Letters of Life

Salad days

This entry is purely for myself. Indulgent to the max. You don’t even have to read it.
Schmaltzy pop songs full of youth and longing…they don’t write them like these anymore.

Now Those Days Are Gone, by acapella group Bucks Fizz, captures the essence of what it meant to be young and mornings bright and green.

Thinking, long ago when we were young and free

Love happened easily and dreams never died

Life sung a pretty song, now those days are gone
Crying, finding comfort in the friends we knew

Now it’s just me and you trying alone

We used to get along (we used to)
now those days are gone

Dreaming, whispers echo on the summer wind

Back where the love begins, when nights were so warm

With stars we could wish upon . . . now those days are gone
We had a chance but we lost it all somehow

Broken the spell and our dreams lie heavy now

Could it be some day our feelings changed

I hope we see it though ‘cause I just can’t stand the thought

Of life without you

Desert Moon (Styx) was one of our unofficial anthems. . . back in the day.

The waiter poured our memories into tiny cups
We stumbled over words we longed to hear
We talked about the dreams we’d lost, or given up
When a whistle cut the night
And shook silence from our lives
As the last train rolled towards the dune

Those summer nights when we were young
We bragged of things we’d never done
We were dreamers, only dreamers
And in our haste to grow too soon
We left our innocence on Desert Moon
We were dreamers, only dreamers

I still can hear the whisper of the summer night
It echoes in the corners of my heart
The night we stood and waited for the desert train
All the words we meant to say
All the chances swept away
Still remain on the road to the dune

I was prompted to do something I didn’t think I’d be doing until I was at least sixty. But anyway, I pulled out old diaries and took a little walk down memory lane.

A journal entry, 14 Feb (not this year): The delivery of roses to the classes was quite messy…we were short of money, some orders fell through. . . Rohan gave Pei Hua and I a laminated heart. When I left the council room for class, that warm feeling had dissipated. Anyway, the class celebrated V-Day on a large scale. The guys gave us girls a rose and heart-shaped soap each, there was a cake, we took crazy photos….

Pei Hua gave me a pink rose, it’s still in the locker in the council room. Hope it hasn’t died yet. There were song dedications in the canteen, which was really crowded and an air of excitement prevailing. Gave Geraldine her card and we sat under the shady tree by the ceremonial staircase and chatted. C gave me a sheet of paper with apples drawn all over it in black pen, and the word Kallisti scattered all over. And when I went home, there was a card from him in the mail, full of magical verses, as usual. Read Alan’s card which arrived in the mail a few days earlier, before going to bed.

Isn’t it quaint that there was a time when friends bothered to snail mail cards and letters to their friends living within a 5 km radius of each other? We put a felt-tipped pen to paper, handwrote what we had to say, we signed our names, and walked to the mailbox to post it. To friends we saw everyday in school.

And this:

March 7th: C’s birthday. Chatted with Jason at the stone tables. He is interested in The Snark. Thought about meeting C later and really didn’t feel like going. Had to do an essay during GP. Whoever can write during the last two periods of school anyway?

Made my way to Ming Court at 5.15pm. Had this nasty feeling they’d throw me out, being in AC uniform. But thank goodness C was early. Pity tho’, Bistro Toulouse-Lautrec was closed, so it was Pizza Hut. We had an interesting chat, puctuated by silences. He shared his usual fresh insights, dismissed The NeverEnding Story movie, and agreed that Fantasia was limited in scope and the plot predictable.

Walking home, he suggested exploring the empty house up the road from mine. Interesting, first time I did something like that.

He brought up a poem about a unicorn’s hooves ringing on a cobbled street at night. What if, he said, a couple sitting together saw it pass by? I said they’d feel sad for maybe having never to see it again. He replied, maybe they’re wondering if what they saw was real and “Wouldn’t it be nice that they shared a dream?”

It was nice, really, coming like a breeze on a hot evening.

That was just one day in a very full and eventful time. I’m glad I wrote about it then. How I survived, how any of us did, manouvering our way through the rocky shoals of self-discovery and growing independence, can only be by the grace of our Father in heaven.


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