44 house

Sometimes she wished that back in 44 House, if she could just awake at 3am, the old house would just turn back and she could play under the moonlight. She could raise a cup to the moon, and watch flickering figures beneath the orange sodium-lit lamppost. Perhaps she could even catch, ahead of everyone else in the house, a truck honking with a coarsely-recorded song, “Sau gau bou zhi (收旧报纸), old newspaper, paper lama, sau gau zhi seong (收旧纸箱)…” She had known since childhood that the truck collected waste paper. Life was such a dream back then.

But then she looked back at her brown British-styled dress, and remembered those warm wooden walls in the condominium on the Mid-Levels, hearing Mrs Nottingham’s refined conversations with the great names of society that stopped by Hong Kong. Her sister would be tugging this very brown dress for a doll-playing companion, only to beg the girl like a poor puppy to turn over some of her mother’s cosmetics, well kept in a drawer in those wooden walls. Of course, the girl refused, and had been refusing until her sudden shift in time.

But then the girl remembers that just a few weeks ago, she was at a hotel, wearing a new green dress given to her by one of her many aunts back in Malaysia. Which was her real past?


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