Bittersweet always reminds me of Naira, a girl back in school, because it was the most profound essence of the incredible essays she would write for English class. Our teacher would rave about them. She was quiet, bookish, introverted and a kindred spirit to me in Form 4 and in the science stream, and she was loud and gorgeous and boy crazy and very popular in the arts stream in Form 5.
I don’t know why I wrote that, except its that depth that she had under all her chasing after Lee, the one guy who wasn’t into her, not even a bit, and just about every other guy, that should be noted. I for one did see it. As an introvert who succeeded in graduating as an introvert, I did very much understand the appeal then of being all gorgeous and popular and boy crazy in highschool. It wouldn’t matter so much anymore anywhere else.
So bittersweet is a word that seems to describe me, my self, and my inside world right now, in a small way like it seemed to describe Naira, who would faint in school due to her migraine challenges and whose best friend tried to commit suicide and survived for an undetermined bit of time only to regret it in another country that Naira once lived in, and who Naira rushed to visit in hospital and listened to the tears of a dying person’s regret. That was her greatest essay, the one none of us will forget, the one about the moment her friend swallowed all the pills and watched, bemused, as the room slowly spun.
Right now, 17 year old Naira stands again before me, with that demand in her eyes asking to be counted as an adult, and I want to be quiet, silent and sad. The past comes and goes, and I no longer have the energy to insist on anything in my own ‘adult’ world now. I can only just leave things be and trust that everything will be okay in the end because I don’t have it in me to do anything else. This is a shield and I wish this bittersweet shield around me wouldn’t leave me, except I have to follow its precepts and principles otherwise it will go away. I wish there was a way to put this shield into my writing, to set the voice, the tone, the notes and the strings, instead of saying it directly, because as quiet and sad and silent that it is, its beautiful. Like Sorrow, and Wistfulness.
What happened is what happens and it doesn’t exactly become un-happened, not in our heads, not in our memories, not in friends from way back when, nor do things change just like that, but the sheild still slowly builds around me more every passing day. I feel sick these days, my head aches with it, the longing for something more than just these small little things that yell at me and my brain “you are too much and too little all the time now.” What dreams fade for people and what hopes go away, never to return, not in the same way they once came and once guided them to do incredible circumstances-defying things! How much one used to love and hate life’s bitter things with such passion and intensity!
How many distorted bitter tears Naira must have hidden from us in the very last days of school.
Does this all matter when you may not understand what I am trying to say, and I cannot be more clear than I already am being? Yes it does, because at least I do. And maybe Naira does. And that is more than enough.