She sat by her office window, aimlessly looking out, trying to find answers. Little did she know that the answers lay within. And then, something struck her like a bolt of lightning.
She quickly looked up a list of old-age homes and planned visits to all of them. She was determined to make it happen. All she remembered was the distinct smell of sesame oil — that’s what her mother added to all the Chinese dishes that she made for her… before she went missing.
A lot of rumours went afloat the day she vanished. Some said she had an affair. Others said she died in an accident. And the worst part was, people often looked at her with an unblinking stare as they spoke to one another in hushed tones about her mother.
It was impossible to get away from the public eye. She spent days thinking about where she was and why she left. Or did she even leave?
The need to see her benign face stung her every time she had a second to spare. But then, she realised, sitting, waiting and wishing would never help. So she decided to take things into her hands. After a lot of research, she left the office to get herself some lunch.
Standing in line to make her own meal, she added all that she could remember of her mother’s recipe. A tad bit of black bean sauce, some sweet and sour sauce, a whole lot of shrimps, and a generous drizzle of sesame oil. She sat by herself, munching on memories and inhaling the the aroma of her DIY masterpiece. This time, she decided to treat herself to a mimosa as well. She needed to unwind a little bit.
Looking down at her watch, she realised she had to get back to work as soon as possible. So she hurriedly paid the bill and left. She took a deep breath as she sat by her desk, engrossed in work yet again. Just then, something caught her eye.
She had brought back the bill from the restaurant. At the back, a scrawny handwriting glided through the paper bill. It said,
I have often thought about coming back to you but I never had the guts to do so. Today, when I saw you trying to replicate my recipe, my heart broke. I didn’t give you a good childhood, but I am repenting. If you forgive me and want me back in your life, please meet me at the backdoor of the restaurant. I will be waiting for you. If you leave, I will get my answer. And I won’t blame you for it. I just want you to know that my heart beats for you. Now and always. I love you.
She wanted to tear her hair out as she read the message. she was alive. That was the biggest consolation she had. But she had probably lost the last hope of meeting her mother.
Since then, she goes to the same restaurant every week to look for her mother. She knows she’s around somewhere. But she makes peace with knowing that she’s looking over her. All she wants to tell her is, “I love you too.”