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Napkin Thought #15: Relapse

Goddammit I miss it.

I miss having someone constantly on my mind and knowing I was also on his. I miss the routine “How was your day?” texts and the childish flirting that sometimes made me physically cringe but simultaneously lifted one corner of my mouth into a soft half-smile. I miss the teasing from our friends, the rare times of being alone with him, tucked safely behind the rickety, out of tune piano, watching our hands glide over the ivory keys wishing they could be intertwined instead. I miss the swimmer shoulders, the gym rat arms, the sauntering stride. I miss the screenshots, the stickers, the songs, the awkwardness, the timidity, the compatible incompatibility. I miss having a guarantee. I miss being wanted.

I miss it. And therein lies the problem. I tell myself I miss the experience, the chapter of a story I can’t seem to go back and re-read. But when I really think about it, I can’t decide if I miss it… or if I miss him.

(Written from on top of my bed, with his goddam hoodie as a blanket… This is one soft hoodie, wonder if he wants it back… LOL TOO BAD this thing is comfy af ok bye)

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Napkin Thought #14: [Don’t] Look Back

Everything is always clearer in retrospect. Simpler, easier, more 理所当然. Although they say you should leave the past in the past and look forward to bigger, better, brighter things, I believe that in searching the past is where we will discover our true identities. When we look back, we are able to classify our feelings, label our emotions, and examine the reasons behind our impulsive actions. With the eyes of a quasi-impartial observer, we are enabled to critique, analyze, and organize our experiences the way a historian would with individually cohesive but completely independent primary sources. We have time on our side and distance to keep us calm. With these tools, we slowly begin to untangle the Pollockian chaos that is our life, and start to see beauty in the mess and rhythm in the disorder.

Retrospection is good. Reflection is good. Revelation is good. Regression, however, is not. I am an advocate of turning the head and twisting the torso, but the feet should always be pointed forward.

We look backward, but we move forward.

The past is just a museum: we collect the relics, put them on display, walk through the exhibit, appreciate, glean what we can, and eventually, we must leave. The personal understanding we find in the past should propel us toward the future–the imaginary. It should fuel us for improvement and give us the momentum we need to reach farther and run faster. So look back, and see how far you’ve come. Dream forward, and see where you want to go. Live now, and live boldly.




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Napkin Thought #11: Shoulda Coulda Woulda

As the events of the day ran through my mind, replaying themselves in vignettes of color, touch, and sound, I couldn’t stop confusion and regret from imposing their unwanted presences on my delicate memories. The laughter and conversation, the accidental and intentional brushes of the arm, the thought-revealing eye contact, the tentative hints that seemed both presuming and shy. I didn’t know what to make of them. I didn’t know how much of it was real and how much of it belonged to my imagination. I wasn’t sure if I was even allowed to think about it because over-analysis yields dubious conclusions. There was so much I wanted to do, so much I wanted to say. I couldn’t gauge how well it went, and the unknown was eating me alive. I desperately wanted to believe that I wasn’t the only one on this ride, but there was simply no way for me to ever truly find out without undoing all the hard work I had put in to reach this stage of “friendship” today.

I should have been more honest. With God. With him. With myself.

I could have been happier. So much more could have happened. 

I would have less regrets. Less confusion. Less wasted time. 

Oh well. Shoulda coulda woulda…


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Napkin Thought #10: “Gr1nd1n”

You know, sometimes I wish you would stop being so healthy… Like yes, your biceps are bulging, your abs are chiseled, your legs are sculpted, and your jawline is sharper than my eyeliner, but don’t you get tired of all that running, swimming, lifting, eating well, and general self-care? I know I do. Your consistent healthy lifestyle hinders me from being a lazy bum in peace, and I don’t appreciate being guilted into working out and eating salads. Ignorance is bliss, and I would like to be able to eat this chocolate and lie on my bed whilst scrolling through Instagram without being reminded that “I am what I eat” or seeing that you just spent the past three hours at the gym.

There are times when I like watching “behind-the-scene” footage. For instance, seeing how Hogwarts goes from muggle to magical, watching Legolas and Aragorn practice their sexy fight scenes, and observing as the voice actors of Moana fill 2-D characters with three dimensional life… Unfortunately, witnessing you transform from Dr. Banner into the Hulk is not one of those times.

Don’t get me wrong; it’s not that I think you should stop being so healthy. My thirsty self would be very sad if you did. Just… preserve some mystery please… Now if you would excuse me as I go finish this bag of chips. Thanks.


