Been feeling this way for the past two days. Half the cohort head out for a good meal with friends after the last paper, the other half look for their boyfriends/girlfriends for long-postponed dates. I looked around me, avoided some friends, turned down lunch invitations, and headed for a swim. It poured, and boy did it pour. I continued swimming, I needed to get my feel of the water back, and the first ten laps felt horrid. My arms were fatigued and refused to pull, I struggled to keep my legs afloat. Then it slowly felt better, and I felt the smooth glide again. But then it had to start raining. I was hauled out of the water by the guard, no choice but to wash up and find a place to read. I wandered around the campus that I barely knew, the faces that were so familiar. I didn’t know anyone here, and the only place I knew how to get to was the pool, and the food places opposite it. I walked over, in the rain, found a place with some chairs and settled down to read. Two hours passed, I was starving. Subway was the only place I ever ate at, but it was too wet. I roamed around, found a food court, but all the food were seemingly for foreigners. I wanted a bowl of noodles as comfort food, but the closest they had was a chinese stall run by chinese nationals selling food from their province that I’ve never heard of. I read off the menu and ordered something I had no idea about. The lady glanced at me, not understanding. I had no idea what it was called in chinese; I pointed, she nodded. Found a seat, gobbled the noodles down, returned to the place where I was reading, and continued with my book. Roamed around in the evening, excited students at the end of exams, me – alone, wandering.
Today, I delved into my books, I knew I was running away, not wanting to deal with the other things. My books were still strewn all over my room, it’s unlike me, but I haven’t packed them up. This has been a tough semester, and a tough year. Reading was a way to stop myself turning inwards to my thoughts, it was a way to stop the feeling of loneliness and the seeming lack of direction. I turn my focus back to training, and read in between. Here I am in the evening, not wanting to be all alone in a lonely house. I never really refer to it as “home”, because I’m not sure I really feel that way. I take a slow leisurely ride, alone with my thoughts, no aim, no destination, just ride. I’ve read about great athletes, champions, and some of them, those less fortunate – become good at what they do because of the loneliness and boredom. There was no one around, so they kept training, simply because they were bored. But these athletes are never complete, they lack the emotions, the support. I sit here alone, with my bike, looking for some dinner. I look around me, everyone’s winding down after a day at work, hanging out with loved ones, or going home. I start to think, “home”, they say, is what the heart is. All I have is a house, home is riding my bike, swimming the sea, running on the roads. As an athlete, you need to know what makes you good. It might be your talent, your determination, your self-discipline. But maybe, it might the loneliness, the demons in your head, the emptiness. You may everything in the world, but if you’re empty, and lonely, you will always feel alone in a crowded room.
I love the night, I’m most in my element at night. Those who think I ride like mad haven’t seen me riding at night. I love the thrill, the cool wind, the semi-darkness. I feel like I could yell all my frustrations out, yell at the top of my lungs and still no one will hear me over the noise of the traffic. When I ride at night, the coolness of the night, the speed of the traffic, the adrenaline, the exhilaration – it feeds itself. I feel the freedom I never had, I feel the best I ever felt. And maybe, just maybe, for a brief moment, that’s happiness.