“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.” – Oprah Winfrey
I’ve spent most of my life contemplating the credibility of coincidence. I never really believed that, left entirely to chance, things just fell together, because Everything is a consequence of Something. And ever since I moved back to this country, I’ve believed in it even less when I realized that Mary knew Jane and Harry dated Sally and Thelma was in the same beauty pageant as Louise, because anyone who lives in Kuala Lumpur knows that in a city as tiny as this one, all the social circles are bound to run in together on one another.
So when I spotted him walking by at Starbucks in Bangsar Telawi last April, and realized that he seemed somewhat familiar, I passed him off as just someone I may have seen around the night scenes. But when he walked past again in the opposite direction and actually deviated off his path to speak to me, I realized that we had gone to the same elementary school together, and had actually shared a classroom for a full year, although we never said more than two words to each other.
After that encounter, I thought that if there were ever to be a coincidence in my life, that may have been it. For who would have thought that I would run into someone I had only never known by name and sight and hadn’t seen or spoken to in thirteen years, at Starbucks, of all places, and actually have some smidgen of a memory of him? Who would have thought that, one year later, I would know him far better than I had ever thought or cared to know fourteen years ago?
As I sit and contemplate the last 365 days I have spent with this man, it amazes me how differently my life has turned out from what I thought it would be when I moved back here two years ago. It amazes me that I have actually spent 365 days getting used to allowing someone else in my life, adapting to his ways, his lifestyle, his world, and actually learning to be in a relationship all over again after spending two and a half years on my own (I say two and a half years because the aberrations that occurred during that period are not worth factoring into my life). Naturally, this can be likened, by my standards, to riding a unicycle: potentially fatal at first, and then slowly becoming just a little wobbly.
I once read somewhere that the first year of a relationship is spent getting to know each other, stumbling upon all their little flaws and idiosyncrasies, identifying and ironing out all the issues that are certain to abound as a result of old baggage or just individual neuroses, and then deciding if they would still like to continue being in each other’s presence. Over the past year, I’ve had to remember that my world doesn’t revolve around myself anymore because I had someone to take care of now, let go of the insecurities and bitterness that have plagued me for so many years, lower my defenses and open up to someone as fully as I dared, and bulldoze all the Julians, Mahs, Howards, Carls and Gregs of the world out of my system. I’ve come out of it a little shaken, a little high-strung, but knowing that as much trouble as I’ve had with my own issues, it can’t just be about me anymore, and I can’t take any part of this relationship for granted because it’s not always going to be there.
I’m sorry for all the troubles we’ve had, for all the fights — and oh, how we did fight — for all the little things I couldn’t let go of. Your patience may be waning, but I’m thankful for it nonetheless, and thankful that you’re still here after all the difficulty I’ve had in sorting out my issues to make things better, and in the end, make you happier. So now, as we move into our second year, I may say that what we have can’t (yet) be set in stone, but it doesn’t mean that I love you any less or any differently; it just means that I will be grateful for every new day that I can add to our first 365.
Happy 1 Year baby!
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June 10, 2010: This is, I’m assuming, his response, which I only found hidden away in my bag two days later: