Excited!!

I’m excited. For tomorrow. Actually more nervous than excited. But they say that fear and excitement fires up the same parts of the brain. So let’s just go for ‘excited’.

See it’s my first choir session for the sunset mass. Actually, my first choir session ever in my life. I wonder how it will go.

Can you believe it? There’s only seven people, other than the choir master in the WhatsApp chat group set up for new members. Which means out of all the people who auditioned, only seven were chosen. And I’m one of them. Now I know some of you are going to be smart asses and tell me only seven auditioned. For the love of all that is good, don’t.

Perk.

I know it’s not the main point but from now on, even in super crowded settings for events in the future, I will always have a seat in the church. Again. That’s not the main point. But a perk nonetheless.

Of course, I’ll still be under probation. I forget for how many weeks though. But fingers crossed.

Looking forward to some good coaching in the time ahead. Good enough but I know it can always be better. And the new people I’ll meet. Can’t wait. They should be nice people right?

Please be kind to me, guys.

Even if I hijack your violin at some points in time. Yeah. One of the other things I’m looking forward to. Interactions with the violinist. Fingers really crossed. Vibrato fingers!

We’ve been sent the hymn list and scores being used this weekend and other than the pieces that are normally in every mass, out of the variable hymns, I kind of know only two. So the rehearsal session just before the mass will be very helpful.

Let me come out of it alive. Haha. Wish me luck πŸ˜‰

For now, back to work. Want to buy a Kindle Paperwhite. And rent’ll be due again somewhere mid next month.

Rest well everyone.

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Still the Same

Do you ever wonder if it’s a good thing when someone remarks that you haven’t changed at all?

I finally met up with Winnie. Friend from way back. She bakes once in a while now and just organised a sale before the Chinese New Year period and we were getting together so She could pass me the cookies I ordered before she had to fly off to her holiday.

Well she sure did look the same smallish girl with the same unpretentiously warm and welcoming smile. Nice girl, currently married. So no designs. Whatsoever.

It’d been years and though we didn’t get the time to really catch up, this meeting felt weirdly undistant, like when we were back on our stints at Bugis Junction those many years ago.

She used to work at the Pepperlunch Express stall in foodcourt on the third floor.

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The staff would greet when serving a new customer, a practice typical to any Japanese establishment.

I remember when she left her position and for awhile came to work at the retail store I was at, and one afternoon, while new to the job, standing outside the outlet, blurted out the same stock greeting from her previous workplace.

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That slip alone caused us to roar in crazy laughter for minutes on end.

Anyway, I wonder if you’ve watched the movie Hope Floats. You know the one starring Sandra Bullock and Harry Connick Jr.

There’s a scene in the movie where Birdee Pruitt played by Bullock is back, taking refuge in her hometown, freshly emotional from a divorce or separation or something of the sort, but now with her preteen daughter, Opal who has no idea that both have been deserted by her father.

So Birdee finally needs to find a job to support the both of them and at the job agency run by an old friend she hardly recognizes at first glance, is told something along the lines of

“You haven’t changed one bit.”

That most people get better over the years but she has managed to remain that same figure of ‘homecoming queen’ from years long past. Almost to the point where her inability to adapt to life in the real world is implied.

In that way, I often do wonder if it’s a good thing when I get that observation coming my way. Maybe in a good way, we retain our values. Not letting the harshness of the world change how we view it too much. I don’t know.

As I walked around to greet Larry, her husband, who decided to remain in the car, I wondered what girls really looked for in a man, to choose them to spend the rest of their lives with.

The momentary unglamorousness that greeted my eyes, of a guy in the driver’s seat, fumbling with little success in trying to keep his hands condiment-free from a leaky McDonald’s burger. I couldn’t even bring myself to shake his hand, meeting him for the first time.

But maybe it was just the moment. Maybe he was more of a knight in armor I just couldn’t perceive in that perhaps untimely encounter.

In any case, if he’s the provider she has chosen, one day, I think I’ll have to be that man. I mean, she seems happy. And if the girl I end up with ever ends up looking half that happy being with me, it could only be a good thing. Although that, I wouldn’t be as confident to guaranteed if my hands wind up as similarly smeared with ketchup.

Yup. So learnings in progress.

Hang out sessions with friend’s husband definitely to be scheduled.

Even Though

“There is always something to be thankful for.”

I try to remember.

I stand in front of the wash basin. Head bowed, eyes closed. Even breathing is hard. Not literally. But then, every move is forced. I could stand here for another hour, ready for my shower but just not wanting to get into it.

Shallow breaths then.

They are taken in thoughtless and slowly, and expelled that bit more quickly. Just enough to keep me alive, I think.

Argh. Cold.

The water helps a little. Each scoop I dump over my entire self. I am able to feel that, at least.

I know better days are ahead of me, my mind convincing however that I’ll first have to get past the drudgery of moving from this task to the supposedly simple mechanicals of a next.

No. This is not one of those better feeling ones. Not yet anyway.

