Thursday, January 03, 2008

Alternating Current

When I was much much younger, I remember asking where my cousin had gone. I received the somewhat peculiar answer, from my aunt, "Probably with one of the blackcurrants."

I like fruit (one of my nicknames in university was 'Tasmanian fruit-bat'), and I am insatiably curious. So I asked, "What do you mean?"

My aunt, honours graduate in Literature etc etc, replied, "Well, they're black, and they're current. She's out with one of them."

It took a few minutes to realise (I was really young then!) that the 'blackcurrant' was really a date. At that time, I suppose I wouldn't have given a fig.

=====

But all that's irrelevant to the matter of today. I was feeling oddly disconcerted and ill at ease as I sauntered (with my old pre-broken-toe saunter) down the familiar corridors on the fifth level (which housed the First for two years). Then I saw a colleague (he's been with the school pretty long, so let's call him BC) leaning over the balcony railings. It's not a thing he does much, so I wished him a happy new year and asked him how he was.

He replied, "It's terrible. It's like a parallel universe. The buildings are all the same, the classrooms, the corridors, but the people are, are, are... dif-fer-ennnnnt." He sounded almost plaintive, and although that is not uncommon with him, it was genuine this time. And at that moment, I sympathized utterly.

You see, he was absolutely right. He had placed his finger on the very thing that was disconcerting me. After two years of seeing the same faces along those corridors and in those classrooms, I was walking the old pathways and not seeing any of those faces at all. We were both (as were others of our company) walking around in psychotraumatic shock. He was being uncharacteristically reflective; I was being uncharacteristically purposeless.

It will pass. But the sense of being transported into an alternate timeline or a different dimension will persist for a while. The ghostly memories still hold fast, and the wraiths of two (or four, or six) excellent years of common enterprise are not so easily banished. The current reality has not quite established itself as a powerful enough rival.

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5 Comments:

Anonymous kentay said...

=(

Friday, January 04, 2008 4:49:00 am  
Anonymous Jiesheng said...

Sounds so "the way we were"....

My turn to use *grin*

Friday, January 04, 2008 5:00:00 am  
Anonymous Becca said...

*grin* Well, we'll be swarming the place on Monday :)

Friday, January 04, 2008 12:42:00 pm  
Blogger Dilys said...

as strange as this sounds, I miss and haven't seen your pre-broken toe saunter in a long while! will see it soon :)

Friday, January 04, 2008 4:02:00 pm  
Blogger Hui Min said...

Haha.. maybe you'll be eating your own words in a few hours!
:D

Monday, January 07, 2008 5:20:00 am  

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