Life for Beginners Stories by Kenny Mah

The tower and the apartment

by Kenny Mah

It’s a week later. Our bags are packed and waiting by the door. We’ve just returned from a light lunch of anchovy-and-avocado tartines at La Cuisine de Bar, next to the famous Poilâne bakery. It is a little warmer today than when we first arrived but Paris still has the kiss of winter. In a couple of months, it will be warmer still: springtime, flowers and the promise of summer.

We are heading back to an eternal summer. Malaysia is hot all year around, except when the monsoon rains arrive and even then, there’s the humidity to contend with. We will have indoor air-conditioning instead of radiators. I remember the hum of the heater in our rented apartment’s kitchen. The burst of flames hidden from view. In KL, we have electricity and a switch. No sound. No mystery. No Eiffel Tower.

Oh but we will have nasi lemak and we will have the tarik. We will have our car again, and I have to say I love the freedom of four wheels over the fixed lines of the Paris Métro. I won’t hear French and German being spoken, but there is the melody of tongues I recognise dancing together. Some Malay, some Cantonese, some Tamil I don’t understand – but still. It sounds like home.




 
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