aka the regional MJ impersonator.  And what a cool guy he was backstage.

So I watched people in the room, went thro my songs, and entertained Reizo and his group with opera singing.  I sang O mio babino caro for them.  I was thinking of you when I sang that song in the dressing room.  I shall try to do this more ok, entertain my fellow performers backstage with the opera culture.  I tried singing Una voce poco fa but couldn't remember the words.

This one specially for you, sexy ladies in naughty costume.  Catherine Chew (long haired) and her dancer were getting ready to perform the finale dance, Lady Marmalade.

Catherine was very sweet to me, she got a glass of warm water after watching me walked around rubbing my hands in the freezing cold dressing room (the wonder of centralized air-cond).

Now I wish I had taken more photos of the dancers.
This is what I wore to sing last night.  The theme last night was Oscar Night.  The secondhand gown I bought in Paris, Marais area, from a cool Vietnamese boy.

When I got home in the car I was suddenly blue, thinking of the empty sofa bed where you used to fall asleep, or watch TV, or play games while waiting for me to come home.  I stared into space at the window for a few minutes, and then snapped out of the blue.

All in all it was maybe about 8 minutes?  About 8 minutes of down time.  It was grand to have you...

I remember I used to tell you this -

How can I be poor with the wealth of you beside me?

I read the quote somewhere years ago.  I want to hold the wealth with me for good.  Though your body is gone.  I will live your soul in me.

I told Nell last night that I cannot pretend that I believe that a person who's passed on is STILL AROUND, because I know when a person passes on, the person is gone, forever.  You are no more, you are only here because I remember you and love you, and have tons of attachments.

Sometimes I wish I have hallucination so that maybe I can `see' you but I know better...

But am ok, I will have this wealth of you with me forever, in my memories, in me.

These letters are for me, to you.  It's the hole in the tree where one tells stories to...

Love you x 10000000000000000

B

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Letter twenty-two - Day twenty-four of your vacation

Dearest J,

I have been really, really naughty.  I have been sleeping very late in the night...doing what I do like last time (FB, emails, chats, YouTube, singing, blogs, trying on dresses...etc).  Except I would go to bed much earlier than now because you would call to me from the bed, to go to sleep.  Most of the time you didn't have to call because I would feel bad about it and cut my activities short.

...I think I've already told you this the other day in other letter.

So, ya, I woke up this morning feeling shitty about this lousy sleeping habit, and my throat felt funny. I have a dinner performance tonight (am singing Shirley Bassey, scary!!!!) and was feeling nervous about my throat.

Am ok now, swallowed a big spoon of Manuka honey, had a cup of nice hot herbal tea, two huge corn cobs.  Done a fresh load of laundry, packed my my gig bag and done some music work for the next gig.  Throat is feeling much better.

I should read some pages from the [The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behaviour] book you gave me.  I know too much computer is not what I need, I know doing house work pleases me....etc.  I know, I know, and I don't do what I know.

Going to get ready to go to my hair appointment now.  The event theme is Oscar Night, so am going to wear my hair high high and big, like Holly Golightly.  Had a late night trying on gowns for tonight's show,   realised now I need to alter some of the Oscar-like gowns I have, too long...

Finally I saw my prized item from Paris trip, this second hand mermaid sequin gown.  It's an Oscar gown all right!

Talk soon, big big hugs!

Love,

B

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dear lovers...

I just got home from a fun-filled rehearsal and a rockin' good time with two close friends.  Thank you "Justin of 26th-floor" for the rockin' 90s music, ok, maybe I won't call you Justin anymore, we know you prefer to be called Fai by close friends.

Anyway, am home and saw there are 5 comments left on my previous entry, now that's surprising.  Ya, anyway.

An advice from someone named Ben:

A bit too late now. Love the person like there is no tomorrow when they are alive. Not healthy holding on to memories indefinitely.


Ok, I did stop in my track almost everyday, to ask myself, will there ever be a point when I stop thinking, "Justin would have wanted...", "Justin would have said this..", "Justin would have preferred me to..."

... I stop myself almost every single time, and tell myself - Janet, he is gone, gone already.  He doesn't say anything now.  Everything I do now is just me. Yes, I know him SO WELL that of course, I would know what he would have said if he were here, about this, or that (mind you, most of the times he said "I don't know." - and I love him for that).  

So Ben, I do wonder about the holding on indefinitely.  People need to move on, and everyone around me knows, I have.  In a freakish speed, I did move on with my life - and for the period of the good time I have with my Justin.  I think I move on too freaking fast.

I went to a theatre rehearsal the evening after his afternoon funeral...the day of his funeral!  I walked into the theatre space feeling dazed, and brave, and determined...somehow.

The week after his accident I performed for a week, my gigs have resumed...everything is back on track.  I feel...I feel many things.  I can't begin to label these feelings.

Because we loved each other so so much and we knew each other so well, that I KNOW that this is what I should do, and yes, he WOULD have wanted me to do exactly what am doing, the past two three weeks - laughing out loud, eating, writing, going out, singing, singing, dancing, crying, talking, clowning around.  To live on.

So, what do I do to commemorate my romance?  I indulge in plenty of alone time here in my flat, to write, to go through his things, to clean, to cry, to smile at myself...

So, yes, it's too late to wish I sang more for him, in private.  On loving a person like there's no tomorrow - we have/had.

I used to tell him, "...don't you think it's crazy we say 'I love you' so much that it's not normal?"

We couldn't stop saying 'I love you' every time we saw each other, or when we chatted online, or on SMS.  It was out of the world, I felt.  As a couple who dislike romantic comedies, for we read mostly science non-fictions, who are not clingy, and fiercely independent, we were madly and diabolically, wickedly romantic.  We looked into each other's eyes a lot and got lost in each other, we shared great many lovers' secrets, just being close to each other was all that we needed for a perfect happiness.  We kept telling each other how happy we made each other, through our many strength and weaknesses.

