Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Smoke and Silence

Early morning dawns a few shades lighter than midnight blue. The sun has hit snooze. It won’t rise for another hour or so.

The apartment is a cool twenty-two degrees Celcius. The hum and huff of air cons the only sounds so far. I slide my feet into FitFlops and grab my school bag. It takes me a minute to rummage through my school stuff. My fingers find the front zipped pocket of my day pack. I unzip and pull out the wristlet that has key cards and my bus pass in it.

Bus pass in hand, I  step into the hallway and carefully close the iron gate so it doesn't make a sound. The hallway heat hits as I wait for the lift. In my condo, hallways are not air-conditioned nor are bathrooms or kitchens. Air con is its own story here on the equator. The lift is quick. I exit right and press the wall switch to unlock the building door. I step outside.

 The morning mugs me. Still air. Smoke hangs in the humidity. I can almost see it in the beams of the streetlights. 

Something somewhere is burning: palm crops in Indonesia perhaps.

It's been a heavy week here in Singapore.

I turn right out of my condo and walk toward the corner. The Esso station shines at the corner--neon and fluorescent light washing the cement sidewalk, I take a short-cut through the parking lot. My steps skirt the entrance and soon I'm walking out the otherside.  I look up to check the street for the bus and hear, "Good morning!"

A worker stands smoking in the exit drive. He smiles and nods. Strangers on the street here rarely speak to one another. It was a cultural shift for me (and not one that I adopted).  I return his greeting and it's not but a few seconds later when an Auntie sings out, "Morning!"

Oh! God winks.

My heart lifts. My steps lighten. The bus arrives.  Still savoring the sweet morning moment, I step up.

1 comment:

  1. What a neat slice - I feel instantly transported to that hot, steamy day in Singapore. How I wish I was more adventurous to travel to far away countries!