Monday, November 30, 2009
Z left today - the third to leave Singapore "for good" this year. It's been a year and a half since that Easter phone call that precipitated and catalyzed my move back to SG so it feels as though life has come a full circle.
Have you ever watched Dawson's Creek? About a boy and a girl growing up together? That was us. Minus Pacey and the icky stuff, that is. I was the head in the clouds bookworm, he was the soft voiced musical boy in the seat behind. Together we swapped music, traded comics and books, talked on the phone till dawn, watched sappy tv shows at 11pm while calling each other during the ad breaks and watched each other stumble and flounder around in the rough and tumble of school and adolescence.
Army and university separated us for a time. He left for the northern hemisphere, I, for the south and for years, we rarely met. But when the chips came down, we called each other and wept together.
One of the nicest things about being back in the place you grew up, is that your old friends are all within easy reach. There is a shared history of giggling over prata and milo dinosaurs, people know what you mean when you ask for 'teh siu dai' and there is no need to make the effort to be understood.
I've snuggled in the comfort of old friendships this year, people from high school, junior college and university days, people whose every nuance and gesture is as familiar to me as the loops and whorls on my palm. I unfold for these people, slipping into honest laughter and easy chat over cups of milo and kaya toast.
This isn't to put down the new friends I've come to know and love wholeheartedly over the last few years. There are people who - to borrow a phrase from Anne of Green Gables - just belong to the race of joseph. People you know you are emotionally safe with, who will listen with understanding,laugh with camaraderie and who creep in to take up permanent residence in your heart.
Singapore sometimes still doesn't feel like home but my friends and family always do.
O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee
I trace the rainbow through the rain
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.
O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.