Sunday, 1 May 2016

What makes everything else extraordinary

I shut my eyes and grab his hand with all my might -
In exactly 3 seconds, we would be plunging through the air and into the abyss.
I love high places. He doesn't; but he does it for me, anyway.
Adrenaline pulses through my veins. My spirit is lifted from my body, momentarily.
In that split second, I forget about yesterday, today and tomorrow.
In that split second, the world falls away and I'm flying through the stratosphere.
No, I'm not flying. I'm soaring.
The wind gushes through my hair. The cold stings the tip of my ears but
I don't care. I'm the sailor of the ship -
My personal albeit tiny ship that hosts the two of us.
I lock my hands with his as we head for the island.
The sun is up. The temperature is slightly too low for my liking but
It is otherwise a perfect day.
The warmth of the sand beckons me. And I respond.
I'm soaring again; faster than the wind, faster than ever before.
Brain freeze. He tells me to slow down but
When it comes to gelato, I can (almost literally) gobble up the entire cup.
It is probably a bad idea to do it tonight, though, since
It is probably one of the coldest nights this winter. I shudder, as
The blob of pistachio-flavoured ice-cream slides down my throat.
I stretch out my hand to touch his finger. It doesn't bring me any reprieve -
It is as icy-cold as mine. I look up to the sky full of stars and pray that
This would last forever.
He squeezes my hand and wakes me up from my reverie.
I am greeted by the unfinished essay that is due when the sun rises.
I am awakened to my reality of study, eat, sleep, and repeat.
I glance at him with dread and he immediately recognises the look on my face.
He knows that the word "mundane" is banished to the lower chambers of my dictionary.
He knows how restless I become when I'm confined to the four corners of the room.
But he also knows that I persevere because the ordinary is what makes everything else extraordinary.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Break down, break up

You know, he took my breath away the first time I met him. He looked so smart in his navy suit and tie; I just couldn’t take my eyes off him! I asked him to dress up for dates but he just couldn’t be bothered. I had to beg him – can you believe it?

I spent hours and hours preparing for his birthday surprise. You have no idea how difficult it was, trying to keep it a secret when I see him almost every day! And guess what…? He expressed more gratitude to his old friends who simply turned up.

Of course I loved his random surprises. I would receive clothes, bags and shoes out of nowhere – oh, I loved it best when he brought my favourite food home! But I would have traded all these gifts for a day well spent together…

I have insomnia. It takes me hours to fall asleep and I end up watching him drift into slumber every night. I wish, how I wish he had waited for me to retire for the night. It would’ve been easier, probably.

I honestly thought that he was the one for me. Although it wasn’t perfect, I was willing to compromise, to work things out. If only he had the courage to tell me to stay…

I miss him.

I tell you, she’s beautiful. She’s the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. I don’t understand why she had to dress up all the time. I loved how she looked in glasses, t-shirt and shorts. She never believed me. What could I do?

I showered her with gifts on random occasions to make her happy. The smile on her face was worth a year’s wages. Well, she did seem happy but it just… never felt like I was doing enough?

She was an amazing listener. I looked forward to going home every day to tell her about my day at work. She somehow made it better without saying anything! It’s just that she never seemed to understand that what I yearned for was her kiss, her embrace, and her pat on my back.

I am an early riser. I was always the one waiting for her to open her eyes. I wanted to be the first thing she saw in the morning but she never tried to get up early, before I left for work.

I swear, I would’ve proposed to her. The moment we got together, I knew she was the one I wanted to marry. Why did she have to say those words? I would’ve forgiven her. If only she said she was sorry…

I miss her.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Not made for war

I pull open the curtains of my eyes.
A burst of sunlight invades my moment of reprieve.
It's another day, but it's the same old war.

They say, "Come join the army."
They say, "Take up the call."
They say, "Defend your country!"

We took up the call.
We've been preparing for war.
We've spent our lives waiting for that moment.
The moment that we pick up our weapons.
The moment that we shed blood for honour.
The moment that we march the victory march.

We wait.
And wait.
And wait.

In the meanwhile, we train hard.
We give up on the things we've always wanted to do,
We walk away from the hustle and bustle of life.
We sacrifice.

We spend (almost) every moment preparing for the war.
And soon we forget that we ever wanted to do those things.

We march into the battlefield with smiles on our faces.
We boost our morale with songs of victory.
We count down to D-day - 
The day we flaunt our life's worth of sweat and blood.

Like fools, we march on and on.
Like fools, we believe we will win.
Like fools, we allow them to make us fight their wars.
But in reality, we've lost from the beginning.

It's another day, but it's the same old war.
The war against my classmate and my colleague.
The war that society has called us to.
The war that offers security and success.

I'm marching onward to that war,
But I'm spiralling downwards in everything else that I have known.

