I can’t figure out why I’m so moody lately. Maybe it’s been too long since I smelled the wood of my guitar. Maybe it’s the fresh Autumn colours that tend to magnify my emotions. Maybe I’m feeling overworked, overstimulated, and too rarely understood. Maybe it’s because I haven’t had a moment to myself in what feels like weeks, with so many feelings of loneliness amongst so many people.
I always think of exile in times like this, and in particular, a stanza from Yevgeniy Onegin:
From all that to the heart is dear
then did I tear my heart away;
to everyone a stranger, tied by nothing,
I thought; liberty and peace
would serve instead of happiness.
Luckily, I’ve been reading The Poisonwood Bible, which reminds me that the only problems I have are first-world problems, and that I’m rich in ways many will never be.
I find it amazing, the immensity of it, how any single person can be responsible for a tome of such rich storytelling, observation, and wit. It’s the only book I’ve picked up in years, and I only started reading to get into her head as much as possible (and piqued by my curiosity on how she could describe a story of the Belgian Congo as sexy). Unsurprisingly, her favourite character is the strong, faithful, warrior daughter. Mine is like me too; the dark, brooding, intellectual child, dizygotic twin to hers. It makes me wonder if liking one character over all others is too often an exercise in vanity.
In the end, Onegin realizes he was wrong about exile, that he couldn’t fill himself with emptiness to replace the sadness, something he only figures out when he finds someone worth loving. That’s what’s pulling me back too, keeping me grounded amongst those dark moments of untempered emotion. I carry the image of her smile with me, the only thing as distinguished on her face as her Spanish eyes, and the reason I call her Cheeks from the way the flesh pulls up to round her face. I’ve studied this smile for so long that I can see it every time I close my eyes, and with that, I carry a strength of my own too.