Ang Mo Kio St. 42

Three girls, legs thick, hair tangled, walking down the street in staggered formation. Two of them eating milky popsicles. A third nosing a bar of ice-cream out of a plastic cup. Shoes white. They are still babyish-short, waiting to unfold, like promise crammed into a flower bud. I look for the ice-cream cart. There it is, parked outside Deyi, crimson and inviting, uncle’s umbrella folded away like a swan wing. A group of boys buzzes around it. I’m suddenly fifteen again, or maybe eight, where bubble tea isn’t Koi but is nameless syrup from nameless HDB shops, a loyalty card tired-out in my velcro wallet, every stamp inching me closer to a heavenly free cup; where after-school snacks were fried chicken and chocolate milkshakes and ice-cream, yes, and hours before dinner-time.

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