It is a little before seven o’clock in the morning and I am sitting outside my building, waiting for the tuk-tuk to school. I’m seated on a row of navy blue plastic bucket seats from some long-closed waiting room; the seats are bolted to a piece of metal running between 2 cement columns. It’s cool and I know there are mosquitoes dangerously close by although I can’t see them. A thunder storm threatens quietly.
In the apartment building across from me, a long-legged young man comes out onto his balcony in white boxer shorts. He is tanned and blonde. He drops into a chair and lights a cigarette, inhaling deeply. He does this every morning although he doesn’t always wear the boxers.
One of the maids who works in our building, a very hip young woman who reminds me of a close friend in Singapore, adds several small garlands of gold-coloured chrysanthemums to the spirit house. While she prays, she pats the flowers gently – like little pets.
The driver arrives and we pile into the tuk-tuk: me, the super-smart talkative boy from the building with whom I have developed a friendship, the precocious little girl and her nanny and, at the very last possible second, another boy. “You’re getting so tall!” I exclaim after he tumbles into the back seat. “Am I?” he asks. Then he smiles.
In the old wooden house at the corner of sois 13 and 11, two women wait for the monk who passes by about this time every morning. The lady of the house is tiny and white-haired. Her dress is simple but elegant… a fuchsia pink and white floral-print. She is in a wheelchair. A maid from the household stands beside her with an aluminum bowl of food for the monk. They are standing on the other side of the gate and they seem as though they are very far away… from a different time, perhaps.
A young man on a bicycle passes us on the right and speeds ahead, weaving his way through the morning traffic. On both sides, and at the back, of the bike are tied large blue plastic milk crate filled with eggs. What a perfect metaphor for life… all of those gorgeous fragile eggs – white and brown mixed together – nestled precariously on the bicycle of a young Thai boy in Bangkok.
What are you dreaming of this Monday?