Slices of Life: A series of poems about growing up
The meows of her two cats,
one a quiet Calico who sat on the sofa.
The other the fluffiest grey Persian,
her tail tickled my stubby legs.
My personal drawer of trinkets,
scattered with scribbles and drawings.
Eye patches for my lazy eye in the kitchen,
my nenek making a jug of F&N Bandung.
The box of raisins on the fridge shelf,
the master bedroom with a painting of them.
A giant mirror decorated with my stickers,
kicking my legs against the edge of the bed as I wait.
Ibu handing me my daily soya bean milk,
her hand giving me warmth from the morning cold.
Reciting our du’as as I wore my Velcro shoes,
saying goodbye to the cats and my family.
As I leave my grandmother’s home
— my childhood home,
one I will always cherish in my memories.
The Downtown Line
A normal drive home like any other,
“The new downtown line will be ready by end 2017”.
Back then, turning fourteen felt so far.
Never did I realise how fast four years could be.
A true privilege,
having three different stations for one estate.
Distance and time felt shorter.
Meeting friends became easier.
The shaded walkway to the station,
as strangers and students take the same path.
My music romanticises the walk.
Greeted by the auntie at the back gate.
That same path feels different in the afternoon.
Conversations between tired classmates.
Laughing about the crazy shenanigans at recess,
dreading the impending homework to do.
Many hellos and goodbyes in that station.
Nostalgic ones which make me smile and
allow me to reminisce upon core memories.
It’s always the places which we expect the least.
Attachment to material objects
an unhealthy habit of mine since young.
While I have always fantasised about my dream car,
this one holds an important meaning to me.
Leaving the house at 6.30am for early class.
The after-Subuh radio talks carried out by an ustaz or ustazah.
Half awake, as I ponder about the day ahead of me.
I see the traffic light slowly shift from red to green.
Supplementary economics classes stretch my brain until 7.30pm,
my legs feel sluggish and the only thing I care about is going to bed.
I give my salam to my parents who got me dinner.
Slowly sinking into the back seat of the Mitsubishi.
As new as this car was at that time,
it gave me a space to imagine a world without stress.