Sitting on a bench at the train station, I watched people as I sipped bittersweet coffee. It was a nippy Monday morning. The start to another long week ahead. The thought made me uneasy. I tried hard to soothe my unsettling thoughts with hot gulps of coffee, but it somehow did not help. I had no plans, nothing important to tend to. I just sat and watched life go by, almost in a trancelike state. Just as I began to feel numb with boredom and despair, the guard blew the whistle and the shrill noise jolted me back to the dismal reality I was in. People got in and out of crowded trains, looking busy and focused. It was as if they all had something important to do. Even the old Chinese woman with a big shopping bag had a purpose. She was probably going to the market to buy fresh fish and noodles. I could go to the market too. There was so much I could do all day. But I felt like I was trapped in a cocoon, unable to find my way out. I felt suffocated inside and longed for a gasp of fresh, new air. But it was almost like someone was forcing me to stay inside the claustrophobic shell. How I longed to stretch my limbs and smell the crisp air outside. But I could not. Several times in a day I wondered why, but did not seem to find an answer. This morning, however, I had made some progress. I had stepped out of my apartment. And as I sat watching people around me, I saw a flicker of hope. The crisp morning air tingled my senses. I felt alive. I wanted to be a part of the busy world. My eyes hysterically searched for inspiration and my heart longed for contentment. Then I began to see things differently. An old man walked slowly toward the ticket counter. He probably was going to visit his grandson. He could spend all his day indoors and his old age gave him a good reason to, but he chose not to do that. The lady at the bakery looked happy as she spoke to people who bought rolls and bread and scones. She had something to do every day. So did the man who picked up trash and kept the platform clean and the woman who served coffee in a small café near the station. I felt better. I felt light in my heart and saw beyond my small world of daily boredom. I wanted to do something meaningful with my life, something that was fulfilling. I told myself that I would no longer live a cramped life inside the little cocoon I had unknowingly built around myself. And as I crushed the coffee cup and threw it into the bin, I felt like I had got rid of the despair that had clung on to me for so long. I could feel the girl in me again. The girl who wanted to make the most of the wonderful life given to her!
7 Mar 08