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Grow Spurts - A Fictional Piece Pt 2
This hub is a continuation of Growth Spurts, Pt 1. Click HERE to read it first.
“Quick! Gui! Pay and run!” she shrieked “later kena eaten!” (which means Quickly pay up for the marbles and bands or else we will be eaten up by Uncle Hock)
I hastily grabbed a few marbles, tossed some coins over the counter and dashed towards the exit.
But it was too late! The monster was there, standing in front of us, blocking our way! Out of fear, Xiaomei and I retreated to a corner where we were cowering. Just don’t see or touch us I could hear myself muttering. Uncle Hock bought his bread and milo, and this time a green box which contained medicated oil – I know as I saw mom rub that smelly liquid on my father when he felt unwell. As soon as he had appeared, he had disappeared.
We heaved a sigh of relief and once Uncle Hock stepped out we quickly unwiggled ourselves out and cautiously inched towards the exit. Halfway through our tracks the shop keeper called us back.
“WHO is the Gui?” He demanded. “Ah Zek is your elder. Quiet man but suffer a lot. You small girls cannot anyhow say! Very rude you know or not?!...”
Uncle Hock was actually a pilot if the Second World War, during which his twin brother, a fighter jet pilot, had lost his life in a suicide mission. After the war, he was reunited with his bride whom he was match-made to before the war. A few months after marriage, she became pregnant with a boy – a very joyful piece of news. This was because the war had made her increasing age an area of concern (which did affect how many children she would eventually bear). Also, boys were favoured over girls as they were the ones who would carry on the family name.
However, when the baby was due, she went through a very painful labour and lost a lot of blood during the delivery. Knowing that she was facing impending death, Uncle Hock bravely donated his blood for immediate blood transfusion to save her life. Little did he know that this would cost him a big part of his life and hers too. Due to the poor sanitation and medical equipment during those days, the needle used on him was contaminated with a slow but vicious disease that was now slowly taking its toll on him. He was actually considered a very lucky man as he still was able to support himself as this old age.
Uncle Hock had lost the love of his life and had sunk into depression, preferring to keep his pain to himself and only a few of his closest neighbours - who still recall his wife - the prettiest girl with the sweetest voice who could cook very well and get along with her late mother-in-law. The only consolation was, that he had a healthy son who was now working abroad supporting him, although all that took place even before I was born.
For myself, it was those few minutes of scolding and explaining that suddenly made me feel that I had grown a few years older.
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