Being present faraway

a small girl doll holds the hand of an artist's bear

My box of treasures

Over the last few years, everything from tailored jackets to collectible  watches have been given away, high school photos thrown out with groceries receipts.

What remains alongside my vintage lego sets is a rectangular cookie tin with snowmen printed on its dome shaped flip lid.

Inside, it smells like an old stationery store with little ventilation. 

Origami letters in different shapes of a heart, a hat, or a boat. Some on imported kawaii Japanese style letter paper. Some just a lined construction paper folded a few times.

The ones dearest to my heart are those from a girl from a different class in school.

They are usually in the form of a twice-folded piece of lined paper with drawn pictures on one side. On the other, barely-legible-scribbles in descending size squeezed into every white space, before travelling vertically along the margin, and then finally and reluctantly added a period when there is no more space, anywhere.

Communicating while saying nothing

These correspondences are mostly about nothing. What she saw on her way to school, what she wishes she could cook, and a summary of what we just talked about on the phone.

Even after a decade, while struggling to differentiating between her u, w, m and ns, I can feel her presence.

I’ve decided to be present for my friends

Since being on instagram, I’ve met so many human beings, connected, not by kinship, geography, or current network, but by interests, pursuits and serendipity.

The closest I am physically to anyone is 8 hours on a non-stop flight.

When fluency in emojis fail, a hug or an eye contact are not available options, m only consolation is a wistful smile reflected back to me on my black out device.

Send them some treasures

It is obvious.

Send them physical mail.

It is scary.

In black and white, words just seems unchangeable. (Though it is just as hard erasing one’s online presence.)

It may even be borderline-rude, like turning up at an acquaintance’s family dinner uninvited.

I’ll just ask them if I could send them a card, which really means, “may I give you a hug?”

Yes. That’ll do. I’ll get started by accumulating all the new postal stamps designs now.


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