I didn’t expect it but she kissed my hand. I didn’t know what compelled her to do it. After all, she’s not from the right generation or the right culture.

But she did. It was a loud smooch, and it came right after a long discussion about how no one visited her on her birthday.

I was stunned for a few seconds while she went on still mumbling about her quiet birthday and clasping my hand within her grasp.

I gazed at her eyes, which were too small for me to detect any hint of emotions from her. However, I remembered her face from years ago when I sat down beside her while she ate her dinner of cheap fish, vegetables and porridge. A tiny stream on a side of her face reflected whatever’s left of the light during dusk, one which she hastily wiped away when she thought I was not looking.

Bound by traditional beliefs, I knew that maternal grandchildren would never be favoured and I grew up experiencing all of that. As a child, I watched her taking out wads of money whenever my cousins – her paternal grandchildren – said they wanted to go out. As a child, I would smell the scent of freshly fried chicken wings from her kitchen and knew that I could only eat them after the rest of my cousins got theirs.

Her kiss on my hand undid everything. Almost bedridden, she could do none of those anymore. Yet, all that she could still, she did it for me with love.

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