I love picking up after him, his dirty socks...it made me happy to know that I wash his clothes.  I love knowing that he was playing games on his handphone on the toilet...and

He loved watching me change four times before I decide on a dress before going out.  Shaking his head and smiling.  He loved watching me talk too much.

We only ever hold back when we were in public, we were the macho couple in public's eye, we played down 'public-display-affection'.  In front of my parents we behaved.

We loved each other every moment like there was no tomorrow.

So when he first left, I thought to myself, my future is bleak, very bleak because of his departure, the void he's left in my life, the list went on.

Three weeks later, now, I see different things.

Everyday when I look into the space next to me in bed, or the empty toilet bowl, or the empty sofa bed, or his Gtalk offline status, or his things lying around our home, I `can't believe' he is not coming back anymore.

But I have peace in my heart.  I don't know how long this peace is here to stay, I can't tell how I will feel tomorrow, I can't tell many things.

But I know the rest of me now, it's filled with his love, his ideologies, his silliness, his calmness...and it's filled with singing, music...and hard work.  He worked hard for his family, for me, for his passion, for his food.

Thank you Ben for your advice, staying healthy is definitely on my to-do-list.

You can tell am surrounded by love, from the living people, Peter, Chels, Carrie, Sheahnee, TP and the list goes on.

Love,

Janet

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Letter twenty - Day twenty-three of your vacation

Dearest J,

Morning! Was at the CD shelf looking to pack a few mixed CDs for tonight's work and found a stack of old photos in my CD leaflets box.  And saw you in there.  This reminds me that just three shelves above I have two big shelves of old photos in prints, all the pre-digital memories.

And you will be in many many of those photos.  That delightful thought jumped at me.

Had a real nice dinner with Sushee & Nell on guess what, plain porridge with Mama's condiments.  The catch-up session had a zen-like feel.  Many stories were shared and all conclusions seem to be pointing at what we learned at the recent meditation retreat.  Breathe in deep and really, concentrate on our very present moment.  Knowing we cannot change the external, but we CAN always change ourselves - an idea, a thought, an opinion, a reaction, a response, an emotion, a judgement...etc.

And mind you, Nell reminded us, what we dislike in others, is a reflection of ourselves.

As I sat there overlooking the night fall and listening, talking to the girls, I was happy.  We gotta deserve to be happy, and I know that it is achievable even at this point in my life.  There are issues, and there will always be issues, bad ones, smelly ones, to be taken care one thing at a time.  You have taught me not to waste time worrying over things I have no control over, instead focus on things I have control over, like my behaviour, and myself.

There are problems, and there are more problems.  Problems, however, don't have to stand in the way for happiness.  Hmmm, I wonder if it's apt to take the example of a young child (ala Slum Dog Millionaire) standing in the midst of a monstrous slum with his friends playing games and he is just as happy as the millionaire sailing on his million-dollar yacht.

Yup, I think this will have to be my thought-model from now.  I will need this when I continue cleaning round the house, and going through more of your things.  There's still a basket of your things on the shelf next to the CD, the basket I gave you to hold your ear plugs, keys, and pills and what not.

Also, I need to go to bed earlier...I know now why I have been sleeping so late.  I always sleep earlier whenever you stayed over because I know you'd get annoyed if I go to bed too late so I would always cut whatever I was doing shorter (shorter is the key word, not short) so I would sleep earlier.  Or even when you weren't staying over, our late night chats (of you telling me to sleep soon or that you were going to sleep soon) were a prompt for me to turn in sooner.

Ok, going to have breakfast now.  It's going to be a full day.  In fact, everyday is going to be a full day.

I look forward to look through our old photos on those shelves soon and scan some in for your family.

I love you, because you deserve to be loved.

B

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Letter nineteen - Day twenty-two of your vacation

Dearest J,

Am in the study doing some music and paperwork.  It's REALLY VERY VERY windy now.  I could hear the wind, it's a medium volume, unfamiliar sound.  I have to place a Parker pen box on the window to keep it open, and open the curtain wide...to enjoy, or savour in the weather.

It's started to rain.  A lot of dust have been blown into the room, small small specks of things that's invisible.  The floor looks clean, but it's not.  The wind is getting louder so I have the window gap smaller so now am watching the cars move slowly on the back road and the rain falls quietly.  The wind is louder than the rain.

Just finished making my music files for two gigs.  Am singing for two beauty events, a jewelry company and a cosmetic company.  In between I have an acoustic performance at Actors Studio @ Lot 10.  Ian at KLPac asked me during Short & Sweet Dance if I like to sing for his next chapter of RE:Play in November.  I said yes :)  I will be singing four cover songs with Christine on the keys...I have to finalise on my songs today so I can start to work with Christine on the songs and arrangements.

When I am working on my songs for these events I feel very focused and, not think of you.  For the project next year, I will be looking at some of the songs you like.  I wish I have sung more for you in the past.

I had the rice dumpling for lunch, a plum for breakfast (your mom gave me some last night).  I am making dinner for Susheela, she is coming round to pick up a hat for a party.  Finally my vintage hats collection is making a use!  Am going to a hat party at a race this month end myself!  Finally, my first hat outing.

Ok, am going to get back to work.  Have a long to-do-list here.

Love always,

B

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Letter eighteen - Day twenty one of your vacation

Dearest J,

I cleared the coffee table in the hall, a few of your things I took from your waterproof pouch have been left there for twenty days.  I place your tobacco bag in the drawer next to the sofa, where your favourite lamp in the house stands, the Richard Lau's creation, Headlight.