A glance in the mirror. Hmmm. Fortunately better than I feel. And, I’m still alive. That must count for something, right? My thoughts teetering between thankfulness and what the point of all of this is.

This feeling will pass.

At least I’m not crying like the state awakened to just a while ago. The frequency of it though.

I swallow. The roof of my mouth still sore. I can’t remember if it was a burn or a ‘cracker injury’, just the raw patch where a dangly scrap of skin had peeled off. No matter. I know it’ll heal soon. Roughness as I run my tongue over.

Shower done, I mistakingly put on my T-shirt front facing back and I think I’m so klutzy. I switch it the right side around, disappointed at my failure at even such a simple task, laughing it off on the inside.

I remind myself, that even though days like this, in all their uninspiringness, had in times before, come and gone, I have always proven stronger. For that, and more I am thankful.

Deep breath then.

“There is always something to be thankful for.”

There must be more to life than this, and working to get past this day, one day, I’d learn what.

VDay

Dear you,

The you who will fall in love with me one day.

Don’t laugh. It’ll come. And when it does, I’m doubtful that you would have already taken the lead and stolen my heart.

Nonetheless, I’m sure of it. That fine day. Maybe even you’ll be surprised. I definitely won’t.

I am good. Well… as good as life has kept me to be. And I hope you are too. But, you… you do make me want to get better.

At everything, of all things. Not that I’ll be that bad at anything at all. (I’m good at… stuff) Room for improvement, they always say.

Will I inspire you that way too? I wonder.

Honestly, for me, that aspiration will likely remain huger than can be borne alone sometimes, only because I’ll probably still know so much less than what may be expected of me. And that’ll get to me at times. But then, I’ll hardly be alone, will I?

So in the days in front of us, I’ll still need to be learning, and sometimes that means making mistakes. So even if you’ll have fallen so madly in love with me, there may be those times you’ll have a hard time even liking me.

But then I’ll probably have just as many of those. (Maybe more. O God.)

Just for the record, the embarrassing bits of me you’ll get to see. They’ll be purely intentional.

So my dear you… take your time. And I’ll take mine.

For if this day is supposed to be more about love than the rest, let it be about you and I. Or should I say you, and then I. Quirks and all.

That even if in spite of all that work on our own, we end up never shedding the little bothers either of us find loathsome in our own selves, (mine obviously much less than yours), like me still having to take the longest while to conjure up something impressive or smart to say to you sometimes, they’ll, I reckon, be what’ll make us (you) slowly be taken by all our (my) other more contrastingly prominent ones.

Happy Valentine’s all πŸ₯°

And you 😝

When It’s Just Not Your Day

Do I still smell? Do I? Do I?

I had hoped not. But when I got into the car headed home, and my friend went

“Whoa. Still got the smell!”

In my mind I just went

“Yeah… yeah… ”

What are the odds? I was hurrying to a previous pick up and was crossing a patch of grass beside the pavement. Just a few strides short of reaching the car, one of my steps landed with an exceptionally loud pop under my feet. I literally jumped and then looked around in the dark on the ground.

Snail? Couldn’t be. That would’ve just crunched. I would’ve felt sorry, but as I were to find out, not as sorry as I was going to be.

I lifted up my feet one at a time under the light of the street lamp in assessment of the anomaly and noticed the pasty looking substance splattered up the leg of my jeans.

That mud? Cos if it were, I could deal easily with that. Once, I’d accidentally squished my shoes across an overly waterlogged field and all I had to do was wait the next day for the mud to dry off. I didn’t even bother washing it out my shoes that time.

This… this was something else. With the pop and all. This needed some investigation and the smell was starting to make its presence felt.

Well. Smelt.

The full-blown realization of what exactly it was was going to come from my next course of action. Index finger to the wetness.

What are the odds? At first, looking at the grainy texture, my worst fear was that it was some sort of excrement. Canine, to be exact. And deduction would put the pop In the way of a plastic bag.

So my first guess was that someone left a tied up bag of dog shit in the grass along the pavement. That would have really angered me because if that were the case, I’d have just stuck my finger in shit.

But then the finger, after the slight contact with ‘mystery substance brown and grainy’, brought to the nose, shattered that deduction, to a bit of my delight. Well, I’m not sure if I was that much delighted after we finally did realize what had happened. But just that slightly.

To be fair, I’d never, to my recollection had, nor currently need that close a sniff, to know what shit usually smells like, no matter it’s likeness, which did sometimes come in the pastiness that I was seeing now.

Sorry for the analogy. But it’s like chocolate.

You have dark chocolate, milk chocolate, praline, ganache. All of those different forms. But all smell chocolatey.

Works the same with shit. Different presentations but all ultimately… faecal.

I’d probably be fine, not moving any closer even when a whiff of it punched me up the nose in any rush of passing air (or gas… see what I did there?). If anything I’d probably want to get as far out of its way.

Wouldn’t anyone?

No. This wasn’t literally shit. This was somewhat condiment-y. Spoilt condiment-y at that.

