Wednesday, 18 February 2015

To You, Tokyo

(Back-Story: A sweet 21 year old girl wrote to me from Philippines, describing in calligraphic detail a crush she’s nursed on a swimmer in her college, for almost five years now. I felt 19 again and smiled all the way through while reading her story. Weende, it gets both better and messier as you grow older. All those together adults in movies and real-life that you see, once had rabid, college crushes and they all want you to know that you will come through this happier, bruised, exhilarated and never wishing it away. I’m sending you a trans-continental hug).

To You

The most offensive, confusing and inadequate word in the English dictionary would definitely be the word “crush”. When used as a verb, in most situations, it refers to complete and total destruction. 
For eg:
The truck crushed the car.
Don’t sit on top of me. You’re so fat you’ll crush me.

But when we use it romantically, we bandy it around to explain away what we think are flimsy, passing feelings- oh don’t worry darling, it’s just a crush.

So this is mostly a letter protesting the indiscriminate and thoughtless use of that word.
A crush is more destructive and life-altering when experienced romantically than in any other situation. And as with other limbs of love, there is no set pattern of length, shape and size. Crushes are available of all varieties. Joy.
Some people have been known to have a crush for five long years. These people may or may not be a happy girl studying in nursing school in Philippines, who thinks that referring to someone named Anthony as “Tokyo” is a royal waste of a great name.

Anthony is a lush, full name. You need to move your whole mouth to say it. 
An-th-ony. It involves a deliberate movement of your tongue which adds a distinct velvety softness to the sound. This is unlike other unfortunate names with R which need a more common, rolled enunciation.
Anthony may just be the most gorgeous, addictive name to say and doodle in the margins of your notebook, but that’s a letter for a different day.

For today, a nursing student may or may not visualise in crystallized detail the planes of that boy's body- the S shaped back, the small eyes which crinkle into nothing when they smile, torturously tousled nape length hair and that name attached to all of it.
Also add in the foot notes: Fire-fighter. Swimmer. Big Snob.

A nursing student while working on their resume and studying hard, must sometimes participate in volunteer trainings like CPR, First Aid and BLS for five days in a year. If their crush happens to be a member and swimming facilitator at the said trainings then the nursing student must carpet bomb all butterflies in her tummy and prepare to overlook and remove from her life all those friends who giggle obviously and incessantly around him.
The nursing student might also make half jokes about Anthony, knowing full well that all comedy is essentially about love lost or found.
If you’re not nodding in agreement, you've never really understood a knock-knock joke well.

Of course, more ridiculous than assuming a crush is harmless, is assuming that the presence of love and other romantic feelings imply that people will courageously admit to and display these feelings. This is an aberration which must be addressed, like those chain letters which were going around a decade ago. 
 The nursing students friends’- once they’re done giggling, recklessly using the word “obsess” and generally embarrassing their friend instead of playing it cool- could suggest that the nursing student have a picture taken with the object of her affection. However, as fate would have it, that picture worth a thousand words (a thousand of which will never be spoken -not by the nursing student at least) that very picture could later be mistakenly deleted. Meanwhile, the nursing student’s crush might get a hair-cut and almost go bald. As if serendipitously mourning, what he will never know happened.

And yet he will never know what happened. The nursing student puzzled and consumed by her own feelings, most of which seem to have a life, limbs and mind of their own, might after adequate research on the internet  diagnose her symptoms as “limerence".

lim-er-ence (noun) (psychology)- an involuntary state of mind which results from a romantic attraction to another person combined with an overwhelming need to have ones feelings reciprocated, but not solely or primarily for a sexual relationship.
Lim-er-ence, though a full sounding word, may or may not be used to adequately describe  how lush sounding some names could be and how they could make a girl feel euphoric, helpless and nauseous at the same time.

The nursing student would at this point like to throw in a word about fate. It seems she will rely on it, lean against it or even build a house around it for as long as she can.
Because fate is easy to blame, requires less courage, and she’s heard that it can sometimes make magic happen.

The flip side of fate is sadness and many unanswered questions. 
The pain of  studying in the same college as the object of your affection without him having a clue that he means the world to you. 
Or that of being terribly shy. 
Or attending the college sports fest even though you graduated college a year before your crush, just to see him compete. 
Or that surprisingly to you, you can continue to like someone, without them ever knowing about it. 
Or that you will write a love letter to a boy you've crushed on for five years and never actually let him see it.

The nursing student thinks this may or may not be a form of emotional cutting, but for now she’s equipped in CPR.


                                          (Photo Credit: Not sure of original source, but found it here)

(To You is a letter writing project I started because there are not enough letters and love going around. If you have something to say with love-- for your ex girlfriend, you current husband, pizza (promise not to make it cheesy), your landlord who let you skip rent or even Ryan Gosling-- I'll write that letter for you.
The final letter will be up on my blog and a copy will be handwritten/typed on a typewriter and posted to you or to an intended recipient. Kisses on the envelope only on my discretion.
Give me a shout at: )


  1. My heart felt so heavy from too much emotions while reading this. It's really special when the story is yours. Thank you so much! I will never forget this gift of yours. Hugsss

  2. Weende! Thank you, i wish you all kinds of big, grand, ridiculously large and happy love in your life.