It will snow in Singapore on an August morning, at around a quarter to five.


It will be hard to decide when snowfall officially begins. There will be no official records. In fact it will be impossible to formulate how it even happens. But you will know that the snow does fall—visibly, at least—for four minutes and twenty-six seconds.


In those four minutes and twenty-six seconds, your partner Luis will mount his camera on a tripod on your balcony and start to record a video. He will record nothing but the snow itself, falling from clouds unknown; he will make it possible to detect various disturbances in motion, such as flurries, and eddies, and little gusts; he will record the instance in which the snow begins to quicken, and then thicken, so that for just a moment the white is all anyone can see. For reasons beyond your partner’s skill or the capabilities of his camera, it will appear profound, and beautiful, and astonishing. The both of you will wonder if this is in fact an act of God, or simply a great and final unburdening of the sky.


Your partner’s clip will only be two minutes and fifty-three seconds long. In a year’s time it will have its European premiere at the Künstlerhaus in Berlin, followed by its American premiere at the MCA in Chicago; a month after that, he will give a talk at a TEDGlobal conference, which will be viewed online by seventeen million people in under three months. Five months after that he will invite you to move in with him, in his new studio at Monterey, California, because he says he finally has the means to provide a house for you, to make work with you, and to love you like he said he would. Two days later, you will pack your bags, you will say goodbye to your mother, and you will go like you repeatedly promised him you would.


But first you will have to meet him by chance, before any of this can happen. You will have to be at home, putting on a nice dress and a pair of heels while also figuring out the route to the bar, at One Fullerton, where your friends in a group chat are planning to gather for drinks. You will briskly make your way to Punggol MRT station, where you will take notice of a rather short and stout man carrying a large backpack while trying to read a map. The instant he glances in another direction, you will find that you recognise his profile; that he is a senior you once hooked up with in sophomore year, and that, according to Facebook, is now embarking on a major trip around Asia.


You will say his name—Luis? Luis Moreno?—and he will turn, look over his shoulder, with an alarmed expression in his eyes. And then he will blink at you, unable to recognise you, until you tell him your name. And he will say, Jesus, Veronica, I wasn’t sure if it was you. And you will ask if it’s because of the dress, you hardly wore dresses back in Chicago, and he will say no, it’s the heels, you’re practically taller than I am now. And you will say yeah, you might be right actually, and laugh.


You will proceed to ask him how he’s here, at Punggol station, of all the places in the world. He will then tell you that he’s here for a project, actually, on antipodal points. You’ll ask him what that is, and he’ll tell you that it’s two points on a sphere that are directly opposite one another. To elaborate he’ll tell you to pick any spot on Earth and burrow a tunnel straight through, down towards the core of the Earth and then past it; the place at which you will finally emerge is the place that’s antipodal to your starting point. And then you will ask, well, what is Singapore’s antipodal point, and he will say it’s an area in the Yasuni National Park, in Ecuador, where his maternal grandfather was last heard to be. And then you will ask, timidly, what happened to Luis’s grandfather, and he will only say that he was on the run, that the 70s were a very violent, very politically unstable period in Ecuador, and that is just the extent of what he knows. It’s not that my family don’t talk about these kinds of things, you will then hear him say, it’s just that they know so very little. And so Luis is here in Singapore, carrying out this project of his and trying to know what it means, if to get to the very bottom of any truth is to literally emerge on the other side of the Earth. He’s here trying to find his grandfather via a process he’s still developing. And here, he says, wandering about this country, it’s like a parallel universe. That’s what Singapore is.


At this point, you will ask Luis what his plan is for the rest of the night. He will say that he’s thinking of heading back to his hostel at Jalan Kubor, and you will crinkle your nose and fail to recall if you’ve ever even heard of a Jalan Kubor. Instead you’ll tell him about your own plans, about how you’re going to a bar at One Fullerton, where your friends are planning to be, and you’ll add that it’s pretty nice, he is more than welcome to join you. Am I really? says Luis, and you will say yes, of course, he’s certainly more than welcome. Later however, at the bar at One Fullerton, you will find that only three of your friends have shown up. Luis, you’ll say, meet A and B and C—and Luis will smile and say, Hey, nice to meet you all, this is a really nice place. Isn’t it insane that Veronica and I just met again, like, an hour ago? And then, judging from Luis’s accent, your friends will surmise that both of you must know each other from college, at School of the Art Institute, and he’ll say yeah, exactly, that’s right.

