Mixed Feelings

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I enter my daughter’s childhood clinic for her anti-typhoid shot, and suddenly realize the full weight of the years that have passed us by.

A beautiful abacus and Geronimo Stilton books continue to keep sick children busy. Β Nurses weigh babies, jingling a toy before their frightened faces. Assistants call out names “Luka Almeida!” “Sreejan Bhattacharya!” “Choo Chin Tat!” while parents scramble to get their kids out of wooden castles and toy cars. It’s absolute mayhem with toddlers kicking away milk bottles and being dragged bawling into the doctor’s den, which pretends to be friendly but clearly isn’t.

And amidst all this, my own girl sits unruffled — a bored teenager with her mobile games for company. I try to remember how she looked when she was all of 2 weeks — it’s when we first saw her doctor, a soft-spoken Asian man who injects the vaccine into her arm today as he had done more than 14 years ago.

I can’t remember. My mind sends me hazy, indifferent pictures that sadden me a little. My life has moved on, making it harder for me to access what once was — but I realize what a blessing it is to know that time seldom gives back what it takes; life then becomes all about living in the moment.

I crack a silly joke about the lady hollering names near the doctor’s room and watch my daughter laugh, the tiny pendant on her choker necklace twinkling like some distant star.

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