I have a problem: one that I have come to attribute to the decreasing frequency with which I write and is manifested in the increasing frequency with which I replace simple vocabulary in my everyday conversations with ‘what’. Like, ‘When are you attending the what?’ or ‘Can you please pass me the what?’ when I really just mean ‘lecture’ and ‘pen’. It is in my self-diagnosis of “English-Language-Deterioration” that I find myself publishing a new post and trying to translate my recent thoughts into prose. Here goes, this is one about the recent reunions in light of Chinese New Year.
This Chinese New Year was vastly different from the previous because of the absence of my sister. The irony lies in how they say that ‘absence is hardest to prove’, but in this case, the emptiness that I experience so deeply, the lack of conversation and company peppered with loneliness that chews on my patience every second, are more than evidence of her absence. As if my memory were a broken tape recorder, I’d constantly replay the times we’d find our ways into each other’s rooms at night counting our angpao money or end up initiating elaborate movie plans to escape boring get togethers. This Chinese New Year, there was none of that. It was as if we gave each other inexplicable courage to embark on silly things we’d never do alone.
This is the part where I experience ‘absence makes the hard grow fonder’ on a whole new level.
Without the sister (whom I now learn has been a silent protective shield for me from awkward conversations and quiet ‘hello’s), I suppose it has been a blessing in disguise for I have found myself engaged in conversations with family I have always only been acquaintances with in this season of reunion. These distant cousins whom I could never match names to faces for, are now newly-acquainted friends. This is a mix of discomfort and uncertainty, but also a little excitement toward the new things we may learn about these people we’ve taken for granted for quite a while.