The Most Wonderful Night of My Life, dedicated to my love.

“Tell me more about the most _______ time of your life.”

People are sometimes asked to recall things like that. ‘Amazing’, ‘memorable’, and then there’s ‘wonderful’—all of which bring different emotions to me. What is most memorable (in a positive manner) may not be the most wonderful, yet the most wonderful is part of your most treasured, memorable recollections. On the most wonderful night of my 28 years of life, there was hesitation, trepidation, and excitement over a spur of spontaneity of a tiny wrong-doing; I was loved and loved.

It was my last night in Bordeaux. I do not remember the name of the restaurant I was brought to, but I remember looking into a pair of searching, brown, light green eyes that betrayed traces of anxiety.

I remember being curious and surprised at the candle-lit food heater on my right at our table of two, and the deep metal bowl that contained our lovely fries. I remember having duck, simply because I like duck meat, and your insistence and confidence that the sauce served at this restaurant is to-die-for.

“You like it? Are you happy, my hime?” you asked earnestly.

“Yes,” I replied happily.

Some time later, a long table a distance from us to my right burst into claps and a birthday song. I saw a cake with sparklers being brought to the table. “I’ve always wanted sparklers on my cake.”

“Did you have a good time on your birthday, my hime?”

“It was okay…well it was nice. I went out with my friend for dinner at a nice restaurant.”

“I’d wanted you to have a big party, my hime.” You looked downcast, as if my recent uneventful birthday was upsetting to you. My sweet, gentle man.

We exited into the cold, and headed out to walk by the waters you love beneath the dark sky that was gently releasing raindrops. The buildings opposite were lights of yellow, and those yellow lights were also a faint watery mirage over the black waters. A small boat cruised silently by. You bluffed me that it was carrying drugs. I wanted to take pictures of us there, but you refused stubbornly. I posed badly for solo shots.  We hurried to the venue you wished to take me, urged on by the drizzle. But wait, we caught sight of a park sitting just right opposite. We’d spoken a few times about going to the parks together but we couldn’t do it. You said, let’s go in there.  I was in disbelief. What? Won’t it be locked? My pants aren’t suitable for climbing. You replied, no, it’s okay. I can carry you. You just have to jump up and I’ll carry you.

I had no idea how that was going to pan out; I was worried but excited. You were being spontaneous again. This is the spot Naim and I sometimes spent time at. We’d come here at night, and just sit in there and talk you know? We’d sit at the swings, and look up at the sky and talk.

We crossed the road, and you climbed over the short gate deftly. I wished I was wearing jeans then.

“Hime, come, quick, before anyone sees us.”

“How?!”

You reached out over the gate with two hands open. “Just jump up, I’ll catch you.” In a leap of faith, also fearing I’d tear my bottoms, I put my left hand around your neck and jumped. You caught me and brought me over the gate.

We laid down side by side on the round swing and you coaxed it gently into motion. Up, down. Up, down. I looked up at the sky that showed me no stars. I reached out into the oblivion with my hands, not sure what I was reaching for but perhaps it was to grasp a feel of eternity in the quietness and contentment—an eternity where time slowed down, and the world encased us in a frozen frame that held just two of us and the sound of our breaths. Raindrops fell more insistingly and heavily, protesting against the notion of eternity.

“Come, let’s go. I’m afraid I’ll fall asleep if I lie down longer,” you said.

We walked towards another gate in front. A car turned in. We averted our gazes quickly and turned our backs towards the road.

“We have to be fast so that people don’t see us. Let’s go.”

The same way we came in, you brought me out. I landed on the footpath feeling exhilarated, as if

We just created our own drama scene!  I exclaimed gleefully in disbelief. You laughed and agreed.

You offered your arm to me and we continued on our little journey in the rain.

The Journey to Paraíba (an edited account)

I am still in the bus, but I’ve have entered Paraíba. There is a great amount of greenery here, but not like the lush greenery in England; it is a dry, crispier kind of green on the wide expanse of lands that stretch into the distant hills and mountains. At one point I just…stared, quite transfixed at the hues of orange in the horizons that’s so beautiful in the blue sky.

