by Chua Han Au
The idea of being utterly different has settled in gracefully. Being close to 19 years of age, the pangs of malaise are more intense; joy is nothing more than an elusive dream, where the possession of it is merely fleeting. The distinction however is neither the visible exterior nor the invisible cells that run throughout my body. It is simply in thoughts. I am once again pounded by nightmares.
These days, the pressurising premonitions received through sleep and being awake are significantly enervating. I have had all the possible outcomes carefully thought out. But it is not in the deliberate crafting of situations that tire the body and mind. Rather, it is the involuntary move to think that is wearisome.
After midnight, I repeatedly tap my alarm clock to look at the time, as if I have an appointment that crucially needs my presence. In doing so, it indicates a sense of anxiety that is too unpalatable to swallow. All I could remember yesterday was a scream — a sort of hollow and deep burst of holler similar to that of a first cry after being gagged for too long.
At night, I receive these nightmares tortuously. I am just 19 and all I need is sleep, to recover. At day, I get stabbed with a certain sentiment more sophisticated than mere melancholy; more deadly than poison. I was at a games store with my friends today, where they absolutely revelled in their childlike fantasies of video games. I, on the other hand, felt impelled to leave and find a sort of comfort that is not associated with interaction. I love working with people and at that point in time, I felt absolutely horrendous; as if my mind was plagued by skulls drizzled with black bile.
Oftentimes, I feel that my mind is an orchard of dead olives and rotting apple cores. I can’t decide where to eat readily, I don’t know what makes me happy — as if the cathartic sentiment derived from writing is gone, and writing seems to be more of a widening of the wound instead of scabbing it. I think I am depressed, but what do I know of depression? I am only 19 and I still have the whole forest to walk through.
There are of course times when I feel indisputably thankful for being human. The ability to pay attention to the minute details of the day — the bewitching pale azure light nearing 7am; the doleful countenance of the old granny sitting just outside the McDonald’s near my house at 2pm when I leave to buy lunch; the explosion of enthusiastic cheers emitting from the nearby playground as children engage in innocent play at 3pm; the switching on of street lights at 7pm; the slow disappearance of the sun behind houses as it majestically welcomes the arrival of the moon at 7.15pm. At night, I observe the subtle distinction between sadness and grief; the indistinct quieting of the city ending with closing gates; the ceaseless robotic churning of air-ventilators accompanying me to sleep; the mockingly ridiculous attempt to know the tipping point of thinking before deep slumber.
Perhaps all these are just the beginning of getting used to this exoskeleton and I need to give my soul a little more time to acclimatise. Then again, what do I have to offer with my writing for there are better ones out there that shine more resplendently than my words with rust?