fragments of the week

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1. From a corner, I watched a mother pull tissue paper out of her bag and dab her eyes. She runs the glass rim of a medicated oil bottle under her nose every few minutes, punctuating her never ending sentences. Headaches, she said, because I try, but I am so tired I bo chup already. Will I ever become the person sitting across the table, will I ever be able to offer more than a smile and a listening ear?

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2. Thankful for the time of my life, but in a way I don’t want to think about Davis anymore, don’t want to write whiny and self-indulgent things, hankering after months that have already passed. After so long, I still have no idea how to marry days of America with life in Singapore, afraid of lighting the candles that I brought home for fear of contaminating smell memories. Which is why I think taking a couple days to visit Nicole and the rest in Hong Kong might be a good idea. Need to place faces elsewhere besides the warm, dim light of our living room, sitting around the coffee table the night before I left. We are talking about girls and boys and frivolous things but I am trying very hard not to cry.
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3. Strange times. Over the last few weeks there have been run-ins with dream gigs, but people and priorities seem to get in the way, and the decisions I made years ago have caught up. I am not resentful because all the open paths are good ones, but there is always a little curious voice asking what ifs that no one can ever really answer. But along the way I have met and befriended so many interesting people — people ten, twenty years my senior and still unafraid to break the chain and follow conviction, a young doctor who answered all my career questions and then talked about literature with me over coffee, reminding me later to never stop writing, and a long-lost grandaunt who could not be kinder to the grandniece she barely knew. More than anything, this week I believe in the power of chance human relationships, and look forward to paths crossing again.

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4. We are safely behind tinted glass walls, squinting at the sun outside and demolishing the largest profiterole we have ever seen. Halfway through the meal, Ben asks what is the one defining piece of furniture we will have in our future homes. We start by collectively rejecting pseudo-zen statues of nameless gods. Ben and Wan Lin say comfy couches and easy chairs, I say a printed ethnic floral carpet. We are all champions of rest for tired feet!

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profiterole from Food For Thought, everything else from the Abbas exhibition and galleries at the National Museum of Singapore

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