(4th August 2017. I am early for tuition, so taking my time, I walked to my tutee’s place. Still with half an hour to go and not wanting to intrude on his own time, I find an empty bench. In a little corner by the road. Nobody’s here. I sit.)
A bird is chirping. The same tune over and over again. Not tired of its own voice. Convinced of its purpose, maybe. One day, a response will come. It will.
Macdonald’s delivery driving through the gantry. I haven’t had dinner but I am not hungry. Food doesn’t tempt me as much as it should, though I am not losing weight either. A pity.
People walk pass. Some avoiding my gaze and choosing to look at the pavement. Others, staring at my lack of hair blatantly and questioningly. Almost with a judgment. But I don’t feel affected, just curious.
A boy is walking away from me. Also on the pavement. Just clapping. He’s alone. Clapping softly then louder and louder. But he is too far now. I can’t hear him anymore. He’s disappeared.
The bird’s still going. Perseverance is key.
I have twenty minutes to go.
Text messages and emails are coming in. It feels good that people remember me and swamp me with work, plans. Sometimes. But I wonder what my self-worth is if I get these calls less. Maybe I will just answer them later.
I listen to the little bird. Nowhere in sight but such a loud voice. Always so cheerful. Happiness is such a questionable thing.
A lonely national day flag sways in the soft wind. Tilted just slightly towards the ground. What is the flag about, and what does it represent? Do I feel it in any part of my being? If I don’t, does that make me unpatriotic?
Water runs through the sewers. White tube-shaped pipes snaking about the ceiling of where I am seated. How do they know where to twist and turn, to be right? These mechanics fascinate me, but nobody really talks about them until they dysfunction.
The bird is quiet now. Flown away, maybe?
There is a man in a white shirt, standing by the road now. His arms on his hips. He is just watching the children of other families run around and cars passing. Waiting. Just watching. Listening to languages of a different skin. A neutral face. No comments.
And here I am. Removed and part of this environment at the same time. Sitting on a green bench. By myself. Leaving now.