And so I travelled along such greenery. At one part of my journey, I saw lots of white horses grazing the field through the curtain. So I parted it excitedly, thinking, UNICORNS!! That smile promptly faded when I realised they’re just cows.

And then the bus moved on. Brief moments the bus passed through the villages, I saw boys playing football on a small piece of light, camel-ish coloured ground with self-constructed small, netless goal posts. A few moments later, boys playing football at a wider space at the edge of the woods. I thought how different these sights were compared to the boys playing on concrete back in my home. Roofed houses after houses, scattered across Brazil land, or built in clusters on sloping lands – such inconsistencies in design and unlike the carefully designed flats back home.

More undulating lands. Rolling hills. I thought, so much land, so much potential. What if this area were to be made into a golf course? There’s a random small lake in the middle of the greens too. It sure looks like a golf course with such unevenness. Just as this thought crossed my mind, I saw a meandering river in between two plains, of about six to seven metres in width. Its path turned and reached gently towards the road I was travelling on. It twinkled under the setting sun in such a quiet, beautiful way. I was startled out of my reverie and blinked in surprise; I hadn’t expected its sudden appearance. Then I smiled as the scene passed me by.

December 20, 2015

The Test of the Strength of My Heart

This chapter of my life is about self-discovery, finding out things I’ve never known about myself before, getting to know myself better. This chapter concerns the test of the strength of my heart.

I didn’t go in search of this – it just presented itself to me. Because I was the most suitable around to take on this role but was not the most suitable person for something else. Anyway, that ship has sailed and sunk so I am accepting it that way else I’ll go insane.

Yesterday, when I felt the magnitude of your infatuation with the girl it felt like I was a dartboard being rained on by darts in succession. Across this three weeks coming to one month, I was hurt again, I cried hopelessly at feeling worthless again, I experienced losing you again, but the most enriching of all was the transition to being just a friend to you. Lover, to Friend.

So today I saw you. It was trepidation; it was nervousness. It was looking at your face again at that bus stop and trying to play it cool when in fact, I was aware of my nervousness and heart beat. It was noticing immediately you have lost a lot of weight, your thinner-near-gaunt face was unfamiliar yet the facial hair attracting me in its usual scruffy sexiness. It was sitting in small awkward silences, attempting small talk while watching familiar bus numbers go by but not being able to exactly remembering where it stops when I used to. Even sitting next to you in close proximity on the bus seemed strange.

It was hearing your voice in person again, walking down a familiar route slightly behind you while you were on the phone, deliberately trailing that familiar but already faint perfume scent that’s mingled with a hint of tobacco. It was walking pass that bus stop where I last hugged you good-bye. It was sitting at the coffee shop we once agreed to sit at to relax, only we did so today finally as friends.  You left behind your phone again and once again I rolled my eyes in annoyed affection at your carelessness. (It’s a wonder you haven’t lost it yet I swear.) It was also a nostalgic visit to the hair dresser’s where curious people have asked us separately on separate occasions where we were. And then it was us again at McD’s where I watched you blabber nonsense but I knew you were overwhelmed inside. I saw that tooth peek out from your grin but it was not a sincere expression from the heart.

“Don’t worry for me, Eliza,” you later said at the traffic light. No, I can’t stop doing that just yet.

Arriving in front of your place, saying good-bye. Feeling your arm around my shoulders at your thanks, shoving a stopper to feeling teary at a lost familiarity, touching that hand on my shoulder to assure and comfort you it will be okay. Did you feel the wave of nostalgia like I did? “Walk me to the end,” I said on a slight desperate impulse, “there, before the traffic light,” I pointed. “It’s a long lonely road, you know it.”

I tried to make you brave in our last few minutes together. You attempted smiles and jokes. We parted. I was shaken.

On the bus ride home, I thought to myself on the bus, that no matter how flawed you are and the mistakes you’ve made, I still love you, blemishes and all. I feel strangely happy that I do (is because I can still show you so in my actions?) but I cannot and will not force you to a corner, nor can or will I abandon you – not when my heart can still take it. There is a time for everything, and our time is up. For now, I will have to be happy being your friend and experience familiarity in a different way, feelings in my heart. On the bus, I realised seeing you again makes me feel what I feel every day – that  I have missed you. But more than usual yesterday, I felt strongly that I’ve missed the very presence of your being.

