There, in the living room of my maternal grandparents' house, was my brother, some maternal aunties and uncles, and little Miss Ellie sitting on her green glider.
Standing behind the sofa was an old couple. They looked familiar, probably in their 70s. The lady had curly hair and the man had a box of something in his hand. They smiled lovingly at me. Was it really them?
"Can't you recognise me? I am grandma!" she said, with her usual boisterous tone in our native Foochow language.
One of my aunts smiled, as if she knew about the surprise.
Grandpa didn't say a word. He put his hand forward, gesturing me to take a snack from the box. It was my favourite 礼饼 (a foochow pastry eaten during happy occasions with filling made of dates). I took a wedge and sat down beside my brother.
Subsequently, after some random chatter (which I don't remember) with the folks in the room, I was shocked to realise that my aunts and uncles did not know of their presence. I then looked at my brother, who was also munching on the same pastry. He nodded, indicating he saw them too, and the pastry in our mouths were more real than ever (I can still taste the sweetness in my mouth while typing this).
I shut my eyes to suck it all in, and when I opened them, I was back in my own living room in Bangkok (I sleep in the living room sometimes when I have to get up early in the morning). This was when I couldn't control it anymore. I sobbed like a baby.
I took at look at my phone, it was 5.41am, exactly 4 minutes before my alarm is supposed to go off, waking me up to cook chicken soup for my family. They even woke me up at the right time, so that I can switch off my alarm to allow my family to continue sleeping in peace.
Why did they appear? On this day, at this time, right before I was supposed to cook my favourite Foochow style kampung chicken soup, the soup that they cooked for my mum, the soup my mum cooked for me, and now I am cooking for my family.
|The same pot of soup linking generations together|
One thing I know for sure, is that the soup tonight will taste doubly sweet.