Within the confines of 0.25sqm, she taps her feet, swishes her hair, and flicks the wrists in rhythmic glee. With eyes closed, she flashes this smile. The kind of smile you would indulge in yourself or for the select few who are allowed to know your secrets. The kind you would have when you are enjoying the moment.
In the routine of the morning rush, I watch her burn the quiet minutes with purpose and love.
Some time last year, I found myself watching an old woman. I might have lingered and, very likely, I might have stared. The paragraph was drafted in March. And today, I cannot remember a sliver of that encounter. Re-reading the text, I must have been rather envious.
My life is shifting, in more than one dimension. These feelings of excitement of venturing into little knowns and occasional discomfort are natural. The feelings come from anticipating the change. It comes from imagining the process of transitioning from one state to another. It could comes from the imagination of the end state. It is really just a thought. How bad can a thought hurt you? Well, unless I am jumping into the wrong end of the pool.
Welcome to 2017. The year I give in to the shock of a state change and wait.
I have not been exceptionally proud of myself lately. I have whined. I have allowed balls to drop deliberately. I have whined more. I have formed biases. I have whined so much more. Quite simply, I am my own Achilles’ heel.
It is my day job to point that out to others that moping is meaningless and only frustrating to the mop. It is my day job to discover solutions that is unknown. As one quickly notices the irony, it is also embarrassing to mention that I have been rolling in bed in self-pity. This is fast becoming very unbecoming.
I don’t have a proper plan, yet, in resolving the situation. It seems like my tactics have only been targeted towards an exit. This is an embarrassing choice. I don’t yield easily, especially when an early exit will only mean a personal defeat. Age is definitely catching up.
The four-day long weekend is forcing me to think. Think. Yes, because this cannot be it.
“When are you ever sane?” She laughed as she slipped the rhetoric so casually. I smiled in response, knowing that it is valid and also in acknowledgment that it is not her first time trying to warn me, so gently.
I smiled because this is my insanity.
Things go on fairly loudly in my head, most of the time. So loud that I have always thought to myself, “Surely they can all hear it; I don’t have to spell it out, they can hear cogs; we are in synced!” Then she reminded me of the analogy that I use all time (on other people) – you can tap a pencil to your favourite tune, no one else ever hear same. The clues are in the eyes. I see them. I just need to learn give in to them. Just stop and explain.
I really want to believe I have a super power.
I am not a person of reflections. Partly I have enough difficulty remembering last week’s events. Thinking through the year must be worse than hiking from Monterosso al Mare to Vernazza.
But here goes.
2013 started as a regular year. Some lethargy about work, some hope in a new dotted-line, and some faith in self to be a better person in general. As it kicked off with a snow-stormed trip to Tokyo in January, I spent the next four months repeating work routines, working on strengthening relationships and pining for the extravaganza trip to Italy in November. The highlight of the year. Or so I thought.
It started as an innocent weekend adventure. I cannot describe accurately the sense of warm pride and gentle comfort when I presented myself with the gift of my lifetime. Even though it carries a heavy burden of debt, it is cradled by lofty dreams. June has always been a favourite month. Last year’s was simply special. As I signed off on the countless sets of legal documents, I knew it takes moving on to build a home. Thankfully, I stepped up.
And counted my blessings once again, as August rolled around. Treelined with turquoise-coloured devotion that paved the way for possibilities, it is a path I thought never to regain.
If you are going through hell, keep going.
And I did, Mr Churchill.
I was also fortunate to live through a couple of quirky days:
- Heaviest snow storm that hit Tokyo in seven years
- Typhoon Wipha in Tokyo
- Cyclone Cleopatra in Italy
- Stranded due to a transportation strike in Florence
- Carried a 25kg luggage through flooded Venice
- Boarded a plane to London, barefooted
- Suspected of illegal entry at London Customs
- A single fine sun-soaked day in Cinque Terre, unseen in winter
- Failed security screening because of a ball point pen at Changi airport
2013 was my leap year.
At some point, it becomes bearable. It turns into something that you can crawl out from under and… carry around like a brick in your pocket. And you… you even forget it, for a while. But then you reach in for whatever reason and – there it is… Which could be awful – not all the time. It’s kinda not that you’d like it exactly… So, you carry it around. And uh… it doesn’t go away. Which is… fine, actually.
Yes it’s fine actually. It will be. It has to.
Hope you’re happy and well. Miss you girl.
Almost randomly, a message from the one person who almost always manage a smile out of me with her generosity.
Ever so often, you get a little reminder that someone in the universe cares. Besides the blood related ones, of whom I suspect at times may be more obligated than genuine.
It is London calling. On the back of the Whatsapp technology. Well done.
It is the first day of school. The classroom is buzzing with eager chatters as the bright-faced teenagers in fresh uniforms wait for the teacher to arrive.
Two young girls greet and smile. One looks away, as she checks off the socially desirable act. The other chooses to strike up a conversation of the century. Checker politely responses, dotted with monosyllabic words. Having gone through the obligatory list of hobbies, Friendly fishes out a paperback from her bag and says, “Read this. It is very good.”
It is All Around The Town by Mary Higgins Clark. Checker accepts the gesture and starts on the book immediately.
And that’s where a potentially cheesy movie storyline splits into reality – I took that book only to stop the chatting.
Thanks to a five-year age gap, my sister was my source of everything during my formative years. My borrowed reading list at that time consisted of Reader’s Digest and Shakespeare. Regular fiction was not exactly my thing.
We did become good friends for a couple years. And I eventually confessed. She wasn’t offended but unlike me, she didn’t find it too funny. We did not stay in touch after leaving school.
The irony? I loved that book. I went on to read almost every book by that author.