See what I mean?
Same same but different.
Yes her vanity in skin care shows in the cute fridge stock piled full of skin food that she uses religiously. The facials that she makes appointments for and quarrels relentlessly till she gets her usual therapist. But that's really where her extravagance ends. Oh wait. There are those numerous handbags she just cannot stop herself from buying. With good reason. Yes of course every reason for a handbag is good. There's the classic, "Let's buy, we share?" or the neverending quest for a clutch. And because that quest never ends, let's just go with a handbag. Because how can you go to Europe without returning with a bag. Oh let's make it a few bags since we're at it.
A 21 year old son goes out for a swim competition and she wonders aloud, "I don't know if ah boy brought out an extra set of clothes to change into." This ah boy of hers has gone through the full army commando test. Complete with a Ranger badge and wings to boot. An 18 year old son goes to church on his own one Sunday and she immediately calls home shortly after leaving, "Hey, go take xxx bus to this place to switch buses. Do you know how to go?" And yes, he has been in the church for a long while and he does come home after church on his own every week.
So where does ah girl feature in all this? Sadly, the days of the above-mentioned eye-roll and cringe worthy calls and statements have passed me by.
Once upon a time, I rejoiced for that. Thinking it was a testimony to my ticket to freedom, their acknowledgement to my entrance to adulthood. It is true. Youth is the perfect excuse to ignorance.
An Italian family holiday in recent years has seen the cumulative stress take over. I demanded to know why it was always about the boys. Never about me. Mum walks out of the shower and simply says, "You're grown up already girl. Your brothers are still young. The age difference is so big. Of course Mama would worry about them." And if she ended her statement there. I would've walked out into the streets of Rome and never come home. But she didn't, "Mama is very proud of you, for all the things you've done. Being a teacher, packing lunch for me. I always say good things about you. You're all grown up now. We trust that you can think and manage things on your own." While that stopped me from my wild attempt at walking out into the streets, it got me thinking. That's me right there. Ms I-can-handle-the-world. Ms Independent. Did anyone ask what alias I had? Ms I'm-bloody-tired-somedays-of-trying-to-save-the-world-and-be-strong? Yeah, that's a mouthful right there. No wonder no one has asked. The night ended with me locked in the room under the covers crying myself to sleep.
I remember translating Aussie slangs for her. She couldn't make out a thing our family friends were saying.
That's probably where the certain twang in my voice came from.
I've been laughed about it since young.
The torture continues till the present.
She suffocated me to death with Hello Kitty collectibles. You name it, I had it. She bought me surprise presents every week. just because. I had dolphin pendants. Bear chunky bracelets -even before they were statement pieces-. Fast forwarding ahead. She spoke to me almost every chance possible delaying dinner time, when I was on exchange. I cried as hell. So badly till she almost bought a ticket to fly over with grandma. Thinking back, I should've let her come. Just so grandma would have the chance to see Montreal. On graduation from university, she took me on a HK trip with granddad. Amidst tears from a broken heart. All she did was to tell me to stop the tears for he wasn't worth it. She let me cry. She scolded me for not stopping. She walked about with me. She ate sushi at 9pm with me.
We had Itacho before Itacho was famous.
On graduation from NIE, she let me go to London on one day's notice. Booking flights, changing currency. Just because she knew I needed a break. No questions asked. A lot of worries but still she let me go. She has stood by me even when mistakes I've made are not worthy of being stood by. She put up with my frustrations. Even if it meant being told to shut up. She apologizes for being brash with me. She shares verses to encourage me. She tells me that it's okay. Even when it's not. Even when I cannot even stand myself.