The night the boy and his mother waited—and waited—and waited for his father to come home was boiling. An August night in Hong Kong. The month of ghosts. The room seared, hazy with steam. The wallpaper rasped and curled at the edges. The boy was in his undershirt, having taken off his nice clothes, the blue cotton shirt and thick tweed trousers, and his mother was in just a slip. They stayed at the kitchen table. The boy played with a little lizard, trapping it under his hands, while his mother slowly waved a paper fan.
At 11:00, his mother slammed down the fan. Fuck this, she said. Enough. She pulled a dress over her head and grabbed the boy’s hand. They went downstairs and down the blazing dark streets to the little store. It was closed, the ridged tin door all the way down. But they grabbed some sticks from the ground and banged on the door rat-tat-tat-TAT-rat-TAT-tat-tat-rat! like it was a battle drum, echoing hollow metal through the night against the dead heat. Until the door rolled up partway and the old man shopkeeper crouched and poked his head out. Jok sei! What do you want for… Read more »