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The morning begins with a downpour, as if earth is attempting to bring its climate back to an equilibrium by introducing grey clouds, to cool its otherwise intensely heated self. Today is however unusually quiet, notwithstanding the usual mynas and the faded goodbyes of cars as they leave their houses. Take a deep breath — the clean and heavenly scent of the after-rain is awfully refreshing. I remember writing till late at night yesterday, and realising under the yellow light that my handwriting’s changed; they curve like deadly branches. I woke up feeling dreadful and tired, the whirl of emotions and daunting presentiment just mix like terrible soup. All I want is to just drink tea and be fully engaged in reading Plath’s pellucid writing; to be utterly obsessed over her profound philosophies and gravely depressing thoughts.

I spend my days at home wondering about what I have done for the past 18 years. First, you realise that time is like a selfish old man, giving you more in suffering and shortening it in joy. Second, life is pretty much always an equilibrium — one never gets too much discrimination for they are remedied with sympathy. Conversely, too much joy today confiscates the bliss of tomorrow. One cannot be the embodiment of everything idealistic, for flawlessness takes away another precious element from oneself. And this is life — we are nothing but mere actors on an invisible stage, under the subjugation of a possibly diabolic puppeteer; where night and day are merely styrofoam backdrops they change according to what they favour.

What Are We

I: In the train

The two gentlemen discussed enthusiastically about the marvellousness of technology; the accessibility of a scientific calculator by simply turning the phone to landscape mode. I saw one of their eyes metamorphose into a pair of thin lines, indicative of satisfaction and contentment from living in the 21st century. Distinctively, the way he enunciates “common sense” as “common cent” is proof that he once belonged to the civilisation of attap houses, with bamboo poles as gates rather than alloys.

Another stands beside me, sending his recorded words of concern to his wife through Facebook. I couldn’t quite comprehend his language for his accent suggested that he probably originated from a certain dialect group in China. More admirably, he is not bothered about the judgements others might have of him, as the tone of his voice was relatively loud in the rather silent cabin. Separated by distance, what he only has on his mind now is whether his wife would be able to receive his audio note as he awaits her reply patiently in Singapore.

II: At the playground

Life is just gravely pretentious since birth, the nurse exclaims in undue excitement whilst announcing the gender of the baby. In actuality, her excitement is the same old demeanour she grabs off the shelves before surgery, masking her stoic countenance.

A girl runs past me, being genuinely eager about wanting to have fun at the playground, her mother merely smiles and gestures her to go ahead, pushing the pram placidly. The child surmises her approval to be a form of motherly companion for play, only to be disappointed. We reach a point in life where we lose all innocence and extract ourselves away from childlike behaviour. The mother sits by the side, being wholly engaged by whatever is going on in her phone, smiling to herself, unconsciously leaving her child alone. Alas, the playground is a metaphor for our elusive happiness, the colours of our life, always far from home.

III: In the car

The music playing in the car is utterly loud, like fireworks rupturing the repose night sky. I feel sick, perhaps it’s a consequence of staying up too late in the night while reading the unabridged journals of Sylvia Plath and hastily writing down fragments of beautiful phrases that I would like to read again in the future. The car is going at a rapid speed and I think to myself — rather perversely — if it loses control, what will happen then?

When I am on the brink of death, with the smell of metallic crimson blood being so pungent, will my mind go blank because of my inherent disability to witness blood or would it be due to sheer resignation? Will I remember that I am still human, capable of hollering for help?



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