I sit at the white laptop of mine, the glossy screen displaying a blank page. A window of Protagonize always open, and perhaps one or two Messenger conversations, which I’ve abandoned, on the side. And of course, a half-finished piece of homework, that Protag has successfully distracted me from completing; my creative mind more compelled by adding to a work of fiction, rather than the analysis of the causes of slavery.
A pack of colorful post it notes in front of me, a 2B (never HB) pencil at hand, and Jason Mraz or Jack Johnson crooning in the background. And I sit, thinking hard at the plot or characters of my new story. I scribble one of quirky hearts, where the two bumps never quite meet and thicken the outlines with a trace. My thoughts drift away, and twenty minutes go by, one sticky note still not filled with my pencil linings. I’ve hit it. The big, red brick wall – like in the first Tomb Raider videogame (back in the 90’s, was it?). Except she just has to perform a couple of tricks at the tapping of a joystick to overcome it.
I fidget in my wheelie chair, cheaply bought from IKEA. I spin, pushing off of the bookshelf to accelerate the speed. The messy desk of mine, the bland wooden closet, my James Dean poster, and the sketches on my wall all meshed into one image. I stop at an abrupt halt and stand up to pace the room. Rather anxiously – pausing to tap at the closet door or straighten a painting, maybe reorganize my underwear drawer even.
My fingers fiddle with the earphones of my iPod and slip one side into each ear and I prop up my pair of fake Chanel sunglasses onto my head. I indulge the last blow of the air-conditioner turn it off and walk out the door, leaving only my desk lamp and the guitar at the end of the track still strumming.
I clip on my dog’s red leash, and she follows me out.
We walk. I walk her. I walk.
The Singapore sun fires up my skin – I don’t mind the sweat that trickles down my forehead or the fact that my mom is likely to give me sunscreen lecture afterwards. There are mothers, holding hands of their children (who always happen to be wearing the blue ‘Learning Vision’ t-shirts), and the security guard who, as always, is half asleep. I pull at my dog’s leash before she daftly snaps her jaw at the blowing leaf on the ground and begin a chase.
And then something happens. Something happens as I watch the lizard scamper away in fear of approaching footsteps, as a man gets off the bus and trips on the stone path, and whilst the boy dribbles the basketball aimlessly, still in his uniform. My back straightens and I smile, walking at a faster pace, my dog modifying hers in relation to mine.
Mystery. Romance. Male. Female. Eva. Sheena. No, Maria. Teen. Eighteen. Dies. Or does her lover die? The thoughts that run through me like a suddenly rushing river – filling up the empty pit in my mind, like the Tonle Sap Lake in monsoon season. Or maybe the way your taste buds are abruptly awakened once that Warhead candy enters your mouth. Inspiration is what happens.
We walk back. I walk her back. I walk back.
I see the blank page in front of me yet again, but this time the big, red brick wall has disappeared. Maybe Lara Croft dropped by while I was out.