[Editor’s Note : Every week we will be publishing one chapter from Ansh Das’s book, The Memory Of A Face. Needless to say, we are super excited! Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, Chapter 9, Chapter 10, Chapter 11, Chapter 12, Chapter 13, Chapter 14, Chapter 15, Chapter 16, Chapter 17, Chapter 18, Chapter 19, Chapter 20, Chapter 21, Chapter 22, Chapter 23, Chapter 24, Chapter 25 & Chapter 26]
Back at home
“Hey! You’re back!” Summer squealed with delight as Diano hugged her at the door.
“I was lucky I could fly out today. The weather forecast doesn’t look good at all. It looks like the Mainland is gonna have the worst snowstorm in a long time!”
“Oh, really?” Summer said. “Wash up first. I’m making dinner.”
“He’s in bed. He came home around eight in the morning and has been sleeping since.”
Summer went back to the kitchen. She was cooking pork and vegetables.
It had been a long time since the three of them had eaten together. On most evenings, she ate with either Cute or Diano. Since she considered herself as the only lady in the house, she took on the role of their mother. She loved to cook for them. She loved to listen to their stories. She loved to wait for them sometimes. In return, they listened to her and, she was sure, they loved her very much. They were a small and happy family.
She was worried about Cute. She hoped he wasn’t into bad company or doing drugs. Although both problems would probably be related, she felt Cute was strong enough to say no to drugs. He was strong but his approach towards life was somewhat negative at times. Not pessimistic but negative. But, hey, that was his life. She was a friend who’d probably guide him if he asked for her help. It was her duty to stand by Cute and support him. And yet, she had to warn him about the darker side of things. She laughed at herself. She did worry like a mother.
When she finished cooking, she set the food on the coffee table in the living room. It was time to wake Cute up. She found him sleeping in a curled up position. On most days, he’d hug his long pillow to sleep. But today the pillow had not been used. She found it funny that she noticed these details.
“Hey, sleepyhead. Wake up.” She nudged him lightly.
“Hmm.” Cute moaned and rolled over so that his back was towards her.
She put her hand on his shoulder and shook him gently.
“I don’t wanna eat.” Cute moaned again.
“But you haven’t eaten anything.”
“I had a kebab.”
“And when was that?”
“You haven’t eaten anything since yesterday?! Come on, let’s eat.”
“Ho gui lor,” he complained.
“You’re tired because you haven’t eaten anything. Get up.”
“He’s back?” Cute opened his eyes slowly.
“Yes. I’m hungry and so is he.”
“Can I sleep for another five minutes, please?”
“The food would have turned cold by then. Fai di la, leng jai.”
Summer found Diano seated at the table and peeking under the lids to see what had been cooked.
“Yummy, Mummy.” He smiled.
“I hope you say the same after you’ve tasted it.” She laughed.
“Don’t worry, I’ve got basic medical coverage from my company.” Diano laughed.
“Hallo.” Cute crossed the living room on his way to the washroom. “Give me a minute.”
“That’s too long. You can lick off what remains,” Diano said.
“Noooooo.” Cute stuck his tongue out and hurried on.
“Did you even wash your face?” Summer asked when Cute was back.
“Yes, mom. You can check my breath. Do you want to?”
“No way. I don’t want to die this early in my life. She stuck her tongue out at him. “I don’t even have basic medical coverage.”
“Okay, everybody. Let’s eat!” Diano said.
They picked up their bowls and chopsticks.
“Is there enough rice for everybody?” asked Diano. “I’m very hungry.”
“There’s enough. Just take as much as you want,” Summer said.
Cute popped a chunk of meat into his mouth. “This is good.”
“So how was your trip?” Cute asked Diano.
“Are you going to tell us more or are we supposed to beg you?” Summer asked.
“I want to enjoy my dinner first.”
“Oh, come on now,” Summer said.
“Well, it was a busy week at work,” Diano said.
“How boring,” Cute said.
“And what about play?” asked Summer.
“Well, as you know, bad weather hit Shanghai on Friday. I finished work early thinking that I’d walk around. But heavy rain confined me to my hotel room.”
“Oh. What bad luck,” Cute said.
Summer wondered if Cute was actually aware of how bad the weather was. He never followed the news.
“Yes, it was. But then I called a friend.”
“Good-looking?” Cute asked.
“Stop it. Let him speak.” Summer laughed.
“We went for dinner.”
“Good-looking?” Summer asked this time. Cute laughed.
“Yes. Very good-looking.” .
Summer saw Diano go red in the face. He was blushing!