Monday, July 23, 2007

Wrote this last Monday. I'm posting it anyway.

Something's slightly different these days. I can't be explicit about it because it's personal, but if you think I look different (could be for the better, but more likely the worse), you're right. And I think I'm happier this way.

It took me five years to stop doing this, and I just did it all of a sudden, overnight. I think it isn't technically a big deal, but because I know why I started doing it in the first place... well it's a big deal.

Sorry to be so cryptic. I can't say! I am embarrrrrassssed (I decided a while back that I would give up trying to spell that word).

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The last time I wore the exact same attire was six years ago. Or, to be down with the details, it would mean six and a half years have passed since the last time I wore this and carried a shoebag. I can’t remember when was my last touch rugby training, but I think I got the date about right.

We had our second badminton office thingamahjig today, and I grabbed the only other shirt that I do sports in (rather unwilling to don the dri-fit sleeveless stuff for a rough-and-tumble event). I made the mistake of not bringing another, and that is how I found myself going home from Somerset on the MRT, wearing the PE attire from JC which I used to wear with such regularity six years ago.

I didn’t realise the faux pas until I left the center and faced the eyes of the public. I’m sure the majority didn’t really care or look, but I couldn’t help but wonder how many of them had no problems believing I was 18.

GQ said I was greedy, that I was asking for a hefty six-year discount.

The trip home was one of the most surreal experiences I have ever encountered. I had put on the most effective mask, the most complete costume I had at my disposal to fool public perception.

And I think I could’ve fooled myself.

How easy it was, to look at my own reflection, and imagine that I was 18 again. I almost didn’t have to pretend, I could feel it. It felt very real, it didn’t feel like a farce.

Of course, my hair is thrice the length now than it was back then. I have at least five extra kilograms on my frame, and a hell lot more scars on my legs to boot. I know I couldn’t fool myself to think my look hasn’t changed, but I could deceive myself into feeling the same – the way I felt when I was thinner, with shorter hair, nicer legs, and a helluva lot more energy.

I walked out of the station and waited at the bus stop. It was a combination of public perception (I believed what people believed about me), and pure emotive nostalgia. I can’t get anymore specific than that, but its just how you assume the role that you associate with that particular uniform/attire.

And just closing my eyes, I let myself believe it. I was on my way home after a long day at school. I would call Nick the moment I reached home and find out where he was and if he needed a morning call the next day. I would have to unpack my bags later, because I no longer kept proper notes on homework and I always ended up forgetting. I would sleep late again, ICQing no doubt, and the next day I would be late for school and have to stand at the side along with all the other punctuality-pariahs.

It felt good. It felt familiar. And then you open your eyes, and its as if someone hit the fast forward button, and all the things that have passed since then filters into your mind’s eye at breakneck speed. People and places, things and faces.

At this present moment, this very second, this is the furthest I could possibly be from that 18-year-old self. And I suppose, every minute that passes will make it more and more difficult for me to play pretend.

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Speaking of time. I met someone from my 12-year-old self.

I never latched onto Facebook because of how Friendster left a (very very) bad taste in my mouth. But hey.

Victoria Noreen Langton.

We were in the same class from Primary 3 to 6. I can't remember much anymore. My memory tells me that I believed she was one of my best friends, in the way that a 12 year old would classify friends, anyway.

I don't remember much about what we did. Well, at least not the details. I remember being prefects together, going to her house (to do what? I can't remember). I memorised her house phone number till i was about 16, and now I can't recall it any longer.

She was exotic because she was the first girl I knew who was eurasian. I remember she got into an argument with our teacher about homework because her parents didn't believe in her doing all those assessment books.

I remember we labelled her as the wild child. She had boyfriends before I was interested in boys. I remember a lot of judgements being passed.

I remember we had a lot of fun.

And I remember seeing her again about three years ago, standing in Orchard Library and watching a performance. I don't know if she had seen me, because if she did she sure did a good job of pretending she didn't. I didn't say hello. I had nothing to say to her.

Strange, because now, i really really want to talk to her.

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