Multitasking Emotions

Left screen, I’m going over the bach­e­lor par­ty footage. We’re recov­er­ing from a night of drink­ing over bacon and eggs in a high-cor­ner wide-angle shot. Right screen, I’m talk­ing to Aaron on Messenger.

Aaron: bro, you know I love you
Aaron: like for real
Aaron: no shit
Jeff: thanks man, i love you too
Aaron: no ‘you’re my bro’ shit
Aaron: the real deal

No ‘You’re my bro’ shit”, he says. Bro. The word we some­times use to remind each oth­er that we’re fam­i­ly. Nothing emas­cu­lates some like the “l” word, but we’re passed that.

you know I love you”. He was first to say it this time, and it cat­alyzes the tears down my face.

The video’s still play­ing. In it we’re ebul­lient, frat­er­niz­ing, and I can’t help but laugh along too.

I remem­ber anoth­er time, about three years ago, when I broke down after deal­ing with my mom and her incor­ri­gi­ble ways. I rolled a joint and smoked it as soon as I got off the phone. As the weed went to my brain, my mood evened out. I was numb to the pain but the tears did­n’t stop, like a phys­i­cal reflex.

What a strange feel­ing it was to be cry­ing and laugh­ing or stoned at the same time.

Life is the same way. It’s nev­er black and white, and there’s no absolute right or wrong. There are grey areas, points of pas­sion between plea­sure and pain.

Even cry­ing from joy is an enig­mat­ic micro­cosm of such an idea. I remem­ber doing so only one oth­er time, at the end of grade 7, dur­ing the final audi­tions for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Out of 10 schools, we were com­pet­ing to spend the sum­mer singing on stage with Donny Osmond. When they announced the name of our school we jumped out of our seats in cheer, but I could feel my face gri­mace from the emo­tion, tears fill­ing up my eyes. It’s as if you’re over­tak­en by sad­ness that you’ll nev­er feel as hap­py again.

Like yin and yang, one does­n’t exist with­out the oth­er, and often they exist at once.

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