Ordinary expressions of feeling become too painful to bear when your child has been abducted.
Days become weeks become months become years, in which it is impossible to enjoy what has been casually if intensely important all my life: music, movies, poetry, playing a guitar, singing, writing a song, taking pleasure in seeing children on the train or in the park or street. Sorrow in the ordinary way it is usually culturally expressed becomes an outrageous and overwhelming thing that can’t be approached or touched, because to do so is to risk searing pain and deep penetrating misery. Sad poem or song? Spririted expression of sympathetic feeling? Others around are enjoying the beauty, simplicity and charm of a child’s voice, his or her smile, warm face, tenderness. The swinging of her feet against the air in front of her seat. The longing look he gives his father and mother from the cave of a stroller. When she turns away or exits the subway car, my insides turn to fire. I have to grimace inwardly, or bury my face in my hand.
Work can routinely become extremely difficult to do. I cannot express this strongly enough. To have gotten through a work day is an accomplishment of great and intensive effort, now spread over years. Therapies, medical attention. Reading and contemplation. Fits of brain activity and emotion that are incommensurate with the trudge of the everyday sometimes plague me. Incongruous responses to ordinary stimulii. There simply are no “ordinary” feelings available any more.
I have taken refuge in reading over the last years, and it helps. I have also written and written, in notebooks and in unfinished blog posts that were supposed to go up here. As of this date, I have 167 unfinished drafts saved. … 167… They are probably mostly worthless, but among them are thousands of words in which I’ve been trying to reckon with politics and domination, privacy and security, precarious existence and “governmentality”… My mentors and teachers have been in strong disagreement with each other: Michel Foucault, Wendy Brown, Harry Harootunian, Carol Gluck, Masao Miyoshi, Donna Haraway, Jacqueline Rose, Anne Allison, Karyn Ball, Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, Slavoj Zizek, Bernard Stiegler, Lauren Berlant, Karatani Kojin, Julia Kristeva, Giorgio Agamben, Adrienne Hurley, Walter Benjamin, David Harvey, Ueno Chizuko, Bruce Cumings, and so many others. I don’t have the strength to name them all. They are my only saving graces, without knowing how to bring Rui back home.
So today is Thanksgiving, and the first night of Hanukah. I have my family’s menorah but I will light no candles in it without my son.
I am thankful nonetheless, for a handful of friends who have cared enough to pick up the phone, spend time with me, and give me consolation and encouragement.
I hope that one day I can name and do them all justice by producing a study, and a child who is now on his way to becoming quite something else from the boy emerging from the toddler, as I knew him.
I love you Rui.