Catch myself unawares
tears streaking wrinkled face
all that bravado
it doesn’t matter
be happy for others’ family reunions
unwrapping presents from under the tree
stuffing themselves with turkey and booze
a jolly good knees up
for she’s a jolly good fellow and so say all of us
I know drowning in self pity ain’t gonna do a damn thing
but rationalising ain’t working either
can’t seem to talk myself out of the hurt
buried so deep under piles of shit
strata upon strata upon strata
loss upon loss upon loss
not just losing your favouite earring
but those on the top of the list of the stress scale
this year of course there is the loss of Mama
the wave of grief suddenly has knocked me off balance
I am nostalgic for that family any family
yet reality smacks me in the face
what family get real stop day dreaming
just another day in paradise
now i know why the suicide rate shoots up
over the festive season
all this jollyness family bliss
kinda rubs it in huh if you are the Matchstick Girl
gazing enviously through the window
left out in the cold
what can you do
had to wipe away the tears
put on the game face
smile and carry on
what is the alternative
I’ve truly become one of the locals; mission accomplished. Upgraded to a mummy from crash dummy, neck and shoulders wrapped in bandages with only the herbal medicine pack hidden on my back.
I’d thought I could escape the torture with the excuse of thunderstorms but these abated in the late afternoon. I rang hoping they’ll say come tomorrow we’re closing soon, no chance, this is HK remember, nope open till 9pm. Running out of excuses I dutifully turned up at the torture chamber. Familiar with the routine I entered the dim dungeon only to find Sze Fu No. 1 catching a bite with the lull and the sadistic one having a nap in the side room. The closed door was highly unusual and another victim and I wondered what was going on. She whispered conspiratorially, ‘He’s been in there a long time’. I added, ‘Must be a very serious case!’ ‘He might be sleeping …’ she speculated. Just that split second the door opened and The God of Prosperity appeared asking, ‘And what’s wrong with sleeping? This is my place, I can do what I like.’ Nothing wrong with his ears.
It turns out he’s the Top Doc in the joint. His name is above the shop door and have certificates proudly displayed as a registered Chinese Doctor a the front. Hence he can click necks and do bear lifts. Henceforth his nickname will be God of Health instead.
By now I knew the drill. Put herbal pack in microwave, turn dial to the red line, wait for the ping, put in a fabric bag and roll. Exactly the same procedure with SzeFu No.1 but with shoulders too. I nearly suffered a coronary when told there would be a charge for each shoulder. Some people can get away with just the one. Mmm not gonna have much change from the $1000 I’d just taken out.
But I’ve started, so I’ll finish. And my special subject is Pain. I tried to play the ‘poor me’ card: unemployed, divorced, middle aged woman, alone with no family or friends here. But no can do. Informed I was getting super value.
Fast forward to the left shoulder. The wise Master declared my arm stiff from having all the lymph nodes removed. I know, I was there. Without knowing GOH had touched a raw nerve. To lose a part of you which defines your femininity at the tender age of 36 with no family history is about as truamatic as it gets. For me. Well meaning people remind me how lucky I am compared to the starving kids in Africa. True it sucks for them but that don’t take away my suffering .
I clung onto GOH like driftwood, drowning in my own brand of hell. The boss to his credit did not bat an eyelid as if this was perfectly normal. I spurted out my sorry tale for the millionth time and the Wise One told me, ‘It’s not him who rejected you but you who don’t want him anymore. He was too stupid to appreciate your love. Better to find out you married the wrong man now than on your deathbed. You are young enough to begin anew.’
He surprised me with his tenderness presenting me with a box of pastries. I cried harder. He went on to invite me to lunch with them the next day. The tears kept flowing … Even grumpy overworked Chinese Doctors can show you compassion when the man you would have taken a bullet for didn’t.
I knew what he said made sense in my head but for the very first time my heart conceded. I came to have my neck and back sorted and left with a mended heart. Chinese Doctors Rule O.K. I am a believer.