Liebe (Teil 2)
Date: Thu, 2 Apr 2020 at 6:35 PM
Lilith to J:
A German boy I dated 20-something years ago decided to Facebook-message me today to ask me how I am, and he tells me he is now a father of twin boys! (He’s not even a “friend” on my Facebook anymore, but I’m still okay with him—I have no “friends” on it; deleted them all a long time ago.)
How weird …
Date: Thu, 2 Apr 2020 at 6:36 PM
Lilith to J:
What the hell is a father of 3-month-old twin boys doing texting an ex-girlfriend from over 20 years ago.
Date: Thu, 2 Apr 2020 at 6:37 PM
Lilith to J:
I am soooooooooooooooooooooo sick of this shit.
Date: Thu, 2 Apr 2020 at 7:04 PM
Lilith to J:
Maybe there is another reason, but you see how triggered I am by past experience.
Date: Fri, 3 Apr 2020 at 8:58 AM
Lilith to J:
Well, he is a good boy. Genuinely wanted to find out how I am. Told me about how he and his immediate and extended family are affected by COVID-19.
I don’t know what that 18-year-old boy saw in 15-year-old me. We dated for just three weeks. I was living in a 1-bedroom flat with my family at the time, which he didn’t know until in 2013, when he dropped me a message to ask how I am, when I was trapped and lost and struggling to make something for myself, worse so than now. I decided to tell him a few secrets of that 15-year-old he was dating at the time, because let’s see if he still wants to chat with me after knowing all that.
One night, I was going home high from Orchard Road, and he offered to fetch me home on his bicycle. The distance was just about 3km, but with me in tow … so I refused. He then chose to cycle to meet me at my estate while I took a cab. Somehow he managed to meet me there with a rose.
What the hell did that son of a wealthy German family see in me then, to bother to do all this.
Now all I can think of is the rose he gave that I didn’t appreciate as much as I should have. I won’t even tell you what I did with it.
Perhaps you think I don’t appreciate you as much as I should.
Anyway, I wrote to him:
I’m actually really glad you decided to contact me at this time, while I’m in existential musing mode. I remember when we started dating, you were due to leave Singapore for good in … what, a month? Two? Three? It was really bad timing and I didn’t want to get too attached. I was blunt and tactless with you in the end.
Now we have both moved on with our lives—you have a new family, I have the privilege of going crazy (in text) at this lad who seems to ride it very well, all for the sake of helping me to write … I am ambivalent towards him and enjoying it.
Perhaps, this time, we can be proper friends :) we never got to find out if we’d end up hating each other, the way I ended up thinking I wasted years of my life with certain exes.
I still don’t know why he would contact me, an ex, though.
I’m the sort who … there are no traces of my exes, significant or otherwise, in my life. I happily burn all the bridges that connect me with them and theirs. I don’t want that baggage.
It was painful for a time, but at least now I make myself completely free for another life, you know? Heck, I’ve burned more bridges than those connecting me to my exes, and am much happier for it.
Date: Sun, 5 Apr 2020 at 7:17 AM
Lilith to J:
He is oh so very German. Very precise. 23 years ago. He reminded me how long it has been and that I was his first girlfriend. I’d completely forgotten.
He dated me for three weeks and calls me his first girlfriend! I don’t acknowledge any of the boys I dated for under a month as “boyfriends”.
He asked me what my parents are doing. I said last I knew, my mother drives a taxi and my father is retired. I haven’t been in contact with them for years.
He asked me why am I and my family divided. I said it’s a long story, that you’ve helped to put out. Perhaps anyone who wants to know just has to read it.
So he asked to read it, and I sent him the links. Let’s see where the conversation goes after that.
Can you imagine him and I asking about each other’s families in our teens? The sort of relationship we would have if time and circumstance allowed then? We would be the sort of couple so used to/bored with each other that they’d have to make an effort to keep the flame going, because isn’t this what long-term serious relationships are like? One would have to make sacrifices for the other. Resentment would have been inevitable.
Now, after 23 years living our separate lives, we have richer histories to share with each other. I can tell him exactly what I want in my man.
Date: Mon, 6 Apr 2020 at 11:43 AM
Lilith to J:
I thought the public disclosure of my story would utterly destroy my life, emotionally, while hiding my story was destroying my life so much more … Now you know … and I am free.
(“Duffy,” 2020) 
I thought the disclosure of my story to EL—grouchy old and feared man that he is (I’ve heard his name being used as a threat)—would cause me to lose my job, thus destroying my life all over again.
But no, instead he called me to ask if I am okay after he read Ravings of a Madwoman, invited me to dine with him at expensive restaurants that make me feel uncomfortable, asks others after me when I am not around, and texts and calls me from time to time to ask me how I am.
And he thinks Arguments is “interesting, intelligent conversation”. Asked me how I would get paid for it.
Well, Duffy can put her story out there and be heard by millions.
But because of my circumstances, I only have the capacity to show my story one-to-one, to those who have met me and conversed with me personally for some length of time, when they inevitably ask me questions along the lines of, “What is your background?”
Like you once asked me.
Where I am at now would not have been possible without you. You revived my creative will when I’d just about given up, and it is through you that I have my story ready on platforms that I can just show people if they ask me questions about my background that I don’t have the breath to answer.
Always knowing, of course, that I risk destroying my life every time someone reads me.
But I would rather risk telling the truth than lie. When I told EL that I was stressing over how to respond to the owners of my new home if they ask me questions about my history that I would rather not answer, he replied, “Can’t you lie? Say that your parents are in Malaysia or something?”
I said I can’t—I can’t lie.
“You can’t tell me that 100% of what you say is the truth. You can’t possibly tell everything.”
I said, I don’t tell 100% of what I know, but 100% of what I do tell is the truth.
He chuckled at that. “You’re a very difficult person.”
I said all I can do is get creative with the truth.
“So get creative!”
“I know! That’s what I’m stressing over!”
“It looks to me like you are stuck in a groove. Like you had an unfortunate experience in the past and you are trying to make something out of it, and you cannot move on until you make something out of it. Almost like you want to make money out of it,” he said in that gruff manner of his.
Well, so what if I do? Journalists and novelists make money out of telling stories like mine. And I am actually a trained journalist. A pretty good one, apparently—
EL, when we were still new to each other, said to me, “DP has a very high opinion of you. Tells me you’re some kind of journalist.”
I don’t recall ever speaking to DP. We may have shook hands once, but there was certainly never a conversation between us where I would mention the writing I have out, for such “high” opinion to be formed of me.
DP must have heard about my writing from someone else.
Yet, despite how good my writing, my journalism is to certain esteemed people, all it does now is sit quietly on the Interwebs until someone asks about my background.
Still, I should be thankful that it’s even sitting on the Interwebs at all, in its current form(s). I like what you have done with my writing, so far.
On lying about my past—why should I lie about such major events that have shaped me? If I lie about them to others, I’d be lying to myself!
I cannot take that stress. I don’t have the capacity to make shit up—lying takes an energy that drains me, and I am exhausted enough as it is.
If I were to move on … move on to where? I can only rely on my past to guide me to my future, for my past is where my foundations lie.
 Duffy: Singer was ‘drugged for four weeks, raped and taken abroad’. (2020, April 7). BBC NEWS. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-52177265
Lilith is a monolingual Peranakan Singaporean, from a maternal ethnic Chinese lineage that spoke Malay and Hokkien, not Mandarin. She comes forged from Hellfire, has been described as some kind of journalist and, in the words of Bob Dylan (cranked up by Rage Against the Machine), does not want to work on Maggie’s farm no more.