……They have a love-hate relationship.
“MY TWINS ARE HEADING south this winter,” Kiki remarks out of the blue.
We are all having a nice little tête-à-tête, a Girls’ thingy, sans husbands and kids. South? I thought how much further south? Kiki lives in Auckland. Surely the boys are not headed for the South Pole?
The other girls look a little perturbed. Probably both boys are taking their gap year and heading for some research centre to observe what is it that you call those? Penguins? Seals? Walruses?
Kiki continues, with that knowing smile that she now has our full attention. She cups and lifts ‘them’ higher on her chest. Our eyes widen – I catch that surprised look on the waiter’s face. “I’m thinking of a nip and tuck,” Kiki says.
We stare at her chest. Kiki is wearing a very low neckline, more than ten inches below the hollow of her throat. Still, no sign of boobs.
They are hanging low like Hush Puppy ears somewhere a-midriff.
Our eyes meet hers with resignation and an awkward smile. We steal glances at our own and are glad that they’re still within our gaze, some still sitting pretty above the table tops. Gives a completely new meaning to Table-top Dancing, that.
“I breastfed my twins until they were five, you know. Had to give up when my hubby wanted them back for himself,” she confesses and then giggles.
We giggle too. Husbands. They were probably not breastfed as babies or were breastfed but loved it so much as to hanker for them afterwards all their lives.
Kiki’s hands drop, as falling objects are apt to do, and grabs my arm decisively. She gushes and stares at me enviously, “Tell me, Dee Dee, I want the name of your plastic surgeon. Your melons look ripe for the plucking.” Me, melons? Oh snow in Denver… I am decidedly embarrassed and turn a deep-dark crimson.
“Err… Urmph…,” I stutter. “What do you mean?”
“I know it’s supposed to be a big secret but…” she pauses and looks at the other girls one by one. “Kelly girl told me,” she says, pleased as punch. She really got me this time.
“That’s silly, Kiki,” I protest. “Kelly girl for as long as I remember would make fun of me this way. She calls them gravity defying oscillating mammary glands when I go jogging. Come on, Kiki, these are original, just unpacked from the box and definitely not ordered from Amazon.” Sigh….
Everyone giggles crazily. Cupcakes, finger sandwiches, cranberry cookies and unpronounceable tea names have a way with girls in their forties. It loosens tongues and gives them the giggle bugs.
As far back as I can remember there have been stories about breasts that were funny, told and retold in girls’ changing rooms, lockers and sleepovers. Women have this strange relationship with their ‘sistas’ in this way.
“They’re not talking to each other anymore!” one would say.
“Mine failed the pencil test!” another would lament.
“And mine failed the paper test!” yet one more confesses, and wails.
More giggles. The poor waiter blushes a fire-hydrant red and tries to hide behind a potted fern to listen-in some more. Shy but not unabashed that bugger. Haha…as if we aunties cannot see him. Bah!
I tell them the only doctor joke I know. “Do you know why they’re called kneeples?’ I wink for effect and wait for an answer.
Kiki furrows her brows. “And you just have to show off a Latin medical name right, Dee Dee?”
I roll my eyes in mock exasperation. “That’s because they’re at your knees!”
Kiki in turn rolls her eyes back at me, totally not amused. More laughter.
In my mother’s small town, there’s a woman whose son had a strange attachment to her. Every night he had to suckle her before falling asleep. As he grew older, his mother started to worry. He was after all her only son. And her husband had died when the child was born. So what to do, what to do? At eleven years of age, it was getting out-of-hand so-to-speak.
Finally she asked my grandfather, the town’s watch repairer and confidant, out of the blue as she waited for him to change her watch strap. She burst out crying. Grandpa quickly but discreetly put his things away and placed a “Lunch” sign on his desk. It’s gonna be one of those days, he thought. He walked to the kitchen and signalled for the sobbing woman to follow. Over hot steaming Pu-Er, she told him her rather sad story.
Grandpa listened as usual, unflinching.
The woman cried and talked. Talked and cried some more.
After a while, they just sat there in silence, drinking copious cups of tea. The woman boiled more water. Grandpa sat and fingered his chin, deep in thought. The afternoon sun dipped, casting slanted shadows into the air-well of the house. It was cooler and the glare had gone off the wall. She could see the unevenness of the plaster and shadows.
Finally, Grandpa cleared his throat and said, “Take a strand of your hair,” he began. “Wrap and tie it around each nipple and cut it near the ends. Do this several times, as many as you can without hurting yourself. Cut the ends close so they appear like many, many bristles. Understand?”
The woman nodded. She understood and knew what she had to do.
The next day, she came very early to our shophouse clutching two of the fattest chickens under her arms. The birds clucked noisily and squawked intermittently. The woman was beaming with smiles. It was a success! Her boy took her breast in his mouth and spat it out. He cried. She offered him the other breast. He tried again but ran off instead to sleep on his own.
Some years ago, my girlfriends and I took to driving the east-west highway and ended up in Rantau Panjang with that wonderful idea of going turtle-watching early in the morning. The journey was more than the four of us had bargained for, long and winding without much scenery along the way.
We changed into our swimsuits and headed for the private pool. I was the last to jump in. The water was so cooling and felt wonderful; I floated on my back dreamily.
Lisa swam over quickly like a shark that smelt blood. I turned and kicked water to balance. “When was the last time you went swimming Dee Dee?” she asked.
What a silly question, I thought to myself. Lisa was rather myopic like me and with a brain to match. She grinned and pointed. I looked. There they were, my ‘sistas’ skinny-dipping, lapping around as they bobbed in the water. “Haiz, you didn’t know that your swimsuit straps had mati getah (dead rubber) already?!”
Read more of Doris Lim’s spicy adventures at her blog A Curried Life