Housework is therapeutic.  I cleared out all the flowers too.  There's a single stargazer lily in a bunch of dried out bouquet, still sprouting life and looking rosy.  I kept that lily in a glass of water, hoping to keep it company while it withers away soon.

Finally wiped down the dinning table that's littered with food goodies from friends.  There are tea bags, Happy Moods and Energy Fresh, in tea bags.  There's a can of Vegemite, a small bottle of Ribena, one can of soup left (I ate up the Potato & Leek, and Carrot & Pepper I shared with Nell), a bag of instant Miso soup, a packet of Belgian Chocolate Cookies, Danish butter cookies...

Then there's vegetarian rice dumplings in the freezer, gift from Chels from Penang.

Chels was amused when she came over last week, of how we placed food & books on the same shelf.  Not enough space in the kitchen, I told her.  A few commented how funny it was for them to enter our home and the object that greeted them was the basket of food stuff next to the main door before they see the book case and the rest of the hall.

I put up a placard photo on my FB page that says "This country needs more than a building right now.  It needs hope".  I got that photo off the reject mega tower FB campaign page. They are building a 100-storey tower on the ex-Pudu jail ground.

There's also a great many campaign clips on youtube these few days, in support for anti-gay-teen suicides, the It-Gets-Better project.  President Obama made a clip too.  My favourite so far is the Google's gay employees clip on this.  I hope more companies here can look to Google and model after their business culture, Google culture.

Am watching the Broadway cast of Chicago's clip of the Gets-Better project, I feel better...the music gets to your head and it lifts you.

Ok, am going to get back to cleaning and I should get out of here soon.  I have a cast party to attend and your Mama to visit after.

I think of you all the time.  I love you.

B

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Letter seventeen - Day twenty-one of your vacation

Dearest J,

Home from the wedding gig.  I listened to the speech tonight for a chance, and what a lovely lovely speech the groom read, to his wife.

The other day I thought to myself, would I be `happy' if the one who left this world was me instead of you.  I compared and concluded, certainly in this world more people needed you more than they need me.  So many people need you for your guidance & inspiration, your colleagues, your family, your bikers.  You had so many pending projects waiting  to take off.

I don't have.  I told you that am happy just to keep singing, I had no grand plan.  We aren't really known for our talent in planning...though we did plan to grow old together.

But then again, you had a lot more on your shoulder compare to me.  Your company needed you for its direction and your  leadership, and your charisma.

But then I thought, if you were to be left alone here...in our flat, what would you do without me?  You wouldn't know how to keep this place clean.  You wouldn't know where everything is, the place will get piled up by your papers and etc.  You will miss having to wait for me to change my dress a few times before we go out, you will miss my singing, miss being the guy who gets to go home with the singer...miss having someone there to stop the moron from cutting in your queue, miss calling me the `cakap banyak girl'...

Ok, I honestly don't know who will survive better.  There's no way to find out now.  I am the survivor, we didn't have a choice, it just happened.

It just breaks my heart to think if I left you behind you would be alone in this flat, mucking about, looking for your missing sock, or looking for your house keys...and not have anyone to tell about your silly biker friends and their episodes on the road, etc.

The TV & sofa are really lonely here.  I haven't watched the TV since you left...not once.  I just don't know how to.  I only watch Astro when you were around, you were always watching something interesting and I had to join you there on the sofa.  You were always waiting for me to come home on the sofa, watching TV, or falling asleep watching TV,  or playing games on your laptop while waiting for me.

I fell asleep on my desktop...not good.

I remember you don't like people who do mostly complain and nothing else.  I shall go to bed remembering all the good things that are left behind...it's a long list.  I will make the list in bed.

Hope to see you in my dreams sometimes.

Love you much...

B

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Letter sixteen - Day twenty of your vacation

Dearest J,

Can't believe it's day 20th.  The sun has came and dawned for twenty times since...

It's pouring outside, a really heavy pour, with lightning and all.  My face is made up for tonight's gig, a wedding dinner performance.

I rushed home from the acting workshop, it's called Diligent Actors Workshop, aptly.  The actors and teachers are very hard working people.  I have memorized a Desdemona's monologue (but I was corrected, Chris said it's not a monologue, it's `speech') since my Wednesday's session with them.  Shakespeare's text is like ice cream, creamy and full of flovour.  Though it was my first taste of reading Shakespeare, I am kinda hooked.

Today we read Yates, The Hawk's Well.  And did some vocal exercises, and guess what, sing-songing too!

I have to get going soon.  There's still things to pack before I head out to get my hair done...

Time to face the music again.

I miss you very much...nothing I do can begin to describe this feeling inside.

Time to sing.

Love,

B

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he said this...

Am keeping all my chats with J in a folder so I can slowly read them again, whatever is in this folder, will have to last me for as long as I need.

He's said so much, so much lovely things about me, it's incredible just to think about it. He's written the best testimony for me, for life.

This is something from a few months ago...


16:56 Justin: got something important to say
me: yes?
i say first
i love you
Justin: i usually get angry when you drive because i feel you're inconsiderate
Justin: but now i know you are not
16:57 you are not inconsiderate to me, so as opposed to me, who tries to be nice to everyone, even to a nobody, you try to be nice to the people who are close to you
correct or not? so maybe i won't get so upset anymore
16:59 me: i guess i duno which is better
but i love you ok
and i think to be able to be nice to everyone n to a nobody is a noble thing
just that i dun have enough compassion for being nice
Justin: its good to get to know you more, i like
me: am very touched wor
Justin: maybe you can focus more on me!!!!
17:02 hehehe I'm a flourescant lamp, you're a spotlight!
17:03 Justin: my headache is bad
me: i feel bad n sad
Justin: the last time this happened was when i fought with someone. lasted several weeks so i think this is stress related
me: that i cant go holiday with you, stuck with my `work'
Justin: somebody got to work to earn money mah
me: ...sad, i loosing a lot of income this month, like over 10k, of gig money
Justin: life is like a spring, oose some here, win some back later
17:05 Justin: so, for all the holidays that we missed, we'll make it up one day, ok!!! concentrated, kaw-kaw wan!
me: ok!
Justin: i think you're doing fine, workwise and money wise.


