There I was at Boat Quay, in the days before sleaze got there. There was so much hoo-ha about riverfront chic that we dug out the piggybank for a special evening there.
The Daughter was a one year old who preferred to use her parents' legs instead of the pram. The Husband's legs were preferred but once in a while, she deigned to use mine. So there we were, Mother carrying Daughter, standing by the river waiting for The Husband.
A rather fat half-drunk Caucasian tottered towards us and I was about to take evasive action when he hailed "Ma'am! Wait ma'am!". To be polite, I waited. He stood right in front of me and peered carefully into my face, trying to focus his eyes.
"Hic!" said he.
"That baby of yours will be a stunning beauty 18 years from today"
And then he tottered off. Very relieved that he hadn't tried to embrace either of us, I was also really pleased. How flattering!! But then after some time, I remembered that he was drunk. I have been told that when you're drunk, every female looks stunning. Is that true?
Then, there was Little Lionel. Lionel came by the house every morning to walk with The Daughter to school. I overheard once a conversation on the phone.
"Murmur... murmur" said Lionel.
"No, I don't want to come your house and play" said The Daughter.
"Murmur" said Lionel.
"Because your house has no toys" said The Daughter.
Ouch! That must be caused some devastating damage to the young man's self-esteem. The Husband's eyes opened wide and he commented that it was not a nice thing to say. I am ashamed to confess that I was kind of holding my sides laughing.
Irman was our neighbour upstairs. Together with the neighbours from downstairs (a brood of NINE kids ,cousins and siblings of each other), they would play downstairs in the void deck. All lined up, they looked like steps going up. The tiniest was The Daughter and the biggest was an 11 year old boy. Irman and The Daughter were the same age, and they really liked each other.
Actually, I don't think The Daughter was very discerning back then. She liked all the boys who liked her to some extent or other. And so it was that I overheard Irman squeaking...
"Bye XXXXXX! I love you XXXXXX!"
And The Daughter replied in melodious tones...
"Bye Irman! I love you too Irman!"
But when they grew up, they got busy with homework. And so they became strangers who never said "Hi!"