by Jolyn Low

I feel mind bogglingly exhausted. It’s that wave of inertia and profound fatigue that just washes over you when your eyes feel heavy and hot, and your mind is literally shutting down but not really, for I am typing this out and it is still whirling away.

I am almost at the end of my week at a dairy farm, and boy, what a week it has been. I have given cows IM injections, drenched them with potent chemicals, terrorized them in yards and dodged them countless times in the dairy. I have squirmed through many dubious fences, gotten several splinters from chunks of wood, and gotten peed and shat on so many times that I just give up. Cow poop smells dubiously like teh tarik in the mornings when I hose the yards down, and the industrial hoses make my arms ache. The water that comes out makes fleeting little rainbows that dance across the muck, as I try to enjoy the process. I am not above this.

I have fallen asleep on a huge cow transport truck, sitting precariously cross legged on the in between of the two proper seats whilst the truck rumbled through back lanes at insane speeds. I have swung my legs outside the buggy whilst it raced across the rough terrain of wild fields as we searched for stray cattle, and have been on so many cattle chases I cannot remember much anymore. On my last day I watched over a labouring cow in the chilling rain, and only when we pulled it out did we know that it was dead inside. I dissected in the woods behind. I have also played with little calves, letting them suck on my fingers, and bottle fed the littlest ones.

My arms ache, my shoulders hurt, and my legs are sore from the abrasions I have garnered from running about in combat boots and rubber wellies in the dairy. I detest every step that I take, and stare at myself in the mirror in the bathroom every single day after a much needed shower. I check for tan lines, and how my body has changed. I do not care too much anymore – I just go through with the days.

I have become very detached from many things around me. I no longer form attachments to people, places, animals or any other fleeting thing. Everything has become a game of now and the future, choosing to do things the way I so want it to be. Got a problem? Solve it. And if not, wait it out or do something to change the circumstances. Despite how much I love my independence, being able to do literally anything and everything that I so desire, I still feel like I’ve been thrown into the deep end. Sometimes.

I find it strange that I no longer wish to be back in Singapore. I do not find it sad to be estranged from people I once knew. Yearning for home is a given, but I no longer care about much else. If I try to visualise it, my memories of Singapore are sealed up in a box – I can stare at it blankly from the outside. But the moment I delve into it that’s when things start to unravel and get messy, and I simply cannot have that.