Wednesday 30 December 2015


It's the difference between silence and sound. 
Just outside the bathroom a farm, with crowing roosters fluffing dust and gravel off their tails. The villa is harmonious with both breeze and screeching gecko. I hear each crackle and rustle as the rooster places his claw, regal even in this clump of fallen twig and dead leaf. 

The villa is silent of human sound. The other nine occupants have left on various adventures - water park, shopping excursions - I, lone wolf, among the ants and my words. 

I have been to Bali before; two years ago, in a villa like this, but with a koi fish pond and the beginnings of a raw grief. The rain gods began kicking up a storm from the moment we arrived. One night found me huddled on the cold bathroom floor, wishing away my barren life, wishing instead for a fertile womb, a baby. I wrote something that night:


Nothing bold. Perhaps the saddest year.
Certainly the loneliest. 

A storm outside does nothing to console me
inside, on the floor of a bathroom in Bali.

You will get everything you wish for.
Even sadness. Especially sadness.

That is the curse.
That is the price.

You would have been willing 
to pay anything (you thought).

Anything, but that. 

But that was then. And I am here now, a different self in the same place. The raw grief that haunted me has dissipated. I feel lighter. Not accepting, exactly, rather adjusting to each new discovery of a life less travelled in some ways, deeply traversed in other ways. All that matters is that I am here, now, surviving the wild heat and submitting to what will come.

Friday 25 December 2015


And then the end of the year is upon us. I don't know about you but I am not entirely heartbroken to see the end of this difficult year. Under the blazing Singaporean sun, I am letting go one month at a time.

In the concentrated heat, amid koyals and beetles, monkeys leaping in through windows for fresh bananas and the occasional languorous green snake, I eat and unwind my own coiled tense muscles.

In the midst of celebrating Christmas eve, the nephew and I contemplate a tired beetle, struggling to climb aboard a raft...  not dissimilar to me in the final stretch of this year. 

In his last hours, the beetle had two friends trying to build walls of protection around him. 
Later, at Christmas lunch under tropical sun, Raf insisted I eat with the upturned beetle beside me ... oh well, all part of the great merry go round of life. Merry Christmas everyone!