The last six months has been split into countdowns. It has been inevitable and I’m not sure how I could have prevented it. In rough order we have had: departure, arrival, school, half term, Christmas, sister, New Year, Lunar New Year and now Easter. With Easter comes Dad and with Dad comes another injection of home and it’s naughty to look forward to that and it’s cheating, in a way, but I can’t help it. I wish I could just take the days as they come but the stepping-stones keep getting thrown down and to veer off the emotional path just hasn’t seemed worth it. So I’m counting down for Dad’s arrival and it is addictive.
I’m in Cold Storage and I want to show him the seaweed crackers. I’m on the bus coming back from school and I want him to see the fairy lights at the corner of Holland Avenue. In my mall there are some exotic frocks that I know Mum would have loved – I want to show him those, don’t know why. Today a bus took me past miles and miles of big bushy trees and there was a glimpse of reservoir: there are monkeys in there and snakes, I want to tell him. I can see him nodding, giving me an excited shoulder-nudge. I want to subject him to a school assembly, ask him to check the plants outside the spare room and tell me what they are, get caught in a storm with him, ask if he can hear the crickets at night, see if he can catch the gecko in the kitchen, watch him watching SmallMonkey skateboard, sit with him at a bus stop in the heat, hear him talk to the funny stubby cats down our road, cool off with him over a beer at my favourite outside bar. Don’t even get me started on the dumplings and stir-fries I have already ordered.
There are just under five weeks between now and then and in that time I have another much-wanted guest to stay, nice nights out, several gym-things, the sameoldsameold book to chip away at, all that. Hopefully the sun will come out at some point so I can lie beneath it; my nails could do with another session. I should be trying to find work, planning our Easter Borneo trip, organising a school coffee morning, trying to find more work, exploring – I should take a bus to the end of the island and back, book a daytrip to Ubin. I should be setting up those Mandarin classes that by now we thought we’d be halfway through.
In fact I know that the most important thing I should be doing, starting from today, is to simply enjoy every single one of these things for what they are, as and when they happen, because otherwise this whole life-switch-experiment of ours is going to dissolve into a big blob of wishing and dreaming and then the carriage will revert back to a pumpkin and I’ll be back in the room and wishing from another point of view entirely.
Let me just take one more peek at the calendar…