A Static Space
This time last year, I was carefully taking down posters and polaroids curated on my bedroom wall, recollections of my school life that I would bring along as I embarked on a thrilling new journey—college. For me, stepping into a new and distant land was exciting. I would take my new-found independence to greet fresh faces and travel undiscovered roads.
Almost immediately, my enthusiasm melted into anxiety and I was quick to yearn for the intimacies of home. I missed the sweet and sticky air of Singapore and the idle chatter of children in my neighbourhood. Slowly but surely, I was able to navigate my way through this overwhelming new-ness. When everyone is on the same boat, it becomes easy to bond over the shared feeling of unfamiliarity. Time was the trick; it had the power to transform things that seemed strange into things that were standard in my new routine. I was beginning to settle in; I was on the cusp of so many blossoming friendships. But, my endeavor to seek stability was suddenly halted by a pandemic. In the blink of an eye, I had to evacuate campus. I once again found myself taking down posters and polaroids, but this time from my dorm room wall. I placed them in a storage box in the basement, unsure of when I was going to return. I then took the grueling 27 hour journey back home.
It felt that the ‘home’ I returned to was more of a ghost town. I was confined within a static space bounded by thick concrete walls and I missed the shuffling feet of students that scurried to class and the constant clamouring from dining halls. However, it felt that my mind was more agile, constantly reminiscing over rose-tinted memories and running and strolling through silky remembrances of people, places and times. I envisioned slivers of memories from a past life of sorts, now seeming out of reach.
Nowadays, I often find myself lamenting the possibilities that I was so close to bringing to fruition as I started a ‘new chapter’ of my life. I think of what could have been, and become frustrated at how I only got a mere sip of a new beginning before the cup of freedom was taken away from me. For the first time in my life, I am unsure of what comes next. I cannot even tell you what I will be doing a few months from now. But I am slowly learning to embrace uncertainty, understanding that life doesn’t occur in ‘chapters’ and is instead a meandering road with many, many twists and turns. So, I am trying my best to view the lightning in this storm we are currently living in as flashes of hope for the future. For now, all I know is that I will be helping out at Ethos for the next few months!
(From July 25, 2020)