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Posts Tagged ‘Egypt’

I stood behind someone who looked like one of my ex-boyfriends from behind in the train going back to the office from lunch today and remembered how a year after he bitterly broke my young and foolish heart, I ran into him on New Year’s Eve [being my name saint day!] at the unlikeliest of places.

I was with two friends I’ve known since childhood, both of whom at that time I thought were my BFFs till the end. We were celebrating New Year’s together. Jeffrey was the only one of the four of us who was attached at that time and being the responsible boyfriend, he had begged off spending New Year’s with us in favour of his then girlfriend.

So we were walking around Heeren and we ran into this dude, who didn’t see us at first.

It being New Year’s Eve and all, and it being a year after the heartbreak, I decided to go up to him, say hello and wish him Happy New Year. The plan was that the two friends would come with me and say hello as well since we all knew each other from way back when and they really shouldn’t be tainted by the breakup. Anyway, it would be a socially awkward moment which I thought then would be less awkward if the other two friends came along. It would just be like primary school friends running into each other and no big deal.

I walked slightly ahead, approached the dude and said hello. He looked uneasy and wouldn’t look at me straight in the eye. I turned slightly and realized that the two friends did not follow behind me as planned and was nowhere to be seen. I was slightly thrown off.

I took about a small moment to re-group, then went through with the random pleasantries and wishing him a Happy New Year [complete with limp handshake from him], then walked back to look for the two friends, who were found hiding behind a wall.

*

From the incident, I learnt two very important lessons in life:

1. People who cannot stand by you while you seek closure to an emotionally complicated situation are not really your friends.

2. People who hide behind walls and watch you self-destruct are not worth your time and effort.

*

In celebration of my name saint day this year, I am having dinner with Rebecca: the friend who, after drinking lots of Margaritas with me to work out my angst, did not stand by to watch me self destruct by running away to Egypt after rainbows in the dessert.

She introduced The Other Half to me. I went to the money changer, sold all the USD I had and married him the following year.

Heh.

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This is my absolute favourite of the Debussy Estampes.

The first time I heard it was at a student concert in which I was performing Chopin’s Barcarolle. I was slotted as one of the last performances and as a result, spent many rehearsals listening to the entire concert all the way through. Two acts before the intermission is a lovely and talented girl called Ruth playing the Debussy Estampes. I was at first drawn to her pastel green gown lovingly hand sewn by her mother. I thought that the dress was a little bit of a misfit on a 15-year-old girl. Then she sat down at the piano and I was just completely hooked.

This is one of those songs in which there are no dull moments for both the pianist as well as the listener. Once you start on it, you are compelled to go all the way through. I vowed to learn it and I eventually did, at my LRSM exam too.

I picked it up again a week back after getting through Debussy’s Clair de Lune and Chopin’s Berceuse. Although I currently play it at a tempo far less than prestissimo and I sail through some parts, stumble through others, it still catches me the same way, bringing me back to a lonely time when I ran across the river at lunch every day to the Esplanade to use the piano in that awkward little nook in the library; a time where everytime I wanted to share a private thought, I whipped out my phone and text Egypt. Of loneliness and the boy who told me about rain in the desert in December.

I lived in that dream for a while, maniacally, in the gardens in the rain, feeling the raindrops fall off my fingers, the storm quieting, that sudden blast of sunlight, the rainbow across the sky and birdsong. Maybe at the end of the streams, at the end of the rainbow, at the end of that wondrous flight of the birds, there would lie a place away from all the frustrations I had felt.

So when in doubt, always return to the music. Look back. Then look up at that face staring back at you from the polished straight back of your piano: a different face, a far different time. Count the steps that took you out of those dark times and always remember that things could have turned out far worse than they did.

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On my way to dance class today, I told myself that I will be good at dance class today instead of my usual uncoordinated and distracted crap that I bring to dance class week after week in spite of the fact that I really should be quite good at this through effluxion of time, if anything at all.

After 2 hours, hey, what do you know, I was actually really good…well, better than on most days! I let my hair down, twirled in all the correct directions, frame my arms semi-competently and really enjoyed myself. The last time I had this much fun in dance class was in Egypt (being the place I went alone when I gave up on most of humanity and decided that I don’t really give a damn about most things)!! I returned to work after lunch greatly rejuvenated and ready to take on the world, much to the delight of my support staff and all around.

So I have come to the conclusion that to dance competently, I just need to pretend that I am dancing for my kids, who don’t really care how coordinated I am or how I frame my body with my hands or which direction I spin. They just care that I am out of my seat and on my feet and dancing, dancing, twirling, twirling with them all over the living room.

And then, it will all come naturally.

*

I’m a bit late this year due to all kinds of circumstances and events (namely all kinds of ailments and injuries(!) plus the fact that I am back on my crazy two-contested-hearings-a-week schedule), but Happy Happy Year of the Water Dragon from us:

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While leaving work today, a sampler vial of perfume I had in my makeup pouch spilled, resulting in wisps of a flowery scent wafting out of my handbag while I attempted to fish my security pass out.

I stood in the lift alone, looking over my shoulder, taking in the scent which was both familiar, yet alien at the same time, trying to seperate the different notes and trying to retrieve that stray memory it had surfaced in my mind.

And then I remembered: A large room with walls covered by shelves of bottles of different hues of amber, a small glass of mint leaves soaked in hot tea, smoke from a shisha, my uncomfortable perch on a woven chair.

This was the smell of that perfume shop from that magic day walking around the white hot sand of Saqqara.

The lift door opened. I stepped out, noticing for the first time my dance gear in a holdall dangling from the crook of my left arm from dance class at lunch today.

I hummed that Arabic pop song and walked on, in that cloud of mystery scent, towards home.

If you look closely enough, you’ll find that life is largely magic.

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