“S… s… s…”
I was zooming in on one of the aisles in the Literature section. I had a book in my hand. I can’t remember exactly what book, but I’m pretty sure the author’s name started with an ‘S’.
“Almost there,” my mind told my legs, “Prepare for landing.”
“WAIT!” My legs stopped abruptly and I backtracked. That was my subconscious calling. As far as I knew, my subconscious hardly ever brought useful information to my notice. Without even thinking about it, I looked.
Hey! Isn’t that Jennifer Lawrence and what’s his name? Bradley Cooper, yeah. Matthew Quick. Silver Linings Playbook.
This overwhelming sense of déja vu slapped me all over. I literally felt light-headed and wobbly as I cautiously approached the book shelf. Gingerly, I picked up the book and a sudden flood of memories invaded my thoughts. Bradley Cooper in the sitting room, shouting and looking exasperated at his parents.
I know this story. I know this movie. I’ve watched this movie. Haven’t I?
Yes, I have. I was 100% sure about that. This movie was about two people with mental illnesses, trying to cope with their own problems and each other’s. I could play back scenes in my head and hear the actors’ and actresses’ voices in my head. Clearly.
The BIG, frustrating, save-me-I’m-mental question was WHERE? Where in the world did I watch Silver Linings Playbook?
This annoyed me to no end. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t bring up details about my surroundings when I caught that film. With whom and in what setting did I smile at the quirkiness of the movie? I went home and threw my burden to anyone sharing the dining table with me.
“I don’t know…” said my second sister tentatively, “Didn’t you watch it with your friends at the cinema? Just recently? Free tickets?”
“Did I?” I wasn’t even sure. But I was sure it wasn’t “just recently” and the free tickets were for a Japanese film. She did remember me recommending the movie to her and I did remember telling her how fascinating it was, watching two crazy people going about their lives.
It went on for days. Eventually, I started breaking down the issue logically (a huge accomplishment). The scene I remembered the most clearly was the one mentioned above. Strangely enough, at that point of time, I could hear everything. I cannot recall the feeling and senses now, but then, I ruled out watching it on the TV via the HDMI cable (because the audio would have sucked and I wouldn’t have heard a thing) and the cinema (because the sound that kept playing back in my head was at a comfortable volume). I had my earphones on.
For many days, I mentally trawled through the depths of my Video folders while in the shower. Unless I was sleep-downloading, I absolutely didn’t have that movie in my laptop. When I’m absolutely sure about something, I’m never wrong.
So where and when did it happen? I knew I watched it alone, because I always plugged my audio cable in when I was alone. I struggled with the weight of the issue almost every moment after I began stoning, which is hours every day. I became convinced that I suffered from a mental illness of some sort. Or brain damage. Although the former is a lot more believable, considering that I didn’t suffer from any blunt force trauma. Not that I would remember, but moving on…
Life went on as per normal. I woke up, ate, went to school, ate, came home, ate, did the dishes, showered, slept. That niggling feeling never once left me (well, maybe it did while I was asleep). I told everyone I was crazy. I begged my mum to send me to the one and only mental institution in Singapore. I had to be sent away from all those that I loved. I was a menace to all; I had the potential to harm anyone within reach.
Well, of course my parents didn’t fall for the dramatics. That was me trying to make light of the issue. Inside, I was churning, boiling, screaming. SOMEBODY. ANYBODY. JUST LET ME REMEMBER WHERE I WATCHED SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK!!!
Slowly, my usual fantasies came creeping back into my little brain. A nice cozy apartment with an open concept kitchen, Ikea bookcases against two walls of my living room, me spending my nights alone with a glass of red wine and homemade lasagna. A place in the only liberal arts college in Asia. Another internship in Europe. Mmm… maybe Rome this time. Warm (but not too warm) and sunny, with St. Peter’s Basilica planted against a blue, blue sky. The plane ride with my new friends…
The plane ride with my new friends. The Plane Ride. THE PLANE RIDE HOME FROM IRELAND.
I had my answer. It was surprisingly anti-climatic.
Now, what was the title of this blog post again?