This side of the divide

I had debated whether or not to attend, but it was a half-hearted attempt, I would not be able to miss my mother’s birthday dinner. I do not find restaurant food particularly enjoyable. When it comes to food, I prefer to cook it myself.

There was silence. Dad was behaving crabbily as usual, he sat behind in his chair. The periods of silence allowed me to listen in on the conversation beside us. One man spoke most of the time, and he had an accent. He was enjoying himself as he related story after story, the life of the party. I heard snippets: If God wanted us to run, he would have given us hooves. hahaha. Halfway through a marathon your feet become numb. We were having an exquisite bah-fayy, wearing shorts in his dining room, it was very well done up. My friend asked me for the millionth time to come over so I finally accepted. I half-expected him to say that it was Fabulous, Darling.

A couple walked in, the lady had a huge paper bag with a branded label on it. Val remarked that the large paper bag was probably to accomodate an It bag underneath. I could feel the class divide, I didn’t belong here. Not in the facebook photo of the wedding held in a white cathedral, with pews filled with onlookers, glorious day, glowing bride. Dad told us to behave. He told us to finish the vegetables on the plate. You can have the remaining prawn on the plate. I grabbed the prawn with my hands, Mom gently scolded me to use my fork instead. I made a bit of a mess on my table. I playfully threw my chopstick at Val. I was making a point, but it was pointless. I was still having a dinner I did not care for, not the food, it was Mom that I was here for.

Chinese food bores me, especially when it is overpriced. We don’t have much to talk about. I imagined boisterous conversation, uproarious laughter. Thought-provoking questions. Gentle advice, playful teasing. I tried to talk about something, but it was stilted. The bill came, both Val and I took a look, and we didn’t say a word. 260 dollars.

At the taxi queue, there was a thin girl behind me, a shopping bag in hand, somewhat attractive. Which side of the social divide did she belong to? I looked at her pointedly, as she looked into the distance, then looked at the queue of taxis stretching into the background of shopping malls and flashing facade lights. We passed by a condominium just beside paragon, and a couple were walking out. Which side of the social divide did they belong to?


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