Les Petits Contes

About life's little observations, which matter. About hilarious situations, which illuminate. About stories which offer immense possibilities, open endings, different interpretations and perspectives.

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Location: Singapore

A nature lover; sun-worshipper, manic book-collector, dessert-devourer and a magnet for hazards

Saturday, December 31, 2005

I Want my Kayano


It’s the last ‘’working day’’ of the year in the office. The office is as quiet as the cemetery… but it’s oh so peaceful.

Last year this day I was in the office till late, preparing for the last press interview with a particularly difficult media, for the last day of the year. This year I am spared the agony.

But it’s been an unbelievably eventful year and I will spare you the laundry list of what happened. I have written enough, not just about Italy, but about my new eyesight, trips, rave and rants, weird men that walked into my life early this year, and other incredulous ‘’janet loh moments’’.

I will just recount the few latest ‘’moments’’ that mean so much to me:

Breakfast with Marc
He calls it our ‘’traditional breakfast’’. I didn’t expect a new (about two week-old?) father to have time or energy for breakfast and Christmas presents this year. But he made time. That’s Marc – the one who always manages his time and who keeps his words. And after so many years of emails, breakfasts, lunches and dinners, I finally got to know more about his background, and he got to know my most personal, painful thoughts.

Winny’s Visit
This brave woman’s capacity for empathy and love is amazing. She flew from Jakarta, despite her son’s fever, family, money and business problems, to comfort me, ‘’because Janet needs me now’’.

She is the best counsellor/ therapist I could have. During our coffee and late night chats, I realised more of what she had gone through over the years, and continue to marvel at her strength. What a self-centred, self-absorbed and spoilt softie I am, compared to her.

The Fragrance is Back
Yesterday evening, I ran at the Botanic Gardens. It’s been a long time since I had done so, after I had suspended most things (including memory) on my return from Italy. Only this time, I was numb, as numb as the beginning of this month.

I ran mechanically. But I ran and ran, faster and faster. Pleased with my own speed and stamina. Happy to see the light in the sky change – from brightness in the early evening, to the blackness of the night.

On my way back to the Club, I used to have this uplifting ‘’I have the whole garden to myself’’ feeling as I ran up the slope and looked down from the top into the dense and tranquil foliage. But I could not feel that last evening.

And - it used to be so therapeutic near the lake. I used to ‘’chat’’ with the swans. I had so many questions for them. I used to wonder what they thought of stupid, hectic human beings, running like fools at work and later at the garden, while they float gracefully, doing nothing, but looking contented.

But where were the peaceful swans yesterday? Instead, the sweet fragrance from a particular tree ‘’came back’’. The trees used to line the path just outside the French Embassy. I have lost the special scent for a long time – thanks to the uprooting of the trees and the construction of an MRT station.

Now they seem to line another path. And they don’t smell as sweet. But then, maybe it’s my state of mind. The important thing is, the fragrance is back.

Lunch-time errands with Siang Lin
Simple outing – to nearby places. Buy my running shoes at Queensway. Buy Indonesian kuih at Bukit Merah. Eat inexpensive hawker food. Gripe about work, colleagues, the government. Argue. Take my mind off work. Let his patience deal with my impatience when choosing my shoes.

Today, I insisted on my fav Asics. Just could not understand why the shop assistant kept harping on colour availability. ‘’I don’t care about colours – I just want Kayano!’’ I harped back. ‘’And the right size,’’ Siang Lin reminded.

All about Windows
And so, after my shoe session, we went to a Christian bookshop – he was looking for a CD. He could not find it. But I found something – a fridge magnet. I have been talking about ‘’leaving a window open’’ for years.

The fridge magnet says, ‘’When God closes a door, he always opens a window’’.

I truly need that window, to breathe, and live again, next year.

I hope you will have a great window and a great view too. Happy New Year.

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