Wednesday, May 03, 2006

A Letter to God

Dear Father,

'Twas a fucked-up day today.

Some things happened during the Drama Preliminary Round at school, that just made me snap. I think it started when I decided to wait with Valerie for the event to be over, before going for our recess. The idea was to go with Denise and Suzanne, to go together. To my dismay, after my performance of Mira, I found out that Denise and Suzanne already had their fill. During my performance... and yet Denise wanted to hear it.

Fuck. So she asked me later if I could play for her. I said, very loudly, clearly, sarcastically, and whatnot, 'NO!' And then I walked off triumphantly, with Valerie and Li-Shia, to the canteen. Lo and behold, Mr Othman was there. He's asked for a meeting with the VEB committee tomorrow afternoon. After avoiding him for nearly three weeks, I've fallen into his clutches. Double fuck.

Well I'm not rescheduling my piano lesson tomorrow. Besides, how can we possibly meet the school admin, given the present state of the board? And Pn Vasantha isn't even around! We're already in such deep shit, and now we're tangled with the admin!

My mood was totally ruined, and I was unable to even congratulate the team enthusiastically (V.I. were champions, with the Methodist Girls' School in second place). Thing is, it wasn't their fault; not Denise's nor Suzanne's nor Mr Othman's. I didn't tell the girls I was waiting for them, and Mr Othman has been in the dark so much so that I actually pity him.

Vasantha's only coming back next week. So that means if I get screwed on Friday for not showing up at the meeting tomorrow, I get screwed alone. I'm not going to notify the committee. This is not the time for meetings. Period.

Then after school, Phak Hoe had a meeting with a few of us (namely, Kian Ti, Li-Shia, Chun Hong, Debbie, Ai Ling, Wai Loon, Tsu Wern, Ching Yeng, Li Ling and me) to discuss what we, the Sixth Formers, could do for the Teachers' Day celebration come end of this month. Basically Pn Norhana has requested that we put up some kind of performance, so he's also stuck with a job he hates.

There was talk of a multi-cultural dance, a skit, games between teachers and students, and even an interactive singing competition for the teachers. Out of malice and bitterness, I suggested a sketch with a subtle message: act out the staffroom gossip and bring to light all the backstabbing, rumours and name-calling that goes on in there. I also suggested a debate between the school admin and the best debaters of the V.I.

I mean, this whole fucking idea wasn't supposed to even come about! Over the last few days, I'd planned to write a poem for the teachers, not to be recited in public, but just as a tribute to them. And now here I am, disparaging them and thinking of evil things to do, like pour sugar into petrol tanks as Jon Hwa once suggested. I am, after all, the Simian Disciple.

When I got home, I poured out a bit of rum, and added some lemon juice. Stung like hell, but if alcohol's not for drowning sorrows, what is it for?

Yet I feel sorry for my student, Jean, for I was unable to teach as I should have. When I awoke from my nap, my stomach hurt quite badly. Some honey did wonders though, and I have this to say to Li-Shia:

"Say what you will about honey,
It still heals a hurting tummy."

Thankfully the stomach ache went away, and I managed to talk quite a bit about rhetorical questions (questions that require no answer) and questioning statements (non-questions that require answers). Owing to lack of strength, I just asked her to write an essay; the topic for the MUET exam, "Education today should focus on producing creative individuals." Was supposed to begin the topic on electricity.

Denise corrected me. It was Psalm 56 the other day, not 66. Indeed, as she said, the Spirit leads. Or as U2 might put it, the Spirit works in mysterious ways. But today, she told me to read Psalm 56, so I just did.

For the director of music. To the tune of "A Dove on Distant Oaks." Of David. A miktam . When the Philistines had seized him in Gath.

Be merciful to me, O God, for men hotly pursue me;
all day long they press their attack.
My slanderers pursue me all day long;
many are attacking me in their pride.

When I am afraid,
I will trust in you.

In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I will not be afraid.
What can mortal man do to me?

All day long they twist my words;
they are always plotting to harm me.

They conspire, they lurk,
they watch my steps,
eager to take my life.

On no account let them escape;
in your anger, O God, bring down the nations.

Record my lament;
list my tears on your scroll—
are they not in your record?

Then my enemies will turn back
when I call for help.
By this I will know that God is for me.

In God, whose word I praise,
in the LORD, whose word I praise-

in God I trust; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?

