This is a piece of autobiographical fiction. Space and time have been rearranged to suit the convenience of the book, and with the exception of public figures, any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental. The opinions expressed are those of the characters and should not be confused with the author’s.
This story is written as an example to anyone who wants to believe that we are more than the patriarchy deems us to be, more than our limitations, and more than our fears.
27th of February 2020 – Prague
I’m standing in a square, freezing my ass off while I wait to join a walking tour.
“Hi Ma! Hi Pa! How are you?”
“Hi Jane….Where are you now?” my mother-in-law asks.
“I’m in Prague ma, I’m walking around the city now”
“Aye we were just there in Prague, a few weeks ago, it’s very nice. Did you see the old clock?”
“Not yet Pa! I think they will bring us there later. Sorry I couldn’t come home for Chinese New year. How are you guys?”
“We are okay…..And you? Why so long already still don’t want to come home? Now got this covid thing ah, you have asthma, you have to be careful you know.” Ma says.
“Yea, i’m okay ma, don’t worry. I will be home soon.”
We talk a little more and hang up the phone soon after.
After putting down the phone, I give up waiting for the walking tour. Maybe it’s just not happening today. Instead, I decide to walk aimlessly around.
The Orloj, I find out from google, is a tourist attraction because it shows the relative positions of the Sun, Moon, Zodiac constellations and, sometimes, other planets.
It also tells the time, provides the date, shows astronomical and zodiacal information, and, best of all, provides some theatre for its viewers on the hour, every hour. The show is pretty lame and in my opinion, not worth the wait. But what amazed me was that it was installed in 1410 and still works perfectly. It’s the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world, and here I was to see it.
Cool – I thought to myself.
I look at a map that the friendly receptionist gave me and decided to go to a viewing point. My thoughts were too big and they were filling up the city, sucking up the air wherever I walked. The conversation with my parents-in-law was too much for me to just ignore. I needed to walk to somewhere and process my emotions.
After a long while, I come to the top of a hill where a cemetery stood in the grounds of a church. There, I wrote an entry in my journal.
” It’s the 25th of February and I should have already been in Singapore for 2 weeks by now. And yet I find myself in a cathedral atop some hill. I need peace, but peace feels like the wrong thing to want. To feel peace now would be arbitrary because what I need to feel is the chaos in my mind, I need to see it and navigate through it.
I don’t want to feel okay when I shouldn’t. I don’t want to build walls up and force my emotions into a box and bury it deep. This kind of pain kills you slowly but stronger.
When time and space throw you into a parallel universe, one that you have barely even entered, you can’t begin to understand what reality is.
In a parallel universe, Gideon and I are sitting in our apartment in Mountain home. Our cats are running around, we are watching Brooklyn 99 together and snuggling on our couch after a long day.
Yet, in my current reality, I sit in a garden with 4 statues surrounding me while I feel the 6 degree wind slowly freeze my face up, numbing my senses. People around me dress warmly from top to toe, coffees in hand and walking a dog or four.
Is either universe more right than the other? I don’t know. A sort of surrender is necessary I suppose. I’m more aware now or many things I have to work on. It’s been painfully brought to my attention how the experiences I have gone through in my life still hold power over my actions and thoughts.
I want to break free from the shackles of my pain that I buried as a child. I want to break free from them so I don’t dig myself into future pits of pain.
I need….to break free.”