“He gets really happy when beautiful ladies touch him,” the elderly lady tells us about her dog as my sister strokes and rubs it.
“I can understand… me too,” my Dad replies after a short pause, fighting back a cheeky smile.
The lady didn’t expect such a reply (who would have?!) and was clearly taken aback, but she laughed, oh she laughed. We continued in our paths, in opposite directions, still chortling away and away and away. Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can; all of them make me laugh.
Today, I brought my family to Marienplatz where we had lunch at Rischart (I felt something odd and uneasy here, I’ll write about it below), conquered Alter Peter and strolled through Viktualienmarkt.
At Rischart, Dad ordered cheesecake which he told us was made exactly the way his Mum used to make her cheesecake. With clenched lips, he lowered his gaze to hide his face that had grown red and tears which had begun welling up in his eyes. Mum, my sister and I, growing emotional too, held Dad’s hands to give him emotional support. At that moment, all thoughts of ‘cheese… dairy… eggs… cruelty… health impact… oh my’ disappeared and all I could think of was this cheesecake being an abstract connection to my paternal Grandma who I’ve never met or gotten to know other than through the stories Dad tells us. I wanted so desperately to take a bite out of the cheesecake not because of any desire to satisfy cravings (because I didn’t have any), but rather because I wanted to know my Grandma through it. I wanted so desperately to know the great woman who was anything but selfish, who struggled incredible lengths to make ends meet, who brought up the very man I have held with great regard all my life.
I didn’t eat the cheesecake.
My mind was proud of me for holding out strong, but my heart was sore. I love and respect myself, the environment and the animals enough to choose Veganism every day but I do love Grandma too. She’s watching us from above, from Heaven. I feel broken. Is this silly of me?
I blocked out my emotions as we climbed up all 299 steps of Alter Peter (Church of St. Peter), the oldest parish church of the city. Mum almost gave in to thoughts of giving up but she powered through them and, together with the rest of us, was rewarded with fabulous views of Munich from above. It was comfortingly still up there other than the quietly howling wind that was picking up speed, and I exhaled to release the knots in my heart. Nothing a little breathing and peace couldn’t achieve.
We moved on to Viktualienmarkt to buy some goodies for Mum and Dad to bring back to Singapore. This was where I saw (and held) ruthlessly sharp Maroni in real life for the first time ever; they look like Rambutan’s cousins! Also, wouldn’t these be a cute touch to any garden?
Hirschgarten was becoming our way of ending our days, and today was no exception. The only exception was the detour we took up a slightly secluded hill, which, upon reaching the top, would please one with views of an open field and greens which go on for as far as one’s eyes could see.
We carried on with our walk-jog-skip to the deer enclosure where we fed the deer as we always did, but this time, with the help of lawn mowers which had generously left behind lined tufts of cut grass which we simply gathered and either directly fed the deer or sprinkled all over where the deer were.
… Then we met the elderly lady with the dog.