If you can write an autobiography and not feel some nostalgia than you’re a better man than I.
I began to think of the past again, even more than I normally did. I thought and I felt and everything new was old again.
Nostalgia for what, you may ask? Everything. I looked at my old artbooks – so many that I bought and I never used or even looked at. The anime DVDs that I hadn’t watched. The games I hadn’t played and the books I hadn’t read.
For the first time in eighteen years I wrote Evangelion fanfiction. Just because I wanted to. I remembered Anthony and Indy and Yui all that time back on the EVA ML, singing anime music to myself night after night, and the dark days when it was just myself against the world.
Basically I remembered the contents of this entire book. Everything that happened, and everything that I wished could happen.
The nausea came back on several occasions. I could tell things were getting serious. The nostalgia became so intense at moments that I thought I was going to die. Due to panic attacks and suicide attempts it’s not like I hadn’t had experiences with this before. This was different. It was…kinder, gentler. It was a thick grey blanket that threatened to overwhelm me, and yet I wanted to be smothered by it.
It probably reached its peak when I was listening to Silent Surrender on Youtube, the 3×3 Eyes ending theme. Not coincidentally (I was beginning to believe nothing was coincidence anymore) it was one of the first anime I watched when coming back to Singapore. I don’t think the title was a coincidence either.
Everything heightened and crashed down on me, and I just went deeper and deeper into the experience. I don’t think I even needed to breathe this time. It continued until suddenly it broke and I was back in the world again. But something had changed.
In the following days it seemed that I was able to remember everything properly. What do I mean by that? Not in a cloud of missed opportunities and if-onlys and despair at the Things That Passed Me By, but as they really happened. Writing and reading fanfiction deep into the night. Dancing on stage as people clapped. Playing video games and staring into the TV screen as hope and life and dreams were revealed to me. Reading books and comics and having to get up to walk around because they touched places in me I didn’t know existed.
For once in the landscape of my memory, the good rose up and triumphed over the bad. I remember smiling, and then smiling some more because I was smiling. I could not believe there were so many good memories! I could not believe I had really lived the life that I had led.
I looked at my hands and feet and marvelled at how large they seem now. Shouldn’t they be small and tiny, like they were when I nine? Eleven, twelve? Where had the slender hands and long limbs of my teenage years gone? Who is this oh-so familiar stranger that stares me at me from the mirror? I’m young, aren’t I? And yes, I still was. In many ways younger than before! And in others far, far older.
I played the Second Super Robot Wars Original Generations, which I had promised myself that I would play when the OCD left. It was leaving and so I started playing it and it was magnificent. I learned much from it, as I had always learned from almost every SRW game before. Do not control or control, neither resist nor be resisted. Wherever you seek the answer, it will appear in the now, right in front of you. To win without drawing is the path supreme.
But it wasn’t the same as before. I had no need to rely on the heroes on screen for strength now, because theirs had already become mine. Maybe it was time to leave – or at the very least, take a break.
I will very likely play SRW again someday. I don’t think I’ll be able to help myself! (at the very least I’ll watch a whole bunch of attack videos) But for the first time in fourteen years I have gone on to something new. Saraba da, ano hi no kyojin. (Farewell, giant of that day.)
In dedication to everything that I’ve learnt from that series of games – justice, truth, strength, all the virtues of warriors and men, here are words which I hope express the depth of my feelings.
From over the white plains, a burning gale blows in the blue blue sky. From dust to dust, the dark knight and lost children leave this endless battle. Aboard wings of steel that split the sky, fallen angel and steel wolf both bring them out of their dark prison. No more crying survivors, their wild flight takes them over the flow of time and the wall of worlds. Everywhere you go, we shall believe in our bonds.
The past continued to work its way through me in many ways, but at the same time, it was joining up with the present, and the future. The next chapter is ample proof of that.