THE INTELLIGENT SINGAPOREAN

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The Confessions of a Singaporean Gangster in London – Chapter 31 “The Mythical Bird.”

Posted by inspir3d on February 20, 2005

That evening as I looked at the third wife, it seemed as if the sun had broken through the clouds, it may have been a mere illusion on my part. Yet the entire composition of the scene, the soft murmur of gambling chips being thrown on green felt, the sound of a single ivory ball bouncing on the roulette wheel all these slowly coalesced into a solitary image – the face of the third wife.

How I long to tell a story that differs from the one I am telling! You have no idea, how hard I have tried to change it, yet the same face reappears only to find myself trapped, stretched bare on a pelt rack crushed by the intensity of the moment.

Here one has no choice but to, perform the same actions, think the same thoughts and go through the same litany. You may think you could have said and done differently to alter the direction of this story, but trust me my friend just as some flowers have no choice but to radiate their beauty and others their ugliness, you don’t have any thing close to a “choice” – even birds know this when they gather along telegraph lines on a cold September morning sensing the encroaching winter creep up on them – they step right out of the “I” take up their place in a formation along side other nameless and faceless birds to fly off to warmer lands – they assume their faceless role without too much fuss, no one expects them to say “sorry”, “how do you do?” or even care to ask, “where you’re from.” – “or where you’re flying too?” – they know something you and I don’t.

So please don’t think my tale circular; in truth, it has no shape or direction. This happens when a man finds the outer world slipping away from his inner world. That night as I looked on at the third wife, the “I” had somehow slid out of my body put on a pair of trainers and taken off full speed towards some dark alley, leaving only a man who shuffled his chips absentmindedly wondering:

“How long had I wandered, how had I come to where I am?”

It wasn’t the reality you, he or they are accustomed too, it’s the variety where the “I” was bolted off, the type that leads you to do and say the things that you wouldn’t normally do.

That night as I followed the figure of the third wife – who writhed sinuously extenuating the roundness of her hips and narrowness of her waist with every step she took. I followed her without saying a word down the sweeping stairways, through the smoke filled lobby into the dimly lit streets of London towards the Arab section just off China town and into a rented room resplendent with shimmering Turkish mosaics of a crystalline texture – I remembered the third wife naked, her milky white skin framed against purple silk sheets and the wan of the yellow street lamps filtering Moorish patterned shadows on her skin – beads of sweat at the forehead edge of her jet black hair, and in her dark triangle, on her eyelashes – while her liquid brown eyes looked on as if she cared only for tonight as if even she had the power to stop time it’self – perhaps she could, I remembered saying to myself.

Like the many birds of this world who simply know, it is time to leave before crushing cold of winter sets in and takes off into the darkness through the sky and beyond, into the endless night, it scarcely mattered where she was leading me too, even why or whether it was right.

That night as the “I” ran out of me into the night, I was no longer Yu Huan Guan the Singaporean gangster in London – or the benefactor who carries the money for the four houses – I was merely a cold and solitary soul, lost in the distant constellation I could no longer see as I sensed her words to me that night.

“Come, my beloved, let us remain here on the fluted damask and enameled tiles of our bedchamber and shut out the world, let us linger on the carved wooden filigrees and arabesques that decorate it’s many door and shutters. Here tonight, we have a place we can call our world in the world. Come, my beloved. And in the eternity of this moment, the only that has ever existed, we shall never know the fate of the storyteller, the outcome of the story, or the difference between the two. This will be our chapter.”

I had been magically transformed into a mythical bird – I was Garuda.

darkness 2002

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