I’m almost done reading Donna Tartt’s The Little Friend, just one more night and I ought to be able to proudly put that book on the shelf! Last night (a Sunday night), I sat up reading – quite involuntarily – till 2am – no thanks to the 2 cups of coffee I had after dinner. Before I had books as an option, I used to lay in bed with eyes wide open listening to the airconditioner blowing in the darkness. That and the sound of my heart beating, or palpitating rather induced by caffeine. This rhythm would accompany all the nonsensical thoughts going on in my head as I debate whether to look at my wristwatch or not. It’d be comforting to know it’s only 1am .. or is it? Could it be … maybe it’s 5am already and I still haven’t slept a wink? And if so, boy – do I have a shitty day ahead of me…

In The Little Friend, it’s slowly emerging now that the Ratliffs had nothing to do with little Robin’s death, and that Danny Ratliff (being the little boy who was chased off from the Dufresnes yard) has been unfairly suspected of the murder by Harriet and Hely. And what drama has emerged from the two’s attempt at revenge – throwing a live cobra off from an overhead pass down into the Ratlliff’s open top convertible in the hopes of it biting one of the Ratliffs – which it does, but unfortunately the innocent Gum – the Ratliff brothers’ grandmother who, in her impatience, had took it upon herself to drive the car.

I’m trying to speed up reading this book and hopefully finish it tonight and start on The Mascot, the true story of a 5 year old Jewish boy who survived the massacre of his family by the SS and the Nazi occupation of Latvia during World War II by hiding his Jewish background and becoming a “mascot” of an SS extermination squad, living with them and ultimately, finding protection from this unlikely place.

It’s a Monday today. A rainy one and I sit now in my office looking out of the hundred year old Peranakan building windows, counting the number of times the drops of water streak down the glass in front of me. The white wooden frame has cracked over the years, the lines visible but still steadfastly holding the glass panels in place though rattling when the wind blows. Outside, I’ve planted a row of bougainvilleas – their leaves drenched in the rain, but limp looking (as they always do on a Monday because no one is in the office to water them on weekends). There are orange and crimson blooms though not as many as I would like to see. Perhaps a few more weeks of proper care and soil fertilisation will do the trick.

Beyond the windows and my plants, across the street below is a river. Vessels ply up and down as they have for more than a century. My late grandfather, whose stately home now houses my office, would have seen this same scene played out daily during his lifetime. I sit here, and I think about my own daughter, who turns one this coming Sunday, and I wonder if it is possible that one day, when I too am gone, she might also sit by these grand windows and ponder the same as she gazes out to the river.

It’s a Monday, as I was saying. It’s the beginning of a new week; of days yet to be revealed and events to be unfolded,  and yet Mondays are a sad reminder of the week that was; forever unaltered, and we’re forced to remember it like that.

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