Saturday, September 30, 2017

A Graceful Gesture of Futility

When we meet in the great Hereafter,
will you say hello?
Will you recognise me?
Will you turn to go?

I miss you
I miss you
I miss you
I miss you

And I don't believe
we'll ever meet again

I keep looking for you
in this labyrinth
but you're elusive
you disappear
just around the corner

I run. I scream your name.

But you leave
You don't turn back
You leave me
like you left me
All over again.



Monday, September 25, 2017


Well what do you know? I went to the gym for the second time in a row. I walked 2.6km. Burned 268 calories. 30 minutes. It's not bad if you compare it to nothing for the longest time. It's a start at least.

I'm wondering though if all this walking gives me energy. I didn't get to sleep until 6 this morning.

Ho hum.

Let's see how that goes.

In the meantime I am subject to epiphany after epiphany.

The character trait I was sent back to battle is immaturity.

I would like to expand on it but I won't. I will simply watch as everything progresses.

Still looking for a good MP3 player to download audiobooks. I want to listen to The Golden House by Salman Rushdie as I work that windmill.

And after that, I want to listen to The Windfall by Diksha Basu.

Oh brother, I just caught sight of myself in the mirror. It reminded me of why I don't look at mirrors. I  have a baby bump with no baby.

The next few weeks should be....interesting.

A milestone

It's an historic day. After sleeping until way past noon (closer to evening, in fact, to evening), I woke up and was productive in a manner of speaking. I wrote a letter and then posted off the whole lot (all six of them) and did some shopping (cat food, pork neck steak, one potato, one bottle of water, one loaf of bread) and then came back and got dinner going. While I was waiting for the potato to bake and the rice to cook, I went to our apartment gym for the first time.

I walked on the treadmill for 30 minutes, burned about 248 calories, walked some 2.4 was a start at least. I had intended to go every day in this three-day weekend and somehow never got around to it.

I have decided to record an audiobook on my cheap MP3 player, to listen the next time I go. That will help pass the time and stop me from looking at the clock and counting the seconds. I will work my way up (slowly) to an hour.

Any exercise is an improvement over the nothing I am doing now. When I put on my clothes I can't get away from the ample curves everywhere and truth be told, it's probably why I am so lethargic and apathetic.

I wil try for improvements. I will record them here.

After all, what are blogs for?

Sunday, September 24, 2017

All Bets Are Off

It's late and I'm trying to do at least a shitty first draft of one story. I am nearly done reading the Moby memoir which is some kind of wonderful (although I stopped reading it halfway because I wrongly assumed that he had made it and his life would be on an even and therefore boring keel from then on). But now I've picked it up and it's riveting and funny. A sort of ironic, wry and dark humour.

I have been offline for a bit and only turned on my phone today because Rose came and she needs to call me to come down and get her. There were some messages and one missed call - so all in all, not too bad.

Nothing hysterical and vitriol-inducing - I hate condescending messages that purport to be concern but isn't. Rather it's thinly veiled ridicule from a person who is so much more ridiculous than I, who goes on being ridiculous, who has everyone shaking their heads and bracing themselves for the crash, when it comes.

I wrote five letters today. I wanted to write six. Maybe tomorrow, when I finally wake up, I'll take a stroll and post said letters. Maybe.

Everything is up in the air.

All bets are off.

Things need to cohere a whole lot more than they are doing now.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

That Ship Has Sailed

I'm feeling sick and dopey at the moment. Have switched off my phone because it bothers me, and am just hanging out with my cats (one in front of me and one directly to my left, where he can lie and watch me without me watching him), surfing the net, reading my books, and maybe writing letters.

More and more I'm beginning to see that the mistakes I made decades ago, those that I thought I could get over easily, those that I haven't thought off for years, were fundamental wrong turns in my life. I kept rubbing up against failure because I had chosen wrongly. I was afraid of the powerful feelings invoked and so I deliberately turned away and drowned myself in another, that I didn't love, not really, because I thought of it as a way to avoid greater pain.

All the mistakes of my life come home to roost.

Right now, I lie in bed until evening, sick and unable to move, dreaming strange dreams, waking up only to feed the cats and then go back to sleep.

And when I'm awake, I'm distracted, unfocussed, wanting to do so many things at once - wrap presents, write letters, play with the cats - and not doing anything at all. At least, not anything productive.

It's nice to have my phone off. No outside noise.

Nothing to distract me from my loneliness.

If you choose wrongly, if you deliberately choose wrongly, one day you will sit alone, surrounded by cats (who are loving creatures and who try to assuage the pain, but cannot entirely) and feel deep regret.