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Friday, October 22, 2010

Letter fifteen - Day nineteen of your vacation

Dearest J,

Miss you more as I count the days you have left us, which is every time I make my entry on this blog.

Had fun playing with Tristan last night, he seemed to be perpetually delighted with everything around him. I will learn up some children songs so I can sing to him more. So far he seem to enjoy having people sing to him.

Breakfast was delicious garlic spread on some very flavourful wheat bread your dad bought. Nell came to visit Mama and joined breakfast. We brought Mama to Zal's birthday lunch and then to Hearing Partners for her hearing check up.

Your dad bought new cat food for Hilary. I fed her on my car last night because the neighbourhood bully (don't know what to name him yet since you are not around to do that) was eating out of Hilary's bowl.

I stood there watching Hussein & Hilary ate last night, a tightness tugged at my heart. I wonder if they miss you, I know I won't be around as much as you did for them. But I promise whenever am around to feed them, I will love them as much as I can, like you did.

Am getting more calls the last few days, enquiries on my singing.

The year end is looking to get busy, hopefully it does get busier.

It felt good to feed our animals (and manja with Hilary), though at the moment it saddens me much. Looking at them remind me of how much we have in common, and what magic we used to make.

Am going to prep for a gig tomorrow. Tonight it's theatre outing at KLPac, watching Short & Sweet Theatre.

Love you,

B

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

thank you & shared wisdom

The last two and a half weeks have been a whirl wind of love and endless encouragement from so many people. So many showered me with their genuine care and love.

People, it does lessen the pain. Maybe I don't show it enough or say it enough, your support help a lot. I thank you. Justin also would feel warm the bones to know that many were touched by him and many care for us.

Thank you bloggers for your kind words on the blog -

And all my close tight family of friends, my sister, my parents, and His family showered so much care...you make me want to do better for his sake, my sake and your sake.

I like to share a few poems and sayings that were sent to me the last 18 days:

from Susheela

(native american verse)


Do not stand by my grave and weep,

For I am not there, I do not sleep.


I am the thousand winds that blow,

I am the diamond’s glint on the snow.

I am the sunlight on ripened grain,

I am the gentle autumn’s rain. I


n the soft hush of the morning light,

I am the swift bird in flight.


Do not stand by my grave and cry,

For I am not there,

I did not die.



from Hsien & Elvira..


"Some days there won't be a song in your heart. Sing anyway." - Emory Austin.



from Ann Tan..


"There is no despair so absolute as that which comes with the first moments of our first great sorrow, when we have not yet known what it is to have suffered and be healed, to have despaired and have recovered hope."
George Eliot



from TP...


This body is not me.
I am not limited by this body.
I am life without boundaries.
I have never been born,
and I have never died.
Look at the ocean and the sky filled with stars, manifestations from my wondrous true mind.

Since before time, I have been free.

Birth and death are only doors through which we pass, sacred thresholds on our journey.

Birth and death are a game of hide- and seek.

So laugh with me,
hold my hand,
let us say good-bye,

say good-bye, to meet again soon.

We meet today.
We will meet again tomorrow.

We will meet at the source every moment.

We meet each other in all forms of life.

~By Thich Nhat Hanh, Chanting and Recitations from Plum Village.



from Sandee...


"There is no security in life, only opportunity." ~Mark Twain.




from Chelsia...


"They that love beyond the world cannot be separated by it. Death cannot kill what never dies." -William Penn



from Karen...


People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person..
When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a
need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with
guidance and support,
to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They may seem like a godsend and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.
Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire
fulfilled, their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.



Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has
come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it, it is real. But only for a season.




LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons,
things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson,
love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other
relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.



Thank you for being a part of my life,
whether you were a reason, a season or a lifetime.



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Letter fourteen - Day eighteen of your vacation

Dearest J,

My last few letters seem to be an explosion of emotional outburst in words. It seems the busier I get, the more yearning for you come out to play. Everything leads to memory of you.

This morning I lied in bed thinking, the next time I send this sheets to wash, would it wipe out the last traces of you in our room? The smell of you on it was already fast disappearing in week one. The teeshirt you wore the night before is unwashed, it stays on the bed still, for my comfort.

I stared at the little stray hairs you left by the side of the bed, your side of the bed. They screamed to me, "I was here, baby." with a smile. But oh so forlorn, for these hairs won't come no more.

And cleaning is due for this place, again. I won't have to clear your mug and its water stain from your side table, or pick up your socks from the floor...

These demons come, they might never leave so soon. But please don't worry for me, I have plenty of meaningful distraction on consumption. I have enough of you in me to carry on, you have given me that much love in all the time we had, to fuel the journey ahead. This journey for one.

OK, that's really, really, enough emo ammo for the week. I better be up doing SOMETHING...

Am meeting a bride to be at lunch, going to propose some lovely songs for her wedding next month.

The washing up will come, your hairs will go, but I hope you will always be around, somewhere.

Love you x 100000000000000000000000000

B

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Letter thirteen - Day seventeen of your vacation

Dearest J,

Just found out that William Shakespeare and I have the same birth date. Somehow he passed away on the same date too. I bought a copy of Othello today, I doubt I will understand much of the text, however, I understand this excerpt of the text in the introduction - Emilia's monologue:

Let the husbands know
Their wives have sense like them: they see, and smell,
And have their palates both for sweet and sour,
As husbands have. What is it that they do,
When they change us for others? Is it sport?
I think it is. And doth affection breed it?
I think it doth. Is't frailty that thus errs?
Is it so too. And have not we affections,
Desires for sport, and frailty, as men have?
Then let them use us well; else let them know,
The ills we do, their ills instruct us so.