        For a brief moment you’ll wonder if Luis will start bringing up stuff, stuff like stories or anecdotes of your shared history together. You’ll wonder if he too will come to realise that you guys barely know one another, in fact, and that there isn’t much to say or describe at all. You were just a girl, weren’t you? And he was just a boy, available and willing to stay over at your place, two or three days a week, for about one to two months at most. And then what happened? How did you stop seeing one another? You will try to think of an answer and fail. And you will realise that this failure to answer for things must surely happen to everyone, really, and so when it happens to you it’s also okay, it’s fine.


At 11.30pm, Luis will turn to you and announce the time. You both will have had a few drinks at this point, but of course, unlike Luis, you will already be feeling a lot lighter than he is, you’re already there where you need to be, your face cherry red and shining.

        Are you done? Luis asks. You’re not going to drink anymore?

        No, you’ll say to him, I’m feeling great. And you?

        I’m good, he’ll say. But I’m not done, if you know what I mean. I wanna do something else, somewhere else.

        Somewhere else?

        Yeah, he’ll say, anywhere. Come on, V, he’ll say to you, think of something.


And so you will leave the bar and go on a walk. And because the two of you have so much energy in your bodies, you feel like you can walk for ages, the night’s pretty cool and perfect for some reason. From One Fullerton, you will lead him around the bay area and walk past the Merlion, where there are still tourists around the statue, taking pictures of the spout and spray. You’re gonna take a picture as well? you shout at Luis, and Luis will yell, No, fuck no, we’re gonna keep walking. And that’s when you will spot a pair of yellow bicycles in a corner, one of those new common-use bicycles that everybody’s renting nowadays, and you’ll say, Fuck walking, dude, this is even better. And you will both run to the bikes and spend a good twenty minutes figuring things out, trying to download the damn app on your smartphones, and when you finally unlock the oBikes it will feel nothing short of triumph. The two of you are young and free and total brats, suddenly powering through the crowd at Marina Bay Sands until you reach the Helix Bridge, which will soar over your heads for just a second—and then you will race through a garden you’ve never seen before, down cycling paths you never knew existed before, past a large building with towering white columns that is an entrance/exit to Gardens By The Bay that you never knew before—and then further down to where the Marina Barrage is, which will prompt Luis to ask, What the fuck is a “barrage”?, which will then elicit a God knows! from you, a phrase that will fly out of your mouth so quickly and delightfully that you will imagine it soaring out of your throat like a flare, its smoke trail leading up towards the night sky where all these kites, these beautiful kites just suddenly appear out of nowhere, and when you look back down it’s a miracle, look at all these people still here, and what a verdant field of grass leading straight towards the sea, where across the horizon lies an entire line of boats and ships and other supermassive things that glow radiant in the night—and this is where you will both finally stop and catch your breath, this is where you will throw your oBikes down and rest, clinging onto the ground, the grass and then each other, kissing, and then touching, and then rolling over one another, laughing into each other’s faces, so much that it’s practically a mystery as to why you ever parted in the first place, how silly.









And then how strange, to suddenly find yourself on the other side of the world, chortling and grinning into the ear of a girl you once knew; everything will seem to be happening to somebody else, some dude luckier than you have any right to be, and you will continue to laugh out of disbelief when an irate stranger flashes a light at the both of you, telling you and your girl to take your business elsewhere, don’t you know there are kids in this park? And then your girl will go, Oh shit! The kids! And then she’ll dramatically run for her oBike and dash out of the place, and you’ll make a run for yours as well and chase after her, screaming, We have to protect the children! It’s the children, I tell you! And as you start to cycle after her, it will be your turn, briefly, to think about why you stopped seeing one another, but unlike Veronica you’ll know the reason why, because it’s the exact same reason why you’ve never held onto anything for very long: if you never learn to love a thing, it will never love you back, and although there is loneliness in that situation, there is freedom as well—and freedom, you will say to yourself, it’s the only thing worth being lonely for. But then you will hear a voice, it’s asking you: What if I told you that it doesn’t have to be this way? What if I told you, what if I whispered to you, that freedom is no big deal? That as long as you are bound to gravity, to space and to time, that freedom will always be an illusion, or at most a dream? Boy, the voice says: think about it.


