For all of our similarities to each other, Pinky – our imaginary horse, that is, not either of my little fingers, although they do quite coincidentally share the same name – much prefers kopi o, so as much as they detest each other, Pinky is obliged to drink from Big Guy’s mug at mealtimes.
I’d have thought that, judging from her appearance, Pinky would be a completely saccharine creature even in her taste for food, but strangely enough, that characteristic does not extend to coffee. Pinky loves coffee; it’s her favourite drink (after bandung), and she likes it not just black, but also kosong, without sugar, which is exactly the way Big Guy takes his coffee. I can’t live without condensed milk, so I don’t think I’ll ever understand how one can take coffee that black. As the Chinese joke goes, life is bitter enough.
In August, our family took the ferry to Bintan Lagoon Resort, where we were to spend a whole week recovering from the excesses of work and household chores. Prior to the holiday Pinky had been dragging her feet – hooves – in her packing: she hates the hassle of travelling, you see, and more so now with the baby’s presence. But she hates being alone more than anything else, so she came along with us. But imagine how completely her dishevelled look of utter dejection was transformed when we arrived at Bintan Lagoon Resort and were ushered to the restaurant to wait for our room to be readied.
On the glass door of the restaurant, the words: KOPI-O*.
Pinky turned to me, asking, “No sugar, right?”
*Actual name of the restaurant
Jocelyn Lau is editor, writer and co-founder of Kucinta Books. She has published a collection of haiku in Hello, Baby (Math Paper Press 2013). Two other collections, Hey There, Tot! and Excursion to HortPark, will be published by Kucinta Books in early 2015. She has also written short fiction pieces, and a new picture book series is being planned.