What a difference a year – or two – makes…short story enclosed :-)

If we live long enough, we all understand that we never know what tomorrow brings.  We live and we love and we lose and we win.  So we understand that life is short and precious, that we should take hold of it with both hands and live it passionately with our whole heart.  Well, we all nod sagely upon hearing such sentiment anyway.  Whether or not it actually plays out in the reality of our day-to-day lives is often another matter 🙂

Even more capricious than the thought of what one day brings, is the possibility of where our lives can take us in 1 year, or 365 days.  Even more astounding is where we can find ourselves in 2 years, or 730 days, or 17,520 hours.

I was talking with some friends about this tonight.  As I recounted to them my last 730 days, with the randomly selected date of September 3rd as a ‘snapshot’ date, I thought that surely, I’m not the only one.

I can’t be the only one who looks back in wonder and astonishment at their journey.  Who looks back and realizes that if they’d known what was ahead, they may well have fainted at the thought and given up before they’d even started.  But having taken their journey and come out the other side, they marvel at the resilience of the human spirit.  And, in my case at least, I marvel most of all at the grace, faithfulness and love that God has shown in carrying me through the best and worst of times over the last 2 years.

The friends I spoke with tonight think that I might need to one day write a book.  About how diverse one’s life can be…about how much more there is to us than meets the eye…about how it’s never too late to live the dreams we carry in our hearts…about how we’re never too old to be what we might have been…and that we never need to say never.  Unless, of course, we choose to say never.  Our choices play a huge part in our destiny.

Anyway, as a case in point of how diverse one’s journey can be, here is the Inordinate Trippiness that is the last 730 days of my life, anchored to a ‘snapshot’ date of 3rd September.   In the form of the short story below.

Like I say, I’m sure I’m not the only one. If any if you have equally trippy examples of how your lives have taken crazy-and-unexpected-yet-amazing turns over the last year or two, I’d love to hear about it!


September 3, Times 3

Date:  September 3rd, 2010

Location:  Singapore

Life: Expat Princess.  Big Fancy Job Title on Planet Corporate.  The quintessential Company Girl.  On a plane somewhere every other week, business tripping around Asia.  Works hard.  Plays hard.  Burgeoning dress-and-shoe collection.  Part-time maid, personal trainer, hair stylist, massage therapist, makeup artist, manicurist and the best dermatologist on the island are all on speed dial.  Wide circle of much-loved friends from around the world.  Addicted to lime juice, Xi’an spicy noodle at 56 Boat Quay, xiao long bao dumplings, and updating Facebook status.  Has a ‘Glo’s Corner’ at Coffee Bean in Holland Village – everybody knows they can find me in that corner most weekend afternoons.  Singapore is home now, am completely Asianised – can’t imagine ever leaving it.

Date: September 3rd, 2011

Location: rural village in Kampong Thom province, Cambodia

Life: Girl on a mission at a children’s home.  Teaching English to 5-10 year olds in the mornings. Helping with feeding programs for children in the more remote villages early afternoon.  Running an ‘Introduction to Business’ program for university students late afternoon.  Sleeping on a mattress on the floor.  No hot water, don’t need it anyway because it’s so warm.  Diet consists of rice, vegetables and sometimes meat.  Getting a bit skinny.  Shorts and a t-shirt all the time.  No heels here.  Hand-wash own laundry every day.  No makeup.  No hairdryers.  No pamper-on-demand entourage.  Loving the simplicity.  In between classes, the little girls want cuddles and the little boys want to play-fight.  Adore these kids.  Seeing future artists, writers, mathematicians, entertainers, leaders in each of them.  At times am overwhelmed by what it would take for each of these precious young lives to be able to reach their full potential.

Losing sleep lying awake at night.  In addition to the children, can’t stop thinking about the intriguing man introduced to me by a friend just before I left Singapore for Cambodia.  Not interested.  Honestly, am not interested.  Don’t want to be interested.  Too old to be interested.  I’m 40, for crying out loud, not 18.  And haven’t been asked out since 1992.  Utterly clueless about men and dating.  No idea how or where to start.  OK, I’m interested.  Really interested.  There, I said it.  Now what?

Date: September 3rd, 2012

Location: Viadict Harbour, Auckland, New Zealand

Life: One country change, one year and one traumatic heartbreak later.  Heart trauma happened in February which is 7 months ago now, so am expecting full recovery to be complete any day now.  Any day now.  Any day.  Don’t know how long these things are supposed to take.  To get over and move on from.  No regrets though.  Went into it with an open heart, and have worked hard over the last few months to make sure that I ultimately come away from it with an open heart.  For the first time in my life, I loved another human being more than I loved myself.  If I can do that once, I am sure I can do it again, but next time, it will be for someone who is willing and able to love and accept me for who I am.

9am call-time for hair and makeup.  Drinking coffee.  Talking to the other girls.  They’re all so lovely.  Every one of them, beautiful inside and out.  Some of the most grounded and least shallow people I have ever met in my life.  Sharing almonds with the girls to keep us going until lunchtime.  Wardrobe and shoes arrive.

Rehearsal with show co-ordinator.  Smile.  Walk.  Stop at end of runway.  Pose for the cameras.  Shift weight and pose again for the cameras.  Keep smiling.  Turn.  Walk.  Head straight.  Shoulders back.  Half way up the runway, turn. Turn again.  Keep smiling.  Walk.  Walk off runway.  Then kick off heels and run barefoot backstage, pulling clothes off for next quick change, let the dresser pull clothes off and throw clothes on, zip me up, button me down, belt me in, then run back into the lineup, heels back on, ready to smile and walk again.

Backstage, 5 minutes to show start.  Photographers arrive to take shots of action behind the scenes.   The client has put me first in the lineup.  Nothing like living a little.

30 seconds to show start.  Front of the lineup.  Shoulders back.  Head up.  Big smile.  Lady Gaga’s ‘Born this way’ starts up.  Show co-ordinator nods at me and says ‘Go’.

Stepping onto the runway, thinking how funny life is.  Where it takes us.  Standing alone at the beginning of the runway, smiling at the crowd.  The intro to ‘Born this way’ booms through the speakers.

Lady Gaga sings, My mama told me when I was young, we’re all born superstars…

That’s my cue to walk.  Time to rock that runway.

© Gloria Emmalene 2012

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