Monday, November 21, 2005

The living dead. Memories. Stories.

Grandma took a mouthful of porridge, and another ... then firmly pressed her lips together, refusing to open at all. She turned her face away, her jaws stubbornly munching away. I rubbed a bit of medicated oil at her temples and under her nose, behind her ear lobes, hoping that the sharp tangy smell would help, even if a little. She continued staring blankly ahead, working her jaws and refusing to open her mouth for another swallow. We took a break, and I massaged her a bit more, and tried again with a spoonful of water. Ha, she opened her mouth again, and in the spoon went. Quickly before the thin lips clamped tight again.

Afterwards, no more persuasion could entice her to open her mouth.

Perhaps an hour later, I told mom. We let her rest, and I rubbed a bit more medicated oil on her chest. Skin and bones, just like a skeleton now.

When she is better, she has a good appetite, and there's no problem feeding her. How many days have it been already? One more day of antibiotics, whatever infection seemed to have cleared. Apples and papaya later then. If not, tube-feeding. *shrug*

It was damn unfair and insenstive that the doctor exclaimed that she had been neglected and was undernorished. Would she have still be alive then if that was the case? What do they know? Why would they care, except to shoot their mouths off. Who would have cared anyway? Bah.

They said they would have sent a nurse down that time, but no one came. Either there was some miscommunication, or misunderstanding on mom's part. In this country, you take care of your own. No one would truely bother. No one would truely care. Out of sight, out of mind.

She told me she worked because she had seven mouths to feed. Seven dogs at the dog farm. She is an amazing person. These are the people I'd prefer to talk to. Not those siting at the desks, emiting insincere smiles.

Grandma also loved dim sum. I think it runs in the family. We used to buy back at the coffeeshop near her old place. We all enjoyed the very normal hawker food. Hokkien mee, fishball noodles etc. When I started working, Grandma was still pretty all right. I wasn't so rich then. Hawker fare was all I could afford.

A date with Mom to our favourite dim sum place either this week or next week then. :) Never had a chance to bring Grandma there, so never wait till it's too late.

Mom said that I was the only one who kinda almost 'over-stayed' in her womb. Right on the dot of the EDD. Big, chubby and happy. Eyes wide and bright and alert and looking everywhere. I told her it must be the coffee she said she drank every morning. I was obviously 'drugged', ya? :P And look at me, so dark.

Compared that to my older brother. Milk only. Extreme care. Pretty fair skin. Damn. Okie, pretty blur too. haha.


Father made the tea rather thick, but it sure was fragant. He didn't like the egg tarts, prefering his tao-sa-pia. Mom loved the egg tarts. And one each for the rest of the guys in my family. :)

Hubby wasn't too pleased that I was late in picking him up. He's throwing a bit of tantrum, and I'm throwing it with him too. :P It wasn't my fault. Darn parents didn't have an iota sense of time. I said, it's time to go! And they said, wait wait ... and started cutting the fruits. Sheesh. Rolls eyes. I had my time all nicely planned properly, and it wasn't exactly a rush for me. Not my fault, truely. I shall feel 'misunderstood' ... hmmm, not that word, what's that word? ... damn, how irritating it is to have a word in the head but not being able to catch it! ... for a while more.


yuan wang, what's it in English?


Mom told me that Grandma's father sat at the roof of his rich mansion and threw money down to the people on the streets below. Depression runs in the family. He took up opium when his wife passed away.

Is there a need to have meaning to life?

Mom never allowed us to keep pets. Dogs, cats, fish, birds, whatever. She had her hands full taking care of us, so no thank you, she's not going to take care of animals too.

And she has something against dogs. No ... she doesn't hate them, she just didn't want to be near them.

Once upon a time, a long long time ago, when she was still very young, a mongrel of a dog fell in love with her. :P

It was one of those strays her brothers picked up and brought home. And as boys go, you know, the rough uncaring, happy-go-lucky kind, they left the dog at home and away they went to play with whatever their attention caught their whim at that instant.

So the dog was neglected, oh, it was fed all right, Grandma always have a soft spot for cats and dogs, just that the dog was dirty and smelly and molty - it was a stray after all, and lack of the love and attention it needed.

And the dog decided that mom would be his center of the universe. She happened to be the next nearest living person in the house.

So dog followed her everywhere, with those big adoringly lovely melting warm heart-breaking eyes, waiting for a kind word, or even an absent-minded pat. And as overgrown puppies goes, you know ... they would always try to sniff up your skirt.

Mom was obviously not amused.

I think she would not have minded if dog was a clean dog. Did I mention that mom is mightily obsessed with cleanliness?

Dog was obviously very doggy. Ran around in the mud, fought mightily hard with other dogs, fur molted, fresh wounds here and there, pitiful looking, shit and peed everywhere, bathed only in the rain ...

So everytime when mom came home, dog would greet her so happily, yet so pitiful and dirty-looking. Poor dog. Poor mom. Dog was too dirty to be hugged.

And one day, someone did not tie dog up properly. When mom went off to work, naughty dog sneaked out too. Dog followed the object of admiration along the footpath, slinking behind the bushes, ohhh .. smart. Not to be seen. To the bus-stop. Hey, she's going up the bus! One hundred meters dash! Come on boy! Come on! You can do it. Dog boarded bus. Bus driver yelled! Pretty young well-dressed early twenty-ager turned and saw goofy dirty, mangy dog. Panic! Shoo! Shoo!! I do not know you. You do not know me. Get off the bus! Poor dog. Rejected again.

He ran across the road, and was almost knocked down by a car.


One day, after all the fun and games and happy short life, dog did not return home. The young, mangy, molted, carefree, happy, dirty, smelly mongrel loved a good fight, and he was full of pride and courage. Fought many a battle, sustained wounds of all shapes and sizes, and finally one quiet evening, limped to someplace to lie down and licked his wounds and called it a day.


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