This is why I drown in A City.
Family is loud, noisy, messy and sticky. Immersed and yet separate, we don’t carve identities
in the tentacles of shadowy gratitude, ghostly traditions, omnipresent acts of selflessness by elders;
we slowly tear away, with bits sticking to us, falling away as we leave, geographically,
mentally, emotionally and spiritually away. From the dense thick clouds of love, guilt, resentment,
hope and devotion, I plunge into the thin waters of A City, submersing myself into traffic,
noise, food, sex, fashion, new utterances and deafening self-silence. The cities are all transient half-way homes, for addicts and refugees. We are fleeing from the demons and negotiating peace
with them at the same time; these reflections in the grey pavements and potholes in front of each step
lull us to believe the faster we run, the blurrier the ghosts. The cacophony of A City is something
to focus my breathing. Will away the foliage that hangs over my head that inform me my roots are so deeply, painfully embedded in me. The pain of tearing away, of rebirth, of the futility of redrawing memories
because the memories will not, cannot leave me. Like an oasis, the oceans of A City beckoned me in the sweat of noisy Family. But in the vastness of A City, where I sought newness by drowning in its waters,
my weights were not enough. I needed more weight. So I ran. And running, here there and everywhere,
I collected roots. Other people’s roots, ghosts, mini-mirages. Carrying on, dragging along,
to sink tenuous feelers into a sandy bottom. Pretend I am free, like seaweed waving in the ocean.
Seeming so free, light and easy in the sun… It is another forest in the ocean floor.
Seow Chin Pua