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"夠鐘啦" (Time Out) __ Rose Ho

 "夠鐘啦"  (English to follow) 

朱杏梅、小時的鄰居。她家是台山人、男丁可以上學、女丁不值錢、長大是嫁出家門的。所以杏梅沒有書讀、要留在家煮飯、做家務、照顧四個弟弟和外婆。

短短的直髮、杏杏的眼睛、白白的皮膚、粉紅的臉色。有空總喜歡到我家看我們姊妹玩、看我們演大戲。今年抱著「大鼻」來、過得一年左右又抱「軟骨烔」來。面上常掛笑容、看我們玩已十分開心滿足。

「夠鐘啦、我要返屋企煮飯、一陣返來」。當杏梅看見時鐘上某個時間就要說暫別。

   ***
星期天我寄出一個電郵說道:「後日再談、今晚要讀書及看 60 Minutes、明天交功課:學生的功課」、告知我朋友要暫停討論。現在看到這電郵就令我聯想杏梅的話、不禁笑起來。

我們不是同樣的說:「暫停!有要事做、遲些再續」嗎?

  *** 
1964年我們搬了。少時不懂得珍惜小時的朋友、沒有聯絡。

朱杏梅、是否被嫁作過埠新娘?如果她還在、應該亦是六旬以上了。 

"Time out"

Sunday, I sent an email saying “Time out!  Need to read a book and watch 60 Minutes tonight.  Have to hand in homework tomorrow….student’s homework” to notify my friends that we had to time out on our discussion over the cyberspace.

When I saw this email today, I couldn't stop but chuckle.

It reminded me of a girl living next door when we were small and the same timeout she would say when she had to go home and cook.

   ***

Heng-Mui was the girl living next door.  Born in a Toi-San family that only values males, Heng-Mui, like one of those unfortunate females, could not attend school, but had to stay home to handle all housework and look after her four younger brothers as well as her grandmother.

Heng-Mui was a lovely girl…with short straight hair, almond-shaped eyes, fair complexion and pink cheeks.  She loved to come to our place to watch us siblings play or perform Chinese opera.  She was always beaming with smiles and always felt happy and contented just to watch us play and talk to us.

The baby she carried over with her changed every other year.  This year, it’s “Big Nose”, a year or so later, it’s “Amoeba Quing”.

“Oh, it’s time for me to go home and cook already,” she would utter when she spotted a certain time on the table clock.  “Will come back later.”

  *****

Aren’t Heng-Mui and I saying the same thing: “Time out!   Need to get to work.   Resume later.”?

  *****

In 1964, we moved.  We, siblings, did not have the intellect to keep contact with our friends of childhood days.  We lost touch with her since.

Heng-Mui….could she also be one of those Toi-San girls who got married to an overseas Chinese? 

If Heng-Mui is still alive today, she certainly is in her 60s too.

2014 Jan 14

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