Old soul

Last night, I had a four hour conversation with my ex. I expected it to be horribly tense with bitter feelings and heartrending revelations/explanations.

Always, whether I was 9 or 30 years of age, I have felt old inside of myself. When I was a kid, adults would remark that I was an ‘old soul’ based on the expressions I would use or the things I knew (that I didn’t know I was too young to know). I have no doubt that my chaotic childhood accelerated my personal growth by leaps and bounds. My parents had leagues of friends who all played mah-jong (Chinese gambling game where jade stone tiles are marked numerically or with Chinese characters – it is a combination of gin rummy and poker, in a nutshell). Often, there were two tables set -up, one for the men and the other for the women, in my grandfather’s home. My ‘aunts and uncles’ would bring their kids as would any blood relatives bring my cousins. From Saturday to Sunday, it was a blur of adults playing until dawn and the rotational buzzing of kids playing in a separate room. The times my mother would go separately to a girlfriend’s apartment to play mah-jong weren’t too often but at my Aunt Jeanne’s place, there was usually Patrick and Samantha waiting for me and my sister. As midnight approached, we would roll out the bed from the sofa and sleep. Only my sister had this habit of hiding in small, hard-to-reach places for an adult. She would crawl under the bed closest to the sofa and promptly pass out. I would go and retrieve her but she found a way back, invariably, when I fell asleep. So, this would lead me to go ‘pester’ my mom (who was volatile about being interrupted when she was concentrating on anything), begging her not to forget my sister when we left. I know it sounds irrational that somehow my mom would miss the fact that one of her daughters was absent, but I didn’t trust the adults (excluding my parents) around me and my sister to be rational and responsible people, 100% of the time. I witnessed a lot of childish behavior (especially coming from my aunt Cindy) that were rarely in favor of the children and which were damaging to us. Like my nanny, Auntie Pun, my aunt Cindy exhibited favoritism that could make my sister and I feel like a burden they resented to care for: it was an odd dichotomy since my nanny was being paid by the hour to guard and guide us until my parents came home and my aunt Cindy would be given money to cover whatever expenses if she took us on short day-trips.