Of Stargazer Lilies and Perfect Days

Woke up at 5.30am today. It’s no secret that I have been having a hard time all-around for the past couple of months, and possibly for the next couple of months too. So when I was unable to go back to sleep, I thought my subconscious has gotten the better of me. After a quick run and shower, I sat by the window to watch the morning came alive.

Just as the sunlight broke through the clouds and the streets were slowly populated with people looking for their Sunday morning teh tarik and roti canai, my bleak mood dissipated and was replaced, quite unintentionally, by a feeling of gratitude and happiness.

A day like this doesn’t come very often. The last time was about 2 months ago. It was about 7am and I was crossing the street to get to the Asia Jaya LRT station. At the red light, I took off my sunglasses and looked up to the sky. It was so clear and blue I could not help but texted a friend 470km away to tell him to wake up and go outside. Great day to be alive, I told him. And it was.

Today is that kind of day.

I pushed all thoughts of clichés aside.

It is a beautiful day and I am not going to waste it.

So I wore my favourite assemble (ribbed cotton tank in grey, skinny jeans, rubi flats and a black quilted bag) and headed to Bangsar. The first taxi that I flagged down stopped. No haggling. No bargaining. He just nodded, repeated my destination, started the meter and smiled. If you have attempted to get a taxi in Malaysia, you will agree that this is minor miracle. The clock at the dashboard showed that it was 7.15am.

At the Lucky Garden morning wet market, I marched to my regular flower stall and bought 3 stalks of pink oriental lilies (also known as “stargazer” lilies*, and how apt!). The florist wrapped some purple orchids and these orange flowers that I don’t know the name of to go with them. Something extra for my favourite customer she said. I’ve been buying flowers from her for more than a decade but we don’t know each other’s names. Maybe next week I’ll bring her a can of Orangina Fizz and we’ll finally exchange names.

At TMC, I found that they had just received stock of Mrs. Field’s Soft Cookies in White Chocolate & Cranberry. I squealed a little. What a nice coincidence. I was just talking about it last Friday. My stock of Millie’s Cookies was depleted. Since the only Millie’s Cookies outlet in Asia is in HK airport, it’ll be a while before I get my hands on some. We were discussing alternatives when I asked LF if she remembers Mrs. Field’s. Of course, she said. She posited that the outlets closed because the brownies were too sweet and Malaysians generally are not too keen on brownies. The soft cookies were good, I said, eyes glazed with longing. And today there they were, rows and rows of Mrs. Field’s soft cookies, just begging to be taken home.

At chawan I ordered a Nescafe and Teluk Intan coffee frappe, nasi lemak bungkus and fried chicken on the side. F*ck skinny, I wrote in text messages to friends. Today I am going full fat.

I sat at the last table in the al fresco section. The sunlight hit my face just so as the morning sun began its ascent. It was warm and comforting. The roads were still a little wet from last night’s downpour. My breakfast arrived and it was excellent. I read the Sunday papers and June’s Reader’s Digest (yes you may laugh, I read Reader’s Digest every month). The Quotes section was about practice.

There are no shortcuts to any place worth going. Beverly Sills

Talent is only a starting point. Irving Berlin

If I’ve learned nothing else, it’s that time and practice equal achievement. Andre Agassi

A couple of friends came for brunch. We had banoffee cake (yes cake, not pie) at Marmalade. The texture was rich and velvety;  the condensed milk glaze and fresh bananas provided just a touch of sweetness. I swore I purred.

As I crossed the street to make a quick stop at the pharmacy, I thought to myself, maybe this is what it’s all about. Those hours and hours slogging at work (or “the coal mine”, as I’d like to call it these days), the  fatigue so crippling you could barely drag yourself to bed, the distressing feeling that you can’t quite shake off when you’re having a bad day (week, month, year, decade; pick one), the unending struggle to achieve the mythical balance between the professional and personal you, the love that you accidentally found yet purposely lost, the irrationality and craziness of it all… all these things, maybe they all need to happen to lead me to this perfect day.

Just so I can live this life at this precise moment where everything just falls into place effortlessly.

Maybe it is all just practice so that perfect days such as today will be a normalcy, rather than an aberrant,  in my future.

The thought alone is enough to keep me going. Kinda hard not to feel blessed and lucky to be alive.

Have a nice Sunday everyone, or whatever’s left of it. I leave you with the acoustic version of Perfect Day by Collective Soul, which reverberated through my mind all day.

*Stargazer lilies: The lily family has traditionally represented innocence and purity. These motifs appeared as far back as ancient Greek and Roman civilizations and reappeared in biblical traditions. Stargazer lilies have come to be associated with these meanings, but they’ve taken on additional meanings as well. White stargazer lilies, in particular, have come to characterize a sense of purity and are often used as an expression of sympathy. The pink varieties are also considered symbolic of wealth and prosperity, as well being as a sign of aspiration – Proflowers.com

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