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The Double

Live in secret.


Recently, I have been wanting to hide from people.

Not merely the physical act of vanishing from them--though that is part of it--but more of not letting people know of my whereabouts and what I have been up to. And it is not that I do not want to be with people so much, unlike before when I was melancholy and the thought of being with others was impossible; in fact, I am still comfortable with reaching out to others and meeting them now for drinks or dinner. I am in a mixed state, which is confusing to me who has been used to either end of the pendulum of my moods. I know that I avoid people not because I am melancholy, but--what's the word?--perhaps because I want to have a certain distance for myself and leave them with some mystery as to what I am up to.

That is the word--mystery. Perhaps I have always been an open book to others, especially to those close to my heart. The transparency of my moods and my willingness to talk about my thoughts make me an empty bottle with no fizz or spirit. Now, I find it exciting to keep a lot of things to myself. (I don't know why but I derive some amount of pleasure when someone asks me, "Where did you go?") I try to hide what I do with my days, what movies I see or books I read, where I have lunch or where I spent the night, how much drunk I was, who I flirted with or who I text, what my plans are and what I buy, the dreams I have, my resentiments, my hate. No one knows these things now as I hide them. And I have fun with myself that way. A little mystery and mischief never killed anyone in misery.

And my plans seem to be going towards that direction of being unknown. I plan to teach in some unknown school by day and bartend at night. I want the least amount of responsibility. I want to be anonymous (as if I wasn't that already). I want to become mediocre, pedestrian and no one. Ah, I am excited to play this game already! I do not want to build anything; or if I do build anything, I want to destroy it as fast as I can. I do not want to have one "career," I want to have as many possible lives.

I heard the word "career" from a former classmate last night at the bar. He said that he wants to pursue further studies before marrying to establish his career first. I almost vomited when I heard him say that. He has not changed--him in that white barong which he wore along with his nondescript officemates, drinking scotch on the rocks, with ugly women eating Alaskan king crabs which cost two grand and saying that they were not good. Career first?! How despicable! And the irony is he will go on to live his life the way he dreamed it and be fooled by the happiness that he thinks he had deserved.

And when he asked me what I was doing there at the bar alone, I told him I was passing the time before I see my girlfriend. I lied to him. I also lied by telling him that I worked for the family business. I played his game. Then he returned to his side of the bar with his officemates who had the same dreams he had, then they ate the same food which they brought from a restaurant outside, drank in high spirits thinking that they were the superior class who worked their butt off and drank till they passed out on a Monday night.

I will have none of that. No one will share the dreams that I have. I will not have any competition if my only dream is to be myself. I do not need others; and if I do need them, I will just play their game, smile and live in secret. I shun any career; I do not want to join that one, single race that takes a lifetime to finish. Those with careers live one life. And that is too transparent. I want more than one. One to show for, and the rest to hide.

Robert Louis Stevenson remarked that man is not one but two, that he is a double. The author of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde hit upon something in human nature which had always been thought to be one, consistent and real. But perhaps reality is not to be found in a single effort or manifestation. Those who have experienced turmoil in their souls realize that living one life spoils the spirit which wishes to fly.

No one knows that behind this worthless life I am flying. But of course, it's a secret.


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