Spoke to my mom on the phone today, she said she misses you. She said she has pinned up your photo in the house so she can see you more.

Been singing your new song, am going to try to finish another draft of additional lyrics by this weekend.

My dance gig went well last night. This morning I banked in my first payment from dancing. It was a simple job but now I see that I have to be so much better in my technique to feel comfortable taking people's money for dancing.

But I believe I did well last night.

Going to a reading audition later, am glad to be out of my audition-phobic phase.

I was walking to my car yesterday and suddenly thought of what I used to do during my single days. I remember I did many things on my own, going to shows, walking around town alone, etc. Things weren't very different after I started seeing you, I still do many things alone. But we did many things together too. At that moment while I was walking to my car what hit me was a question..

Am I now in a place where I have to remember how to live as a single woman in this place?

I have never been a willing candidate to openly say that couple-hood is a better place than single-hood. We always know that we are just lucky to have found each other in this sea of people of different likes and outlook.

Over the years through reading and observation, I came to notice that (I've shared this with you before) married, or attached women do seem to have less emotional issues. I was a big advocate of `be-single-and-be-happy' before we started going out. Seeming and I then got interviewed by a magazine (2002) about being single and happy, the irony was by the time the magazine came out on the news stand, I was already seeing you and was deliriously happy about us.

The last few years I realised that I have built so much of my existence around you, maybe to some friends it didn't seem that way. I hardly drag you to all of my outings, I don't hang out with much with your friends. I do my travelling mostly with my friends, parties, work stuff, in my own circle. But my clients, friends, family, when I talk, they hear you through me. Justin says this, Justin says that...you are like, the invisible force behind me, the excited yapping gap talking away.

The last one year my friends saw more of you, since you started riding more, and since we moved into the new home. I know you enjoy their company and they enjoy much of your contented silence in the corner, occasionally brushing my ears to stop me from talking about you.

This is a painful & beautiful memory. I had you for a little less than a decade, you, who whole-heartedly wants and hopes the best for me; who believes in me, no matter how hard I fall on my face; you love whole-heartedly and deeply; you see the world in its true beauty and you focus only in the beauty of humankind, and yet is intelligent enough to walk away from its ugly manifestation; you are able to see what is important and what is trivial. You were the whole world for me.

Maybe I ought to have reserve some...? Some love for others?

You taught me how to be a better person, I learned to breathe when am angry. You taught me not to waste my energy and time on things that I am able to change. You said to focus my energy on things that I change, like how many hours I spend on practising my singing. You taught me to respect every object. You taught me to see the good in people, to see the funny side of a bad situation, to see the silver lining there. You told me to put my ego in the pocket and make peace. You taught me how to love, with passion and intelligence.

So, as painful as the beautiful memory is, I have to pick up the pieces and brave the single-hood, with pride, and love. I can only do this with your love.

Am running late again, this was meant to be...this wasn't meant to be such a long rambling. I enjoy talking to you, as always.

I love you.

B

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Letter twelve - Day Sixteen of your vacation

Dearest J,

I dreamed of you last night. First dream of you since you left.

Lying on a small flimsy bed, you seemed to have gone to the dentist and had a bloody cotton in your mouth. I looked up close, you weren't in pain, you had some food in your mouth...and looked like a bloody cotton. I sat there next to you and we talked like we were the only people in a room full of people, without a care.

I woke up eventually.

Peter sang the song Being Alive (Stephen Sondheim) last week at Rainbow Massacre. He dedicated the performance to us.

Shall dedicate my alive-ness to singing more meaningful music theatre songs, to reflect the meaning of our lives together.

One day at a time.

Now it's time to get up and get out to my dance class...and work those limps.

I rarely dreamed of you previously, I hope to see you in my dreams more.

Big hug.

Love,

B

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Letter eleven - Day sixteen of your vacation

Dearest J,

Had a packed day today. I have been quite busy the last one week. The buzz and the activities are great for occupying my time and mental focus. In fact, we have always been two very busy people living together.

We run our daily lives doing things as different as...very different. I have my rehearsals and you have your meetings. I have my performances and you have your presentations. I have my dance class and your have your running. I have my shopping and you have your riding.

And we have....had, each other, at the end of the day's buzz and fuss.

Well, now, at the end of my busy and excitement-filled days, I have myself. Just good old me now. I look at us, framed forever in a color photo sitting on my desk.

I find myself talking to you here, in place of our almost nightly intimate chats about everything under the sun. Your silly stories about what you did to your work shirt over lunch, and who did what over the weekend rides. That was the biggest reward for ourselves for being alive, to share our daily, weekly dreams, nightmares, stories, happiness, fear, worries, supper, TV remote control, the couch, our bed, the bathroom...our breathe, this space.

I have been going to bed in the wee hours. When my body meets the sheets it won't take long before am fast asleep, holding the bolster tight in my arms. I was never a bolster kind of girl but now I am.

Anyway, so, ya, today was one hell of a day. I had a dance rehearsal at home with Callie. We have a dancing gig tomorrow night, my FIRST paying dancing gig! Pray I don't stage fright tomorrow.

Then I went over to see Saidah, her house is exactly about 6 minutes from our place! Chelsia turned up about 2 minutes after me, with vegetarian rice dumplings from Penang! Saidah got us to work on the song, your song.

It was afternoon filled with lots of piano music, singing, composing and laughters and story-telling. I tell you, at the end of the session, I have a song, for you baby. It's your song, written by me, for you. Music by Saidah Rastam, aided by Chelsia... It was the quietest epic experience.
She played and I sang on top of her playing, whenever I heard a tune in my head. It wasn't easy but we had an incredible process all in all. The song took shape, I think it's a pretty good shape. Can't wait to complete the lyrics and start singing it.

