Sway with the Times
by Clara Mok
"Honey, come massage for me. I've been standing the whole day," cooed Jacelyn.
"Right away!" said Marcus.
He removed his apron and knelt before her, working his fingers through Jacelyn's slender white calves. Rushing her sales proposal due that evening, her eyes did not leave her laptop.
Madam Huang could not believe it. My son touching his wife's feet? Aren't feet one of the smelliest part of the body? How did I raise him?
She chided Marcus: “Son, how disgraceful. Why would you want to touch her legs? You even hand-washed her undies earlier, I saw you. Don't you know that's sway. Bad luck. No wonder you can't find a permanent job."
Marcus shrugged. "She'll do the same for me. Won't you, dear?"
"I can't believe this!" Madam Huang gave Jacelyn the evil eye and slammed the door to the couple's three-bedroom Housing Development Board flat, vowing for the tenth time never to step in. Yet, her desire to spend time with her only son weakened her resolve.
I must have lived too long to witness this!
She stepped out of the quiet of the lift into bustling Toa Payoh Central. The throngs of people and shophouses blurred as she recalled early days of her arranged marriage . . .
Kee rested both feet on the coffee table, while flipping the evening tabloids, Sin Chew Jit Poh.
Madam Huang’s voice wafted from the kitchen: "I'm preparing dinner..."
"You stupid woman. Come here! Massage my legs!" yelled Kee.
She switched off the stove fire and wiped her hands on her apron.
“Faster! Laying eggs, issit?”
She knelt before her husband before kneading his calves.
"Harder! You didn't eat rice ah!" bellowed Kee.
Madam Huang gritted her teeth, as her lean body struggled to exert strength onto her husband's calves.
Tears roiled in her eyes.
I must bear it. This is my life. I must serve my husband.
Ring! . . . Ring! . . .Ring! . . . Madam Huang pressed her mobile phone while attempting to muffle her sobs.
"Mum! Mum! Are you okay?... I made you your favorite soon kueh. I told Jacelyn that I won't hand-wash her undies anymore, so don't be angry."
Madam Huang choked back her tears. "Okay."