Second generation wounds
You called mother out of the blue this afternoon. Such bold requests to be picked from the station, wanting to come to our home. It is 10pm and I am confused with myself for expecting you to stay.
I’d never want you to stay. No one in this house is fond of you. Popping in and out of our lives for hours, even minutes, too brief to leave any remembrance much less beget care. Like how you begot a broken family.
No amount of wooden puzzles, pseudo watches and counterfeit miu mius can make up for the permanent absence of a grandfather. Or cover the costs of her university funds that you gambled away. Delving into multiple businesses and booking flights to far off places. At this age you still treat us carelessly. As if family was a duty and all you have to do is play made-in-china santa each new year.
Maybe it’s because my friends celebrate their grandfathers birthdays with black pepper crab and steamed abalones. While we eat yam cake as stale as our dinners with mama, just the seven of us. Or because they receive one angpao from their grandparents each year, instead of one from each estranged two. I may adore how their grandparents drive a tiny Nissan to pick them up from school, while you drive your seventies collectable across the causeway on holidays in leu.
Or simply because I do not have grandparents that live under the same roof. But scorn and loathe in spite, in spite of the years saying you were divorced, the papers were not signed.
Sometimes I wonder what it would be like. To bang on the white grills of mamas holland v flat, and see both of you open the door to an embrace. No. I cannot bear the thought of it. The thought of a grandfathers embrace is grotesques.
So why was I happy when aunt said you bragged about me to your eleven brothers. Why did I think you would need us, anymore than to hitch a ride and sit on our couch, under the golden 5pm light?