I have so much to say but I think you would prefer that I go to bed now and tell you tomorrow, an sure of it.

The laundry will have to wait till morning.

Always, love,

B

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Letter ten - Day fifteen of your vacation

Dearest J,

Am a naughty girl again, up so late. Tonight I have a good reason for it, I drove Wilson (Peter's singing friend from Singapore) to the hospital for an emergency check-in with a doctor, he is losing his voice due to an infection. After which I dropped Peter home, just got back.

Breakfast at Justin's was great. His fiancee Christine listened to me sing a few songs, she said she would like to do a duet with me at their wedding next year.

At 2pm he managed to talk me into watching Glitz & Glamour at 3pm, today's matinee performance was bought by Beneton. Kin Meng told me he wrote a little note for you in his editorial page of VIVA magazine, here it is:

In closing, I wish to dedicate this issue to Justin, who now enjoys the best seat in the house at every performance by Janet. "The show must go on!" as they say...we will see you at the End of the show where all meet again. God bless.

The performance was great, Nell looked super hot in her costumes. The last scene of the concert performance had the leading songstress (Soo Suan) crying and singing to her dead lover (Verhyn), dead in her arms after a club fight.

That scene got to me, I teared up a little thinking of you...and me singing next to you. I can only imagine now it feels like to have you touching my face.

I rushed home after the show to get ready for a sound check at 6pm. I was invited to sing at my client, Angie's wedding. Despite the initial fear of singing at weddings again two weeks ago when you first left, I felt normal during the performance, I dived into the songs. In fact, singing has not been `normal' since Oct 3rd.

I remember I wouldn't and couldn't sing for a few days, my vocal chords went into a mourning mode. The night before your funeral I downloaded the backing track for A Thousand Miles and sang the song in front of the Apple. The next day I sang.

From then on till today, every time I sing a lyric, or carry a tune, something feels different inside and singing just became more heightened. A heightened experience.

Tonight at Angie's when I sang La vie en rose to the guests, it felt right. I am at home again when I sing.

I left after my set of three songs to watch what's left of Rainbow Massacre at Annexe. Shelah said a dedication to Benjamin McKay and to you, she called you the `man who loves his life'. Peter also dedicated his performance of the song Being Alive to us. It was a great closing performance and really, there is a great family in the alternative lifestyle and music circle.

Tomorrow will be another packed day, two rehearsals and one jamming/meeting.

Received a photo of you today, sent to me via FB, of you in late September. You looked so handsome and slim there. Am glad I have this photo...Thank you!!

My body is shutting down, I better slurp some Manuka honey and get ready to hit the sack.'

miss you much!

B



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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Letter nine - Day fourteen of your vacation

Dearest J,

Just found your Mr Noisy tee shirt, finally. I've been wearing your new batch of Levi's tee shirts., I thoroughly enjoy my new look in lots of white and baggy pants.

I realised that compare to many people (but we did hardly compare ourselves to others), we rarely have pictures taken of the two of us. The few photos I have of the two of us, I find, are mostly candid ones. And it's grand to see that none of them are posed and we looked amazingly happy.

Nobody likes regrets, I wish there are photos of you (maybe there are, I ought to ask around) during the last week. The night of Oct 2nd you came home from riding, you weighted yourself and you were few kilos away from your target, you were at your best record on Oct 2nd, 89kg. I remember people were so impressed with your new figure when they saw you at KLPac after my Short & Sweet Musical outing.

I have been telling people that you have lost a lot of weight two weeks ago...maybe I ought to know that it doesn't matter what people remember you as in the weight department. You always impress me with things that you were able to achieve when you put your mind to it. Turning vegetarian, quit smoking, running, be good at cornering, losing weight. I admire how you decide on something and have good reasons to do it.

I was eager to remind people that you were at your best record weight that week, I know now it's not important that people know this. People will remember you by the happiness you brought at dinner tables, appreciating food like we all should. They will remember you by great many things, far more important than what you were weighing.

Ok, I think half a page on your weight is way over the quota you will allow me to rumble on about You. You never like it when the light is on you, only when we are alone you like the attention.

My dance piece didn't get into the final last night. Consider where we started at, our group have grown leaps in terms of ensemble work standard and maybe some personal best. There are new friendships and am glad to have continued with the dance.

I've been asked (last night at KLPac) to perform at this acoustic cover night next month, am excited! I have to find a pianist to accompany me on the four cover songs for this, Cher Siang is travelling for a month from next week onwards. I think I will put Alfie the song on the list.

Ok, am late!! Justin from upstairs called 30 minutes ago, saying he is making me breakfast. I gotta send an email to a client before I go up. I foresee today to be productive.

I heard from Aileen in Melbourne that there's a GP race at Philip Island this weekend. Maybe one day she and I will visit. She is looking to maybe train there.

Miss you almost every waking moment.

Love,

B

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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Letter eight - Day thirteen of your vacation

Dearest J,

Just dropping to say Hi before I leave for my final night at Short & Sweet Dance festival, results for the finalists will be out tonight.

Love,

B

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Letter seven - Day twelve of your vacation

Dearest J,

Our bed is very comfortable for one, but am trying to get used to not having you next to me. Remember how you said our Mama blanket is too small for the both of us? It's too big for me now.

The weather in the morning has been great the last few days.

I miss vacuuming your fallen hair next to the bed and in the bathroom...now everything looks cleaner, and lonely. The sofa misses your weight, and floor misses your footprints, your leather chair misses its owner, the TV doesn't get switched anymore, your Crocs are gathering dust outside the door, your bike jacket slumps on the hanger, without a function anymore.

