Gone Past She Remains

KC Chan Wing Haw

© Copyright 2020 by KC Chan Wing Haw

Photo of Wilber and Charlotte from movie.

This story is about someone whom I miss dearly and still she remains in pictures inside me. She inspired me to be a writer.

She. Molly Lee was her name. She had always been a source to ignite independent education, a passionate companion to children and of her own, someone who laughed and joked without tomorrow hinting another strength to come. A lady of smiles that no longer existed in some of us but remained somewhere near her hut of declining memories.

She laid out her hand one day and told me, “mother is getting old, you must know that, remember that difficult times are temporary and silver lining will come through, OK.” That reassurance voice of her so soft and mild, I thought I was in the cradle once again. Unkind my thoughts over her getting old, so was the climate, hot and distance, her smile though aging, was enriching and forthcoming. Somewhere I caught myself in my dream, I saw myself naked flying in the sky. I knew time was closed. I fought with God.

Places she loved visiting and making friends near a pineapple farm where old coffee shops so meticulously and architecturally lined up in a straight row. The lane that led into this intimate road, a distance so short, turning in into a bend where a curve showcased the mini town, brought in moiety a bonding between us and the people. City lovers might find it a view so historically charming once forgotten, nonetheless time caught me and mother sat in one of the coffee shops laughing.

Quite as often over almost every weekend over two months February to March 2019, we would spend our time there together. Drinking coffee and eating Chinese, sometimes noodles and buns. Always, as always, she reminded me her age. I felt like digging my ears and deafening them. I developed an immense disdain for the word then and still - old. I hated her too then temporarily.

Under the sun that shone on every diligent line showcasing her wrinkles, I still defied her words. Still we shared stories. Over time and regularly, I poured out my heart about my work while using our repast here. She was a listener but not a whiner. Indeed, she ignored most of my whining. Made no continuation and she would make a face so reluctant to hear every single word. I kept my mouth shut.

Another cup of coffee?” she would ask. My mouth shut and ignored what was offered. “I had enough.” I drank down the sweet charcoal white coffee, tasty and suitable for my current mood. I wanted more. More speeches. Whining perhaps, I dared not speak further. I was deaf, blinded by her age. I fought with God.

My heart suggested me to read carefully, I felt ill. Spinning my head round the heat. I looked her eyes and her skin from within. She was hiding something from me, I presumed. She coughed. “Do you want another plate of noodles?” I waited my anger to simmer down. I tried to say something. In return, I said, “You have asked me three times.” She looked down into her purse and replied calmly, “OK.”

I looked at the oversized clock above us, three it said. I almost said let’s go. “Wow, look at the sea animals swimming so freely in the sea, look, my god, so cute they look on TV, look boy.”

I looked up to the TV screen, colourful fish and deep down in the blue green ocean, swimming to show us how their lives were being filmed. I opened my mouth and closed for a while. We used to watch National Geography together when I was young. I was the one babbling away, making lots of noises and pointing at every animal I found them peculiar. I was growing and learning. She was there holding my hands and teaching each name of the animals. Laughing and giggling throughout the episode, all the episodes, to be exact. I grew into a very analytical individual and stood in every of my way to debate my theories to either own it or share it with a lion’s pride.

What’s so special about them? They are just sea mammals that’s all.” I picked up my cup of charcoal sweet coffee and almost choked at my words. Maybe there was a pain in my heart but I resisted like a soldier charging to attack his friends not enemies. She continued with lots of hoo-ha in almost all swimming scenes. Turning quickly from the view from outer street to her face, stopped for a long while, watching her laugh and slowly inwardly pretending that I was annoyed. I said something clever, but through my heart (or perhaps not), “Well, they swim and so are the cameras and the team, bringing all to life to the audience worldwide and here they show it to those who have not been to the sea.”

We loved the ocean. I love swimming for a matter of fact. The sea is my heaven and I miss it dearly. The waves were tender and the touch of the sun and the cold below my feet, pushing gales of wind above my wet head, I only knew laughing and enjoying. My childhood had been to islands and beaches where family gathered to picnic and hold reunion once or twice a year. My only intention was to swim and be touched by the fish below. Far and distanced away from shore my legs and body had brought me to the beauty of centre ocean, I was only below twelve of age. Admired by most other children who could only stay by near their family members. I was already high up pushing and challenging myself with the waves, letting go troubles and anxiety that had entered my childhood like enemies disturbing my peace.

My coffee soon dried up and I said to her, ready to go? In between her drinking and clutching her purse, she asked, “how are your cats?” I looked inside the cup. My lips apart and almost wanted to call for another cup, I put down my hand. “Another cup of coffee?” I nodded. “I want the local black coffee.” She laughed. “Too much coffee is not good for your health. Can you sleep at night?” I nodded. She raised her hand and ordered my black coffee. “So how are they? Well?”

This went on like a public speaking, nothing stopped me, maybe it was the coffee, maybe it was her persistent smile, maybe it was some tears in her eyes. The coffee came and she sipped some, then pushed forward to me and remarked its exotic smell and taste. I gave her their names, their different personalities and characters, their sleeping patterns each night, some next to my head and near my feet to possibly comfort my loneliness. I felt otherwise: home, security and love. Their mother moggy was a gift from her, which I resisted before accepting her into my life. I knew I was fighting with God.

How’s the coffee?” she took over and sipped some. Her eyes enlarged like it had shot up to her brains that quick. Well, we already had the second. The sun hot as it was since we arrived, nothing changed. Our topics had had changed over the course of our used repast and coffee remained on our table. She took out her purse and made a funny face, one side of her eye brow arched up and down, seemed like she was spying on my interest for the third. I said, “NO! My cats will be crazy if they found out I drink this much!” She laughed with such valency, I joined in her force.

It was close to six, still, the sun was with us, smiling and paying lots of attention to our less heated up conversation. It wanted more too. My forehead perspired less to an hour ago, my bottom began to show signs of numb and cramp. “Shall we?” Her lips closed and placed her bag near her breasts and uttered so loud suddenly I thought she wanted to have dinner here, “SO FAST! What’s the hurry? We can have dinner here too.” More than a laugh, irrepressible and meek at this hour, I stopped drinking and said softly, “Mother, look around you, we are the last to go, shops are closed.”

Coffee, National Geography and cats, we had had so much to talk about, even to write about, and debate about. However I fought hard with God during those days. Yesterday or last week or today or any other day her pictures are everywhere in my apartment. As a primogeniture, they left this apartment for me without a written will for I defied, detested, argued and pushed it away. I returned somehow to embrace their gift for my pursue of my ambition. She - Molly Lee passed away peacefully on April 9 2019. As always she remains in my tears, my hands, my words, my future, my dreams, a mother I call and butter her with identities I feel inclined to - a soul survivor, a dream pursuer and a lover of nature. Dearly, she, Molly Lee, in my heart, always, remembered by me no other than reminder of the sun, but a bond, forever.

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