I am under vows to you, O God;
I will present my thank offerings to you.

For you have delivered me from death
and my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before God
in the light of life.

Father, if I do not trust in you, who else is there to trust? That is why this entry is addressed to you. My contention is with you, O Lord. What good is it for man to fight mere man? But Jacob and Job wrestled with God and were changed. Surely a dog which fights a dog can gain nothing. But the dog that survives a battle with a lion has quite a story to tell!

Ching Yeng SMS-ed me this quote by Cavett Robert: "Life is a grindstone, and whether it grinds you down or polishes you up is for you and you alone to decide." And Li-Shia also messaged; "Mistakes now deter us from making similar ones bearing greater consequences in the future. So you made a boo-boo. Learn from it. What's left? Looking for the best solution. You can."

Sometimes friends can be a bigger curse than blessing. How many fucking mistakes do I have to make this year? Can't I do anything right? Maybe I should just quit the board and live life on my own, for God's sake! (...OK, for your sake? Maybe not. What is Ben, that you are mindful of him?)

I know they mean well, and they only want to help and encourage. And no one is more thankful than I, to have such patient and longsuffering friends. But I don't know which is better: to make a decision, even if it's a drastic one... or not to decide at all, and just bear with life.

Yesterday, I memorised the Carpenters' 'Close to You' within half an hour. Just because Li-Shia inspired me. But then today, the song kept playing in my head... in the midst of my fucking depression. When a positive, happy song repeats itself in a tormented mind, it's pure mockery. That's why I hate Mozart so much; the fucking guy can't seem to put a little thought or emotion into his music. All that tomfoolery and frivolity and flippancy!

Thankfully, Elton John came to the rescue, with 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road':

When are you gonna come down
When are you going to land
I should have stayed on the farm
I should have listened to my old man

You know you can't hold me forever
I didn't sign up with you
I'm not a present for your friends to open
This boy's too young to be singing the blues

So goodbye yellow brick road
Where the dogs of society howl
You can't plant me in your penthouse
I'm going back to my plough
Back to the howling old owl in the woods
Hunting the horny back toad
Oh I've finally decided my future lies
Beyond the yellow brick road

What do you think you'll do then
I bet that'll shoot down your plane
It'll take you a couple of vodka and tonics
To set you on your feet again

Maybe you'll get a replacement
There's plenty like me to be found
Mongrels who ain't got a penny
Sniffing for tidbits like you on the ground

There's that song, 'Jesus Take the Wheel'... by Carrie Underwood, I think. But Lord, isn't the wheel in my hand? Isn't the choice of where to put the rubber, mine? This is your car, your land, your keys. Yet maybe I just need to say goodbye to the yellow brick road, promising as it may be, and go blaze a trail where no one would bother going, or even dare to.

I've hurt so many people, that I cannot bring myself to believe that I should stick to this path. 'Cause I'll certainly go on hurting more people if I continue here. It's a fucked-up decision, but I feel I've got to make it sooner or later. Is it worth all the brokenness and heartache and tears? And these not mine, but of my friends?

[Soo Tian sent me a few messages via MSN. I didn't even realise that until a moment ago. He's offline now. His nickname reads, "Gift of grace -- Easter: Peace be with you." How I wish I could experience this now. But thank you so much, Father, for giving Miss Shanti grace and peace today. She looks so much more cheerful now, and I can't help smiling because of that.]

Just before our team took to the stage, she asked me to say a prayer. So I recited the one you taught us:

Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses
Even as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever.

Yet of all the things I experienced today, one thing shook everything up, and stays so stubbornly within me: an SMS from Li-Shia.

At 6.18 p.m., during my class, I sent to her: "Stomach hurts like hell. Must be the alcohol I took just now. A shot of pure rum with lemon juice. Close to You is playing non stop in my head. Bloody irritating."

She called. We talked for awhile.

At 7.15, she replied: "Oh yes. My reply to your last SMS informing me of your pained and annoyed state would be this: ='("

I don't know what symbol that is. Probably a 'tearie' or a 'frownie'... definitely not a 'smiley.' It says so much.

God, if words are not enough, let tears speak for us. And let them speak for you, Father and Friend.



Sivin Kit said...

21-C Malaysian prayer or psalm of lament

silentsoliloquy said...

*grasps hand*