Sunday, July 10, 2016
Once Upon a Park
The uniform, dead colour of the cubicle dissolves as sleep brims and stumbles from my eyes. Little hints of gradations, tiny whirls of mauve and green appear - the colours of undulating vistas seen in timeworn photographs. With the suddenness of very old memories recollected at pre-dawn, the image of an imagined swing flowed out in a slow drawl, imbuing each molecule of sleep.
I can barely remember that drizzly afternoon, the school trip to a local park and zoo. But what a shock of sensations recollected. I remembering offering the zebra a particularly juicy leaf which it crunched up with obvious relish. I kept wondering why it was ok for a zebra to chew with its mouth open while I get told off. Every insignificant element stands out in vivid detail – the zebra’s surprisingly white even teeth, the way it kept sighing and the fascinating way it twitched all over, distorting the black and white for a brief psychedelic moment, to get rid of the hovering flies.
Large white mushrooms clustered around a tree, I got scolded for picking one to see the frilly underside, like carefully folded pleats. ‘Chi, chi… drop it!’ I dropped it and was made to wash my hands. Out of some incomprehensible juvenile malice I stomped down the rest of the mushrooms and released in the process, tiny, white wisps of spores into the air. There was a tire-swing hanging from the branch of a jackfruit tree. The rain had made a pool inside the tire and gauzy mosquito larvae danced in it. They would slowly pulsate their way to the surface and then, as if stunned by the sudden gulp of air, float down barely moving and before touching the bottom they restart their sickeningly enthralling wriggle to the surface. There was something so liquescent and loathsome about them. If the tire stopped swaying for a while the larvae remained clinging to the surface but a wind will blow, rippling the water and the larvae resumed their lurching up and down dance. A hazily remembered classmate shook the swing until all the water was gone, but I distinctly remember the clear ripple of his laughter with a hint of charming insanity.
The view from a swing, head tilted back, rain smattering over my face, an oscillating, blurry sight of the swaying trees and the fractured fractal clouds through the branches. I recollect the feel of a large, wet flower falling on my bare arm 20 monsoons ago and it makes my fingers shudder now while they fly over the keyboard perfunctorily, an article born under my uncaring hand – slips away, orphaned, into the world outside. Silent exhilaration. The triumph of a tiny moment of drifting-off over the permanency of wakefulness, of an impulsive memory over the perpetual monotony. Little pin-pricks of bliss in this dull tedium.
Image by Nancy Colella