Thursday, November 18

day 10213: last night

It began with a kiss and a fierce hug the moment I walked through the door.

“It’s been so long… I’ve missed you.” Eyes meet mine. Searching for differences, searching for a sign that no matter how much time passes, some things don’t change. Like the twinkle in your eye or the mischievous grin on their face. Or the feelings that you have for them that you sometimes forget when you don’t see them as often as you used to.

“You look good. Have you lost weight again?”

“No,” I flash a I’m-glad-you-think-so-but-regretfully-not-smile “But I think I’m a little more toned now… all that climbing, you know. Or it could have been the body wrap I did in Cali.” I take off my coat and scarf, hang them on the back of the chair and start rummaging through the fridge. It’s late, traffic was bad and I’m hungry. There is a comfortable silence, the one that comes with “just being.”

It’s been six weeks. Six weeks of occasional phone calls, words spoken in haste and hurry and nothing more. Time passes quickly when you don’t pay attention.

“How was your trip, Ma? What did you get me?” And so it began.

She fed me soup, chicken and veggies. The kids from downstairs came up to play with the dog. I gave her back her shoes Sista brought back from Cali last time she came to visit. She wouldn’t need them in HK, she had said. No wonder, since she bought five pairs of new shoes and chortled with delight as she told me how little they cost. This pair cost $5 Cdn, this one $6… ooohhh these were expensive, they cost $15. Oh, how I covet the red and black ones. They look like Spiderman climbing shoes. If only they were half a size bigger. If only. If only…

I tried on my new Jacob pants for her - the wool ones with the cute pink ribbon on the inside. She pinned them up to hem for me and said that I could pick them up on Friday before hockey. I asked her if my butt looked cute in them. She gave me a blank stare and asked me why the waistband was so big and did I want her put elastic in them so they wouldn’t look so loose. No thanks, I’ll just wear a belt.

We went upstairs so she could show me everything that she bought.

“Sparkles are so in, now,” she said as she gave me the new shirts… Mickey-Mantle-New-York with a pink, sparkly sequined Mickey Mouse on it and other writing that doesn’t quite make sense (typical HK), and then another strange looking number that I can’t really explain. Both were huge on me.

“They fit!” We both ooohhed and ahhhhed. I know secretly that I’d probably never wear them, but I love her for the thought and for the fact that she’s so ecstatically happy that something she’s bought for me while on vacation has finally fit.

“I’ve become a little more girlie-girl” I told her. And told her stories of how Sista and I would preen in front of the mirror doing our makeup and playing with our hair before going to the shopping mall or the bookstore. How we constantly check ourselves in the rear-view mirrors at every light looking for smudged eyes or windblown hair. “I wear makeup everyday now!”

“It’s about time,” she said and pulls out more shopping bags… and purses… and ACCESSORIES!

Scarves, belts, necklaces, bracelets… scarves that can double as belts, belts that can double as necklaces… I’m in heaven! And all for MEEEEEEEEEEE!

Oops. And the Sista. You don’t know how much restraint it took for me to leave some of the “good stuff” behind. It was a lot of “I know she’ll like this one…and ohhh I like this, but she’ll love it, so maybe I’ll just borrow it later…” Oh, the will power. Oh, the agony!

“Try this!” She pulled out a small gold box. Cream made from crushed pearls. “Engrish” words that don’t make sense. “This is the real stuff! I got it from the factory.” She took a tiny spoon and scooped out a little white dot of pearl and smoothed it on my face… OMFG… my skin was softer, smoother than a baby’s bottom. I couldn’t stop touching myself. I must have this! And this, and this, and this!

Much later, after everything was pawed through and combed over, clothes proudly displayed and deals flaunted, we laid on her bed the way we used to when I was young. My head pillowed on her arm, drowsy, comfy, happy… smiling, content.

“You’ve become such a girl.” She whispered. “I’m so proud of you…”

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