You will Google the one you turned away from because you were afraid and find that they have gone on to live wildly successful, happy, fulfilled lives, without you.

That ship has sailed.

And you will wonder, what meaning there is in your own, and how you are to draw out your days, in a world full of strangers who become stranger (or maybe it is you who is strange and about to be stranger) as time ticks on.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Cat Tails

I'm less than halfway through Moby's memoir, Porcelain, which is fantastic (I'm at the part where he first performs at Top of the Pops and comes off stage seeing Phil Collins looking at him with a mixture of annoyance and confusion - who understood electronic music anyway?) and maybe I'm on UK time because I slept till 1pm - well I woke up a little earlier to feed the cats because they yowled so plaintively at my door - but funny thing, Sheba has taken to avoiding me after Bob. It's like he's nursing a grudge for me putting him and Pablo (but mostly him) at risk, and petting and loving the outsider more.

They come to me when they need food but that's it. Well Pablo comes to me a lot more than that; he curls up at my feet and rubs himself against me but Sheba is aloof and unbending. Think I would like to adopt another cat specifically for cuddles.

We are making our way through Duck & Pheasant Carnilove which both cats hate, but which they soldier on through as there is nothing else on offer. Because of Veronica, they now get wet food twice a day, and try to hold off eating the unpalatable biscuits...but sometimes, they're too hungry and can't help themselves. Especially Pablo. How is he to maintain his increasingly bloated figure on just wet food twice a day?

The cat next door stares plaintively into the kitchen window. She is kept out of the apartment by her owners - in fact, she is never allowed in and except for the brief times when she is fed or her kitty litter changed, she is alone - no human or cat touch. I feel so sorry for her. I want to ask the lady next door if I can adopt her. If she were here, I would finally buy the expensive cat castle so all three cats could have something to play. The balls I bought for Bob are a huge hit with the two other cats.

Tomorrow is a public holiday. I bought enough food to hole up for the duration without having to go out. I don't want to go out. I want to stay in and hang with the cats and write letters and transcribe interviews (so I don't feel too guilty about my sloth) and read books and watch movies.

The works.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Weeping wounds

So I sat through the interview becoming increasingly aware that I should not have showed up with my wounds exposed. I have ripped off the dressing the night before, or maybe it was the night before that, hoping that it would help the wounds dry faster.

But now, the boss of one of the largest digital marketing companies, stared in horrified fascination, as liquid leaked out from some of the holes gouged on my upper arm and threatened to flow on his table.

I was embarrassed. Halfway through I decided to address the elephant in the room, and told him how I had got the gouge wounds.

I got in the middle of a cat fight. Like, literally.

Bob, the stray, who had started off as someone's cat, then got chucked in the parking lot as the family moved out, taking the other cat but not him, the loving boy who could not find food for himself and would have starved to death if the cleaners had not found him and brought him to our condo, one of of the few with a stray cat feeder, who had learned to fight viciously to defend his territory and his females, had fought with Sheba, my own little cat who had fallen from the roof in Taman Tun. Well, perhaps not fallen like Ebony. More like placed by his mother in between my door and gate, in between two dogs, so I could take him him in and feed him.

Although Bob was a fighter, he had respected Sheba and kept his distance, not initiating any fights and running away the two times Sheba, emboldened by his lack of response, attacked and scratched him. I know Sheba scratched him because I fought the fresh scratch marks on his face and behind his ears.

Bob has FIV. Any scratches take a long time to heal.

Anyway, I tried to let the three of them wander around together (Bob was sleeping on the trunk at the end of my bed when Sheba came in growling). Bob growled back. But probably would not have attacked if I had not, on hearing the start of the fight, grabbed Sheba and held him in my arms.

Then, torrents of fury unleashed and in a split second he had scratched and gouged me, trying to get to Sheba. I felt the pain and saw the skin hanging on my arm and the blood start to flow. I screamed and chased the two into the dining room (Sheba had leapt out of my arms, finally seeing what he was messing with) and caught up a broom to separate them. At that, the two ran away to their separate rooms. I locked Bob in his and went and found Sheba in the other.

I dabbed at my wounds, cleaning them with water and alcohol. But it was of no use. Later, while out having my lunch, I suddenly smelled the metallic, somewhat fishy tang of blood and noticed that my kurta sleeve was soaked through.

I all but ran home, and lay in bed, feeling miserable, my arm wrapped in a towel, because it refused to stop leaking blood.

