photo of singapore cityscape during golden hour

Singapore Mornings

I roll over, switching off the alarm. It’s dark and it will stay that way until 7 AM. I emerge from my air-conditioned bedroom, only to feel the oppressive stuffiness of a closed house. I wander downstairs to make my coffee. While my coffee brews, I reach for the keys and pray the air outside will be cooler than inside. It is, slightly. I take a deep breath, the humid air is made heavier by the incense from a nearby house temple and our neighbors altars.

I sit down to drink my Nanyang (Southeast Asian) coffee. My coffee so dark you can barely see the milk when you pour it in. I don’t add sugar, it’s rich and nutty rather than bitter. I like it that way.

The neighborhood maids are cooking breakfast, and preparing for their employers to awake. I start organizing my own day and feel the pores on my neck and forehead start to open up. My face will soon be glistening. I’m twisting my hair on top of my head to get it off my neck but it’s futile, I’ve forgotten my hair tie upstairs.

It’s still dark when the roosters start crowing. There are two on opposite sides of the house. They like to call to each other. The cat is hunting in the other room. Has he found a cockroach or a lizard today? They are both plentiful. I hope he finishes the job so I don’t have to.

The sky turns from black to an inky gray. I hear the bell from the house temple announcing a new day. I wonder who rings it. I never see anyone there.

Water rushes through the outside pipes. My children are awake. It’s time to pack their lunch.

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