Hence I conclude : My journey of self-discovery the later part of this year is to love someone from afar. It is to accept what has passed, and make the best of what remains. It is to watch someone I love ‘love’ another, enduring pricks of pain while plastering a smile on my face. My heart will be broken but tempered over hardship and love, stretched, moulded and re-sculpted till I know its limits and size.

I love the tales you spun for me

I am reading a book called My Beautiful Enemy now. On the bus tonight, I read the part where the hero was entertaining the heroine with the story or Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. The heroine loved it. She loved it that the man cared enough to spin his tale; she loved it that she could relate to the story because of the wit and cleverness of the slave, Morgiana.

I alighted from the bus, missing you and the nonsensical tales you spun for me. I remember the last was about magic and penguins, probably.  I quite think now those two components were put together at my request since they are what I love. You told me that story as we walked in the mall near your house. As I walked home, I relieved that memory and felt amazed again at the ease you can weave together a silly tale. I love your imagination and love it the tales you told were for me. I wondered in my footsteps home, when I’d ever meet someone who would tell me stories again, and grew scared because the only males who attract/interest me seem to originate from animes or the books – they are fictional.

Tonight after my bath, I sat on my bed to continue my read. It got too hot and stifling. Influenced by the dead character’s love for Darjeeling in the book, I felt warm and thirsty and propelled to get a cup of tea too. I made myself some green tea, and sat down on the wooden chair to write this. On the television was a news report about angry Hong Kong students. I stared at the umbrellas crashing together on television but in my head was your voice. You loved telling me ghost stories before we slept. I paid as much attention as I could initially, but after that I simply enjoyed the sound of your voice as I fell into sleep. My thoughts floated to another story you told me – but it was also one we created together.

I was a forest wood nymph and you were a giant who was threatening the existence of my forest. In order to save it, I had to consent to save you by giving you a rare remedy found in the unicorn which lives by the lake in the forest. I was reluctant to give you the cure as that implied I had to shed my unicorn’s blood. The story grew more ridiculous and I was clearly losing because you always had more imagination. We ended up in hearty guffaws in the mall. I was near tears. I remember being happy and carefree. It was a short respite from the weight we had in our hearts.

I’ll return to my book now and share the heartaches and joy of the heroes. If I can’t feel joy for myself, then let me feel joy in words and others who exist in another world.

It is definitely cooler in the living room. I will spend some time here tonight.

Somehow, it’s Bath

Four months ago, on my trip to London, I took a day-tour out to Stonehenge and Bath (including a stop at The Secret Place which shall-not-be-named) with The English Bus. Along the way, my small group that was just made up of three nationalities (Americans, Australians and Singaporeans) passed through villages and caught a few glimpses of the decreasing thatched houses from our small but trusty bus, accompanied by our wonderful guide, Chris and his excellent commentary. He knew just when to pause to let us catch up with our morning sleep, or when to let us gaze out undisturbed at the rolling greenery that passed us by. His commentary that was peppered with little jokes was extremely informative and educational. You’ll learn a lot if you get to follow his tour, be it about the attractions or even about the roads of England! I cannot recommend this tour company enough. You may not trust me, but please trust tripadvisor over here!

The City of Bath is a beautiful place linked to the Romans, cider, hot springs and Jane Austen, who was there for some years in her life. I heard the Jane Austen gift shop is rather touristy. I didn’t visit there but still fell prey to the charms of a Mr Darcy bookmark sold in a souvenir shop.

Mr Darcy Bookmark

The original hot spring bath has been closed a long time since 1978 after a girl who swam there contracted meningitis and died. Now, imagine the irony if Bath is without its bath! Therefore in its place came Thermae Bath Spa, which opened in 2006. (It beats me why it took 28 years!)

The original Roman Bath may be closed, but the water from the hot springs is still potable! Head into The Pump Room, where the hot spring water is still served from the taps of a fountain in the restaurant – without charge! The warm spring water has gathered rather mixed reviews, so don’t be embarrassed if you find that you can’t finish the whole glass ;).

