I started off today with memories of my parents swimming pool in Singapore, fifteen years ago.
Every weekend morning we would meet there, friends and family, the self termed ‘Rejects Club’.
Cliff would join us after his morning constitutional which always included a post walk shot of Baileys served by his ‘man’, a Malay servant who had been with him since his army days and was really more a friend who had needed a home than someone who fell under the antiquated appellation of ‘manservant’.
Then Karl and Tim would arrive. Karl was an American who had lived in Asia many years and Tim, his long term Singaporean partner who still hadn’t told his very traditional parents about the relationship.
Invariably Karl would bring a flask of coffee, some cookies he had just baked, and news of the Los Angeles gay scene which he still kept contact with.
Then there was Peter, a very old family friend who had lived in Singapore for 30 years. He would be accompanied by his wife of the moment, and sometimes his visiting children from Australia.
All of us had been drawn there by the charismatic mistress of ceremony; my mother with her walker, huge sun hat, Pucci sunglasses and portable oxygen tank.
We would be there for hours, occasionally swimming but mainly talking. Talking about politics, world affairs, art and the neighbours, while the Singapore sun grew stronger.
I remember once seeing a lizard,’Jesus Lizard’, running across the water of the pool.
There would be flashes of yellow as bright birds hurtled through the trees and an occasional ‘whump’ as a ripe coconut hit the ground.
Peter is dead now, as is his son and my mother. Cliff is blind and bedridden and his ‘man’ died many,many years ago.
In my mind the swimming pool is now covered with dead leaves, Jesus Lizard is gone and the birds have lost their colour.
This morning’s music brought back these memories as I struggled with thoughts of, ‘am I old now, should I save my money and buy a decent computer, a greenhouse and a dog? Should I stop travelling and sleeping on the sofas of strangers, and spending all my money on fantastic projects and artistic folly’s?’
My friends talk about menopause related vaginal dryness and I wonder if I’ll ever have sex again, if I’ll ever feel the madness of a new love affair and whether I should stop talking to people young enough to be my children, as equals.
Then I change the music to something beautiful that soars and I am reminded of my ability to fly with ideas and excitements, and I know as long as I can feel like that, I can never be old.
Music to soar to
Roberto Fonseca ‘Mi Negra Ave Maria’
Roland S Howard ‘Autoluminescent’