v., formal. surround; enclose

This morning is a quiet one; barring the occasional sounds of vehicles, I hear nothing more than my own laboured breathing and the shuffle of feet in the kitchen while the elders of the house prepare for their busy day. The building has not opened its gates for business and the carpenters haven’t arrived. The neighbours are quiet. The dogs and roosters are quiet. The cat next door mewls for a while, but the sound is tiny and irrelevant, and soon gone.


Mornings are colder now. I sleep under four layers of blankets and still shiver, although that may be because the electric fan is on despite the cold; I can’t sleep without its gentle drone and the familiar sweep of air on my face. In a way it is like assisted breathing. Even during nights when I sleep like the dead, power outages wake me: I suffocate when the air is still and the world is quiet and dark; I remain restless until the neighbours’ generators come to life and break the silence with the loud rumble of its engines. I hate the sounds they make — grating, hoarse, sometimes tired — but I fall asleep not long after, so I can’t truly complain.

I often try not to think about how lonely this sounds.


Noon is slow, lethargic. Banks generally are, I suppose, and to ask for thrill in this environment would be to court danger.

Paperwork is tedious and pointless. Writings are emotionless, stern, concise to a fault, blunt and impartial like all else in the world that have little regard for the liberal arts. Business letter is a terrible redundancy; all letters have business. Business letters is a terrible misnomer; “business letters” aren’t written for people, they’re written for institutions, and are not letters so much as they are memorandums or circulars or notices or transactional correspondences. I realise I am being a romantic by insisting on the personal nature of letters, and I am not an expert on semantics and therefore am ill-qualified to argue the use of the word letter, but I shall remain stubborn on the matter: letters are for people to other people, and are filled with more meaning than submission of requirements and compliance to circulars and requests or invitations to so and so.

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Nights are noisy. There is a bar right across the house now, always full of noisy patrons. This city has no zoning policies; where one day you have a quiet neighbourhood, the other you will find yourself in the middle of a budding night life capital. The bar has open-mic sessions during Fridays and Saturdays. Music is nice. Loud conversations are not. Shrieking laughter and drunken screaming are not. Large, open windows facing source of noise are not. Some nights the neighbours’ dogs like to join in the cacophony–one dog barks and triggers a canine round song. One neighbour owns a dozen roosters that take offence and consequently crow in the middle of the night to assert their territories, or cause a headache, who knows. One neighbour owns a chihuahua that just yips, a tiny sound compared to that of its other bigger fellows, but more annoying for its higher pitch.

I could kiss the cats of the subdivision: they’re quiet when the rest of the avenue is loud, and sometimes, when all noises die down and the silence becomes just a little bit suffocating, they mewl gently in the streets until dawn, or at least until the hum of the electric fan lulls me to sleep again.


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