Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Goodbye Ken, Hello 2006

Three days ago, a friend from college, Ken, killed himself by stepping in front of a train in Palo Alto. I just got the news today.

I didn’t know Ken very well. He was in my freshman dorm but we never kept in touch after that. He was extremely quiet. And a little odd. He always reminded me a little bit of a beautiful well-constructed robot, like Jude Law in “A.I.” He would only speak when spoken to. His room was completely spartan and impeccably neat, like he was in the military. With Ken, it was almost as if one had to constantly search for that little spark of individuality or imperfection just to reassure yourself he was human.

We would sometimes ask him out for dinner since we were friends with his roommate and also because we knew that he didn’t have any other friends. When he would join us, he would barely say anything. And he would seem uncomfortable if we tried to include him in the conversation. He always seemed to enjoy himself though, smiling as he watched us eat up to twice our body weight and talk at the top of our lungs (as college freshmen are wont to do). He never turned down our invitations.

From what I knew, Ken came from a very troubled family. His father was pretty much non-existent, his sister was a brilliant super-achiever (he pretty much lived in her shadow) and his mother was highly-controlling (she would even pick out his classes for him). He felt really unaccepted by his family and most of his peers. He also struggled with his sexual orientation. We never asked, and I think he really appreciated all of us not judging him and liking him the way he was.

The only tangible thing I have of Ken is a photo of him doing a pommel horse routine on the floor of our dorm. He was on the men’s gymnastics team and we had pleaded with him to do something vaguely acrobatic to entertain us. I remember us collapsing in a heap laughing. He laughed too. It was a great moment.

Why am I blogging about Ken? I’m not sure. I’m not trying to be morose. And I’m not shirking my duty to write about sex (I promise you the complex denouement to my Nate encounter at some point, so stay tuned). Neither is it a shameless plug to solicit reader sympathy. Rather, I was sitting at my computer trying to compose my next entry and my thoughts kept wandering to Ken. I wished I could have been more of a friend to him. So I thought I’d write a few words about Ken - a tribute, but really more of an apology - before reverting to my usual style of entry.

Two things struck me about the details of Ken’s death. First, that he chose New Year’s Day – the day of new beginnings - to depart. Maybe that was his way of celebrating his own journey. Second, that he was alone. A lifetime of building human relationships does nothing to counter the fact that we all die alone. It is an intensely solitary experience. No one comes with you or holds your hand. It’s just you and this thing they call Death, hurtling towards you at 200 mph.

Ask me how I want to live my 2006 and I will tell you: Richly. Joyfully. In vivid technicolour. With flaming passion and burning curiosity. And laughter. Lots and lots of laughter. I want to suck the marrow out of 2006. I want to ride on 2006 like a cowgirl. I want 2006 to fuck me unconscious.

Without a doubt, this blog celebrates sex. But it also celebrates life. And it will continue to do so. It is my way of resisting the black hole of depression, loneliness and apathy, things that must have plagued Ken in his final days.

I shag, therefore I live.

Sex has given me a diverse range of experiences I wouldn’t have had if I had cloistered myself off with my morals in some kind of HDB-nunnery. It has helped me make new friends including strangers on airplanes, friends-of-friends. Discover new things like threesome etiquette, Singapore sex shops, porn myths. See new places like Hotel 81, Hong Kong's New Territories. Learn new skills like how to give a handjob for an hour, how to fuck with a strap-on, how to snag a trophy shag. Unlock secrets of human behaviour from being crazy in love to fighting temptation. It has inspired me to write. And thrilled, amused, entertained me and my pussy to no end.

Yes, if it must be said, sex has been good to me.

And I’m glad to have found an audience that agrees. You do not know how the words sprout unbidden in my head, unfurling like little magical tendrils. Blog me blog me they taunt, whilst I scramble about to capture them on any available scrap (napkins, coasters, receipts, bus tickets) before they float out of reach.

For my friends. For the itinerants. For the regular readers. For you. Be it your 9 a.m. routine at your desk. Your secret wanks in the shower. Your guilty secret at the cybercafé next door. Your shared pleasure with your new boyfriend. I have loved being a part of your 2005 life, y’all.

Sorry Ken, I can’t do more except honour you with the trifle of a few inches on my blog. For 2006, I wish you peace.

And for the rest of you still reading, I wish you mad sex.