You will follow your girl down a path. She will slow down on her bicycle. She will look over her shoulder, and make eye contact with you, and smile: she will ask how you are feeling, and you will say you are good, you are fine. In fact you are very, very happy, the happiest you’ve been in a while. And she will say she is glad, you’ve made her happy as well, she feels the exact same way. She still can’t believe she got to see you again, and that it’s your fault, you bastard, for making her remember. Remember what? you’ll ask, and she’ll not say what. Instead she’ll say, Luis, I actually have no idea where we are, and you’ll take a look at your surroundings: you are cycling on a narrow path, next to an empty road on the right; but what is it, exactly, over on your left? What are these trees doing here? And then you will request for both of you to stop cycling, and you will stop, and disembark from your bicycles, and begin to walk around the area.

        You will judge, based on the appearance of things, that this must be a tree farm of sorts. The grass on the ground is well shorn and bare, for as far as you can see. More importantly, there are trees of all kinds too, but they are all merely saplings at most, miniature, kid-sized trees, planted in mounds of dirt spaced equally apart down many, many rows. You and your girl will place your bicycles at the edge of this farm and start walking amongst the trees, with their slender trunks and modest amount of leaves; in the darkness, you will feel like you are slipping in and out of sight, but not really, because hiding is just not possible here, even with the moon obscured by the sudden intrusion of clouds. It makes you warm to think of you both as explorers, discovering the same unknown together, to be in several ways aligned for once.


After a while, you will spot a vehicle in the distance, parked and yet seemingly abandoned in the middle of this farm. It will look to you like a tractor of some sort, with an engine and a driver’s seat and a large loader filled with dirt. And as you approach it, you will discover that there is still a man on that tractor, seated on the driver’s seat with his body slumped over the wheel. Perhaps the man is sleeping, you will wonder. And for some reason you will be overcome with emotion, the more you take in the sight of this man; you will take note of his beige shirt and his dark trousers as you gradually make your approach; you will find that the man’s posture is affecting you because it resembles an image you have been chasing for a while, long held in your own mind: the image of your grandfather, in the middle of an Ecuadorian rainforest, his body slumped in the same way this man is, dressed too in a beige shirt and dark trousers. These will be his only measures of dignity while he is a wanted man, hiding deeper and deeper in a forest where no one for sure will ever find him. And then what? you’ve always wanted to ask your grandfather. So what? How could you allow yourself to be so lost?

        You tell your girl you want to take a picture. Of the tractor? your girl will say, and you will nod and say yes as you put your backpack on the ground. You will take out your camera and attach the right lens, and mount it on your tripod. You will then find the right settings for the light that you want. And when you take your shots of the man sleeping on the tractor, you will notice your girl, lingering beside you, watching you do your work, even though the shots are crap, they’re not very good, and you are still rather drunk. She will ask if you are ready to go back to her place after this, and you will say, without much thought at all, that you are. When her Uber finally comes round, both of you will saddle in, you will reach across the darkness of the vehicle and hold her hand in yours, and she will let you. And when she finally takes you into her room, you will let her lead you into the shower as well, where you will make love to her, and say good things to her, and tell her how much you miss her, even now when you are with her, and that for the first time in a long while you feel like anything can truly happen, so long as she is willing to remain beside you.

        Boy, listen: what if I told you that your soul is too big for one person, for one body, one life? Would you believe me? Would you say yes, you do? Boy, you have to listen to me: would you say you are at least willing to try?


At 4.41am, you will sit in your girl’s living room, staring at a photograph she took while she was on holiday, in Shirakawa-go, Japan. It is a picture of these two strangers, head to toe in blue, holding on to one another as they make their way through a snowstorm. She didn’t even plan the shot, she will tell you, it was just something she took on her iPhone. Can you imagine that? she asks, and you will say yes, of course. You say you will believe in anything now. And so when she tells you that something unbelievable is happening, out on the balcony, you will walk over and slide the doors open, only to let in a sudden gust of chilly air. And when she points her hand upwards, you will look up as well, only to see that it has started to snow, even though it’s the middle of August, here on the equator; and when she tells you to take out your camera, right now, as fast as you can, you will listen to her, you will do as you are told. You will see that you have been drifting your whole life, only to find yourself caught in the orbit of something immense and wonderful, and the gravity of it makes sense, feels solid, is right. You are a part of something now.