tea for two


HK Street Bites

Just the two of us. It’s been some time. My baby sister and me. A hot, humid tropical Friday. A mini outing. Nothing fancy. Hopped onto the shuttle bus to the nearby shopping mall. Popped into the pharmacy for my panadol. And then Tea for Two.

I originally wanted local Singaporean fare at Han’s Cafe, but when we got there, it was teeming with the lunch-time crowd. The sound of clattering cutlery, trays and buzzing chattering voices, the human bodies shuffling in and out, and the strong smells of cheap perfume, cooked food and sweaty bodies created sensory havoc.

My sister is ever so resourceful: she knows where to go and when. She led me upstairs to this little nook, where they sell Hong Kong style mini-bites and desserts. Phew!

Nothing gourmet, and nowhere near as tasty as the same served in the iconic dingy cafes in the side streets of Hong Kong, but it was lovely anyway. The green tea ice with red bean was pretty good too, even though I do not like red beans very much. It tasted like a creamy sorbet. We also had glutinous rice baked with chicken, radish cake, and steamed rice rolls.

I’d rather have an average meal in a clean, peaceful and gentle space, than a gourmet meal inside inclement environs. My eyes can focus, my head won’t spin, my heart does not pound, I can hear myself speak, and I am able to enjoy my company with due attention and genteel respect.

It was fun. Just like we used to do in our childhood days, saving up our pocket money for a carefully planned sortie together. We are the ‘runts’ of the family, the two younger pipsqueaks, but I think we know best the true meaning of love, loyalty and respectful support. I am very blessed. Not everyone has a great baby sister.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t proceed further with our outing, as sudden fever set in soon afterwards, and I had to scurry home. The past year of constant sensory assault, distress and anxiety has taken its toll on me. Ah well, we’ll try again another day, then. Accommodations and empathic resonance. We’re both hypersensory, though with different triggers, so we know what to do for each other when the need arises. No fuss. No alarm. Just us Being.

I miss my Lucy, but I am savouring this with gratitude, knowing that Lucy is safe and happy in her holiday camp with lots of love and good friends.

Another graceful moment in a vast expanse of clemency, it seems.

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