Surf’s up on Repulse Bay
So it’s goodbye to blue skies and long days drinking in the summer; hello to a work desk and clocking in/out again. Yes, ’tis the season for work after a long hiatus away from employment. (Blame it on the recurring blues) This is make-or-break time, unfortunately…my last-gasp attempt at middle-class propriety. But I’m trying to convince myself that I should treat everything with the utmost lightness.
Until it gets so light that I cancel myself out.
Around the Neighbourhood, circa 2014 (Home is just round the corner, after the steep stretch)
“In the beginning there was a river. The river became a road and the road branched out to the whole world. And because the road was once a river it was always hungry.” The Famished Road, Ben Okri
It’s a long strange road back to the land of happy valleys and blue skies, full of detours, dead ends and monsters in the disguise of white knights, as well as a few good men (and women). I’m not sure I’m fully there yet, what with the sudden darkening of my mind even on a good day like this (matched by the capricious weather, all sudden showers and squirts of sunshine), but slowly, laboriously, I find myself rejoining the ranks of the sane. This is a strange feeling, happiness, and I am unable to savour it except with caution, for fear it might disappear in an instant.
Hell is pretending to be well when you are anything but. It’s walking down supermarket aisles with next to no cash in your pocket and even less in your bank account, unable to buy even a chocolate bar for sustenance. It’s attending events and function where old friends gather and chit-chat about their various successes while you mime their gestures and try your hardest to blend in with the wash of small talk. It’s dressing in borrowed finery and knowing one day there will be debts to be paid.
Woke up towards the early hours of the morning with a sudden and insatiable desire to post something on Facebook about the nightmare I was just in, a desire which I curbed. I haven’t posted anything there for ages and I don’t intend to start now.
But the nightmare stayed, lingering, sticky, radically unnerving. Somehow I need to deal with its spillage into my waking life.
And so I stagger to the computer, in hope of putting it down for virtual posterity.
Nostalgia is a bitter but useful drug. The best part of my memories keeps me going, reminds me that if things were that wonderful, they could potentially return to that state in the near-future (or to a state which is near that state). Of course, indulge too much and your end up denying the present, and as the Zen masters say, to pin down the gift of happiness is to live firmly in the moment…
I’m sad but I’m euphoric at the same time, a dangerous combination at the best of times. What this means is that I’ll probably spend too much, give gifts away freely, end up in the bedrooms of strangers, on the ledges of bridges and eventually inside a clinic or two. Yes, I’ve turned into a walking cliche.
Once there was a girl who wanted to be a nun.
Then she wanted to be a video store clerk, then a waitress in a 50s-style diner, then finally settled on ‘writer’.
Then she got greedy – she thought she could do more. She crammed things into her already squeezed brain. One day, it exploded. And slowly, she watched the proverbial figs ripen and rot and fall at her feet.
‘Plop, ‘plop’, ‘plop’.
Then finally, she went crazy, and nowadays it seems like an increasing likely reality that she’ll indeed spend the rest of her life as a waitress in a 50s-style diner, her love life that of a nun’s.
Except there are no 50s-style diners around anymore.
On side note, this little girl once wrote ‘I want to be a boy’ when asked ‘What do you want to be in the future?’ during her elementary school days. But that’s a whole different can of worms, best left to another day.
I’ve always trusted my gut instinct when it comes to love and career. Perhaps that’s why I’ve failed terribly at both. I quit before there’s any chance of failing or succeeding. I curtail things before they come to fruition, before even the words ‘I love you’ has been said. Basically, I try very hard to not try, most of the time, a depressingly teenage attitude I thought I would’ve gotten rid of by 2016, but clearly not.
Opened my wardrobe and realised I’m regressing in more ways than one – the babydoll dresses, the Peter Pan collars, the mini-skirts, the multi-coloured stockings. It’s the 1990s again, except it’s so blatantly not, especially when I encounter things like smartphones, ads of a half-naked Justin Beiber and my own aged face staring back at me from the mirror.