It’s one thing to make a bad decision whilst inebriated – be it on alcohol, drugs or emotion (genuine or otherwise). But to make a bad decision fully sober and conscious is quite another. It would be a while before I can look at myself in the mirror without wanting to throw up.
I will never not look back on that day and not remember it as the day I lost my mind. I will never not regret the path I did take and the path I didn’t. I really do know how to ruin a good thing. I really am sorry.
Well, if you’re like me, you cry over it a bit. It’s just inevitable. Then you contemplate, make lists in your head and on paper, check your bank balance…
And buy a plane ticket to Tokyo.
That’s right. God-willing, come February, over my highly coveted 4-day Chinese New Year weekend + the following week, I will find myself on sushi and sashimi land. And you best believe I would eat all of it.
So sometimes things don’t come full circle. Draw a new line.
Last night I dreamed that I was being attacked and chased by people I was trying to help. I don’t know those people in real life, but something like that did happen in real life recently – minus the physical attack. Yeah, I’ve discovered that some people are just not worth my time and effort.
This morning I made waffles with my new waffle maker. I bought a new vacuum cleaner too. But my new home appliances deserve their own post. It seems unlikely, but my new home appliances are actually worth expatiating on. Anyway, I can now make waffles at home. I browned the butter so carefully it came out the most beautiful shade of brown; I whipped the egg whites so stiff until I could do this.
The other night I finally decided to take the wall clock I bought in Paris two and a half years ago, out of its very dusty box. It’s very cheesy, it has the Eiffel Tower on it. I don’t know why I decided to take it out now… But you know what? It doesn’t even work. I thought my battery was dead. I replaced it with a fresh one – still doesn’t work. Figures, doesn’t it? My Paris clock won’t move. It makes total and complete sense, really.
An online friend whom I stayed with when I went to NYC in 2008, and whom I met again for a brief moment in Paris one year ago, emailed me saying she would like to come to Singapore in February. One week ago I knew how – and where – I was going to spend my Chinese New Year 4-day weekend plus the week after, and that place wasn’t Singapore. But now…now I’ll take a guest in my home, sure.
I hadn’t seen you in six months. And if I had seen you from the back before, it wasn’t retained in my memory. So when you came into my office yesterday, at first with your back turned towards me, I had no clue who you were. I didn’t know you were coming to my office for a meeting with LCP; he didn’t tell me. When you turned around, flashing that megawatt smile of yours, my heart did a somersault and landed right in my mouth. I tried to mirror your smile, but my lips were trembling too much to maintain it for long. You asked me, very softly, almost mouthing it, “The meeting is upstairs?” I answered in the affirmative, and off you disappeared up the stairs, leaving a trail of tension in your wake.
To my left, AB’s shit-eating grin was taking over his face. I shook my head and warned him not to say anything. But AB said something anyway, not attempting to stifle his amusement at all. “OH. MY. GOD. Oh, that is the best. That just made my day.” I rolled my eyes and tried to return my attention back to my work. Knowing you were sitting directly above me though, I couldn’t do it. Quite frankly, I felt as though I couldn’t breathe.
Ten minutes later, I saw in my peripheral vision, a figure in white walk down the stairs and out the door, with nary a goodbye. You were wearing white so I was convinced it was you. I was disappointed that you didn’t bother to say anything to me but at the same time I was relieved that you were gone and that I no longer had to worry about my demeanour, or my hair. But then I heard your voice, deep in discussion. (About chairs. Duh. You are, after all, Furniture Boy.) I’ve heard that voice so many times from distances both great and small, I couldn’t be wrong. You hadn’t left yet. There was hope yet. Or was it despair? I couldn’t decide.
I had just received an email from CB when I heard someone coming down the stairs. I focused on my computer screen, in case it was you. CB’s email was composed of just six words and by the time that person had got off the stairs and sidled over to the edge of my desk, I had read those six words at least eight times. I was afraid it was you. I didn’t want it to be you. As much as you leaving without a word would have greatly let me down, it would have been a lot easier than if you had stopped by my desk to chat.
Which was exactly what you did.
AM met you at a party a few months ago and told me you had a beard. I could see now, with you standing so near to me, that you still do. For what it’s worth, I don’t like you with a beard. I like you better clean-cut. Your beard makes you look old.
“Hi,” we both said at the same time. Was it just my imagination, or were you nervous? If you were, you weren’t alone. I let you speak and I found myself fielding a flurry of questions. A telltale sign that we were once acquainted, was when you asked, “Are you travelling again anytime soon?” When I said yes, you said you were jealous. You said that the last time too.
I asked you the same question, and you regaled me with a story about your Philippines trip that didn’t happen due to your expired passport. You are going to Thailand for the first time in late May. You hoped you would have received your new passport by then. “Fingers crossed,” again we said at the same time. I remembered you saying you were going to South Africa for your school reunion in June, and asked if you still were. You seemed surprised I remembered. Probably not, you said, as you might have to go to East Timor for work. How exotic, I said. I hope you get to go.
The conversation felt too long as it was going on, but when I saw you finally clutch the handle of your bag that you had put on the floor, I wished you would have stayed longer. “If I don’t see you again before your trip, have a fantastic one. Enjoy yourself. Take care. Have fun.” No, you won’t see me again, C. But thank you all the same. I watched you leave and glanced at the time. The conversation had lasted nine minutes. Too long, but too short by our standards, don’t you think?
Once again, AB was grinning. “Shut up. Don’t say anything. Just be quiet. Shhh!” I commanded. But once again, he did not listen. “Congratulations to the two of you. Your awkward conversation is the highlight of my entire week.” TGT, who didn’t know anything about anything, exacerbated matters when he made this observation out loud: “How come he only talked to you?” AB guffawed. I rolled my eyes. Gradually, my heart rate slowed down to normal. Gradually, everything went back to normal.
Initially I wasn’t sure that you stopping for a chat would be a good idea. Too little, too much, too soon, too late. Absolutely everything and nothing at all. But I will tell you now that despite the uneasiness of the whole thing for us both and the fact that I was AB’s laughing stock of the day, that move was highly decent of you and you have my utmost respect for it. You just proved that I was never wrong about you being a stand-up guy, even if I might have stopped believing it for a moment.
But when I tried
to justify it,
The song played, my stomach ached, and I wondered how you were going to explain it to me.
I’m still wondering.