Vicky Chong shares a heart-warming tale of love and loss with the pandemic as the backdrop.
I wish I could turn back the clock to the night we binge-watched three movies in a row. We’d never done that before. One movie, in Korean, was the maximum you would do, and then you would bid everyone goodnight and turn in, when the blue hour was just turning a shade darker into indigo, when most Singaporeans were just sitting down for their dinners, when most windows in blocks of HDB flickered alight in synchrony, with movements of business about. Perhaps then nothing would happen. You would go to bed and wake up at 4 am as usual. And life would continue.
But that night, when I switched to the next movie and cast a questioning glance at you, you nodded, much to my surprise. You’d already sat through two movies with me, albeit having taken cigarette breaks in between the two. We held hands as we watched, the wedding ring on your finger cutting into my palm. We finished the show. You gave me a peck, got up, stretched, and sauntered into the bedroom. There was nothing amiss. Sam was still working at his laptop in his bedroom, so was Kate, my children from my first marriage. Working from home during COVID meant they often worked late into the wee morning. I was surfing the net when you reappeared an hour later, complaining of a fever. Your forehead was cool on my palm, wet from perspiration. In slow motion, you collapsed onto me as I shouted for Sam. He rushed out to support your weight as we laid you on the cool ceramic floor and I performed CPR, a skill I was glad I picked up from the community centre. Sam called 995. I was frantic. You had no pulse. The SCDF lady on the line gave me instructions as I shouted for help.