The evening had been well spent with friends; a belly-filling meal of hotpot in the heartwarming company of bosom buddies, with mind-opening conversations spread over and across the table.
If only this feeling of happiness could last forever; no one at that lively table would have wanted that evening to end. But as the last drop of broth evaporated away and all plates were clear of food, the evening of one girl at the table had come to an end.
“Let’s go for a drink!” one suggested.
Five minutes later, they were all at the entrance of the underground train station, bidding goodbye to that one girl. She inserted a 2 dollar note into the ticketing machine and it spat a home-bound train ticket at her. She boarded the next earliest train that would take her home, before the office buildings blended into the dark sky, leaving their brightly lighted company logos floating in midair.
Her friends were going to have a good time, but she saw the digital display of the clock on her phone and it told her harshly that it was time – time for home. She didn’t want to be back too late, for she did not want to incur her mother’s displeasure, so she went home alone and found comfort in a book that was her only company for the next half of the evening.
A soft knock. My silence meant consent, and a click ensued as the handle of my door turned. I was lying prone, on my bed, having just had a filling meal. Just as a tall figure stepped into my room, I breathed a couple of times into my palm, just trying to ensure that my breath did not smell like lunch. I know who he is, his presence familiar although we only started talking about three weeks ago.
“Hello,” he said in his usual soothing and deep voice, a gentle and sincere smile pushing his cheeks further apart from each other. He sat himself on the chair facing me, his movements slow, gentle, and calm. The room was filled with a reassuring aura.
Without asking, he began talking about his past, about how he used to be so different, about how he desired for a change for the better, about how he is finding his place in a life he decided to start anew.
His recounts were interesting, his face changing in the most subtle way as he reflected. A knitted brow when he experiences frustration in his memories, a twitch around the corner of his mouth when he recalls a comical moment, a shift in his eyes as he remembers an upsetting instant.
Seeing these subtle changes in his expression was as entertaining to me as a lighthearted television comedy, the kind you watch after a full meal, the kind that puts you to sleep in a fleeting and impractical dream, the kind that you wake up from feeling surprised that sleep had occurred.
Light breaks through a slit. The misaligned planks of wood cast dark in contrast with the brilliance of the sun’s ray soaks in the morning dew, and the air is filled with a scent like a combination of pine and grass.
Rays falling through the uneven cracks of the shabby wall warms up the small space enclosed by even more wood, nailed forcefully and disorderly into place, quite clearly by an inexperienced builder. Between fissures and crevices in the timbre just under feet, woodlice and termites appear then disappear and reappear, crawling in crooked lines with uneven gaps between each trail.
Outside, the once thick and heavy fog thinned and lifted, leaving crystal-like droplets on every surface of the lush green which glistened like gemstones. Around, all of life began to thaw as a golden glow blanketed the emeralds, peridots and jadeites of the wilderness.
High up, the air is cool and the wind a constant whisper, as if it were breathing secrets to whoever would listen. A bird chirps a morning call, a squirrel rustles the leaves above in response, and below, a bloated frog croaked unpleasantly, intruding into the conversation of the sky.