At the still point of the turning world…/ There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.” – T. S. Eliot
[Terry: Don’t stop until the end. The poem at the end is worth the entire post. I’m just sayin]
walking home from a school just behind where we lived was considered dangerous. neighbours were not to be trusted, and neither was my auntie (or, domestic helper, if you must), to bring me home safely because, i wasn’t “their child”. so i crossed roads in a school bus till i was 9, and suffered the silent judgment of a bus bursting with the cruelty of innocence for five mins, five times a week.
the year i turned thirteen, i took the public transport alone for the first time, and unsurprisingly, got lost. it didn’t occur to me to be fearful until i heard my mother’s panicky voice over the phone, “where are you? i’ll come and get you.” “no,” i replied, beginning to feel terrible for all the trouble that i was. “okay, then get off the bus and take a taxi home now,” she came close to screaming. but i refused. to flag for a taxi was to admit defeat, and i wasn’t ready to taste it just yet. no one told me that not all buses drove in loops. when i finally found myself at the gates of my house, i started choking up, not in fright, but out of pride. my mother embraced me and amidst all the admonitions (mostly, for not taking the taxi) told me she was proud of me.
on my first (self-paid) trip abroad alone, i was not allowed to stay in a hostel, or even a B&B, because it was “just too dangerous for a girl”, they said, and paid for my hotel room. my embarrassment, and perhaps even shame, were anything but shallow. i was thankful nonetheless, but couldn’t help but wonder, if danger came, perhaps, in the form of being a girl. my family is not well-to-do, but my mother lives in fear. she lives in fear of losing us, her children.
some nights, as we lay awake, me filling the space left by my father’s absence, she almost begs me not to leave. her anxious anger as she says aloud to no one in particular, that if anything happens to any of us, she too, will die, always surprises me after, when the arm she has draped across my ribcage grows heavy. i lie awake for time innumerable afterwards, familiarising myself with the rhythm of her breathing, keeping in tempo with her, as if to reassure us, i am still here. the bed is too large for the both of us, as we lie close, dividing it instead of waiting for it to divide us; and also, too small, for my mother’s love. in the darkness that swims behind my eyelids, i feel the warmth of the night light my mother has left on for me.
perhaps i have inherited and shrouded myself with this same fear of loss, developed the defences i believed would protect me from becoming too much like her. but these days, when the boys in the family laugh at her paranoia and wild imagination, i think about holding her hand, and telling her that a light has been left switched on for her, too.
so, it’s only the second post, but i am ready to bail. i guess i do this quite often – get scared/freak out and bail on open “journals”, and perhaps, people, amongst other things, i’m sure. but, since i’m on a roll, doing things i wouldn’t normally do, i will persevere (:
a couple of weekends ago, my friends and i woke up insanely early and went trooping around some trail in an area i have never heard of, ever. here are a few photos from the day (: (although as with most things on this island, you can never seem to get nature alone, concrete’s always just some distance behind. (this is probably a terrible excuse for why most of the photos capture urban spaces.))
i think my pitch went up a few notches when i spotted this provision shop! i haven’t seen one of these in ages! i’m sorry if i sound terribly spoilt and/or like a country bumpkin, but i was overjoyed. i’m so glad they still exist (‘: i wonder if my children (if i ever have them) will know what a “mama shop” is. well, there’s always this photo, i guess? (:
on our way to find me a swing (i love swings very, very much), my lovely pals decided it would be fun to try out this see-saw looking device, except… it wasn’t a see-saw, and this is them trying to figure out how this contraption functions. hehe.
and, save the best for the last, they say! i actually attempted to write a poem inspired by this sighting, which left me in awe of the wonders He has planted around me/us, a (whaley) lovely card’s contents, and a friend. so, here goes nothing (:
He stands there
unbraiding the sunlight so
they may fall in Grace
and dance lightly
atop the aching
leaves whose hearts beat
darkness; gently clutching
weariness like weathered oak
wrinkled with memory
but also, faith, held close
against its bones.
- Happy Birthday LEGO Systems, Inc.! (ceeteamblog.com)