All of the above

Chris Botti performing live at the Petronas Philharmonic Hall

It was just another Tuesday. I was sitting at my desk, browsing through hundreds of photos on Getty Images for the magazine, and feeling quite pleased with myself that my Rich & Skinny (yes, the brand; a total oxymoron if there ever was one) cropped jeans weren’t cutting into my abdomen as they would have if being sick the previous week hadn’t taken 5lbs off my bulk.

Then I heard the little tinkling sound my computer makes whenever a new email comes in, and, switching windows to my work email, there it was: an invitation to attend Chris Botti’s concert at the Petronas Philharmonic Hall that very evening, as part of the press, and my editor’s message above it asking if I wanted to go for it.

It was a small gesture, an insignificant one that required no obligation to acknowledge. But it was big enough to bring all the memories, and all the feelings, rushing back — the giddy happiness, the crippling sadness, and the irrational anger. They were there nearly four years ago, and, to my horror (and I will admit, relief), they are still there today.

Happiness that I was there all those years ago in Singapore to share this with you. Sadness that it was that same trip to Singapore that brought everything I had wanted, everything I had hoped for, crashing down to the point where it could never be dug back up. Anger, so much anger, that I had never been able to salvage things and make up for the mistakes I made.

I thought those feelings had died. I thought that what I suspected was a reaction to the way I handled certain things in my life — none of which concerned you — had helped me stamp out the last sliver of feeling I had left for what you probably deemed my ‘pathetic predicament’. But now I realize that my anger and misdirected resentment had masked all those other feelings, and when that anger died down, the only thing it left behind was sadness. Sadness all over again. Sadness that somehow, we (or just I) had managed to drag everything down to this, to a point where it’s as if neither of us ever existed in each other’s lives.

And so I made the decision not to go. Childish and cowardly though it may have been, but I knew in my bones that you would be there, and I couldn’t run the risk of seeing you, or worse, bumping into you at the concert.

You see, my problem is that I cannot (a) see, (b) think or (c) be reminded of you without having that beautiful, excruciating pain return, and Chris Botti happens to be (d) all of the above.

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