The kids were playing on the road, in front of their terraced houses. They stepped aside each time there were oncoming cars returning home from work.
A girl, Wen Li, noticed an old lady neighbour lying on the floor of her car porch. “Popo*, why are you lying on the floor?”Just as popo’s hands weakly beckoned her.
“Mom, mom, popo is lying on the floor and unable to move!” Her mother, Li Na tried to open the gate while some kids had already climbed over to see her. Just then, the old lady’s children arrived home from work. She was sent to the hospital that evening. But she never returned.
A month later, it was Wen Li’s birthday. After singing and blowing her birthday cake, she sat pensively, looking out of the window. Li Na noticed and went to her, “a penny for your thought?”
Her lower lip jutted out, “I don’t want any more birthdays.”
“Because, when I grow older by one year, mom and dad will grow older by one year too. When we grow older every year, my own granny will grow older too. And she will die!”
Caught unaware on how to answer, Li Na pulled her close and hugged her.
*Popo means old lady or granny in Chinese.
Chen S.P. @T.P. Tan, 2 Jan 2021