dear diary...

To Rose JieJie:

After more than a decade
We met again
At the most unlikely spot
In Kowloon Park Hong Kong

An entire hour’s wait
For a precious, emotionally charged moment
A moment inundated with memories as we embraced
A viscerally deep connection accompanied by
feelings of unabated nostalgia
All with a tinge of a bittersweet reminder that despite our good fortune to meet today
We will have to part
inevitably,
eventually
Between now and then, stands yet another few years

“Do you remember…”
memories of this and that tossed about in conversation between my mother and her
I didn’t say a word
Regretfully
Couldn’t find the words to say and in the entirety of our meeting
I was too busy, too occupied with holding back my tears
Which nonetheless continued to stream down my cheeks
Like a stream in the desert after a storm
Truthfully I don’t really remember anything
It’s been so long ago
Buried in the soil of the past
But these words triggered something in me
As warm streaks of tears streamed
Uncontrollably
A part of me
Something deep inside my psyche
Must have been grasping firmly (and perhaps desperately on to all these times
Perhaps subconsciously hoping that
Our paths will cross once more)
To the times when she cooked my favourite dishes — steamed cod and egg tofu
When she braided my hair whenever I prepare myself for school
When I begged for her to stay to look after me when mummy got angry

Those hands that made me dinner and washed my clothes and scrubbed my prepubescent body
They shook mine
I shook them
They embraced me tighter than I have ever been embraced by anyone

Here comes the tearful farewell
And I still couldn’t find any words to offer
Only a “thank you Rose 姐姐”
And the last thing I saw of her was her puffy red eyes and her hijab which I’ve never seen her wearing a decade ago

Suddenly and subconsciously
I begin to take notice of women wearing the hijab
I know they’re not the one I’m looking for
And I know full well the futility and impossibility of finding her back on the streets in the middle of Times Square
But there’s a yearning to resurface the freshly inked memory of her face
An unexpected desperation to reconstruct her presence

Because I miss her.

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