THE INTELLIGENT SINGAPOREAN

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The Confessions of a Singaporean Gangster in London – Chapter 7 “The Secret Reflections of The Third Wife”

Posted by inspir3d on February 15, 2005

Dear Diary,

“No one knows what I really think in this gilded cage, not my husband, his wife’s or even the servants – I have become very clever these days at saying one thing and doing quite another – well enough of that….

In those three short days of his absence, the feeling that developed was entirely new.

I felt the weight of the boy’s absence in my heart and reveled in it.

His absence was a plump fresh weight. That was joy! Everywhere in the house I reveled in his absence – in the yard, in the dinning room and even during those stupid mah jong games that seem to stretch on forever – my mother was right I must learn to look upon the world stretched out in one long endless line. How else can a woman in my circumstances remain sane otherwise? – and continue to use my beauty as a weapon to secure a future for myself – even if it means marrying a man nearly three times my age!

I have no life, except the life I choose to hide from the world – in this world where I am nothing more than a slave, the boy is my only moment of truth – yet it must have hurt him to think I rejected his gift – the boy should be more careful next time, it wouldn’t do to have the other wife’s gossip over those cheap earrings – never mind, I shall make up to him when I next see him.

I really don’t think much about that impossible girl, what’s her name – Jeannie Lam – who he’s planning to marry.

Worst of all she doesn’t even know her place – and it wouldn’t be long before the whole thing crumbles and he would simply lose interest in her – it is this way with the whites, they never ever take anything seriously enough not even the whites who seem almost to look perfectly Chinese – and what of her plainness – if ever I saw a girl as plain and tasteless as boiled water – it would be this girl, with her flat chest and stupid servant smile that deserves nothing but a good tight slap.

But enough of this aimless talk dear diary – just the other day in the park, I felt so very sad even though I was wearing my favorite summer dress, you know the one’s with the red carnations – when I feel like that I really don’t want to be with the other wife’s – it was then I saw him looking at me – he is always looking at me, even the first time he looked at me – I said to myself, what an insolent man surely he can’t be expected to look at me in such a disrespectful way – after all I am the third wife!– yet later on, I found myself longing to be seen by his eyes (but I am really changing subject aren’t I, let me get back to that hot afternoon in the park)

Well there I was feeling all sad and melancholy about my life – in truth, I have never considered my life worth living – till the boy came to my life, but after hearing about his plans to marry this girl – I said to myself, it is all over – in a while, he too will go away leaving me all alone again with an old man who never seems to die – I bet he will outlive all of us!

So that day, with these morbid thoughts in my head – somewhere along the bridge I just wondered how beautiful it would be to end it all here right now – Yes, to end it all in one moment, right now! – no one would ever know or even care, I would simply throw myself over the edge – the way a man throws a gun over a bridge – and with a slight ripple those waters would swallow me up -those waters seemed so mysterious like velvet that afternoon and as these thoughts swirled and mixed with my sadness – I prepared myself – just as I was about to jump, I heard the sound of running on cobbled stones.

Let it be him, I said to myself. Let it be him, if it is him. I will live! – heaven give me a sign I said – when I saw the expression on his face, I felt almost pierced like an arrow by something that burnt with a vibrant brilliance deep inside him– at that moment I knew I had to live, if not for myself, for him at least.

They say when a man saves another, he is responsible for her for the rest of his life. So at that moment all my resolve disappeared.

When I slipped, he reached for my waist – his hands seemed to search for me, touching me just the way I imagined it – in the way the morning dew falls ever so gently as a perfect droplet on the leaf – I felt his warmth, his cheeks spreading out like a bush fire and I knew I will always love him – it is a pity my favorite dress is ruined, this awful green paint will never come off – the boy will be heartbroken and knowing him, he would probably buy me some old matron looking gown that I’ve never ever want to wear except to please him, like those ridiculous earrings! – no, it simply wouldn’t do, I have to buy another dress to replace the one he ruined, so he would never ever feel bad – but I will not throw this away – you see, when I run my fingers across this dark streak of green – I feel the freshness of the moment coming back again and it makes him happy – tomorrow will be the garden party – he will be there with his servant whore – I want him to see. He simply must.”

That same evening while shopping in Oxford Circus – the third wife bought a creamed colored summers dress with red carnations and when she passed Austin Reed – she stopped for a while admiring a dummy sporting a jacket – when the salesgirl told her this was the latest fashion – she nodded her head – later on when the cashier winked at her and said rather mischievously,

“Your man would like this very much Madam, it’s the latest fashion, they just came in from France today?”

The third wife smiled shyly and replied,

“Yes, it’s for someone very specially.”

Darkness 2002

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