No Friends

I’ve just seen my friend Senthil. He lives in Singapore (he’s Malaysian), but is in KL for work meetings. I Miss him. If only he lived here. When we first met, back in 2007, he was here but he moved soon after. I think he’s the only friend I’ve made after turning forty whom I feel about the same as the ones I made in my teens or twenties. The sort I can take for granted and who take me for granted too, but in the best possible way.

I don’t feel like that about anyone in KL and I am no one’s go-to friend here. There isn’t a single person in this city who thinks of me as the first person to call when they are  happy or sad or angry or confused; or when they want to watch a movie or have a coffee or check out a new play. I don’t hang out doing nothing with anyone here. I am no one’s default person and no one is mine.

Is fifty too late to make that sort of friend? Maybe that’s why having a partner is important to me. Was important to me. I can’t rely on that anymore. I won’t. It’s a mistake to depend on a lover, even one supposedly bound to you legally, to safeguard your emotional well being.

Goodbye Girls

Today I watched the finale of Lena Dunham’s Girls.

It wasn’t what I expected, but I guess some story and character threads, like the Adam-Hannah relationship; and Hannah’s friendship with Jessa were tied up in earlier episodes. 


Of the girls, only Hannah and Marnie appear in the series’ last ever episode. Hannah has her baby and is her usual selfish self. Marnie has practically forced herself onto her as a co-parent, and Hannah both resents and over-depends on her best friend. Granted she’s stressed and also scared and (I remember this)  probably mentally, physically and emionally exhausted. Still, I was surprised when she said what she did to her mother who visits after being summoned by a frazzled Marnie. Should we take it as hormones and stress talking or is it just Hannah being characteristically obnoxious, only much worse than usual. 

But after storming out of her house and wondering around for hours, a chance meeting with a petulant, bratty teenager flips a switch and allows Hannah some insight into her relationship with her mother and her own new role as a parent. 


The episode is too short to be satisfying but it’s nice to be left with some sort of reassurance that Hannah and Baby Grover (!) will be OK. 


It’s a little sad that the friendship between the four women didn’t make it to the end though. However, it also makes sense. Unlike the protagonists in Sex and the City, Girls’ girls are silly, selfish and, often, downright despicable in their behaviour towards one another. They are girls, not women. That was probably the point that the series’ title tried to stress: these are millenials who will screw over their best friends to get ahead, or just because. 

But in the end, I think Hannah, if no one else, finally grows up. 

We All Fail

This cat painting is by Kazuaki Horitomo Kitamura

Some Thoughts on a Change of Plans

Sometimes, love fails because of cowardice.

(It’s not for the faint of heart.)

Often, promises are broken because they are forgotten,

or deemed unimportant.

We make them so easily.

We break them so readily,

flippantly,

impatiently.

We are seldom held to account.

If called-out, we respond in anger,

accuse the betrayed of pettiness

and lacking a life.

Often, life fails because love fails,

because we all fail.

Sometimes.

Two hundred years and counting

I didn’t realise til I read this blog post by Calmgrove that 2017 is the bicentenary of Jane Austen’s death. Should I re-read her novels? I haven’t read any (apart from my favourite, Persuasion) in years, but I know, from experience, that planning to re-read more than one novel doesn’t work with me. I shall, perhaps choose one title and see how it goes.

I love Persuasion because it’s about second chances and remaining steadfast in love. My favourite quotes:

Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant.

and

All the privilege I claim for my own sex (it is not a very enviable one: you need not covet it), is that of loving longest, when existence or when hope is gone!

Is it stupidly romantic of me to believe in true love? Is it naive to hope that my partner will remain constant?

I may re-read Persuasion again after all.

persuasion1

Persuasion watercolour illustrations by C. E. Brock

 

Like Holy Wine

A Case of You

Just before our love got lost you said
“I am as constant as a northern star”
And I said “Constantly in the darkness
Where’s that at?
If you want me I’ll be in the bar”

On the back of a cartoon coaster
In the blue TV screen light
I drew a map of Canada
Oh Canada
With your face sketched on it twice
Oh you’re in my blood like holy wine
You taste so bitter and so sweet

Oh I could drink a case of you darling
Still I’d be on my feet
oh I would still be on my feet

Oh I am a lonely painter
I live in a box of paints
I’m frightened by the devil
And I’m drawn to those ones that ain’t afraid

I remember that time you told me you said
“Love is touching souls”
Surely you touched mine
‘Cause part of you pours out of me
In these lines from time to time
Oh, you’re in my blood like holy wine
You taste so bitter and so sweet

Oh I could drink a case of you darling
And I would still be on my feet
I would still be on my feet

I met a woman
She had a mouth like yours
She knew your life
She knew your devils and your deeds
And she said
“Go to him, stay with him if you can
But be prepared to bleed”

Oh but you are in my blood
You’re my holy wine
You’re so bitter, bitter and so sweet

Oh, I could drink a case of you darling
Still I’d be on my feet
I would still be on my feet

© 1970; Joni Mitchell

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