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The third book I wrote for you

Hey, this book is for you. Surprised?

This is the third book I’ve written for you for your birthday for the third year we’ve known each other.

When I told myself I wanted to write books and start a popular series like Harry Potter, I never expect to one day create so many books just for you. The first two books were one of their kind, because no one else has them and they were written specifically for you in mind and meant only for your eyes. The books are a condensed collection of our best and happiest moments together each year. I wonder if you take them out and flip through once in a while.

This third book is the same — filled with memories of this year… Of the things that mean a lot to us…

Remember how you’d sleep over at my place and how you’d tell me you can’t sleep and you want a bedtime story? And how I’d be drowsy and half-asleep, but I would still wake up and tell you a story from my imagination?

I always envision these books would be placed by your bed, so whenever you can’t sleep, they would be your bedtime stories when I’m not sleeping beside you that night. And my dream is that I would give you a book every year as part of our tradition, so that one day you can fill a bookshelf with them.

I never took pictures of the books I made for you, but I’ve always taken immense pride in them, because I spend a lot of effort and time on making them beautiful and tailoring them to a theme for that year. Not sure if you noticed it actually… Well, at least I think they are exquisitely designed, since no one else has ever seen them and you’ve never said they look great! Hahaha!

The books are my way of saying how much I love you and how important you are to me. But it has been difficult passing the third book to you since you’ve always preferred to either reject me or cancel on me at the last minute (even though we had arranged to meet beforehand) or have plans already or be working. I don’t know why. Maybe this book is meant to stay in its bag forever. Maybe it’s ok for you that we haven’t seen each other for almost two months now. Maybe I just care too much.

Goodnight, my love. I hope you’re happy wherever you are.

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Sunday secret

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So Sundays are usually the day where PostSecret posts its weekly list of homemade postcards on which people from all over the world would write and mail in their secrets anonymously.

Today is a Sunday and I too have a secret of my own.

Twenty-six days ago, 16 August 2011, I made a postcard for someone. It was meant to be a birthday surprise. I didn’t know if it would even be picked or if it qualifies as a secret for the website but I thought if it got published, it would make her day because she is a regular reader of PostSecret. Then again, she might not have known it was for her!

Anyway I went to print out a picture that had significance to us, created a tv set out of a cardboard, and wrote a cheesy message (which I shall not reveal here) at the back of the postcard to Frank.

The next morning, I was the first person outside the post office waiting for the staff to open its shutters.

When I got to the counter, I realised I had to send the mail by express courier if I want the letter to arrive by 21 August. I handed over $40 willingly, because getting the postcard to PostSecret before that Sunday had meant a lot to me.

Once the envelope was stamped and ready to be delivered, I half-ran and half-skipped out of the post office breathlessly. By the time I reached the bus stop, my heart was beating really fast, my face was flushed red and yet, I was grinning.

I was smiling the whole time I sat in the bus, so excited I was to have done something I have never done for anyone before. I even emailed to PostSecret about how I had felt – doing something that no one knew. The future was filled with unlimited possibilities.

And every day, I’d check the delivery schedule, wondering, wishing and hoping if the postcard will make it on time.

Then Sunday came around. I woke up excitedly, holding my breath as I waited for the webpage to load. I scrolled all the way down and the postcard was not among them. Unfortunately, Hurricane Irene had other plans.

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In the same week, many cities that laid in the path of Irene lost their power, electricity, and were in a pitch-black state. The package was delayed. No one was around to sign for it when it was delivered. When it was finally collected, it was two days past Sunday.

So I waited. Another Sunday came around. And another Sunday. Today marks the fourth Sunday. I just checked PostSecret and I think the postcard might have missed the cut. It must have been too bold, too romantic and too open a display of love to be counted as a secret. Ha! If I were you, I’d fall in love with me.

So here it is, here is my secret on Sunday, on a date where it has so much significance around the world but none more so than here.

“Tonight the sky will blaze
with stars. Today, my love,
rooms bloom with flowers.”
– Clare Shaw

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Back for good

I have no idea why this line “Got a boxful of emotions, got a head of shattered dreams…” from Take That’s “Back for Good” song keeps popping into my head the past week.

Yes, I realise it’s “fistful”, not “boxful” when I checked the lyrics. Still, I can’t stop humming it. Bite me.

Once we were at a museum exhibition which featured Tang dynasty crockery and antiques salvaged from centuries old shipwreck. There was this particular display that had a vase that was as tall as a human being. As we stood in front of it, she turned to ask me something about the vase in an innocent manner. I forgot what she had asked but when I turned to her and was about to answer her, she burst out laughing maniacally.

