Singapore Adventure

Thursday, November 17, 2005

by venitha

For the past week, I've been unsuccessful at quieting the dismal voice in my head. It despairingly repeats a cheerless mantra: I hate it here.

Jim's absence, Maggie's cancer, and my acceptance of the disheartening fact that I will in all likelihood never see her again have combined to bring me very low. As desperate as I am to rush home and scoop Maggie up, to shower her gray cheeks with kisses, to scritch her adorable flopped-over ears, and to bury my face in her soft red coat, crying all over her for several days is unlikely to help, either me or her. Worse, I sincerely doubt I'd have the strength to leave her again, this time with her more seriously ill and this time without Jim; and I can't even contemplate the effect on my psyche of adding abandoning Jim in Singapore to my growing sense of guilt and failure.

Jim very correctly reminds me that this same situation, his prolonged absence and Maggie's deterioration, would have me depressed in Colorado, too. Unsurprisingly, though, this knowledge doesn't help, for if the here in I hate it here isn't Singapore, then where is the exit?

This calm and overwhelmingly melancholic state of mind is new. It's a relief not to be throwing things (I have broken both my muvo and my curling iron) and not to be stifling constant impulses to hit people, but this last week's frequent and seemingly endless tears and miserably morose resignation are hard to see as a positive change.

I stopped at a produce stand in Toa Payoh on my way home from work and splurged on some fruit, an edible Singaporean therapy. A few persimmons for me, a bunch of bananas for Jim, and several mangoes for both of us. I didn't bother to stop the vendor from packaging each of my small purchases in its own individual plastic bag, and when I had to wait 11 minutes - 11 minutes! - for the next train, I resignedly pulled my book out of my pack and leaned dejectedly against the wall, wishing I had just gone straight home for yet another meal of oatmeal. I still have not been able to bring myself to face the Christmas music at Cold Storage.

The mangoes are not yet ripe, and the pleasure derived from eating the persimmons, sweet and succulent, was fleeting and has long since passed. I now have a stomach ache and a bitter taste in my mouth. Whether this is the result of the fruit or the experience of buying it or this long and discouraging week I don't know.