September 22nd, 2005

happy girl

this insidious sadness burns hot and cold.

Heading out of the house at 7.30 in the evening was a novel experience for a sheltered little girl like me. Taking Bus 171 which almost sped past me because of some random truck parked by the roadside which blocked my view of oncoming buses; the uncomfortable chill of the air-conditioning in the almost-empty bus; and how it was all dark outside, and the sporadic pinpricks of light did little to lift my spirits.

I almost lost my way to the Substation.

A stranger came up to me to ask for directions to a place whose name I didn't catch, I asked him where the Substation was and he led me there. What a kind gesture, and I was very much aware of a nervous voice in my head wondering if he had other intentions.

He didn't.

I waited for Agatha at the bus stop because I couldn't find the entrance to Timbre. She arrived with a friend and we went in, and we went in and joined a couple more of her friends. Later another one of her friends arrived, followed by another, followed by a guy in our LAWR tutorial group and a girl from Law whom I instantly recognised as She Who Always Speaks Up During SLS Lectures.

I sat there and soaked in the banter around me. I sat there and used the live music as an excuse not to talk. When the duo onstage ended their set it was about an hour before EIC took over. During that hour I sipped my fruit punch (I don't drink alcohol) and smiled and nodded and answered questions and asked polite questions and laughed politely and tried, really, to feel less like an outsider and more like I could fit in.

Agatha's friend next to me looked like someone from my past; talked like someone from my past; and laughed like someone from my past. I was distracted the whole night.

Swirling music and dizzying cigarette smoke. The open air and the chill of the night. The people around me, no one whom I really knew. A hot waiter with pierced ears. Mainstream pop songs performed on stage. A disturbing longing to get away from the crowd and take off with the first stranger who asked for my name.

Nothing happened, of course.

And oh, there was that whole curfew thing. Self-imposed curfew, a phrase which raised eyebrows at the table.

Maybe I'll explain another day if I feel like it.

The journey back home seemed longer than usual.

These are uncertain times and I feel myself drowning just a little bit deeper every single day.

Edited to add:

1. Who the hell is Mark?

2. I went to NUS to collect my new laptop and the guy told me that the service centre is next to the Science canteen did I know where it was I said no he asked are you an Arts student and I said immediately without the slightest moment of hesitation as if it were the most natural thing in the world yes and it was only after the word escaped my mouth that I realised hold the phone I'm in Law and it was just a split second or two or less but it felt confusing and sad and definitive and final and felt like everything and nothing all at once.