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My time in Bath was regretfully short. I chose to take the recommendation of Chris and headed to the Pasty Presto to grab a quick but yummy bite!

Pasty Presto photo IMG_20140527_141325_zps4fcb6559.jpg(There was a cute guy in the shop.)

If you have limited time like I did, please grab a quick bite at Patsy Presto or anywhere! But be sure to take-out because you don’t want to miss soaking up the atmosphere outside. There are buskers to watch, milling people to look at, and pleasant music to enjoy!

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(Probably) Bacon & Leek Pasty and Me, plus Gordon Ramsay-look-alike and doggie lying down at the back.

My last few moments in Bath was particularly delightful. I entered a souvenir shop just to the left from the place in the picture above, and splurged on a embroidered rabbit cushion, the Mr Darcy bookmark and a small bear that was wearing a blue Bath shirt. I don’t know why I wanted a Bath bear – I just did! I passed by a make-your-own-bear shop in the bus when I first entered Bath but that obviously was somewhere I don’t know how to get to so my mind was pretty much obsessed with getting a manufactured bear since I couldn’t have a self-made one.

What was particularly wonderful was, all the while when I was being indecisive inside the shop, what floated into the shop was the beautiful, melodious voice of a guy and the strumming of his guitar. It brought time to a slow, and a new reality to the ticking seconds. Eventually I went out of the shop and stood for a few moments enjoying his soothing tones.

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(The video showed up only at the first time. Subsequently it keeps showing as just a link. I don’t know why?!)

I bought his CD but strangely, he didn’t include his name. What art thy name, ye with thy beautiful voice?

My tasks tonight was to watch Line Walker Episode 19 and attempt 7 minutes of abs exercise but it is 11.06pm now. Actually, when I was in the shower just now, I recalled this Uncle who sings outside the train station at my town and all I wanted to talk about was how he reminds me of Singing Guy in Bath. The first time I heard him, I donated some money and could not help but stand one side to appreciate his voice. There’s something about his guitar and that slow, low voice that reminded me of Singing Guy In Bath.

Anyway, gotta go catch Line Walker now! Very exciting TVB drama everyone needs to watch!!

The Last Bus Ride

“Can I take a last bus with you?” I fumbled. Not A last bus! “I mean, a last bus ride with you?” We were approaching the end of our story and I wanted to close the chapter the way I liked it.

We missed a few possible buses because you wanted Bus 14. You said it travels a shorter route. I was getting worried you’d not make it in time to the internet cafe to edit and submit your resume. Bus 14 was going to take another 30 minutes or so because we missed one on purpose believing the darn bus arrival time board. Up 16 we went.

The night swept by us outside. You were on my right – at the window seat. Something new. I kept my gaze left, watching familiar sights pass by. They would soon be melded to memory too.

“Do you ever feel like you’re younger than your age?” you suddenly asked.

“No, I feel my age but sometimes I feel that I should be acting more like my age. If you put it that way then yeah.”

“I feel like I’m stuck at 24 or 25. Oh man I’m gonna be 30 soon! Gonna be an old fart!”

“Yeah. You know, when you’re 26 you can still ‘lie’ to yourself and say you’re a year from 25. When you hit 27..I’m sure you know the feeling – 30 comes quick.”

I sensed your worries and your heart. I sensed your internal conflicts: the struggle to be someone against flowing time that is slipping through your hands like sand; to be a responsible person; to be someone who will rise from the ashes and produce results in independence. I saw the pressure you’re feeling to live up to others’ expectations because they’ve never asked much but the pressure worsens with the more kindness they give. Then I understood why you say you feel younger. Perhaps it’s because part of you wishes yourself younger to escape and live free, or you feel mentally younger because you think yourself ill-equipped to handle the situation.

Such is life. I want to be your friend, your soul mate, your support. I want to listen to your rants and your exclamations of delight at the simplest of things that surprise you. But the story goes that we have to walk our roads separately to grow.

It is not simple to be you or me. 

“We will get there,” I replied simply. In truth, I didn’t know and don’t know how I’d get there myself.

Four words – but it encompasses so much more I wish you’d know.