The wind howled relentlessly, slamming invisible fists against my window. Outside, the once-twinkling lights that usually litter the horizon’s skyscrapers were now smeared into the haze and nothingness of an impenetrable fog. Buildings swayed as trees teetered sideways and the skies glowered ominously down on us-the little people huddled inside-sheltered from the chaos without.
Two palms hung limp at my sides. My wide unseeing gaze fixed outward from the large sightless foggy window of my apartment. It was my little eye to the tumult of the storm beyond it where the wind howled on.
I hardly knew him at all. Just the good things. The packed lunches; the heartfelt “good girl” slotted through slanted accent; the lucky red packets and Pretz sticks at every New Year, when we knew he had nothing to keep for himself but everything to give; the once handsome visage staring idly out of a picture frame; the now old and bent and fragile and wonderful posture…the cough.
There were also other things that I’d only ever heard: wild betting on horse races; flashing sports cars in frantic youth; polished shoes and suits with waxed coif; established business and wealth thrown away at the witless or unfortunate stroke of a lost horse; the “other” unspoken-of children I call aunties and their long-absent mother, the mad first wife.
My blood pumped to heart calmly and dangerously and all verged on a precipice of grief. Until the wind woke me.
Battering window frames, uplifting heavy metal trash bins from the street, flying mutilated debris over land and harbor – this was the most relentless typhoon Hong Kong had seen in the last decade. It snapped me from a reverie of nostalgia that wasn’t mine, opening my ears to every howl and every whisper from the environs outside. The fog did not frighten, nor did the storm sweep all away. Almost not all.
Grandfather died this morning.
And all I could think was: Ah-Gong! My, did you pass with a vengeance!