The Confessions of a Singaporean Gangster in London – Chapter 5 “The Mansion.”
Posted by inspir3d on February 15, 2005
The following morning I arrived earlier than usual at the old man’s mansion, some documents needed signing urgently. Hardly had removed my coat, when the 1st wife caught me firmly by the arm and ushered me to join them and some of her relatives for breakfast.
One of the older wife’s remarked she had heard about the incident on the steps with Jeannie Lam. They seemed to be talking among themselves and soon they moved on to another juicier gossip, at times oblivious of even my presence. All so engrossed in adding to each others gossip, waving their hands with expressions no different from those characters in the Chinese opera.
All except the third wife, who appeared quite distant and silent that morning.
At times when she looked at me either to offer a bun or another dumpling, I caught flashes of her briskness, but I it was not anger as much as regret.
I cannot explain to you how two people can ever have a conversation without ever having to say even a single word – I would not fault you if you think my account was not entirely truthful, but I can truly say this was what transpired that morning.
I imagine only people who are deaf and old would know what I mean, so I would never fault you if you choose not to believe me.
After all, in their silent world where every expression and gesture speaks the length of a sentence and more – words are as useful as a comb to a bald man and it was in this silent language – we spoke in that morning.
When her eyes met mine, as my cup accidentally “clicked” her plate – she expressed “you are cruel” – when she offered me another bun, the heaviness of her eyelids expressed “heartless man” – and on another occasion when she poured tea for one of the ladies and gave me a sidelong glance, she expressed, “you sadden me”
In a while I found myself under a spell, till the sound of a tea cup set down with a “tick” startled me out of it.
When I looked up the 3rd wife has watching – for how long I was not quite sure – I had lost all track of time.
By this time the older wife’s and their relatives had moved on to another gossip and they were very much in their own world as we were in ours – there she sat with her eyes fixed on me, as lost in thoughts as I was with mine – we were like two wet spots in the midst of burning charcoal.
At that very moment, she expressed. “I loved you”.
After breakfast – the 3rd wife saw me out, handing me my coat, she looked up and said,
“Huan Guan, it’s going to rain today.”
That morning on my way to lectures, her predictions came true, it rained cats and dogs, thrusting my hands into the coat – something nicked me drawing blood – it was the pearl earrings, I had given her.
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