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Napkin Thought #9: La La Land

“Here’s to the hearts that ache,
Here’s to the mess we make…”

Relatable. That’s what I thought when I first watched the movie. From all the non-date dates to the heart-wrenching ending montage that went exactly where I expected it to go, the film reflected my own experiences in a form more eloquent, more artistic, and more concise than I could ever have done. With a bittersweet taste on my heart, I looked on as this unrealistically realistic portrayal of two friends, who spent together the time allotted to them by fate and turned the pages of their separate lives to find no further mention of the other’s name, effortlessly unfolded.

Strangers. Shared experiences. Camaraderie. Attraction. Spontaneity. Reliance. Argument. Reconciliation. With each of these things, both individuals learned more about themselves, about the world, about love. They saw in the other things that cannot be seen without the stimulus of pheromones. The emotions they experienced were felt so intensely that even after life forced them apart for years,  just a song, a street name, a store sign would bring the other person instantly back into their minds, letting them momentarily indulge in the untouchable memories that have been carefully tucked away into the crevices of their brains.

It’s good to know he feels the same way. It’s good to hear him casually say, “Some things were just not meant to be” and pass it off as a reflection on the film.  It’s good to know that what I couldn’t say to him, La La Land has said for me. I hope we too can enjoy our time together with no pressure on “forever”, go our own ways, pursue our own dreams, and trust that Life will let us meet once more before the credits roll.

With one last locking of the eyes and two melancholy smiles, they come to an understanding. Come to closure.

“It’s love.
Yes, all we’re looking for is love from someone else.
A rush,
A glance,
A touch,
A dance…”

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Napkin Thought #8: Where We Are 

I’ve finally reached equilibrium. No more fierce denial. No more obsessive fantasizing. Just existing and accepting.
I’ve accepted the current reality of our position as students, as maturing teenagers, and as two friends between whom a spark once flickered. It is what it is, and the sooner you acknowledge that, the sooner you can be at peace with yourself.
I’ve let down my defenses and let go of my awkwardness when his or my friends start teasing because both he and I intrinsically know where we stand and how we feel. There is no need to try so hard to convince others of what you already know to be true.
I’ve discovered that people and places come and go and that while we are still on this page of life, we should fully embrace the plot, the imagery, and the characters that are woven into that page and give life to the story. Because once you flip that page, there’s no telling if you will ever experience it again.
Spend time with him while you can.
Don’t think too much.

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Napkin Thought #7: English

I applaud the American education system. Encouraging students to “think for themselves”, “take the path less traveled”, and “breakaway from the status quo” while simultaneously forcing them to think the way a standardized test maker would think and write the way an AP grader would grade– but what you write must be unique and original and fresh as well!! Well, here’s a word eleven years of quality English education has taught me: P a r a d o x. Writing is supposed to be freeing, a spontaneous romance between the pen and the paper, an outlet for the thoughts and emotions that do so much more when they are not bottled up, unspoken, unwritten. Why must its charisma be strangled by your rubrics and grading scales? Why do we feel the need to quantify every thing?

To my English teacher: Giving a prompt on the spot, expecting students to create an insightful, innovative piece every time, and then spitting on their work with zero compassion (Some essays literally have just had the word “Yuck” written on the paper. Yup.) if it fails to meet your pretentious, racist standards achieves nothing except the utter demolition of that student’s interest in writing and any motivation whatsoever to come to you, their “teacher”, for instruction or advice. Great leaders inspire greatness in others. (Ew, so cliche. There goes ten points and my opinion of you!) Having a “sarcastic sense of humor” is not an excuse for unkindness, and having a history with depression is not a license to throw your insecurities at the people you are paid to teach. Please stop pretending to be some highly intelligent, well read, social justice warrior free of any and all racial prejudice.

Dispose of your “better than thou” attitude and start being a better person.

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Napkin Thought #6: Pink Hearts

You’ve moved on.
The evidence lies in how easily you finally deleted those screenshots. They weren’t that cute anyway.
You’re just friends.
Can’t you tell from the casual camaraderie and comfortable physical presence you finally seem to have achieved?
You’re best friends.
The pink double heart on Snapchat proves it, though neither of you really send that many snaps to anyone anymore.
You’re strangers.
The brief greetings and slightly turned backs achingly reveal the inevitable truth.
You begin to wonder: Did you ever really know each other…?


Yes. I believe you did.