It wasn’t a hot day. But the engines from the trucks and the motorcycles that tore down the road enveloped me. As I walked down the slope and onto the causeway, I noticed there were no cars, around the middle of the causeway, only the trucks were idling impatiently. I was walking by myself, though there were sparse crowds before me and behind me. It wasn’t a march, or a huddled mass. That would come later as the others complete the last stretch of their journey. I saw no faces of the people who went before me, as well as the ones after me, the wind carrying all of us.
They closed two immigration counters after I joined the queue. I could only wait. It would take another hour before I officially crossed into Singapore. It’s the closest thing to ever feeling a part of this world, a part of the people around me. What felt like an inkling of purpose dropped into my head, or maybe I was just borrowing the sense of purpose from everyone else.
I felt relief in my veins. It’s the closest feeling I’d ever feel to dodging a bullet. I didn’t even think about getting infected. I realised that relief was covered with foreboding as it coursed through every inch of my veins. It feels like I’ve severed something, even when I got what I wanted—that Social Visit Pass. May it one day be a Permanent Residency card.
And now I look at the long, hallowed halls of the airport’s MRT station. The train bound for Tanah Merah finally arrives. Along with a small crowd I board it. The train lurches forward, digging its wheels after an impatient wait at the station. It’s only now I realised—the people who crossed the causeway, with or without the pandemic; I belong to them.