It was a cool and somewhat tranquil Saturday evening, and I was in a rather sombre mood. Many people tell me I’m too young to be a grumpy old man, but feelings like this – you can’t erase like a chalkboard. I’ll let you in on a secret – when I’m in a bad mood I like to drink Perrier Lemon. I’m obviously underage to consume any sort of alcohol, so the bitter taste of Perrier Lemon is an ideal substitute to keep my mind off troubles. Call me lame – whatever.

I took a train to Chinese Garden, with my choice of “poison” rather exuberantly stowed in an ice bag. I like dressing up – don’t get me wrong – but I was careful not to overdress. I heard Park Dwellers are an extremely judgemental species. In my sky-blue tee and rather floppy jogging shorts, I strode excitedly into the gardens. I was eager for some silent self-reflection. It was a relatively quiet day, the Park Dweller population seemed to have emigrated. I found myself a clean wooden bench under the shade of a tree – which arced majestically downwards, its leaves rustling in the aromatic evening air. Yes, even air has its distinct characteristics.

The bench overlooked the central lake, but not the sun. I deliberately chose a bench facing away from the sunset. However beautiful, the piercing rays of the sun were an unwelcome distraction – a mildly painful one. I sat there, staring at the rippling orange water – for what seemed like hours. I thought about life, my studies, my friends, my family.

It’s laughable really, how hard each of us tries to make our mark in this world. We study so hard, we frantically build our relationship bridges, we endure sleepless nights deliberating on our imperfections. All for what? When our day comes, we’ll fade away. However memorable our lives, we’ll all turn into stories. Stories that live in the minds of our loved ones. Stories that could bring a smile to a face or lead to a torrent of tears. Stories that could bring songs of praise or choirs of resentment. Stories that would inevitably fall to the test of time, fading away into the great library of forgotten history, locked away by the guardsmen of space and time. So what is the meaning of life?

This is the meaning of life. We are the authors of this great story. It matters not how many people get to read it, or how long this story is passed down. We write this story for ourselves, with the ink of life. One day the ink would run dry and the final chapter to our story would be written and signed. But till then, the ink can be used to write countless adventures, tales of joy, sorrow, anger, danger, love. Tales that would fill the pages of the book of life. We don’t have anything to prove at all! We share this book with those around us, and we can use our ink to write in the books of others. The ink in our books and the stories that they tell, they’re not just our own! Countless others have spilled their ink in our books, their stories and ours entwine, creating new chapters. It’s beautiful. That’s what life is for, for us to not only fill our own books but the books of others too! And when the time comes, we’ll pass down our books, hopeful that the tales of the old would serve as a guide to young blood, to aid them as they start writing their own books. It all comes full circle. It’s a cycle, a beautiful one, and all of us have our part to play in it.

Satisfied that I had done my fair share of thinking, I checked my watch – and promptly let out a shrill of distress. It was a quarter past ten. Getting off the bench. I rushed back home to the sight of my rather irritated family members gathered in the living room. I placed my bag on the table and went to take a shower – and was interrupted my a rather alarming shattering noise followed by a rather familiar name being shouted repeatedly. Wrapping myself with a towel, I rushed out to see my ice bag lying open on the floor – and a smashed-up bottle of Perrier Lemon lying cheekily in the middle of a puddle of water.

Damn. I forgot to drink my “poison”.