'Celia has another tooth!' said one, holding up a stocky baby with blonde hair.
'My daughter has three - look!' said another.
She is from Sam Sui. That is why she is always determined to better everyone else, Mother would say.
'My daughter' is what we all call our babies. Even though they're not our babies. We understand what is meant by it.
'My daughter is still too little for teeth,' I said, holding up Mari for inspection.
I knew it didn't matter that Mari had nothing to show yet - no teeth, no funny crawl on her bottom, no first words, in Cantonese or English. My daughter has the prettiest eyes and the sweetest disposition. She never cries.
The Rice Paper Diaries by Francesca Rhydderch We put our babies back in their prams and started to leave the park in twos and threes.
When I looked back there was no one left apart from a tired coolie who had taken our place on the bench in the shade.
He had a shaved head and wore nothing but a pair of shorts; across his back you could see where sweat mixed with fish salt had dried on his skin.
He was eating rice from a bowl, holding it up with one hand to catch every grain, his head tilted right back.
I waited at the gates for Wang. I hoped that I wasn't late. I had forgotten to ask one of the others if it was four o'clock yet, and I knew Mrs Elsa would need help to get ready to go out for dinner.
I had kept Mari out of the pram and strapped her to my back to carry her the length of the park.
I sang to her as we waited. She chuckled in my ear, then fell asleep, her breathing slowing and deepening, resting her head against the back of my neck.
I was about to take her out of the straps and put her in the pram when Wang pulled up in the car.
He parked up close to the kerb, ready to lift the pram straight into the boot without trouble.
Mrs Elsa was sitting in the back.
| The Rice Paper Diaries by Francesca Rhydderch is published by Seren at PS8.99 www.serenbooks.com > CONTINUES TOMORROW
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|Publication:||Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)|
|Date:||Sep 4, 2013|
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