Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

can’t sleep  §

Nearly 3.30 in the morning. I have to get up at 6.30.

Today she sounded different, a distant twenty-something woman with a deeper, professional voice and an unfamiliar, bemused laugh. As can happen during separation, the generousity of closeness has for an afternoon or two been mislaid.

Sometimes talking to her is just like it always was, like reaching out and touching her, like she’s not that far away at all, and then I can’t help but smile in spite of myself. But other moments, it’s clear that we’re separated by a lot of highway and a lot of new experiences, that new accents and new colloquialisms are now at play. At those moments there’s no getting around the fact that I’m thousands of miles away, in every sense.

Sometimes I tell her when she sounds different. I know it makes her uncomfortable, though she doesn’t say it, and then I feel guilty and strange because I know it accomplishes nothing. It happened last summer, too. I remember when I first arrived for my midsummer visit and saw her in a new place with new people that she was sharing a lot with, and in a way we were strangers, awkward and uncomfortable. I was an interloper in space that belonged to she and her travelmates, two competing worlds that neither she nor they were quite prepared to integrate so completely. The strange new guy had stepped unexpectedly out of the safety of “back home” lore to invade, to violate a comfort zone that they all liked. I was the unfamiliar thing, and I stood fifteen feet away from everyone that day and well into the next.

By the end of the week, though, everything felt good, and I knew that I loved her as always. I think that visit carried us through the summer. I feel bad or nervous about saying that I want something similar once again for some reason, but right now I’d kill to hear the voice and see the face of the girlfriend that I know and love. And lest I forget, this summer’s scheduled to be longer and more stressful than last.

I know I’m more sensitive to this stuff than other people. I have the physical scars to show it, some old, some new. I wonder why I sense it more than others, rather often in fact. I wish I didn’t. But at the same time, it’s the sole reason I ended up in sociology/anthropology, so I suppose I should thank my sensitivity to the subtleties of relationships and feelings as one of the biggest motivating factors in any success I’ve had in the world.

I’ve got to stop drinking in and go to sleep so that I can go to work in an hour or two.

God I’m lonely nights. Having someone you love nearby can make everything — work, unfamiliar places, money trouble, etc. — seem deceptively easy. In some ways, being in a close relationship makes me much more capable. When it’s right, it’s a great source of strength. When they’re farther away, you catch some glimmer once again of how much the world really is a tough, unforgiving place.

Thanks, J—–a, for being my girlfriend. I love you.


One final note. I am also quite sensitive to the fact that the people that currently surround me in my day-to-day life are not my people in any way. And I am not one to live disingenuously, at least not for very long. In fact, despite the consequences, I am generally incapable of “sticking with” things that don’t please me overall.

And the current state of affairs in my realm of day-to-day face-to-face social interaction does not please me at all.

I don’t care about work. I don’t believe that “work” even exists, other than as a structural category. And that, right now, is a huge problem.

Said it before, will say it again: changes coming.


God, life is full of drama if you’re as loner-cool as me.


To the world: I often claim to love you, in spite of the fact that you clearly do not love me. In fact, I don’t. I do, however, love all of your children, and your decorator.

The hardest thing for a twentieth-century western person to do: let themself be loved, simply and acceptingly, without freaking out in one way or another.



Over 300 entries now in Leapdragon ’05.

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