I'm not made for war.
I'm not made for war.
I'm made for my safe haven.
I'm made for your embrace.
In your arms is where I find security.
But I will fight the war.
And I will win the war.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Monologue: The Woman Caught In Adultery

I was in my secret place. I was deep in my sin.
How would I know that they would find me?
How would I know that they would expose me!
I stood there with my body bare. I was clothed in shame.
They looked at me with contempt.
They advanced towards me with scorn.
I wanted to run, to hide, to disappear from the face of the earth.
My feet were rooted to the ground.
I was worn down with guilt and disgust for myself.
I wanted to die. I wanted to die.

They spitted at me, yanked my hair, dragged me on the ground.
Where were they taking me to?!

I was dishevelled.
My hair was loose, my lipstick smudged, my mascara discoloured by my tears.
I was covered with dirt and my legs were bruised.

They dragged me to him.
The man whom the whole town was talking about.
The man whose feet no one was worthy to touch.
The man who was the epitome of perfection.

Why were they doing this?!
As I was shoved to his feet, humiliation washed over me.
If he was the clear skies that everyone longed for,
I was the hailstorm that everyone hated.

They started to draw out their handphones.
Were they going to take pictures of me?!
It was utterly humiliating!
I covered my body with my scrawny arms before they could -

It was too late.
The whole town was going to know about my promiscuity.
I buried my face in my hands to stifle my sobs.
Then I felt a large hand rest upon my shoulder.
I lifted my head and I saw him.
The man whose feet no one was worthy to touch.
He caressed my shoulder and blocked me from the cameras.

I was overwhelmed.
I didn't know this man but it felt like he loved me.
I was put in a trance as he uttered a string of words to them.
The next I knew, everyone was gone.
Everyone was gone!
I was vindicated!

He held my face in his tender hands.
"I don't condemn you. Go and sin no more."

About a year later, I received the news that he had passed away.
He didn't die in an accident. He wasn't put to death for a crime he had committed.
He was blameless till his last breath!
He was murdered because, because of me!
Because he forgave me when everyone else condemned me,
Because he embraced me when society hated me,
Because he made my sin, his sin,
They despised him and killed him.

Do I hate myself? Do I feel burdened?
No! He said, "My yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
I am rested. I am made not-guilty.
He lives in me. He lives in me.

Adapted form The Woman Caught in Adultery. (John 8:1-11)

Friday, 4 March 2016

My first playmate

You were my first playmate. My best friend.

I don’t know how it would have felt to have my own Barbie doll as a kid but I sure loved playing with beyblades and racing cars – because it was with you.

You; the one whom I threatened to drown whenever we went for a swim (I would never have done that by the way – just in case you still don’t know!). You; the one whose face I left fingernail marks on when my fingers were itching for revenge. You; the one who made me fume with rage whenever I was caned for hitting you. You; the one whom I stood up for when the little boy at the playground insulted you (I even remember cursing at his mum when she reprimanded both of us!) You; the one who kept on revealing my embarrassing moments in front of my cell group friends. You; the one who made me regret chasing you out of cell group, thinking that you made bad company because of what I did. You; the one who made me worry like never before when you walked out of our villa, into the night, after you fought with Praise. (We were on a holiday in Malacca, and mum and dad were out buying dinner for us. You were less than 12.) You; the one who cried and said sorry for being a mean brother after I got hit by a car. You; the one who made me tear up when I heard that you got a tattoo (yes I did) because I hated the mere idea that you might some day regret.

You were my chief accomplice.

I remember our supermarket missions, stealthily dropping snacks into the trolley but never succeeding at making mum pay for it at the counter. I remember taking turns to play Maple Story (okay fine, I probably hogged the computer most of the time) while helping each other keep watch for mum to return home, signaling that it was time to force-shut the computer and run back to our rooms. I remember talking about all-things-random at bedtime and pretending to be fast asleep the moment dad entered the bedroom. I remember being each other’s dummies, as we practised throwing the kicks and punches of aspiring street fighters (which always ended up as actual fist fights).

I was always the bully. You were that small little boy that always got pinned down by me.

But as you grew, it took me a little more energy to keep you down.

And you grew. It was becoming a challenge.

And grew. I knew I could no longer win.

Yet, I never lost, either. Even when I gave my all in attacking you, I know you always held back – you’d never hurt your sister.

And then you grew so big to the point that fighting became a laughing matter.

Somehow, as we stopped fighting, stopped arguing, stopped “hating” each other, our conversations, too, became shorter and shorter.

You were spending more time outside with your friends, and so was I. As time went by, we gradually matured as individuals, shaped by our own experiences. You probably tried to be in mine (as all younger siblings try to do) but I kept you out. And I, shamefully, didn’t seek to be in yours when it was your turn.

It was only when I heard the stories of what you’ve been through (after emerging from them) that I came to realise how much I’ve missed out from your life.

On your 19th birthday today, I want to tell you that I’m sorry that I wasn’t there for you during the most trying period of your life – I was preoccupied with my own. Now that we’re already becoming adults, I can only hope that our baby sisters (who in actual fact, are no longer babies) will remain as the best friends that they are today.

I’m sorry that I always take you – and the family – for granted. I don’t remember ever saying this but I love you very much, my brother, my first playmate! 

© Melody Sim | All rights reserved.