Penelope glitches

July 27, 2017

I walked today; stepped out from Chinatown to the street, past Pickering hotel where a Vezel (connect one,) did a lane change so extreme it could have been a pencil squiggle. Stopped by a bus stand to learn more about round ligament cramps, hurried up to traffic lights which seemed always on the verge of turning red, perhaps my pace too meandering.

Peered into sidewalks and dreamed of possibilities, looked wondering up to skyscrapers in the distance, imagining friends working high up any of them, stern steel and grey. Thought if I ever lost myself from grief, I could wander these roads, labyrinth like my mind.

Saw my reflection too late on a storefront window, turned the neck at my silhouette. Walked uphill past a bak ku teh restaurant far, far too popular, in my opinion. Tried to feel if I was hungry, and what for.

Looked across and right at heritage buildings, rainbow coloured window panels, over the Singapore river, remembering an evening and afternoon too many years ago where two boys took turns to make a fuss of me. One was more unscrupulous than the other, and had hands like an octopus. I think my father would have beaten him up, if he’d known. Other boys, too. Now I’m a married woman, with a husband who doesn’t see the point of expensive restaurants but believes in plenty of affection. Here’s a kiss for you, Mr J.

My legs brought me past more old memories, a Funan centre all torn down and rebuilding promises, Fort Canning where strolls and wedding photos had been taken, a grand fire station I’d always admired. Churches and temples, one with a graveyard I’d stood some years back, regretful and aching. I’d turned around with an internal start; i think i made a donation afterward.

More buildings, more history, standing nervously aside for a gang of pigeons. Realising i should check Google maps, entering raffles city for takeaway dinner.

I’m at bugis now, with five minutes to spare before the Mongolia trip sharing. I hope i got the venue right. Another place, another time, another million memories.


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