|Day BreaksPage 1 of 1 |
|Seven o’clock sharp. Blinds drawn back. Light floods the room. Wei Da is in the bed next to mine. He doesn’t stir, feigns sleep. We all do. |
Shoulders shaken in turn. Firmly. Orderly Guo Liang doesn’t do gentle.
“You all get up now.” He shakes Zhao Yi roughly. “Get up chee bye.” That got Zhao Yi’s attention.
“Ha?” Zhao Yi plays dumb. He is getting too lan with Guo Liang.
“Ha ki lum pah.” Guo Liang is really pushing it and we are all paying attention now. Zhao Yi doesn’t give a **** about anybody.
“Kan ni na bu.”
Guo Liang looks as though he is about to explode but manages to control himself. It is almost funny. Pompous prick.
“This I report to Dr Loh.” He draws himself up. “Consequences lah.”
Guo Liang heads off to unlock the shower room.
The rest of us are not in the mood for a fight. We don’t often get this much excitement and it unsettles some. People start to gather washing things and in no particular order proceed to the showers. There is no rush, breakfast isn’t till eight. I am one of the last.
Vacant shower to the right catches my eye but vacant-eyed Zhao Yi blocks my path.
“Mh'goi.” Better to ask politely than risk pushing past Zhao Yi.
“Can not. Can not lah.” Not so vacant after all but the lah is not hostile. He’s washed and already changed into regulation green daywear. For an instant I wonder why he’s still there but it’s none of my business.
Zhao Yi’s right about the shower in any event. Jiang stumbles out of the cubicle. Jiang’s not all there and never remembers to close the door. Somebody else gets there before I can move. Jiang never talks to anyone other than himself and we part to let him pass. A phone is ringing insistently down the passageway demanding attention but nobody’s there to heed its call.
“Can?” Wei Da has followed me, already luck pushing isn’t it. He tries to edge past.
“Can not. Lah.” He’s trying to have a laugh. No way.
Wei Da stares icily at me for a moment that lasts just too long; lips pursed, eyes narrowed. He gives me an inane yellow-toothed smirk. He’s not convincing as a tough guy. Wei Da’s really a bit of a wuss.
“Momentai.” He knows it.
“Yeah. No problem.” He’s also a bit of a klutz.
“How come you so late still playing music, lah?”
“Sleep can not. Music can lah. Can?”
“Is it? Can lah.”
I’ve been too busy talking with Wei Da to notice that the door to the end cubicle on the left is open. Zhao Yi appears more observant.
“This shower you want or not?” I thank him. He is grinning widely.
This is always the best part of my day, rare moments of privacy secure behind locked door. High pressure jets scour away thoughts of why I’m here.
I could hear the sound of water hitting the tiled wall. Whoever had last used the shower had not turned it off. I was halfway into the cubicle before I realised why the phone at reception kept ringing.
“Aiyaahhh.” The exclamation leapt unbidden from my mouth.
Guo Liang’s light blue garb had taken on a darker hue. A ragged smile played around his neck. I didn’t feel sick. I didn’t feel anything.
I looked back. Zhao Yi’s grin was now almost as broad as Guo Liang’s.
“Alamak! You never see dead chee bye before is it?”
I paused to take breath. “Can not lah.”
“Now can, ang moh lah.” He meant it kindly...