I walked slowly, enjoying the light breeze twirling around me that was leaving a layer of stickiness on my skin. It was quiet, save for the echos of my weary footsteps bouncing off the high ceiling. A stray tuxedo cat, its coat of luxurious fur matt with dirt, sat silently under a street lamp, watching me warily. I didn’t approach it like I normally would any stray, but I used my eyes to implore it not to run away; cats are not used to commands, they are instinctive creatures.
Relaxing its stance, the cat sat down on its haunches and started licking its paws. I tiptoed past him, grateful for that little gesture of empathy, and thought of my little tiger back home. My footsteps quickened significantly. Without breaking my stride, I stretched my arm out and waved at a distant turquoise light that seemed to be floating in mid-air. It was that early in the morning. The air-conditioner in the cab was switched on high. The windows were lightly frosted, lending an even more ghostly appeal to the scenery that segued from high-rise apartments to quaint shop-houses to vast fields of green. We stopped at a traffic light. I noticed a woman, hair long and wavy, walking in a familiar posture, alone. It seemed as if I was watching myself. What would her story be?
Tears fell as memories of a not too distant past swarmed my mind. Hurriedly, I fought them away. What good would that do?
I didn’t sleep. I picked up one of the new books I bought from the book fair at the Singapore Expo and read until my eyes hurt. I wanted to make sure that I would fall asleep the moment my eyes shut. But it was a Jeffery Deaver novel. It was more than enough to keep me awake. Soon, my dad’s alarm rang and the little fur ball that was dozing at my feet jumped out of the room to greet him.
An hour later, my mum woke too. Both of them had stood outside my door and asked, at different times, why I wasn’t asleep. I didn’t know what to answer them, so I sent them away with a grumpy “Mmmmmm“. I looked out of the window from a tiny slit between my curtains and saw that the sky had broken. Outside my door, sounds of bags being zipped and curt shouts for the cat to get away from the door told me that my parents were leaving for work. I stretched and rolled off the bed, lazily calling out for my cat, who at that moment, was sitting on my dad’s foot and staring expectantly at the door knob. Laughing, I picked him up to let my mum safely through.
I sat on the floor beside the rascal’s food bowl with two pieces of toast and watched him eat. It was one of my favourite time spent, and it seemed that he was only able to finish his food if I sat there with him. Sweeping the crumbs off my hands, I went into my bedroom and opened the window. The sky was pale blue, a colour I haven’t seen out of my window for a long time. A whiff of the fresh air hit my nostrils, an arousing concoction of earth moistened with dew and fumes from the early traffic: the sweet smell of morning.
Tired but satisfied, I plopped onto my bed and slept.