The Living Room
It's funny how the human heart forms attachments. Till today, I regret the sale of my HDB flat. Me... the Petunia who thinks herself hard-headed and unemotional and rational about financial investing.
As a young couple, we bought a 7-room HDB because we thought it would maintain its value better even as flats become ever smaller. We hadn't much money to furnish it, so we put in cheap iron grilles that flaked rust after some months, until we learnt how to apply rust conversion primer. The floor was covered with vinyl sheets. Some years later, with savings in the bank, we overlaid wood laminate on it to create a woody, rustic feel. And we kept furniture to a minimum so that we would have less to clean, and one could simply drag a mop up and down the room without meeting any furniture. The children learnt to walk on a soft and bouncy vinyl floor. And when we laid wood laminate on it, it was yet another low cost and low maintenance option to renovating.
But till today I think of that flat with an ache in my heart because it no longer is mine. I sold it for mercenary profit and it still feels like I had sold a piece of my soul.
You see, it was a really nice place. All the rooms were large and well-ventilated. Every room had generous windows and the monsoons breezed through it at all times of the year. I had a corridor along which I could grow a small herb garden and dry my clothes on days where it rained nonstop.
It was a nice place to stay. It really was.
But that's not all, I guess. There really is something unexplainable about how the human heart forms attachments. The Husband has given me many gifts throughout the years. There have been expensive watches, and handbags, and diamonds. Yet, the thing that I took care to wrap in layers of tissue and masking tape (personally, not trusting the packers and movers to do it for me) ... was a shiny seashell he had picked up on a beach on one of his trips overseas 10 years into our marriage. It was such a pretty shell that it shone resplendent on the sand, and made him think how I would thrill at its beauty the way he did. And he brought it home across half the world - for me. He brought home other gifts too, but I forget what they are. I think I like this shell so much because it represents a moment shared in spirit even though we were half a world apart. I was pleased that after 10 years of marriage, he found a shell and thought immediately of me.
And maybe I like that HDB flat so much because we shared so many joys there. The birth of our children... their toddlerhood... the many little joys that make up life and living.