You see them everywhere. Couples. You see them in all the places. Just as they should be – holding hands, letting their fingers slip between each other’s fingers, toiling for affections, kisses: an assured testament they are mightily in love. Some are more reserved. Others flashy. Most are lost in the hypnotic gaze of their partners, indifferent to the moralized stare of people in public desperate to reform any display of intimacy in wide spaces. They fill cheap motels, private bedrooms; restaurants and parks; cinemas and shops; planes and trains; cars headed to dates; churches headed to their faiths.
It doesn’t strike me as odd to envy them. I’ve been on my own for years now. Mostly on my own. Too often, alone.
I’m alone in my commutes – a single man stuck in the disgusting travesty of a country’s forgotten physical infrastructure. I’m alone in my walks, from home to the office, office to home; alone when I make my way to the MRT; alone when waiting for an FX or a jeep to finally be home and not be alone. I am alone inside buses and trains, rarely in chatter with any man or woman, except on the exceptionally rare occasions I go out with friends. I am alone at lunch, methodically chewing my food, as I let the mind speak its volumes.
At work, I am still alone. Surrounded by the busied hum of professionals, our lives are not always entwined. I talk. I am always a chat away – and for the modernist, a tweet away. But not always close enough to mingle, say I belong, or actually belong. Conversations that can be relied on are nothing more than jokes, a dash of humour to diffuse the stiffness of work; a laugh to dispel rumours of tension and unbecoming.
I see them everywhere. I envy them, just a bit. I wonder how it would feel to have my hands slip into your hands when we’re walking, or have your arms and shoulders over and around me as we make our way to some fancy, swanky, pretentious dining establishment. We have a reservation for two. That’s what you’d say. You’d grin. A brag. A post-binge conversation as I drive you home.
Or maybe watch a movie together, and not be that lone guy stuck in between lesbian couples, teenage affairs, married lots, or man and mistress, man and man. Have someone carry the chips, popcorn and soda; have you to make snide comments over cheesy Hollywood romcoms; have you take the brunt of me gushing over James McAvoy.
I am not exactly alone. But waking up in the stillness of dawn, and losing myself in somnolence at night, I feel I am. Accompanying me, are strained dreams and strange reminders of your name, of your place. A few words exchanged over miles and miles of sea. Up against the ubiquity of the rest of the world’s expressed devotion.
It’s everywhere surrounding me, the heat of it
It lays so deep inside, I didn’t want you to
Wake the lion that we hushed to sleep
But it’s so tender that I don’t care where it’s leading me.
Last night, we got married in a taxi
I swear I love you, yes I love you like it’s not tomorrow