My Crepe Myrtle always flowers as Chinese New Year approaches. At home in Hong Kong the flower markets would be selling pink peach blossoms at exorbitant prices. Here Down Under it is summer and Crepe Myrtle would have to do to welcome the Year of the Monkey.
Those pink blossoms reminds me of Chinese New Year, but they now bring other memories. Two years ago I was working as a volunteer at our local community centre. My work included running a Melbourne Cup sweep, picking up Seniors on a bus and doing their shopping once a week and I was MC for a Chinese New Year celebration for seniors. I remember decorating the hall using the flowers from my tree.
One of the seniors was Barbara, dead now since that June. When I saw Barbara after the celebration, she said no one took her picture because, she said, I don’t look good. I took out my iPhone and took a photo of her immediately. She was delighted to see it and asked for copies to send to her brother in New Zealand.
One day I arrived at the centre to be told that Barbara was found dead in her apartment. They said she had no one in the world so there was no funeral. No one there had heard about the brother in New Zealand except for me, it seems, and it was too late. We lit a candle for her.
I don’t have a picture of Barbara with the New Year blossoms but they will always remind me of her.