Sweet Offerings Extracts

Preparations for the wedding night…

Ah Kew came into the bedroom holding a little boy in her arms. She carefully laid him on the bridal bed and held on to his shoulder. She looked anxiously at the clock. A nervous tic played at the corner of her eye. The clock struck. “This is the auspicious time. Roll and play on the bed. Do what you like,” she encouraged. Someone giggled.

She turned round to the audience that had followed her. “This is to make sure their union will be a fertile one blessed with many male children.” She sniffed. “This is the least we can do. Who would have expected the wedding to be celebrated in such a meagre fashion. Come, let’s all go to the front of the house to receive the bride.”

The little group followed her and assembled at the front porch. “Ah, here she comes.”

“Poor thing,” one of the group said. “It’s not the real thing you know. I mean the bridal journey. The trishaw has only taken her in a circle to symbolise her journey from her old home to her new one. She has no home to come from.”

Waiting in the hospital

The long corridor smelled of disinfectant. Two benches were set haphazardly against the wall. A white enamel spittoon stood in the space between them. One bench was occupied by a Sikh, who was laid full length on it with the skirt of his dhoti tucked between his legs. He was snoring, breathing with great snorting gasps. Periodically the noise would stop to be followed by a grunt and the loud sound of air being blown out. The sound of his stentorian breathing was broken occasionally by other noises, the sounds of people moaning in pain and distress. The Sikh remained oblivious to everything. He had been there waiting for his relative for almost 24 hours and was tired beyond care or concern for his personal dignity.

Ming Kong looked at him with envy, mesmerised by the heaving chest, envious of his sleep. He too had been up all night waiting, but there was little news of Mei Yin……..