How do we understand and come to terms with our losses without blaming ourselves, others, or even fate?
On a new year’s eve, I joined my friends at a darts bar and later Irene’s apartment rooftop for countdown. As we were scouting around for seats, Irene came up and whispered in my ear, “I will need you guys a lot after Ryan leaves.” “Hmm…I didn’t tell you about our breakup yesterday?” She added when she noticed my flustered look. “Sure, but no, you didn’t. And he’s with us tonight,” I said. “Yes, we just came back from our getaway trip. But he’s catching his flight the day after tomorrow,” she explained. Ryan flew all the way across the Pacific on a vacation with his soon-to-be ex-girlfriend.
However, it was not the only oddity of the night. During photo time, I stood facing Irene and Ryan to take pictures of them holding hands and leaning against each other. I looked up and met Ryan’s eyes, but pretended like nothing happened. We held cups of whisky tea, and toasted against the backdrop of fireworks displays. The view, the cheers, and the sparkles lit up the city’s midnight sky.
To Irene and Ryan, it seemed reasonable and kind to end their relationship by spending time together one last time as it imprinted nostalgic and appreciative feelings on their minds. In common sense, though, it certainly did not make it easier for them to let go and move on. As the party came to an end, I walked restlessly out of the venue wondering if Irene and Ryan could make good use of their last get-together and hold on to their connection that had brought them together more than as acquaintances.
The memories I held dear with my loved ones made me believe in the worth of tending the initial connections which had evolved into all kinds of relationships. It was not until a friend opposed the idea in the name of respecting his unshakable will to “keep a distance” that I started to question my persistence in pursuing whatever was left that once bound us in life. Instead of compromising my principles of life, however, I learned to allow myself some cozy space to start forgetting, and as days pass by to stop remembering. If I could not choose to care less, why not choose to embrace the inevitable?
Feature Image: Vermeer, Johannes. (1664). Woman in Blue Reading a Letter.