The palace looked majestic beyond the woods, stretching not far behind the swampy areas of the lake, right in front where Marcel and Farah stood.
Damuan Park was the place they would normally catch up. It was near their home village, called the Tumasek area, where they lived out most of their childhood. Back then, their father didn’t own a car. He walked to his workplace, which happened to be the palace itself.
Marcel got married to a local girl in this country and so, he was the only one who stayed. His other sisters were both in Japan now, and their parents, happily retired in Philippines.
Farah, however, was the only one who remained a nomad. Being a writer, she would normally just shack up with friends whenever she stayed in their home country. She does have a permanent home, but let’s just say… Old habits die hard.
“Do you remember the time when there were no malls around here and Jaya Hypermart was the only hang out place of students and basically everyone?” Marcel asked his sister.
Farah smiled and nodded. Brunei really changed since then. The change wasn’t as fast as people wanted it to, but each time she came back here to visit, there was always something new.
The capital city was revamped and there were new buildings that stood tall. A passenger station that has a terminal in each district, allows two trains that moves one way in opposite directions on a track that stretches throughout all the districts, running alongside the highway from Bandar Seri Begawan to Kuala Belait, and is now the most popular mode of transport for everyone.
Back then, just right before their father retired, fitness was the main trend. Lots of people were jogging, and joining marathons or triathlons. The gyms were also packed. Because of this, the sidewalks were improved.
The streets and roads were now filled with people walking to their destinations. There were fewer cars, so besides the feel of a hustling and bustling city, the air here is still fresh compared to the smog elsewhere.
However, some things remained the same, like people were used to the old places to do their workouts. Many still prefer going to the stadiums and parks. Damuan Park was one of these places. There is a sense of familiarity and privacy with old places.
“I met Wheel-Chair again,” he continued.
“How is he?”
“He’s at peace now…”
6 years ago
In Farah’s words
My brother and I jogged a complete 8 mile. It was light. We were always joining half-marathons and marathons. Today was just another unwinding to do. I have been away for two years for the first time, and I came back to only my brother here in Brunei.
We were looking out at the lake that was ever so peaceful. I hardly saw this lake ‘move’. It was always so still. It wasn’t dirty but it was dark… just dark water. You can’t make out whatever is in it, at the same time, the mystery doesn’t scare you.
At a distance, there were three people, besides some few that go passing by on their jog routes....