I decided early on that I wouldn’t be going to all four of my classes today, two in which attendance is mandatory. I could’ve but I didn’t want to. So no, I guess I couldn’t have gone to every class, interacted with people, and pretended that it was a normal day.
If this was a normal day, I would have been able to call my dad across the oceans, remind him that yes it is indeed his birthday again, ask him if he got whatever gift my brothers and I might’ve sent him, and it’s going to sound silly, wonder like I did every year if I’d ever get to see him blow out candles one day.
It’s been a few months since he officially died, but I guess I haven’t completely understood what normal is yet. Nor do people officially die if you love them.
Staying up late because I can’t sleep. Dot hasn’t been eating his food for so long, no matter what I feed him. He stays in a corner all day and doesn’t even budge when I frustratedly knock on his tank anymore, let alone come to my finger like he used to. When he swims I get so excited, but he doesn’t do that much anymore. Yet he’s still alive. I feel like he’s angry with me and one of my NYR was to spend more time with him. I know I don’t pamper him the way Michelle did when she took care of him that month, but he’s always survived and endured everything. I didn’t want a fish after Mit passed away sophomore summer but Dot was given to me as a gift when someone asked me to homecoming. He outlived all the other fish used in the homecoming asking, seeing me through my senior year, graduation, my entire first year of college, this past summer, and even now. He’s been with me for two years and he’s acting more and more lifeless and I don’t know what to do. I’m sure he’s mad at me but I don’t know how to make him not mad at me anymore. I just really really want him to swim.
I’m going to stay up and do homework next to him all night. He has to realize I really love him and I can not lose him. I know I sound crazy that I’m talking about a fish, but he’s a really important fish. At least I’m wide awake and can do a buttton of homework tonight. :)
The need for a picture of my dad came up. I’ve been asked to find one due to my time spent with him the summer before college. One thing I’ve realized is that after someone passes away, on top of all things, there were never enough pictures taken. Never. My dad was not a picture taker, as I stereotypically suspect most adult Asian men, are not. But that summer I annoyingly teenage-girl forced him to take all types of photos. Ones by himself, myspace shots, touristy shots, and the best, candid shots. As many as I could. And yet I’m looking through this album and…. there just isn’t enough.
The last time William, Jonathan, and I all went back together to visit, we vacationed all over China and took a lott of photographs together as a touring family. I lost that camera at LAX when we landed home and we never found it. Lost and found never found it. Someone somewhere in the world stole a camera containing the last and only pictures of my dad with his kids ever, and we didn’t even know it at the time. It was my fault then, and that loss is even heavier now when I think about it.
Take pictures. People have grown to associate picture-taking with myspace, facebook…but there was a time photographs were more than a display, function, centerpiece of social networking sites. And they are more than that. There is nothing wrong with albums and mobile uploads, because there should be no shame in sharing moments you deem meaningful with other people. If someone’s pictures bother you so much, don’t look at them. No one should be taking photos for anyone else anyway.
But the idea of taking photos has become contorted into something negative if one takes too many. Honestly, there can never be too many.
I’ve calculated that I now take almost on average- with vacations taken out- 10 pictures a day. On my phone. These pictures are for myself and occasionally when I’m so delighted by a certain picture, for the world. When I take a picture of you standing like that, I want to because you are beautiful in that moment. When I take a picture of that piece of graffiti, I want to because it said something to me. A delicious meal from yesterday? Awesome. The piece of paper with your writing that might wither away one day? Necessary. That point where the trail meets the sidewalk? Important.
I take hundreds of pictures and they’re still not enough. Because at the end of the day, you can never remember as well as you want to. You just can’t. Human technology has merely created an aid to help humans remember certain points of their very long and full lives. So think of our photographic technology as a shittier version of Dumbledore’s Pensive. A point, and shoot, equivalent to taking a piece of something from your life and placing it in a capsule you can come back to later, if you ever wish. To remember, reimagine, relive all of the moments before that precise picture moment and after, recreating a memory. Easy.
Thing is I don’t even look at old albums. Especially the ones with pictures of my dad. Most people don’t. There’s always that chance you run into a picture, album, and thus time in your life that you bittersweetly press through, because you know things will never be like they were in those still life moments ever again.
But on these off chances I have to, I’m amazed I’m looking right into his face again. That candid picture I took of him standing there, of him eating, of him laughing, of him trying to tell me to stop…I can’t ever see those images again ever. Well I can, but only in the confines of my mind. The photographs kind of help. So sure. Be annoyed at the girl who takes too many photos of everyone. Be bitter when you look at old photos. Bcause maybe, and in life most likely, those people are different now, those places don’t look the same anymore, and those moments have passed. But isn’t there a beauty you captured it, in all that it was, when it happened?