Sickness had its clammy, achey, drowsy, sniffly grip on me all through the week.
Monday through Thursday, I worked from home, i.e. got rid of the required amount of thinking and typing, with my laptop propped up on a cushion resting on my horizontally stretched out stomach on the couch, as soon as possible (i.e. not quickly at all), sparing my colleagues for the germs I was spreading generously around by means of frequent sneezes and coughs and making the pendular walks to the fridge for more water and the bedroom for more naps as short as possible. My body temperature matched that of the stuffy tropical air clinging to my skin; I slept as much as my aching limps, throat, face and general head allowed me to, and had myriads of fever-crazy dreams day and night. I had seen it come creeping over the weekend, but had ignored the signs. On Monday morning, I even went for a long run along the river in the glorious morning light with a friend. Even though I couldn’t breathe through my nose and the exercise made me unusually, alarmingly, hot and thirsty. That was it, though; after that escapade, I had to stay in and rest.
No energy for barre, freelance work or any use of any type of media for entertainment or social purposes. No kissing. No cooking. No coffee. Plenty of tea. All week.
Lots of love: S, as always, was the perfect nurse; our mothers called daily for signs of recovery; our sweet lodging friends brought me ample supplies of freshly pressed orange/carrot/ginger juice from the bakery, picked up comfort food from PS on Monday night (Green Goddess pizza without cheese for me – yum!) and invited us out for a quick casual dim sum dinner at Din Tai Fung – all of the steam and chili sauce did my good! – before leaving for London on Tuesday night. While I didn’t feel hunger, my sensation of taste didn’t disappear with the cold so it was good to at least take in as much nourishing, pleasant stuff as possible, hehe. I already miss having our guests around. They were curious and energetic – happy explorers on their own and very aligned in pace and mood when we drifted around together at the weekend – and at the same time very relaxed, spontaneous and happy to hygge and enjoy deep conversations and wine at home as well. Luckily, they only caught a small dose of the ill stuff.
After they left, however, I decided to really relax. No plans, or next to none, and a maximum of one excursion out of the house per day. Wednesday evening, I thus ventured out for a pampering pedicure and foot rub at 1880, S waiting for me in the lounge after the much needed treatment, with fresh beetroot/apple/ginger juice and a whole foods salad and squid ink linguine to share. Eating made my lips turn purple (not from the squid ink!), my skin go white and my body shiver with cold – all of the blood seemed to have left my limps to seek towards the stomach to aid digestion. S asked the driver taking us home to go easy on the aircon. After work on Thursday, I circled our block for a whiff of fresh air and a bit of motion in my stiff body in the soft golden hour light. By Friday, my shoulders, neck and head were so painfully tense from all of the lying down that I dedicated my daily excursion to a hardcore massage down at Nimble/Knead. Think that day did the trick, though: Good Friday; no work, no obligations. Chill all day. S told me about the podcasts and TED talks he was consuming; I couldn’t even master the art of directly taking in any of it myself. Only via his slow, careful summaries. He also read a few stories to me from Suitcase, kindly brought by our friends from London, along with the newest issues of Courier and Rains Journal. And he picked up my favourite savoury almond flour and chia seed waffle with avocado and smoked salmon from Tiann’s and a big bouquet of Birds-of-Paradise from Tiong Bahru Market. Made me several cups of herbal tea. Put ice wrapped in a towel on my forehead when it was burning up. All I did was smile and express my gratitude – or, at least, I hope that’s what I did.
Waking up just before dawn on Saturday, still feeling as though a heavy cloud was rummaging inside my head, yet in a calmer, less intense way, as though it had let off some steam overnight, I really wanted to venture out to the beach. Longing for nature, salt water, a breeze, movement. S was up for it and ordered a car straight after putting in his contact lenses and brushing his teeth. I packed some towels and bottled water. Tanjong Beach never looked more pristine than it did on that glorious morning when I was finally able to think two consecutive thoughts without masses of snot and a splitting headache clogging up the process. Palm trees. Yellow umbrellas. White picnic tables. Volleyball nets. More palm trees. Clean dry white sand. Clean wet yellow sand. Softly rolling waves. A few dog owners throwing balls into the water for their Dalmatians and labradors to retrieve. A swimming team practicing their butterfly technique. A few families with small kids playing peacefully near the edge of the water. Glorious morning light gaining strength across the scenery as the sun rose from its bed below the palm tree canopies. Ahh… I jumped in and swam slowly along the edge, where S was walking at the same pace. Relaxed and stretched every inch of my body and let the warm, cleanish water support me and dictate the shape and rhythm of my every stroke and twist. At the far end of the beach, we sat down next to each other right where the water met the sand and just chatted, laughed, let the waves roll over our folded legs and between our outstretched fingers. After a while, S walked back up to our towels, which we’d spread out under a huge palm, and sat down to meditate. I just floated around for an hour or so, sensing the restorative powers of the water – its soothing temperature, blissful sounds, salty smell and massaging pushes and embraces. Just what I’d needed! Made me feel a tiny echo of hunger for the first time all week. We had an acai bowl and fresh coconut each, at Tanjong Beach Club, and then cycled around the perimeter of the vast expanse of golf land behind the beach to explore the marina, lawns and luxury condos of Sentosa Cove. WOW! That area is so … sleek and paradisiac! Afternoon of buying a fiddle leaf fig tree and ripe tropical fruits at the market, finding a good spot for the tree on the balcony, watching Netflix while munching on juicy chunks of pineapple, reading bookmarked articles and taking multiple showers. Feeling a tad drowsy and spent again. Maybe I’d pushed myself a little too far? It was SOOOO nice to swim, though, and to cycle around and explore together with my love, feeling like a somewhat useful companion for the first time this week, haha.
Sunday, I finally felt more or less like myself again. We woke up with Yoga with Adriene, which always feels like a warm hug. Cycled down to Strangers’ Reunion for smoothie bowls and Riesling tea. Hung out on Henderson Waves for a long time, one of my most favourite places. Celebrated Easter at the Danish Seaman’s Church, with a powerful resurrection service followed by a traditional Danish Easter lunch in the pretty yard behind the white mansion housing the church. Sat on some stairs in front of Plaza Singapura and watched the rain come down wildly for an hour or two before going home and doing absolutely nothing for the rest of the day. By then, I was down to a few infrequent coughs, still a bit sniffly, but otherwise fine. Magically, S stayed fit and healthy all week. His trick is to practice moderation and balance in all things to an extend I’m yet to learn to master and respect fully, hehe. Getting there.