Girl No. 1
Did you brush your teeth? Did you put cream on? Did you wash your face before you put cream on? I told you to have the pro-bio before having breakfast. Now what about water? Drink water before food. How many times have I told you that having a bottle of water is THE proper way to wake your stomach up in the morning? Quick, eat the apple, then the cereals. You can have the bread for snack. Don’t waste any milk. Drink up. Remember to rinse your mouth. A lady should look like a lady. Next time you put on the shoes the same time as you put on the uniform; then I don’t have to wait for you and your shoelaces in the corridor. Where is your mask? You shouldn’t use yesterday’s mask. No, not even if you only used it for a short time. Quick. We are going to be late. The school bus won’t wait. Why is your schoolbag so heavy? Did you unpack it last night? I mean empty it before you pack? Unpacking is the first step of packing. Why are you always so absent-minded? What about the snack bag? Remember to drink water at recess. Don’t take off your mask. Remember to go to the toilet. Don’t touch the toilet. Don’t rub your eyes with your hands. We are going to be late! I don’t want to run again like yesterday.
Quick! Run! The school bus is here. Look, that’s Fong Yee. She’s waiting. Run, Siu Nei, run!
You finished your homework? Good. What about Visual Art? Any notices for me to sign? Any “forget to bring” written by your class mistress in your handbook? Did you remember to play the piano? Did you practise the Sonata? Just warm up your fingers. Remember what the teacher says? Don’t waste your talent. You are talented. What about dancing with Pamela? You finished 2 Pamela videos already? Good. Remember your body is as important as your mind. Did you finish your math homework? Would you like me to check it for you? Let me check it for you. See, you copy that number wrong: it should be “times 4” not “times 2”. Can you stop being so careless? You know you are so smart, but you are always so careless. No, you are not lazy. Ok. Then you are lazy. Well, try not to be lazy. You are going to be so amazing if you work hard and persevere. What about the English journal? What about Chinese? Any dictation tomorrow? I thought you said you finished all your homework? You know I have to work and look after your sister and every night I put her to sleep and come out and you still haven’t finished your homework. Can you at least finish your homework? Oh, you don’t like Chinese? Then you stop talking to me. Just finish the reading comprehension. It’s not hard for you. See? If you concentrate you do everything so well. And so quickly. Write the Chinese characters neatly. You know when I was your age, I had such beautiful handwriting that my Chinese copybook was always on the wall. I don’t want to see “forget to bring” in your handbook anymore. Are you tired? You are tired. I will give you a massage later. Have you taken a shower? Take a shower then. I told you to dance with Pamela and then take a shower right after the dance. Now finish the Chinese copybook first. A change is as good as a rest. Let me put Penny to sleep. When I come out, you should have finished your Chinese, packed your schoolbag, and taken the pro-bio. Remember to pack the sports shoes and the shorts. Don’t forget the raffle tickets and the check. I just wrote the check. Don’t forget to brush your teeth and comb your hair. I will give you a massage, but don’t forget to put on the medicine before creaming your body. Remember to pee before coming to the bedroom.
Girl No. 2
Hi Penny, are you ready to sleep?
Do you want some milk?
Would you like mama to give you a story?
Let me turn off the light.
Good night, I love you too.
*Inspired by Jamaica Kincaid’s “Girl”.