Hot coffee cup warms frosty fingers. Or so I hoped. It really was freezing in the office, despite the aircon being set to 24 degrees … which would be positively tropical, if it was working. Sigh. Maybe a hot coffee cup only warms frosty fingers if there’s actual coffee in the cup – not Oats So Easy, which was made in a mug because a) unfortunately, I do not carry a bowl around my person, and b) we aren’t allowed to use milk for ‘cereal’ at work, so I disguise my breakfast as coffee. Same songs playing on the radio – 5FM which is supposedly the NON-repetitive one, has played ‘Battlefield’ by Jordin Sparks at least twice today, and as a result, my head is spinning with the lyrics, ‘You know I never meant to hurt you-ou-ou-ou …’ Reeling romantically as I WISH I was free to curl up with a book and snuggle with the doggie … but alas, I do not have such luxury at my disposal. Instead I watch time makes its snailtrail towards the finish-line, half to five and time to jive.
Man, I wish I was still at school, when everything seemed more intense – smells more cloying, embarrassments more humiliating, and joys more exciting. The simple pleasures of sprawling on my parents’ bed at the end of a textbook day, face flat in the dusty duvet while waiting impatiently for my favourite shows to be shown, munching fabulous meals like toasted jam and peanut-butter or scalding hot chips doused in vinegar with clots of tomato sauce, or freshly sweet pancakes, wolfed down two at a time, still curled up and spouting cinamonny goodness, in between swigs of sweet coffee. All this to try acclimatise to being back at home at the end of the day, often still in a dripping wet school-dress from a sudden lunchtime downpour – it WOULD strike halfway home, with the treacherous uphill bit still ahead, and my blazer/school bag draped above my head to try keep dry and see where I was going, envying the cars that sped past, spewing up mud and mayhem. There were endless hours playing make-believe games, dragging little trolls into the tree and forgetting them there; paging through the newspaper and reading every word; phone calls to someone, then calls to someone else about the original person … running along a dark corridor with an overly made-up face, nervous and excited about being on stage soon; making mix tapes off the radio, waiting with my finger on the button to press ‘STOP’ the second after the song ends and before Ian F’s jolly jingles kicked in. Staring in the mirror not at me in my entirety, but rather at bits and pieces, looking for clues, trying to see who I would become. It’s that overall sense of belonging, simply by virtue of being young, and waiting – for something better, for life to begin – that best sums up my youth.
But then again, think of all the bad bits – the sniggering whispers in the corner of the classroom, that sense of doom when an unexpected test paper is handed out, that sense of not being tall/dark/smart enough to fit in … or better yet, to stand out in a good way.
Memories fade, and the time that once seemed endless passes. All we are left with is a vague sense of what it was – what we think it was, and have come to convince ourselves it means.
With the sun in my eyes, it’s no surprise I’m squinting, struggling to see what’s right in front of me. At the end of the day, it’s all just a fragmented reality – our perspective is distorted by what we believe to be true, so all in all, it’s a foggy view.