It's as if this space is mourning your absence. I shall console it with my love and care...

Had glorious breakfast at Imbi market this morning with the gang, the occasion was TP's sister visiting from Perth with her partner. We over-ordered and had lots of leftover, as you weren't there to help us finish the food, we left them there.

Ann SMS me after the show last night to tell me that I've grown into a very good dancer, though still need lots of improvement. She has seen where I first started - couldn't manage even the warm up routine, she's watching my progress and she's happy for me, and for you.

There's constant development with paperwork and decisions with regards to what you have left behind. Am on a constant shift between being practical and being sentimental, and so it shall be like this for the next few months I foresee.

Remember I wanted to take a vacation in October? Well, I think my next vacation one will indeed be a very much well-deserved one, whenever it may be.

I have to get a bite from the kitchen and try to rest up before I put on my make up for the third performance tonight.

Love you much,

B



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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Letter six - Day eleven of your vacation

Dearest J,

Your footprints are all over this city...

Peter and I went over today to your house to visit Mama. We brought her to Alexis at BSC, she remembers our last visit there, with my mom and you, and the table we sat at.

Went to your room to look for your Mr Noisy tee shirt, couldn't find it. Will look again when I clean up your room, soon.

Peter tried playing with Brandy but she seemed a bit moody and upset, I wonder if she notices your absence. I told Peter you hardly see Brandy but when you do get down to play with Brandy, you guys always have a great time playing...I will try to play with Brandy more ok?

Likewise with Hilary...she must misses you a lot. I hope your dad will manja with her once in a while.

I have a reading audition for a Shakespeare play next week, was feeling half-hearted about it as am having doubts about my ability to focus on the intense theatre training but Peter tells me to dive in and embrace the training.

And he tells me to take one day at a time.

Finished my make up for tonight, should head over to KLPac soon.

I think Mama enjoyed the short trip out with me and Peter. I bought her coffee and a Pavlova cake, and she liked the french fries that came with Peter's burger. She said she's been washing her hair with soap after she ran out of shampoo and didn't want to trouble your mom to go shopping for her. So we got her a bottle of organic brown rice shampoo from Guardian.

Nell bought me a bouquet for my dance opening last night, it's beautiful and it sits in a vase now in our hall.

I really should go now, parking at KLPac this week is a real bitch.

Miss you LOTS!

B

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Letter five - Day ten of your vacation

Dearest J,

Wherever you are, I hope you are well and enjoying the wind in your hair...hugs.

I have many many things in my head, pressing issues but nothing much to do on my part to chase an outcome.

I have a few important things on my to do list, you'd be happy to know that I have friends helping me along. Alex's been really helpful with official papers too, I guess you won't be too fond of handling these.

Tonight is my Short & Sweet Dance opening of week 2, we had a rather smooth full dress last night. I will keep on dancing ok?

Going forward there will need to be some lifestyle adjustment, in a way I look forward to seeing how well I will cope with these changes...I suppose you can say that I have lived a life free of hardships until now, a bump.

And I'm glad that I have your strength in me to see me through this.

I miss your face, your smile, your silly jokes and your smell. I will keep smiling ok? I remember how my smile always make you so happy...

love you x 10000000000000000000000

B

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Letter four - Day nine of your vacation

Dearest J,

Miss you like crazy this morning. Lying on our bed, I tried imagine having you there, smiling at me and groaning about being late for work.

I think, I will have two levels, or two degrees of mental compartment - one I will use for `being in the present' for activities like concentrating on driving, learning a song, working, talking to friends, paperwork, counting, pitching to a client, banking...

The other compartment is for my indulgence, to drown myself in the memory. I will learn to ration myself on the consumption of these precious memories of you. I been reading emails from you over and over...and very glad that google mail keeps a record of our chats. The last few years, in lieu of email exchange, we had great many meaningful chats online.

I will always remember you telling me how much you enjoyed just being next to me and talking to me, and listen to me talk.

My friends tell me that I don't have to conform to what people think mourning should be, etc. Your dad asked me yesterday if I have started working again, I told him I already have and I think I felt a tinge of regret.

But I have kind of made a vow, to myself, on the second day of your wake, to work even harder and sing more, more, more; to be busier, to dive into more projects.

I got it, transform the grieve and sadness into the fuel for driving ahead.

You know that I will miss having you around right next to me, or right there in the chat box to listen to my whines, my excitement, my stories, the episodes from my friends...etc. My constant need for your guidance and comforting words, and touch will have to, I don't know...take a back seat?

Just had a nice chat online and told someone that today, though I woke up with a heavy heart, the path seem clear again - if I can just focus on spreading goodness outward and working hard, hopefully there would be little space left in my heart for sadness and grieve.

As cheesy and not-like-me, maybe my mantra from now has to be - When you give and give and give much love, you will feel nothing but love inside. One won't feel lonely with all that work at hand to spread goodness.

Hang on, this should be easy, I can take the model off you! All we hear now about you is that - how much you care for the others, and how selfless you are....

I quote what Helene said about you, commenting on a blog entry:

he was just like that wasn't he? unkempt, and totally selfless, so concerned about everyone else but himself.

Look out, not in, there's so much work to be done out there, who has the time to mourn and dwell on one's loss and one's alone-ness.

I like to think that it's you who's giving me all these daily inspirations, even though I haven't had any `dream connection' with you since last week.

Look at me! Too much time on the net, I gotta run, having lunch with the sizzling ladies from dance class.
I love you, and all the wisdom you imparted to us...

B

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Letter from my biggest fan, 2002

Date: Mon, 11 Mar 2002 16:31:42 +0800
Subject: Re: FORUM Cast

Dearest Janet,

I really admire your courage. These auditions are against the odds. Even without doing the maths, you and I can tell. Anyway, I'm glad you're such a 'sport' about the whole thing - that's even more admirable. I believe you really enjoyed yourself lastnight - meeting with like minded people and friends during the audition.