Later, I texted a photo of my arm all scratched up to Sue-Ann and she dropped what she was doing and came over to take me to a clinic to have a shot and my wounds dressed.

Veronica, the stray feeder, who had helped me pick up Bob from the carpark, was horrified. She came over with wine (which I could not partake in, because I was on heavy antibiotics) and changed my dressing for me.

Anyway, Sue-Ann offered to take Bob and as an only cat, he is the most loving thing on earth. I sort of figured out why he couldn't have another cat in the house. It's probably a matter of survival. After all, he grew up with another cat and that cat was picked by his dumb, dumb family and he was left to fend for himself. So he probably figures that competition is bad news.

Anyway, by the time I was at the interview I had ripped off the dressing but it didn't have the impact I had hoped. Instead of healing faster, my arm became swollen and the wounds infected. In fact they had formed an abscess as I learned later, going from the interview to a good doctor who squeezed out the abscess and re-dressed the wound and gave me a fresh lot of antibiotics and asked me to come every day to change the dressing.

I fell sick after that. I'm not sure if it was the wound or the bad air in my office (two of my colleagues that I deal with closely are sick) but I've spent the last two days sleeping in long sweet swatches of time.

I alternate between watching Hallmark Christmas movies on YouTube and sleeping.

Maybe today, I'll get some work done so I don't feel so crummy.

I made chocolate cake from a box (something I swore I would never do, but I wanted to use up the eggs in my fridge) and it didn't turn out all that great.

But never mind. I've stocked up so I don't have to go out for the next few days. I can just stay home and heal by myself.

If I need anything, I have friends who will drop everything and come to the rescue.

I've learned that with my weeping wounds.

Can you opt out?

There was one episode of Happy Days, a Christmas episode, where Richie and his family open the door and peep in and Fonzie is there, celebrating Christmas alone. Until I saw that episode, I didn't even realise that something like that could happen. It seemed like the saddest thing to me in the world.

Which is why it's strange for me now. I make such a big deal about Christmas...start buying presents in July, planning what to buy, getting the cards together, ordering more and more books on Kino. 

And on the day itself, on the day, I'm alone. With my cats (there is no dog anymore, she is in permanent boarding until I figure something else out) and my Christmas tree and the twinkling lights, opening the few presents I haven't already opened.

Can you opt out of a family? 

I guess you can.

Hallmark movies lie to you, they tell you love is forever.

I'm sure it is, but I guess, you're supposed to find that love that is forever. It's not the default that you ended up with, especially if the default has become noxious to you and you, to them.

I have a picture of my mother hanging on my altar, the only family member I have left, the only one that mattered, the only one that matters.

As for the rest, I guess I'll be seeing them around.

Or not.

Probably not.

I have opted out.

Saturday, September 02, 2017

The Elements of a Life

What makes up a life? It's all the little things. Funny thing is, in my mind, I keep going back to that uniform shop in Komtar. I've forgotten the name. I am remembering Girl Guide uniforms. I am remembering all these little elements that made up my life, that meant something - the uniforms, the flag raising on Mondays (duty calls), the ikrar we recited.

In hindsight it seems so pointless, so unimportant, all these things that made up my life, all these things that seemed so important, all swept up, all swept away, the elements that you saved, every skirt and blouse and t-shirt and shirt. All those things you cherished as we slipped away.

How do you feel now everything has been swept away, thrown out like they didn't matter, like they were all unimportant?

As your body disintegrates in your fancy coffin underground, how do you feel, Mum, all these memories, all my memories, all your memories swept away as if they didn't exist? In fires, in dumpsters, all swept away.

I miss you and somehow my mind keeps going back to the sky blue Girl Guide's uniform that you bought for me, that you had made. All those clothes you tailored. All the things that made up a life. Our lives.

We were far from rich. I didn't realise that people thought us poor. We always had enough. You made sure of that. When I say I had one parent, one parent, you were the one, you were the only one...and he, only existed in the fringes of our lives, not wanting to be more.

I miss you. I miss those nights after Komtar, doing my homework, dictating yet another edition of The Brief Chronicle. I miss what I took for granted, what I thought would last forever because how could it not?

You held the threads together, they were all in your hands.

And now, do you look down and weep?

Or have you moved on to whatever is next?

I really hope you have moved on. Because what you left behind has unravelled beyond anything you may have thought. It's not good or bad. It's people who are people wanting to be together or not wanting to be together based on who they are and what they want.

We were all so different. You knew we were different. You thought you could make us love each other, regardless.

But. It didn't work.

We revolve in our own circles, further and further apart. Nothing to connect us. Not any more.