Mum has given me many things. Her hands, soft yet boyish with thick-skinned knuckles. Her feet with sandpaper heels, her humanity, her heart.

Recently, the past spilled her tears and I gave her a notebook.

“Write it all down, Mum. Write so the memories will fade.”

“Tsk. I can’t.” She ran her fingers down the fabric cover. “But this very pretty.”

“Just try it.”

She took the notebook home. Its pages remained blank for a number of visits. Each time I saw her, it lived in the same spot on the bookshelf, crammed between other people’s words.

“I tell you this before. I dunno what to write.”

“But you know how to write. It doesn’t have to make sense. Give it a go.” Mum was an avid reader who devoured books. She finished primary school but continued the rest of her education on a cotton field and sewing school.

One day she came over, notebook in hand. “Here.” She passed me the book, hesitating.

I couldn’t contain my curiosity. I opened the first page.


Outside, the sun is waking. Its beautiful shine dazzles my eyes.


She went on to describe her thoughts, feelings, emotions with an honesty that shone like the sun in her first line.

I was taken aback. Not only had my mother given me her scrawly handwriting, but passed on her writing gene as well.