- Rattle that rolled under the bed because my tiny fist couldn’t grip:
Found in yellowing photograph Mum sent me after my marriage. On a dolphin-and-mermaid baby quilt, winking at two-year-old me, just before rolling away. Now treasured in a gold-edged album.
2. Dad’s promise of a trip to Disneyland:
Saved note he wrote as my prize for good grades — Hey! I owe you a trip to Disneyland in the Summer. Then he forgot about it. I saved the note for two years, bringing it to him every now and then, only to hear, Later, honey! I remember his yellow teeth, mouth just parted enough so I saw them when he smiled awkwardly, and the way he flipped the Yellow Pages.
3. Things I hid and often forgot about:
Could be under the jackfruit tree. Or in the changing room by the pool. Took toys and pencils from my baby-brother, for the fun of watching him cry. Once I smuggled him out in a huge yellow plastic bag when he was just a year old, and hid him in the backhouse. Good lord! Someone discovered him within minutes, or it could be worse!
4. Miss Lucy’s alphabets on the blackboard:
I couldn’t write fast enough, and no one waits for anybody else. They never do. How I hated the school uniform, those horrendous yellow sneakers .…
5. An afternoon under four orange trees heavy with ripe warm fruits:
Lying on the soft grass, Shyla and myself. Also, my crush peeping over the back wall of our yard, in yellow Pokémon t-shirt. Can’t say if he cast a spell, but I’ve never seen eyes that glittery again.
6. Heartbreak of Tom Cruise getting hitched:
I was at Yellowstone Park with six friends, when someone broke the news. I know of several hundred meltdowns round the globe. Remember the taste of cigarette ashes I licked as a mark of defiance. And half-a-week pulling down the life-size posters from my bedroom walls.
7. Secret desire to lie in all my glory on the white sands of a palm-lined beach:
Sandy beaches, with the warm glow of yellow sunshine, north of Marina, between the cliff and the Kalindi lighthouse. Never got round to finding a time suitable enough. Lost the desire later.
8. Dream work-desk facing the sea:
Someone called me yellow. My skin-color. A new work colleague. Apologized immediately. But I punched him anyway. I knew I would never be promoted high enough. He went into the cabin facing the sea, out-of-turn.
9. Song I danced to under a drizzle on my wedding day, and the eyes Mum rolled:
Dolly Parton’s ‘Hello you said the day we met/ Handing me a yellow rose/ you asked me out/ And to your surprise / And to mine I said I’d go.’
10. Anxiety dream after our only little-big-baby girl flew out to college:
I called just to listen to her voice and my husband and I guessing how she was. Just thinking of her, waiting for to come home, like sunflower in sunny spring.
11. Butter chicken that came from the neighborhood outlet:
Relished until doctors told me to avoid turmeric. Now it’s boiled chicken, bland, white, not the bright turmeric color that made me salivate.
12. Home :
Is not where I stay now. Somewhere in the midst of rolling mustard fields, the yellow blooms swaying in the summer breeze, a passionate song wafting, lover’s arms outstretched.
13. A note:
I wrote on yellow post-it paper, hoping to remember things I forgot and ending up not knowing where I’d pasted it.
~and that isn’t the END of this list either. For I forget what else I was about to write, because someone calls my name from the corridor. Outside it’s lunch time at Nikisa Dementia and Retirement Village.