Rainy Shanghai

Woke up with a face full of make up and in my day clothes, it’s 12am and I’m in bed in a hotel room in Shanghai. I got up to wash my face and changed into my pyjamas.

You filled my head as I routinely cleansed my eyes and then face. It’s the last day of the year 2017, and tomorrow I will begin a year and a life without you. Everyday I counted the days since you’ve left us, it’s been exactly 50 days.

Shanghai, a city I had not visited in 10 years. Much hasn’t changed and much has, like the rest of China, the city progresses fast, and things have became more expensive since my last visit. I thought about the times you said you wanted to visit Shanghai. I was always the first to deter you, it wasn’t an interesting city you would like, I decided. I wish I’d brought you, and showed you where to have the best “xiao long bao” in the city, you would’ve like that.

Shanghai has been raining since I landed. The cold winter rain made it difficult to walk around the city. I stood by my judgement that it’s not an interesting city for someone who doesn’t like partying, night life, shopping or hunting for the best food. But I had to admit I’m glad to be away. There’s no where in the world where I could run to without thinking of you, that’s a norm, and a given, but I appreciate the little distraction being in a distant city provided.

Dad misses you, he doesn’t say much of it but he gets really lonely, but you already knew that. He still goes to the shop everyday, but he understands it is a lot harder to manage now with your absence. Brother took up the role of taking care of the household rather well despite living in Singapore. He paid for most of the expenses that’s incurred since your passing, took up the responsibility of handling your will and your wishes. But there are late nights, on his visits back, while on my toilet break in between my sleep, I would see him sitting in dad’s rocking chair, red-eyed, in deep thoughts. As you have predicted, I handled your passing the worst. There are still moments where I lost it, my mind, my voice and my sanity. And I have lost count how many times I have cried, most times without intending to. It’s as if my tear glands have a mind of their own.

I became angry, at everyone, at the world, at myself. I shut myself out to a lot of people who cared. In my mind, they didn’t care enough, even though I knew it’s not their fault. It’s only recently I started talking to my best friend, whose wedding I missed because I was still trying to handle your passing. I was angry at her the most for not being there for me when you took your last breath, despite knowing she had a wedding to plan and that it was ‘pantang’ to attend the wake and cremation service. In my mind, all I thought was I would have been there for her in a heart beat if our roles were reversed; I couldn’t be less emphatic during those times. My irrationality was driven wild by my emotions. The pain was raw and real. Guess I have a lot of growing up to do.

It’s late. I should be getting back to bed.

Mom, I miss you.
Till we speak again. 


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