Shudder. So what was it?

Curry.

Curry? It would have made more sense if it were a bag of shit in the grass. What would a tied up bag of curry be doing in the grass in the dark? And what are the odds that I would have popped one under my feet, baptizing me from the ground up in an expired spiced hell sauce straight from 17th century India. Thoughts ran through my mind again as to how this may have come to be.

But then, deed done, thoughts ran through my mind about how I was about to become the source of a horrific, unwelcome odor emanating from below the level of my knees. I reached the car and in a matter seconds, a rescue from my mess and her own sense of smell begun.

Auntie scrambled to aid with an arsenal of cleaning supplies, tossing tons of tissues, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, an air-freshener spray and plastic bags in my direction to ensure a proper mop up of the mess before approval to enter her car would be given.

Even then. Windows down. Vicks inhaler shoved up her right nostril.

I honestly felt bad. But the night was about to end early to the very welcome nasal relief of those around me.

Anyway, final deduction.

Lunch. Picnic style. Seated on the grass, as workers in the area would often conveniently settle in for.

Bag of curry, unused. Left behind since the afternoon.

Splat. There you go.

And me, likely entering a period of slight Hastenburaphobia. Especially in the dark.

Right Things to Do

“No God… you’re not going to make me do this.”

I protested in my mind. Spoilt, bratty voice and all.

A ‘what would I do’ moment.

But I knew I had to. It was the right and kind thing to do. Wasn’t without smiles of acknowledgement from the elderly couple from the pew in front.

Story time.

So I was in church early, ready for the novena to start. I’d normally be in and seated by five-fifteen for that which would end about six, and stay on after for the sunset mass after which would start at six-thirty.

There, standing in the aisle beside were a couple. The guy, baby in arm, the wife standing in front of him. I get up and touch the guy on his shoulder.

They say thank you. He passes the kid over and sits his wife down, baby in arms. I smile.

Was the right thing to do.

The moment that led to my protest was when the main church bells were rung, as it usually is, five minutes before the procession enters, starting mass. Now, I’d taken the same seat again after the couple had left as they only had plans to stay the novena. Thanking me again, they left.

Then I had gotten comfortable while waiting for mass to start, but as the muffled sound of bells chimed outside, an elderly lady, made her way into the corner of my sight, standing in the aisle like the couple before. And I was torn between wanting to keep my seat or to give it up again and remain standing for the next hour.

In the house of God, I didn’t want to be the one who stood out for extending kindnesses that no one else who was ‘able’ to, besides the already seated elderly, mobility impaired, and such.

You know that feeling? To be judged for being the ‘righteous’ one.

I mean, I couldn’t be the only one who thought I was fit enough to remain standing for the next hour after standing for the thirty minute service before, right? Or was I?

Still torn between doing or not, but then I always remember one quote. Well, not word for word by heart, but the heart of it.

I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.

-Etienne de Grellet
Same smiles of approval from the pew in front. Shrug from me. Thanks from now seated lady.
O well, right?
I know some good will come of this, I just don’t know what. Yet.

That Kind of Love

I admit it. I was touched.

I heard them. Irritated with each other. Throwing their views back and forth.

“Would it be better if I just gave you the $150.”

To which I thought to myself,

O. You’ve gone and done it now, dear man.

That, I knew, with listening in to surrounding content, was not what she wanted to hear.

She, raising her voice in reply that he ought to know that she wasn’t such a person who would get worked up over such a meager amount.

She explaining her point. He explaining his right back. At almost two in the morning.

And I thought to myself. When the time came, and my wife and I would have talks like this. Of all things, on how much we disagree we were going to spend on the sofa, and how protocol should be when big decisions like such were to be made, how nice those would be.

Not the arguments exclusively. Although those, well-handled, would definitely push new horizons to what either party in the relationship was acceptable to.

Those would be crucial in taking the relationship that even, as I overheard, after nine years together, still had within, those undiscovered differences in style. To bring it all to a whole level of new understanding between two people, if they ever arose.

My first thought had been how normal it would be for differences that made for such disagreeable circumstances to still be present even after being together for those years.

On this, I still wonder.

My second came shortly after arrival at our destination.

As we parked, I was half-expecting the bickering to escalate in light of my imminent departure.

Yet, my heart warmed at the sight that next presented.

Even after that exchange lasting the entire drive in the backseat just moments ago, as they exited the vehicle, both their palms, hers in his, locked as they walked toward their apartment, albeit in less than stable footsteps. I melted at that show of love.

It was something I had either never, or seldom witnessed, growing up.

And I thought that it must be pretty reassuring to, after falling out with your spouse, still have the one who declared that they would be there for you, show that they had no second thoughts, no matter the unresolved differences in opinion over whatever the matter may have still been.

Was I ready to be that man? Well, at least I have seen first-hand in this night, that kind of love to aspire to.

My learning continues.

And that, folks, was the sweetest part of this entire CNY break for me. So far anyway.