7- minute walk

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Readers would have to be mindful that this story is located in a local context. Based on Singapore. Therefore, you might not be aware of some of the cultural references in the short story. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy it.

Submitted: October 25, 2011

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Submitted: October 25, 2011



7- Minute walk

I have always enjoyed walking home from the bus stop. Especially in the late afternoons, or early evenings. When the sun would be shining brightly. But not glaringly. Just enough to warm you through your core. Leaving you with a warm fuzzy feeling on the inside.

My most favorite part of this 7- minute walk would be  the portion when I come to the walkway that turns into Lentor ______, flanked on both sides by beautiful, big acacia trees, dressed in their bright yellow and orange blooms. Almost daily when I stroll along this pavement, the walkway will be littered with flowers. {The only living things in Singapore that do not get fined by the Singapore National Parks Authority for littering are trees. Hmmm…}

It would be such a pretty sight. I used to think of myself as a princess and the covered walkway as my own personalized red carpet, laid out by Mother Nature herself. At that moment it is so easy to believe that the world is indeed my oyster. That the whole universe will conspire with me, to achieve whatever I want in life. But that was then. Now I have grown wiser of course, or so I would like to believe.

Anyhoo… As I turn into Lentor ________ , I  would approach my next favorite pit stop, enroute to my house. And they would be the frangipani trees that I both fear and admire. I just don’t know WHY? But I like Frangipanis. The lovely White Flowers tinged with Yellow right in the middle, or the pink and orange versions. Such Beautiful, Warm Colors.

 Oh my dear Frangipani, Oh Why? Oh Why? Do you have to be called the ‘Flowers of Death’? Why do people give me weird looks when they hear me say that I like you, my dear Frangipani?  Am I suppose to believe the stories I have heard about you? “Don’t look at the Frangipani Trees directly at Night” my grandmother would often warn us. “You might catch a glimpse of a pair of beautiful feet dangling from above. But don’t be tricked. It is the Pontianak, waiting to pounce on you. They always look out for beautiful young women, men and pregnant ladies. They always hang around frangipani trees and banana trees. The flowers will have a sweet scent that will lure you to them. So, Stay away from them okay?! Always carry a nail with you okay. They are afraid of nails”.

Armed with a couple of nails safely tucked away in my bag I would cross the lovely trees; pausing momentarily to admire them, bolstered by a sense of bravado in the daylight. ‘Surely, these creatures of the night won’t do anything to us in the day right?’ I would think to myself as I soldiered on, walking briskly nevertheless. Hoping against hope that something will not suddenly decide to grace me with its presence in the day, breaking normal ghostly conventions. I mean… they were Singaporeans once. I am sure they will not break the rules. Even those of the supernatural realm right?

As I turn around the last corner before reaching my house, I would see the rows of houses of the estate stretched out in front of me. A quiet oasis. Whole private worlds and alternate universes are housed within each and every one of them. With their landscaped gardens, fenced walls, high- tech camera security systems to keep their lands safe (or to monitor their Indonesian or Filipino maids and catch them red handed if the opportunity arises) and bright shining cars parked in the driveways.

Maids of House 33, 28 and 30 will be always hanging out at that particular corner during this time of the day. They would be whispering somewhat conspiratorially as they stare at me whilst I walk past them. The dogs that they were supposed to be walking would then start barking at me. And that would be enough to start off the ‘Lentor Estate Dogs symphony orchestra’ on their welcome piece; greeting me as I came home. Verdi would have been proud. As I approach my home, the barking of the dogs would die down.  They would have eventually realized, like they do every other day, that I was not plotting to break into their houses after all. The maids will have gone their separate way after their “sessions”. Their masters would be coming home soon. And as the day comes to an end, welcoming the approaching night; I would then retire into my house, my own private world, eagerly awaiting my 7- minute walk the next day.


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