It is the spending of that time

(from 19 August, 9.02 am, left among drafts and forgotten until it wasn’t.)

which gets me the most.

The time that is not mine to give in the first place.

Of course, it’s difficult not to apportion blame when we feel it is rightly deserved. So this slow, cold morning that is on its own early.

They say not to complain, that we are fortunate, that it is already better than having to wake up earlier to travel – but we definitely feel that that is not the point.

I do not mind waking up at six to travel if it means that it’ll start on time. That they are late makes the earliness unbearable.

With fair predictability, they will enter the room later and apologise for lateness, make some excuse or offer the trite one of having no such excuse – maybe even the refreshing answer that they overslept.

Or perhaps they have truly met with a disaster on the second lesson of our semester and that will be the last we see of them.

The time is still gone and there is no reclaiming back the time.

Even if the lesson is three hours long, we are the ones who cannot afford to lose 16.7% of it.

I am afraid of losing time with those who are on time next. To lose someone else’s time knowing that it could be the most important part of their lives is a cruelty unmatched in no other scale. Monetising time.

After all, time on its own has no monetary value.

If the answer is to learn on our own, then what is that value? Lateness once is a mistake – twice is a crime; with which they have fooled us once with.

Now with the same pounding headache can I tell you that this is a sunset not to be borne? Whether you are sleeping or working or otherwise…

Maybe this is how the culture of lateness starts – that is how it begins.

Not when we slip up but when they do. And we learn that this is their normal and shift our timings back to meet them.

I can’t move that far back in this term, si, I do not have that tempo to spare.

We are unforgiving when it comes to people whom we do not care for. We cannot understand people whom we have just met.

To the you whom we have re-met, then that is the truth. Either we have not changed that much, honestly. Or we have not changed in the other’s eyes and have no intention to. As a result of that, we control the way we interact with one another.

This is not a bad thing, right?

(23 September, 6.52 pm.)

Before going for dinner, in this overtime of the class.

Cat mister, your lateness is already forgiven according to our fickle heart. We wouldn’t mind having you next term too.

And today the weather is warm. Not that anyone can rest their cheek on the glass since the lecture is recorded in the first place.

Io ho stanca e fame. And still, we are anxious about that, again. Always.

Fresh figs, bulbous and sweet,

dark red innards with bright gold seeds,

stems green with milky sap,

purplish skins with their astringencies as if to say

‘don’t eat me’.

Turkish figs and Arabian dates,

so this is what the once-a-century chocolate ice cream tastes like:

exotic and undeserving,

coldness curling in your stomach that one can only

regret afterwards.

The Lotuses have had air seep into them through the plastic,

how, I do not know.

A brick sent to last me a month, and it will just, barely.

Redness of the wrappers and pasta sauce bottles filled with nuts,

the history of China book that I would like to read.

‘Rainmaker’, what is your namesake? The grocery list reminds me that

I am halfway through

you but still, I have not the answer to where the rain comes from.

Anyway, we ate all the spicy mixed radish greens and purples and I have transferred the pea shoots into the garden.

I hope they will live well, the last tomato plant is truly doing very poorly, and today was a hot day.

I thought I would make them a shade. Before I even got the shade netting, they have curled downwards on themselves and suffered.

How do I describe the feeling of sadness that is there but also ambivalent and still, pitying and regret-filled.

A regret still sweeter than the bitterness of leaves or shoots or stems.


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