It’s been over a month since we’ve moved into this new home. It’s a little old and the air-wells and vents meant that we could listen in on our neighbours. The boy next door belts out You Raise Me Up, only singing the first line to the chorus in hazy repetitions. Just recently, he was testing his falsettos out with Ariana Grande’s et. al’s Bang bang.
The mornings and evenings are the busiest time of the day. From beneath my blanket, the school van screeches to a halt to pick our neighbour up for school, often with a loud bang of the sliding door that at first caused me to jolt in terror, thinking there was a thief in our house. But all is well. The birds start to sing their song, Grace’s keys rattle as she opens the shutters of our doors and leave for work.
At dusk, the smell of fried fish and herbal soup wafts in the air. If I’m lucky, I’ll spot the popo with her gardening hat next to our home and give her a wave. I’ve also recently picked up the penny board, which is a fun way to explore the neighbourhood, cruising downhill while looking at people’s backyards and wet kitchens. Once in awhile, an aunty catches me talking to alley cats and we will strike a conversation as we walk home together.
Rainy evenings are the best. Each droplet drums along our awnings, making it difficult to hear each other. In the white noise of a downpour, everything grows quieter and colder, making it a treat to get our pillows out and lie down on the green terrazzo floor in the living room while letting the sound of water lull us into a nap. We are awoken by a food truck driver bellowing across the unmoving air, Char siew pao! Tai pao! Tao cheong sui! Dim sum! Lo mai kai…!
We’ve begin to form our habits in this house, picking out our favourite chair (mine is the red and white one), our favourite spaces (Aizyl loves sitting by his bedroom door- that spot is extra breezy), our favourite chore (Grace recently made us really delicious rawon stew), and habits (Al sits at the balcony to craft her story boards). We mostly end our day with a dose of Ru Paul and more often than not, conversations that run through the night.
I don’t know why these little things come to light so gently and beautifully. Perhaps it denotes change and novelty. Or something a little deeper and nuanced– courage or the conflation of difficult decisions. But as I leave one cherished home for another, I’ve never left the lines that tie us together. I’m merely growing older and maybe a little bolder too.
Video courtesy of Al Siew