“Now that I’m walking again to the beat of the drum” I cannot be more grateful that I have my little cave to escape to. There is, at least, joy to be found in the pinks and the blues and the green and earthy hues that drape my walls and windows and things, little hums of peace as I run my fingers over the rows of X’s adorning the duvet sheets and the rough threads patterning the sofa rug-turned-throw. The evenings seem so short, however…the day’s music goes on for far too long, far too jarringly.

Many times since I’ve returned to KL I’ve looked back upon Frankfurt as some of my happiest days. The surface contrasts are hard to deny. I miss the feeling of liberation one gets from meandering by foot about the city, choosing to settle on an empty bench if I wish, without fussing over a plan to Waze and park or Uber; the feeling of losing oneself without actually getting lost. I miss my old habit of looking up at the sky – if there is one definitive memory of Frankfurt for me, it is that of returning home after the sun has set, about to cross the threshold of my flat, hands stuffed in coat pocket, and then stopping in my tracks to look up and marvel at the countless stars – how vast, how clear, how beautiful.

But memory is a most unreliable thing, especially when viewed from the lens of present-day emotions. So many sayings, so much research tell us that memory is always relativised to the present. Our brain is not flawless, and often falls in thrall to our heart. The past is always a pretty story mainly because it’s no longer here for you to cross-examine. And therefore on occasion one feels like such an irrational overwrought thing, because you know you are pining for an abstract, a concept, and conveniently glossing over the day-to-day humdrum that, if remembered, would make a memory seem a lot less wondrous, and the present a lot more to be happy about, than it seems when one is sunk in the depths of stubborn despondence.

But then there’s the other side of the coin, isn’t there? Emotions colour how you experience life and love and everything else in between and beyond – and so they shape what you create, and they make what you create uniquely yours. My singing teacher has often told me – bring your day into your lesson, bring your life stories into your singing. Singing at 25 and 40 are different, not only because your voice physically matures but because how you see the world changes. As Rebecca Mead says – “All our loves, realised or otherwise – all our alternative plots – go to make us who we are, and become part of what we make.” A final word of comfort from Goethe in The Sorrows of Young Werther, through which I am currently midway –

“He values my understanding and talents more highly than my heart, but I am proud of the latter only. It is the sole source of everything of our strength, happiness, and misery. All the knowledge I possess every one else can acquire, but my heart is exclusively my own.”