Sunday, January 31, 2010

back to ib

i started off friday the usual way
i overslept the lunch i was supposed to have with melvin in school
but nonetheless made it down to have my $2 magi add vege at around 2pm

first teacher i bumped into was ong siu lian
the one whose veins pops out when she carries an empty paper bag
simple hi, bye
i remembered how she was so excited
when she saw me join the chinese karaoke competition in year 6
cos she knew for sure i was gonna sing something from out of her generation

then there was terence chiew
much skinnier than the last time i saw him
he looked like a stickman
as usual he recounted to us about his sporting adventures
this time a 333km track across some desert

the usual parting shot for a teacher meeting old students might sound like
"all right guys, wish you all the best!"
very thiru sounding
i can still picture her merlion-ing politically correct comments
but of course, this was terence chiew
"i really appeared on the news! go google 'newpaper terence chiew' "

at this juncture i went to the irreplacable sac
had my noodles
and for nostalgia's sake
had 50 cents ribena, milo peng and blueberry tart
although i bemoan the shrinking size of the ribena cup
i must commend the apparent R&D that they did on the tart

we went to visit our pioneer batch mural after that
i looked for the little note that i scribbled on that board 3 years back
took in the pointlessness of that little sentence
and found comfort in that i haven't changed much

"If you notice this notice, you'll notice that this notice isn't worth noticing at all"

i went separate ways from melvin and gang thereafter
and spent the next hour sitting and gazing in the sac
greeted teachers who no longer recognized me
bought food from vendors who pointed me out straightaway
looked around at tables and replaced the strangers
with images of those i knew

i saw again the poster of !nk
and was surprised to see karen liau's name on it
so the mighty prefect mistress is back
i wondered if she remembered me
i wondered if she remembered me if not for my surname
i realised i wasn't bothered enough to find out
so i went away and walked

i walked down the corridors and alleys
retraced the familiar routes that i used to take
walked past the b3 classrooms
remembered one valentine's day
when i put that present that took me 9 hours to make in the locker
and made it supremely sandy
i descended the spiral staircase
remembering always to look out for shadows of those coming up
i arrived at the teacher's office
wondered if i wanted to see anyone
wondered if anyone wanted to see me
and like all those times back in school
i turned and walked the other corridors and alleys
i walked past the newly refurbished library
and remembered the cosy, dim library of old
remembered how everyone abused the computers in there
remembered how i always pretended to study in there
i walked to the track via the small path by the library
remembered my 3rd ankle sprain
remembered the deep breaths i always took
as i left the books
and hit the track

i walked past the basketball courts
and tried to wonder something
but it left me as i thought
so i walked again, to the track
i sat at the steps leading up to the boarding school
facing the track
and half-watched the rugby game that went on
i remembered the cheering committee
remembered the last rugby game i watched in uniform
i saw some ruggers sprinting with parachutes for training
thought to myself
"that's not the way to run"
and felt a sensation course through my veins
and saw myself sprinting down the track
black top, red spikes
dark sky, red track
i watched as i rounded the bend
i remembered to swing my right arm more
i felt the tapping on the balls of my feet
i felt the spikes dig into the track
and then i felt the run

i walked back to the main building again
i walked, wondering what i was wandering for
i realised i was looking for something
but couldn't really place it
i came to the circular classroom
remembered the hours feng and i put into the prom dance
i walked some more
and realised i was looking for someone
but i couldn't tell who
i looked down the ib building
saw the pond and remembered fabian the catfish
remembered poking fabian
remembered playing frisbee there
when we were supposed to study

i walked around more
hoping to see someone
i wondered who that was
was it dear old oldham?
i realised i wasn't finding out
so i left
and spontaneously,
like always,
i went to cut my hair

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