Saturday, 30 July 2005

Back to the old duke

830 - Read his writings on the way to Scotts Dental this morning, emerging an hour later with a 15% of an incisor - can't decide if it's 10% or 20% - lost to a diamond saw.

1040 - Read his musings again on the way to the dental lab in Ubi where I spent a grand five minutes of my life with the endearing ah pek who picked a matching white for my veneer.

"Are you studying still, or working?"

See, I cannot look like I'm 30 right?!

1120 - Took a bus back. As we sailed through Serangoon, I noticed the dark skies outside. Wonder if I could still go to the pool later..

1135 - Crossed a rain front, realised I would be trapped at the bus stop without my umbrella. Dismayed, I thought I would need to take the bus all the way to the interchange and take a bus back to the bus stop on my side. But as I glanced back to the book in my hands, I shrugged. It would stop.

1140 - Feeling cool at the bus stop. Would be there for a while but with the duke I was feeling alright, not hurried at all. Couldn't remember the last time I actually enjoyed the prospects of being stuck somewhere taking shelter from rain.

I am mesmerised by the book. The way it is written, the language, the descriptives, make every detail come alive. A movie unwinds in my head with every word I read. I can imagine the duke alone in his house of many rooms, a solitary mass in his estate, his contorted body tormented by old age and related pains, physical and mental. I doubt any actor can be as convincing as the old fellow in my grey matter, brought into life and flesh by the intricate combinations of chemicals somewhere within.

A thought pops into my head: is it the genius of the author or the incredible science of unreined imagination that knows no bounds, which enables me to conjure all these images? The writer, I suppose, cos without first the his mastery of language and emphasis, where does my brain the magician draw the rabbit from?

1145 - The rain seemed heavier, was getting paranoid that I might catch a cold, my greatest nemesis. Initial delight at the refreshing rain also started to give way to this sense of insecurity associated with heavy rains.

At moments like this, my mind tends to drift back to that rainy day more than half my lifetime ago, when on the way back from tuition a slipper was sucked into the muddy grass beneath the water surface, which was at mid shin. I couldn't move, had to shout for my father who happened to be fetching me that night, and he had to pull out my slipper. I felt safe and warm despite the beating rains back then, but never again.

1150 - I tried to focus on my paperback but rain spray was heavier and I was compelled to protect the book. And my eyes, then my mind, went travelling.

Observed the young Indian auntie with three young kids, they seemed happy playing among themselves.

One leggy girl went "tsk" and decided to brave the rain to get to the other side of the road. How enviable.. I didn't want to get wet, didn't want to get dirty. But what if the rain didn't stop, couldn't stop? Not possible I know but let's say, if. I suppose the only outcome would be that I could never get to the other side if I stuck by my don't-wants. I can be so inflexible sometimes I'm amazed with myself.. Back to reality, what's the difference between getting wet but back earlier, and back later but staying dry? A big bad cold, it must be! Now, I'm sounding like the duke..

1155 - Brother wasn't in, and Mother didn't want to come so far with an umbrella. I found no comfort checking out my profile in the advert box. Could only will the rain to stop. Been whining a lot lately so decided not to text Kel et al to whine about current pathetic state. I'm stoic enough!

1200 - 20min already. The three kids were still happily jumping about. I recalled that a heavy downpour at the end of kindergarten class was a great cheer to my cousin and I who would play at the void deck while the mothers were chatting to while away time before the rain subsided. But then some time in primary school, there was once when we were stuck at another void deck and I was restless and grumbling. Do all negative things come with age?

Wonder if the rain will really stop.. Caught a tiny flash of lightning. Suddenly remember how the elders used to say that this lizard thing could kill by inflicting a bite at noon.

1205 - kel called. Distracted, I didn't see the lightning. The following clap of thunder was especially deafening and I did a weird little scream - it was like I was going to scream involuntarily but realised it at the very last minute when the scream was starting to escape my lips and secondary reflexes kicked in to stifle it. Ended up whining afterall, though the pile of shit absolutely refused to offer any kind words to sooth my rain-induced depression.

Yet another query brewed as I stared blankly at the rain. I can be so drawn to the protagonist that I can feel what he's feeling, see what he's seeing - I start to be him - and my emotions dip and soar accordingly. I wonder if it's that simple, or if, in the case of this book, I'm picturing myself in his shoes years down the road. Or perhaps we share some common traits, like writing an on-off journal, some degree of OCD and random streaks, like how I felt when reading the what-midnight-what-dog book, from the perspective of a boy with autism - I felt so much like him that paranoia set in at some point when I questioned myself if I was ever so slightly autistic.

1210 - Yet more lightning and thunder but from the sound of it, the storm seemed to be moving away. I was getting really cold and hungry. The insects must be feeling cold too; in the space of two minutes, two different bugs landed on my bare skin for warmth.

A huge gush of wind tore at the commuters at the bus stop. Rain drops fell with such vengeance but were then ruthlessly spilled across the tarmac by a strong force. Realised my hair was damp with rain spray. Was quite sure of an impending cold by then.

1215 - The young auntie asked to borrow mobile to call her family to fetch them. I asked to tong bang, as they would pass by my block. But her family said they had no umbrella!

1220 - Feeling really cold and wet and miserable now. My initial brilliant idea surfaced again and this time, I heeded. Hopped onto the next bus and journeyed three stops to the interchange and took another bus back to the bus stop on my side. Mother came with a giant brolly. Very grateful. I think that's like the strongest feeling I can gather for her, gratefulness. I don't even feel ashamed to admit I don't love her like I love my Grams. Maybe I will when she turns 80. People tend to mellow with age, don't they?

1230 - Wet and tired but well sheltered at last. Comfort was sitting on the table in the form of mee pok tah.

1300 - Mother left to visit Grams. I now have the whole place to myself, single lamp, mp3 on my lappy, bits of thoughts in saved messages I wrote at the bus stop.

Rain to me is a strange occurence. It's refreshing, it can be romantic, there's a sensual feel to it that sometimes inspires me. But it's only that tiny a step away from making me feel vulnerable, a feeling that I don't quite like. The 40min at the bus stop left me in a pensive mood. Perhaps just as well that swimming has been cancelled as I'm in no mood to talk to even them, my closest friends.

When considered against the backdrop of eternity, the period between our birth and death is the shortest of trajectories. From the moment we first feel the smack of life to that moment when we re-enter the deep, black pool is but one breath. We are no sooner aloft than we begin to feel gravity's inevitable pull. We hang there but for a second in all our twisting glory. We feel the air on our bodies, our cold eye snatches at the light. We turn a little, as if on a spit. Then we start to fall.
- The duke's idea of life after witnessing a fish jump out of water and drop back in again.

1 comment:

  1. very chim horx. You should sleep early. Heehee.. eye bags will develop. Haha.. u look like this later > @.@
    Btw, nice pic.
    Peeps, your cousins.


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