Your ex loyal staff all came to the wake, our memorable Ms S from Indonesia that joined us in Balestier and was with us on the wild ride as our business grew exponentially and we moved to our own office. Ms R (surprise!), also from Indonesia, only 1 year with us but appreciated that we gave her the opportunity, made time to come, arranged a baby sitter for her kid.. Ms H, also from Indonesia, but of course, ..and the whole rag tag team that’s been our pillars all these years, together with our old friend Ms J who possibly held us together when the going was so tough at the start and Ms Z that took care of all our insurance matters, calm and so full of faith. Your Godma of the Catholic Faith, lifting up every one with her chatter 🙂 Those random friends, you’ve been collecting..alot of guy friends though..people sharing your interests and your very first serious boyfriend! He called me at the office on the day after I was back from Sulawesi, deeply shocked. Some clients, so touched and so appreciative, always felt like despite the dedication we put into our work, most times we did not get the recognition. It was really wonderful for me to see them and talk to them.
My brother, of all people (no love loss between you two) dreamt first of you and him at an ATM, taking out money and discussing impending trips. As you both walked off, you had one arm over his shoulder..he felt it was strange and unusual and told me he’d be meeting you in heaven some day.
Our Ms MM, housekeeper of our office, told my mom just days later that she dreamt of you with Ms X and herself, eating..of all things, ‘bak kwa’ in the office..I’m thinking, totally, it was your favourite but you just could not eat it in the later years..health, teeth issues. Not surprised you chose to eat that first!
Dear Ms S, also Whatsapp me that she dreamt of you, said you were smiling at her..and she mentioned, “you know how sweet J was when she’s in a good mood, her smiles were so sweet”.
I began to feel rather embarrassed that I was suffering a dream drought..
I could do nothing but turn to God, our Faith, and pray daily for you to find your way back home quickly and safely.
Then suddenly, some 2-3 weeks later, I dreamt of you, you were still bloated and not looking so good, in my dream I knew you were dead but I was so glad to see you that I ran up to hug you..and you told me not so hard as your body was still hurting..the bones were brittle…the bones, which in the end were all aglow with cancer cells…
And again some weeks later, I dreamt again, I knew you were dead still…but you couldn’t walk and I had to carry you as we had some way to go..I remember so clearly that you shifted your body to make it easier for me and I said ‘so clever to do that’.
Finally, I dreamt of going to Novena Church with you. I never liked to be late for Mass and was rushing you there, then I looked round for Ms G, your partner..not to be seen! I was anxious. wondering why she as so late when service was about to begin. Then I looked and all the congregation were dressed in white with their faces turned towards us. The church was full and everyone was seated. I told you to proceed as I had to go to the toilet. I ran off quickly to look of the toilet, I could hear your voice calling out my name, in that strange Teochew lilt that you often add to my name when you are feeling happy, calling out for me till it grew faint. Meanwhile I was rushing through miles of corridors…looking desperately for the toilet..it was some old, ramshackled strange looking toilet, somehow I finished up, stumbled through some corridors and ended up at Novena Square, where I work! And then I woke up..
There are many nights I’d wake up, inexplicably, so many thoughts in my head, sometimes I’d fall back easily into sleep, some nights the emptiness keeps me awake till dawn…sometimes the sadness is so overwhelming..sometimes I lament the long hard road that I’ve trudged and am still…sometimes I demand answers which I know is not forthcoming…sometimes I insist on recognition for what I’ve gone through..sometimes I wonder what my own flaws were..and what were your interpretations of some of my actions?
On August 18, whilst we were in the midst of some new projects, all the staff were so laden it was not possible to stretch anymore….I was looking and adjusting the roster with my colleague..strangely, at that point in time, despite all the odds stacked against me, the exhausitng work, the lack of sleep, I was laughing and feeling truly happy and at ease and relaxed, joking about the roster and everything else, and then we were interrupted. When I looked down again at the roster, you name was there ‘JJ’! On the worse, most busy day, sceptics abound when I told them but I know, I did not type that, I always copy and paste and there is no way I put that in myself. Perhaps, just perhaps, you were visiting?
Ms Z consoled me at the funeral, you are free now, your spirit is free and you infinitely understand and know all now…I hope so…the promise we made to each other when we started the Company, I kept my bargain right up to the end.
What is it like to retrace the steps we used to take together, but alone now? Balestier Road, Jalan Besar, Tanjong Katong Complex, Shenton Way, Jurong..just about every corner we been to, in the course of work. All the Asian cities, China, Europe and all the way to New York..
The so many things I wanted to sort out with you, the estrangement in the last decade, the struggle I went through, and what of your struggle, what was it?? What were in our minds?? Never was there a good time, a burden I’ll have to shoulder for the years to come, until I myself take my last breath..then maybe we can talk and put everything to its final rest.