I thought they were my parents, but when I begged to be fed, they returned me to the lady who used to bring food. The rice bin, with the label 常滿 on it, lied. It was not ‘always full’; that day it was empty.
I remember him; the man I thought was my Dad. He used to nurse me to sleep, lying prone on him belly to belly, to the rhythm of his breath. And when he came home after a Hong Kong summer’s day, we would all three of us, strip off our clothes and run into the yard and splash cold water over ourselves and each other.
And when he came for me, after I returned to my ‘real’ family, he called to me by my special name 黑仔！黑仔！Black Boy! Black Boy! instead of the 黑妹 Black Girl my new siblings called me, that sounded more like an accusation than an endearment. I saw how they slammed his arm with the gate when he reached out for me. I never forgot it. They said he only wanted money but I thought he wanted me.
I would see the woman who was my mother, visiting now and then. That was when I learnt to disappear into the walls.