by Chua Han Au

I’m sitting in McDonald’s and as I look up, I am greatly disgusted by the pads of brown moss that have illegally metastasised on the innocent white ceiling. It is as though everything pure has to be marked with a sign of age and rot. There are people studying, with earphones popped comfortably in their ears, writing hastily with their heads tilted to a tad degree; couples ludicrously examining the delicate features of each other, breaking out in genteel laughters; two boys reading comic books as they await their dinner to be served, like kings.

Then there’s this reclusive old man, seated objectively at the right corner of the restaurant. Sipping a hot beverage (most likely coffee for it is what old people in Singapore prefer right?), looking into blank spaces, as if he has been to everywhere in the world and here he is, content and repose.

I look at people walking down the stairs, symbolic of how swift presences and absences are — they come and go, come and go like an ebb and flow.