The new year brought with it an amiable sense of unprecedented calm that surprised me even. It's true that I had strayed on the streets of Melbourne till 3 in the morning after the clock struck 12, and the fireworks had left all but a cloud of its short-lived existence trailing behind the Yarra. I had never seen Flinders Street so strewn with litter as it had been during the first few hours of the new year, nor had I seen so many tiny crowds of policemen gathered along the same street like mini battalions, resolving drunken fights among teenage punks every 500 meters or so. By the time we took the train back (where a disheveled man who appeared suspiciously woozy on drugs nearly projectile-vomited along my way as the train lurched forward), it was close to 4 in the morning. And by the time we actually awoke to a bright new year, I had no recollection of time, except a sense of peace that seemed like the whole world had descended to a standstill: There was not a rustle in the leaves, and few cars on the road. I couldn't hear the nearby rumbling of the train, which never fails to add a little cacaphony with its screeching wheels in need of oiling to our bustling neighbourhood. Unfortunately, this warm blanket of serenity lingered for a few days before it got blown away by the cool southeastern winds, and I found myself panicking again-- so much to do, so little time.
Very soon, this place will be a collective memory of our first attempt at cohabitation, left to linger on the dusty mantel of our fireplace. A faint mustiness emits from the cardboard boxes that are slowly stacking up in a corner of our living room, no thanks to the oppressive humidity over the last few days that had rendered our floorboards and books all moist and sticky. A combination of panic, agony and reproach is pawing at my heart each day, leaving tiny little scratch marks on my body. I know this feeling. I know this feeling from exactly a year ago, and I hate it. I hate trawling through the Monash Freeway with this bitterness all over my front wheels, hate having a bilious lump in my throat that is itching to crawl out, hate this feeling of being chronically nauseated and dizzy with a sense of helpless undoing, and even detest it knowing that it will be a vicious cycle that will forever define my life-- that I am a wandering nomad without a home. Home is where I plant my heart at, and build my future around, brick by brick, layer by layer, year by year. Knowing that I will never have a home saddens me, and I realised, on a deeper level, that it was one of the many reasons why I bought myself a piece of land on a residential golf course even though I don't play golf, just before the year came to an end-- for I wanted a grip on something, anything, that will make me return to this place eventually, no matter how wretched or snobby it can sometimes be, because I have fallen for this coffee-consuming cosmopolitan.