February 19, 2010
Looking for something to say, I asked, “You are not working today?”
She gave me an “are you making fun of me?” kind of look and said, “You find me a job and I will work.”
I felt stupid. I was quiet for a moment, trying to imagine what other good-natured taxi uncles would do in this case. I then told her that if she was looking for a job she could look in the newspapers, talk to friends, or ask her MPs for help.
We were reaching her stop, which was in a carpark next to an HDB block. She took out her wallet, held it in her hand, and said slowly, “Yeah. But I have this arthritis for many years. I have never been in a working condition.”
That was what caused her heavy steps, I realized.
I tried to cheer her up. “That’s okay. You don’t have to work then. At least you have your husband to support you.”
“My husband passed away,” she said under her breath. Her hands stopped opening her wallet.
I stuttered, “I…I’m sorry.”
She looked at me, her eyes two ice cubes melting under the sun. “You know a month and half ago, in the news, a husband and a son jumped off a building...”
As if struck by lightning, I felt a current bolt from my scalp to my feet. “My god. That’s your…” I froze in shock.
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