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Waved at D in the morning from across the road where he was having a meeting, then invited him to lunch after with Olivia at Maison Balud. BR spoiled us rotten--he custom-made lunch for us, and paired each of the five courses with a wonderful glass. Started off with champagne, then two reds, two whites and desert wine. the food kept coming. oh! i wish i had a more discerning palette!

then we make our way outside onto the terrace and continue with a Troublesome Creek or two. And then another yummy citrusy cocktail-- two of them. Then champagne again, then a whisky. It was a brilliant blue day under the sun, sitting on the terrace of this beautiful building in the legation quarters, stalled in time, with nary a care in the world. savouring the luxury of time and pretend-leisure, conveniently forgetting entirely our responsibilities and worries. Wonderful conversation throughout--from the systemic problems with the Chinese legal system, Russian sophistication in realpolitik, Singapore's remarkable achievements, Britain's has-been place in the sun; to financial independence, architectural conservation,vengeance, reading Chekhov at 6 am in the morning and visiting the newly-opened National Museum. We move in when the sun sets, sinking into leather seats in the chequered-floored lounge... we open the louvered doors for ventilation and drink till dinner time at 8pm, before making our way to Ed and Bella's for a home-cooked meal. This is a Monday! it was to have been packing day.

In between the drinking, which was well paced and interrupted with conscious swigs of water, I run out of the lounge onto the terrace and into a corner, and cry. painful choking tears. they keep flowing and won't stop. I don't know why i'm crying but it comes fast and furious, so easily and with relief. my body is shaking with this release. Olivia and D come outside to check on me, and see me convulsing. D retreats, and Olivia comes to seek and comfort. She starts crying too, against her will. She says she hates me for making her cry.She begs me to leave her alone as she's doubled over the veranda, sobbing. I don't know what the source of this pain is, but i realise it's been there all the while. Under the surface,a surface kept tight and taut by pride. My heart really hurts. My head is light and heavy at once. B comes out to envelope me in a hug. I wipe my tears and go back in.

I realise it still hurts. that the heart defies my reason, living in body and spirit what the mind tries to ignore.

In the taxi from Ed and Bella's, i tell him i've missed him so much. Does he say he misses me too? I forget. Throughout lunch, he keeps bringing up our relationship. in a off-handed, matter-of-fact manner (though he thinks i'm the first to bring it up, when i respond). how for example, he spoiled me for the entire three weeks our relationship lasted. we mentally revisit the places we've been to--the weekend retreat at the great wall, the walks we've taken. even during dinner, he talks about how i walked out on him.

i don't know if talking about it this way makes it easier for him. it makes it easier but also more painful for me, making light of it. We part in kisses, and i cry again all the way home.


what a treat it is to have spent the day with him.

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the day before i have a conversation with A, her boyfriend W and their friend--he had John Rawls as one of his professors!! while W's thesis advisor was jeffrey sachs, and his other mentor was stiglitz. they say joe would have liked me, and rub it in that i made a really terrible decision to go to O, instead of to Columbia and Yale. I know it is too late, and i don't want to think about it.and this briliant guy who thinks he's heideggar's successor, the final one. heideggar's family gave him the key to the black valley where he had written his last works...really fantastical. the diversity of people here in Beijing!

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i just hosted dinner for some diplomat friends at home. the movers are coming tomorrow and this is my last night at home. i have yet to start packing. how can one move one's heart from where it has made its home?
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