Harold’s Love Story

I would call it a stiff account.
Maybe the narrator’s omissions
made it so; at least give the reader
the opiate of facts–that his mom,
Rose Samuel, had died young,
and her body carried off.

It was truncated. Ten years,
he hung out in Katong. Then
Harold got invited to a tea dance,
sought a partner, was introduced
to a girl–Josephine–it was
love at first sight.

Well moistened by memory,
at the exhumation your grandfather’s
grave produced a shirt sleeve,
a gold tooth, and femur bone.
But here he was, meeting Harold,
his daughter’s escort.

Two years later a wedding plan.
Harold’s letter to Mr Vitalis
asking for his daughter’s hand.
Josephine, bringing back liquor
for the wedding, from RAF camp
in Changi, caught in a race riot!

Harold’s father, Alfred Lawrence,
got drunk at the wedding.
Mass at St Joseph’s church.
Dancing and presents, in a
summer’s wedding. Fifty years
later, their golden anniversary.

Our sons, free-wheeling under
tables and balloons. She’d put on
a golden dress with hat and gloves.
In the cab she’d dabbed her cheek,
resplendent. Post mini-stroke.
Earth-mother, that’s Josephine!

She had on that dress in
the open casket. Loving kisses.
Her life in prayer, a full canvas.
She’d be in heaven now.
Here we are carrying a memory,
in between places.

Prompt: Everyone has a life story. What if you had to write a memoir? What would you tell? Would you list down events, expositional style? You know, the “and then” “and then” way of setting things down. Someone had said life has three great events: birth, sex and death. Would those be the hooks from which you’d expound your mini stories? Someone had also asked, what three things would you remember most about a person. Perhaps you’d try and answer that, as if your narrative is really an attempt to paint a character. Character is all. If someone remembers you as kind, curious, and has a sense of humor, would you be happy? I think I would. Your prompt would be to write a familial story.


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