In life, some things are more important than winning and I believe you have already fully understood it and that makes you who you are and why I admire your courage and your 'sportmanship'. All these makes me desire to want to further support you in your pursuit of your dreams, to be your good friend or just to play any role in helping you inch closer to your dreams.

I know last night's dissappointment won't stop you from going for more auditions - that my Janet Lee I got to know and love. Picking herself up and ready to face the world in no time. Alright, I should just end by saying you have a very big fan already - me (I know, I know - it's not much but there are lots of people out there without any fans!!! - stupid joke, huh?).

I think I can go at 5:30pm but I'd better call you just after 5:00pm and see. Me better get back to work - or can't leave early.

your beloved admirer and fan (and lover)
just.

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Letter three - Day eight of your vacation

Dearest J,

Just got home from technical rehearsal for my dance. It's lovely to have finished a theatre rehearsal walking out to find that it's still morning. We started on the dot at 10am and finished at 11am.

On the way up in the lift a security officer asked me carefully if he was allowed to ask me a question, I saw it coming. They heard about you being away, he called you the `big biker' and he referred you as my husband, my big biker husband. I like that.

People see you, the quiet and big shadow on the bike, not many words from you but people see you and they remember you.

The laundry is in the spinning tub. It's been a week, I have used up about four of your handkerchiefs. They are so useful, I am finally a hanky convert. I have always been disgusted with the amount of tissue paper I use.

I finally spoke to a bank loan officer today, this chap from Alliance is on leave today. I guessed the moment he answered the call on his mobile and I heard children in the background, maybe he is a family man. He was very nice and said he would call me tomorrow morning after he checks on your account.

Oh, Susheela is home from her UK holiday. The gang got me to Bentong last night for dinner after the dance rehearsal. I saw a few bikers going up the hill as I rode in Zal's car, they were like some fast alien creatures in the dark, dashing through the busy jungle of car lights.

Cher Siang introduced two songs to me yesterday, Evergreen and On A Clear Day. I have never read seriously into the lyrics of Evergreen and On A Clear Day, they are beautiful and moving.

So many have shared with me many meaningful poems in the past one week. I will put them up on the blog so we have a record of all these wisdom.

The flowers from Elizabeth & Denny in Singapore are blooming in the vase, maybe I should keep the flowers in the study where I sit more.

I think the laundry is done. I should move along now, I want to go through the songs for a gig next weekend.

More soon. Big hug...

Love,
B

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Stop all the clocks

First heard this poem in Four Weddings And A Funeral, what a classic...both the poem and the movie.

Enjoy...

W. H. Auden


Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

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being strong

Some people tell me that am being very strong.

In a way that maybe only I can taste it, what a cruel way to earn this compliment...

I hadn't plan to be strong or anything, am just doing what I know, and what I'm learning to go on. The clock ticks on, the earth spins on, dogs still bark, the cats keep breeding...the banks continue to bill you.

Am happy for him as he's left this messy world behind, thought it hurts like mad when I get reminded that he might have been scared, or was in pain before he lost it, and he was all alone there, even just for a few seconds.

But turning around now and face my desktop, this road remains ahead of me, of us. It is both windy and sunny, a change has come. Tomorrow onwards my to-do list will look different from before, I will need to grow up a little faster.

J and I been in love for just a little less than a decade. I finally looked it up (old emails) and confirmed that we've been in love since January of 2002. Just over eight years. I find myself hanging on to him even now, clinging hard inside, wanting that reality of my world.

Refusing to use past tense for a week now, when I refer to him.

But it's Monday tomorrow...the banks open tomorrow, like any ordinary Monday.

He was my reality, my planet, my sun, my inner strength, my teacher, and some of my friends know, he was my husband.

Now I have to peel all these from him, and slowly paste them back on myself, piece by piece. Now my reality, my planet, my sun, inner strength and my teacher...will have his name on them.

I didn't plan to be strong. I saw myself crying night and day, everywhere, anywhere, uncontrollably, canceling everything I do and plan to do.

But I didn't, I cried mostly only when am alone. I laugh and joke, I sing, I dance, I went back to work, I try to get organised. Am not sure how I manage that but that's it. Tomorrow I will call the bank to start the beginning of a potentially painful process of transferring liability.

I hope it will be a good mix of the `reality-bites' and continuance of soul-searching. I will hold his hand in my mind, I will hold it hard.

Not saying goodbye, my lover. Rest well tonight, sweetie.

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Letter two - Day seven of your vacation

Dearest J,

Alex just came over to the flat to collect your 1st wife, the beautiful Zephyr. He helped carried the grocery bag up to the flat so he had a look at our home for the first time.

...finally threw out the potato pasta I left for you two weeks ago, along with the leftover pasta from our Nero Vivo dinner.

I miss you much.

The party last night at your place was fantastic, so much good food. Mark's curry chicken was a hit. Jonathan made lamb dish, Uncle Kee Hoe cooked another curry dish (with milk, not coconut), your family bought home a huge bag of satay (150 sticks). There were apple & egg salad, cucuk udang (Mark's work again), egg tarts, green salads, etc.

I skipped the prayer with the group and hung out with Shazri, Jon's parents, and the girls.

Mama had a field day with the sale of her blankets!! Choo Kit nearly bought up all Mama's stock. Eng Eng also bought something from her.

We watched a little video put up by Mark, using photos taken by Brandon on Wednesday.

I showed Shazri your blog on your laptop, he sat there and read all your entries, laughing out loud sometimes at something clever you said. I like him, I think some of his ideals must be like yours. You must have been quite an influence for him.

I slept on your bed last night, I slept well there. Miss you lots.

Love

b

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