Archives for category: memory

as i read the last lines of the book, an image of a little girl kneeling in front of a chinese altar breezed into my mind.

the three storeys, reddish-brown zitan altar, was lit by three red bulbs screwed tightly onto the underside of each level, where half-burnt incense laid along with red plates of fresh fruits and porcelain statues and wooden frames of the chinese gods. and right there, in front of the altar, on the shiny red-wood floor, a six-year-old with long black hair and a neat straight bang, knelt with her hands clasped together in one straight line and murmured a prayer she’d learnt from school. for the health and happiness of her family. her chinese eyes fluttered and her small round cheeks wobbled as she said her prayer to the father, the son, and the holy spirit, in front of the chinese gods.

just like kids, we’d anticipated this moment all evening.
the air was still, and the sky was a swirl of rich chocolate,
sprinkled with diamond studs.
the air was cool, and the moon wrapped up in a soft curl of cotton wool.
she was round and soft, like a steamy ball of sweet dumpling.
twirling on soft sand, the lanterns filled with air.
as the orange glaze brewed, they puffed up with hot air.
up, up the lanterns went, they flew to the moon and
kisses they blew and sent.
the white moon blushed and the orange bled,
disappearing into the midnight bed.
we walked and talked and ran to the edge,
where the calm waves rocked, gently back and forth.
the white moon blushed and lit up the sandy cove
with silver streaks it shone.
we joked and laughed and home we went all mellowed and matt.
and there we met miss foxy who curtseyed,
and there’s her friend who bowed,
and there they vanished so briskly, just at the flick of a tail.

mid-autumn is one of my favourite holidays. it’s also one that’s filled with endless memories: my big white rabbit lantern with its bright red eyes and fushia-lemon stripy bottom. my sisters and i used to have different lanterns every year, sometimes mum makes one out of pomelo skin; sometimes we buy them from the little chinese incense stall at wan chai market; and other times we fight over see-through plastic ones in the shape of our favourite cartoon characters. we would buy them well before mid-autumn and look after them like our own babies and as soon as the moon comes out on mid-autumn night, we’d eat dinner extra-quickly and run downstairs to light our lanterns with our neighbours on the streets.
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it’s two in the morning and it’s dark outside and i’m sat in bed with candles flickering and sail boats rattling.
everything seems surprisingly calm and at peace when all of a sudden the wind ran wild and the rain dashed ditto as if my thoughts were heard and jealousy throbbed like a blue whale, howling and swallowing green plankton and krills who once floated so freely in glee. and the storm muffled as if rage had skimmed out of the baleen plates and the wind and rain slowly lulled into a whale song, one that mesmerised the sea.

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New York’s skyline lit up in memory. 911. by TJ Taylor Jones