“You’re such a kind person. You have this patient look and you were about to explain it patiently to me, right? Even though I asked a very stupid, very duh question, you were still going to explain it to me. You’re so kind.”

I might have blushed a little. “I really thought you didn’t know.”

“I knew the answer! I was just acting dumb/bimbo! And you cannot tell! Most people would have rolled their eyes and not be as kind as you. You really have a very kind heart.”

But I could sense she was very impressed with how I had reacted to her as we walked to the next exhibit.

Maybe I am really kind. I would have never described myself as kind until I met her. In that case, I’m also a romantic at heart. And I like planning surprises (even though they may not turn out as expected).

Two and a half months ago, I started planning for a birthday celebration that was to happen last weekend. I wrote down a list of items that I was supposed to get/buy/make and some fun activities we can indulge in and some fancy restaurants we can wine and dine at.

And every day if I had no overtime to finish up or no classes to attend after work, I’d go scour around the shops to see if I can purchase the items on my list or add new stuff. I’d research on the web for the right measurements and to see how something(s) can be made properly. I’d set aside at least one hour every night, no matter how tired I am, and devote my whole weekends to start work on the planned items.

Some gifts required more time spent because they consist of different components put together. So sometimes I’d skip lunch to travel to specialised shops to have the item customised. I was happy to have been putting so much effort because I kept thinking about the joy I’d see on her face.

I kept scrolling my list over and over again because I was afraid to miss out on getting something. Sometimes I would add new details or things on to my list whenever I thought of another possible item to get. I wanted everything to be as perfect as possible, you see.

Then two weeks closer to the big day, I increased my efforts. Item by item started going into the box. I kept visualising how her face would lit up when she open the box and that spurred me on. I slept minimally, I kept little contact with the outside world so focused I was on the project.

Then one night just a few days before the big day, the conversation happened.

I realised I needed to give myself some very much needed pride back. The whole time I was so focused on someone else that I forgot to love, care, respect and trust myself. Yes, I had forgotten how to put myself first.

For the past two months, I had cried my eyes out every night (that’s probably another reason why I had minimal sleep), I had felt my heart broke over and over again like it will never mend back and I couldn’t talk to anyone about it. There was so much pain inside I became numb and distant from everything. It was a terrible time to be me.

Until that night.

I always thought the best way to love someone was giving them as much love and care as possible and to treat her as best as I can. And then when something went wrong, I always thought maybe if I had done better, tried harder, needed lesser, been more accepting, everything would still be fine and we’d be alright.

I was wrong. How much longer can I hold onto the “boiling pot” with my bare hands?

At some point, I have to let go. I have to accept that I would have never been able to make someone happy no matter how hard I try or no matter what I do if I am not what she wants.

I feel like that guy in the movie “The Notebook” where he and the love of his life were forced apart by family pressure and social differences. So he restores an old house into their dream home, believing that she would one day find her way back to him, after all they have been each other’s best friend and lover.

There was a scene where they were standing in the rain and he said to her: “You can’t live your life for other people. You’ve got to do what’s right for you, even if it hurts some people you love.”

As they were crying, he told her: “I am not telling you it is going to be easy, I am telling you it’s going to be worth it.” (Ok, this may be a shorter version of what he said to her.)

Maybe that’s why being apart has hurt so much because our souls are connected. But what do I know? I am just a simple, kind-hearted person who is in love with a girl and who just wants to treat her well.

I guess no matter what happens to us in the future, the happy days we spent together were some of the best times of my life.

So yes, there is a boxful of gifts sitting in my room. And I guess… now it’s time.

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Macaroni on bread day

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I saved this pic from PostSecret probably somewhere around last September.

It was after our lovey “alphabet macaroni on bread” breakfast in bed day. She also gave me a packet of “sheep’s droppings”, a souvenir which she bought from her New Zealand trip that month. I took plenty of pictures of the “droppings” that day because it was cute but she said I couldn’t keep it so I had to finish it before it expired. She was updating our “This is not a book” book while eating the breakfast I made for her. It was quite yummy, if I say so myself. Ha.

We had a lovely time that day staying in the air-conditioned room, watching tv, eating, taking pics, snacking, playing, laughing, doing activities that two adults in love with each other do, spooning and cuddling. Yes, we are pretty good at enjoying life.

So I saved this pic while she was away for work. I was missing her so so much and everything reminded me of her. When I saw this on PostSecret’s blog post that week, it gave how I felt a voice. It had managed to sum up what I felt about her accurately.

Even until now.