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It’s raining. The symphony of thunder and rain suddenly reminded me of a hauntingly beautiful piece-Solace by Vanessa Mae. The heart-breaking violin notes echoed in my heart. An inescapable feeling of déjà vu reached me before I could think of anything else

I recalled the time when we ran in the rain even when we had one umbrella. We refused to use it only because that we did not want either one of us to get wet. We would rather get wet together or stay dry together. I remembered during rainy days, I loved searching for the dark purple umbrella you used, outstanding against the other usual umbrella colors. Then I would slow down my steps on purpose, just for the pure contentment of staring at your silhouette. I remembered the same sounds of raindrops hitting against the window panes as we studied together and as I laid my head on your shoulder, crying, searching for comfort.

I remembered what you’ve told me: about living at present, treasuring what you have got and never ever self-pity. You helped me through my hard times and did so much for me. There was more than laughing and joking together, but mutual understanding, things that lay deep inside us and in silence without a need of speech. I understood what real connection was. It is something more than being happy together, something that also meant empathizing for each other, and even at some point, bearing the same emotion, even if it is deep sorrow or pain.

Where are you now? I thought as I looked at the never-ending raindrops. Where did you go? I tried again and again to find you, all the phone calls, messages, letters, emails… Didn’t you promise me whatever it is; you’ll be willing to listen?

I remembered those days when I felt so numb and so painful as though some part of me is gone. I remembered those days when I would feel jealous, even hatred if I see close friends together. I remembered how I tried to put away everything that reminded me of you. I was afraid to remember because of the pain, but too afraid to forget because it was something too precious. Every piece of memory to me was to bitter-sweet. I remembered how we used to be once and how we are now, and I cried until I was sick of crying and even at some point, sick of myself. I questioned and tried to contact you, wanting us to be like back then, and when nothing was given in return, I hated you, for doing this and treating me like this. I wanted to hurt you brutally at some point, like how you tortured me. Then all the sweet memories would come back and I would force myself to stop hating you and stop contacting you because I knew that contacting you would bring you pain too. You would not want to remember, like I used to. Yet I insisted that I was not wrong. I was angry and could not comprehend things…

Things fade with time, even pain. Slowly I stopped crying, and went on with life. Slowly you’re gone from my dreams and I could sleep again. Slowly the memories didn’t burn my heart again, and it felt okay to go to old places where we used to go again. Slowly forgetting became a routine, and you face, your smell, your voice faded … one day I finally stopped escaping and could think freely about the past without feeling too much pain, and I looked back.

I remembered how I refused what you taught me secretly because of my own pride in some way. But now, looking back, I see that some of them do actually mean a lot. You had been pointing out my weaknesses and blind-spots. I had been selfish in a way, trying to force you into a view and perspective different from your own. I wanted to be loved and understood, that’s why you’ve been precious to me and I cared for you, but I held on you so tight that somehow it became a form of manipulation, but I did not admit it all along. Perhaps I was wrong in some way. Perhaps I had been treating you functionally…

There was regret. But I knew regret was useless. I could not contact her in any way. And I felt frustrated and dried up. I hated myself for dwelling on this incident again and again. I could not understand why, why give me this deep connection if it was to be taken away from me at some point? But the sadness had changed. No longer did I cry, but it was as though there was a bottomless hole or a black lake inside my heart, with so much water inside it that it might flood anytime. I kept it well controlled and restrained, showing nothing, acting as though I had healed but only I knew that something was still inside me, haunting me.

I wrote, drew and danced about what happened. For the first time I finally admitted thoroughly what I felt and thought. I slowly clarified my thoughts through those pieces of work and I reviewed myself again and again. Creating those works was painful, like peeling a layer of skin off, forcing me to be honest. I didn’t realize it all along, but I was changing. Then one day suddenly I realized I had changed so much. My works carried much more meaning than they used to and I viewed the world in a different perspective after what happened. Someone then asked me a question, “Do you thank her?” the question took me by surprise and I answered her, “Yes.”

Now I realized that the most precious thing she had taught me was not only those lessons she told me, or the pieces of work I have created, but what she let me experience and learn. I learnt about love, pain and healing. Because of this encounter, the world I see is no longer the same. No longer do I view things simply on the layer, but go deeper inside. I gained a deeper understanding of myself, and of how to treat others in a healthy and balanced way.

I still believe that love is something beautiful and miraculous. But now I know love is not something that can be calculated and sometimes, even cannot be explained. Only after different experiences in common will there is greater love. If the love between two people can only be maintained in good situations, it is too fragile and vulnerable, like a flower grown in a greenhouse, beautiful but not durable. Only through hardships will there be stronger love. Despite all that, there is still no guarantee that what given or sacrificed will be repaid. Love is somehow a leap of faith, for you might get wounded all over, but it doesn’t change the fact that love is still beautiful. This leap of faith is even a must, for there is no way that love could be escaped, unless you seal your heart, making it unable for anyone to approach or touch. But this seal of the heart does not make you free from pain. This heart will then be cold and indifferent. It brings you even more pain by imprisoning yourself.

Now I know that the way to heal is not from escaping, but by facing the past. It sounded so irony but I guess it is a kind of paradox. I tried so hard to heal by forgetting but actually forgetting is just a temporary way of sealing your heart. The pain is bound to come back sooner or later; even more painful and powerful because of how you have once neglected it. Healing is not about escaping the past, but learning to live with it and accept it, even embrace it. It sounded so crazy, embracing pains, but it is not impossible. Yes, it is hard and it hurts so much to face yourself and deal with something you don’t want to even acknowledge. Sometimes I wonder if it is just about how we view the past, we can view it as something painful, or something that helped us in growing and making us who we are now. Humans in nature are weak and can control nothing that happens to us. We can be vulnerable, easily broken. But if we choose to believe that these are all something destined and made just suitable for us to experience and grow, it would be something much easier to accept. These things build who we are… if there is a God; he must be very powerful and loving. I do not know where my strength of facing the past came from. Maybe purely because of the belief that things are bound to get better someday, but because of what? Maybe because I believed that someone or something was behind all these and had given me that strength. Maybe it was not in my hands but some other greater power behind me…

The rain is still pouring down. But now looking at the rain, I see more than the pain of memories. Rain may bring a dark and cloudy sky, taking away the bright daylight, but in rain, we also find solitude and are cleansed in a way. In rain, we are fragile and vulnerable; we cannot control when will the rain stop, or how much rainfall will there be. The only thing we can do is to accept the rain and find meaning in it. After rain, there is a clearer and brighter sky above a lovely world washed by the rain.





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