A Pocket Full of Kueh

Pictured above: My Father, who kept loving me when I forgot to love him.

Performed at the Foodrama Poetry Slam 2017, Organised by Word Forward, at Blu Jaz Cafè.

My dad never understood why I hated eating kueh. I spent 7 years forcing kuehs down my throat, long since learning that resistance was futile.

I used to run to my dad for a hug the moment he got home. My dad called me a little “Tau sah piah”, because those were my favourite words for a while.

I wonder what happened to those years. I haven’t eaten kueh in a long time.

My dad never understood why I hated listening to his advice. Once, I was making breakfast as he narrated everything I was doing, and at some point I must have groaned, or rolled my eyes, because eventually he stopped.

I used to watch him slice apples into paper-thin pieces, arranging them into patterns – a butterfly, a rose, a swan. I thought it was witchcraft.

I don’t cook at home anymore. I make dinner for two in someone else’s kitchen.

My dad never understood why I hated watching TV with him. We used to laugh at Gordon Ramsay’s yelling, oogle at the food, but now we listen to the radio silence scratch at our closed doors.

I used to love cooking with my dad. I wonder happened to that. We used to compete to make the best scrambled egg, Mom rolling her eyes at us.

I haven’t done that in six years.
My dad never understood why my door is always shut, why I come home so late, why I never eat at home anymore. He cut papayas for you, Alex. He’s asking if you want cherries, Alex. He still remembers that your favourite fruits are grapes, Alex. How did I forget that his favourite was mango?

I used to remind Mom to purchase a mango cake for my dad’s birthday every year. Last year, I forgot when his birthday even was.

I wonder when I began to forget that I once loved my father.

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