There’s a story behind this one.
That’s me, as a nine-year-old, newly transferred to another Singaporean primary school as part of the Gifted Education Programme. I’d passed a host of tests, but while I was intellectually able, I was also ridiculously antisocial and about as obviously queer as you can be at that age. I was in the morning session so school started at something like 7am, and the bus sometimes got to school early enough I could see the sunrise.
I was mercilessly bullied at this school for being a clumsy, obsessive-compulsive, male-identifying kid with with crippling phobias and a whole host of imaginary friends. And that was before I tried to contact authorities about sexual abuse of some of my classmates, perpetuated by older students. You can guess what the aftermath was like for me.
It was early one morning that I was standing like this, gripping the rail of the fourth-floor (or so) walkway between the assembly hall and the bathrooms, staring out at the city beyond, idly wondering if the dizzying height below me would actually kill me, or if I’d just have to deal with the alternating rage and grief of my parents. I was already dissociating and numb by then, so there’s not much I can remember, but I do remember looking up to see what I thought was a shooting star streaking past. When I realized what it had been, I thought “huh, that was quite special.” And headed back inside, to live another day, and as it turns out, quite a few more years.