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G'day Drifters, this week we are going to introduce to our main characters of "Afloat Adrift"

Before you read on, I would like you to ask yourself a question, "What if I never left home?" You're free to define home as you like, it can be your parents, your friends, your country or your culture.

"Double Exposure" ©Andre De Freitas "Double Exposure" ©Andre De Freitas

Mei is in her mid-50’s,  she’s relatively small with a slight hunch. When she walks you can tell she’s shy, and feels slightly out of her own skin. Though Mei also retains a sense of poise, as if she’s been taught the importance of self awareness and subtle elegance.

Mei spends the majority of her time at home, yet again she has very simple pleasures, if you can call it that.

She cooks. A lot. In fact this is what she mostly spends her day doing. Weirdly enough, if you pay closer attention, you can tell she doesn’t really enjoy it. During the day when no one is at home, she always brings out all of her fruit, veg, meat, whatever ingredients may be, in the middle of the living room on the table, and just watches TV. Her eyes are usually glued to the screen, and her ageing hands are always on auto pilot preparing food.

When the clock strikes 5pm everyday, Mei always goes toward the window, ritually. She never actually opens it, rather she goes behind the curtain and let it fall/drape around her head ever so slightly. It makes her feel safe and invisible from everyone as if it is a cloak.

Mei enjoys watching people on the street and studying every single person. She wonders to herself, everyone on this street walks in such a determined, self assured way, where are they all going? And how do they know?

Mei closes her eyes and thinks to herself, “What if I never left?”. Just what if, she stayed put.

She’d be back in Hong Kong, probably retiring from opera singing, maybe even teaching. Yiu Fai her husband would’ve been a pretty decent swim coach as well. Their house would be noisy, full of their family and friends visiting all the time. They’d cook, sing karaoke from time to time, play a bit of Majong and Peter their son would probably be sick of having such a crowded house.

She can smell the hot food, the familiar sensation of humidity and pollution in the air and the light that’d shine through their apartment from the streets at night, because their city never sleeps. Their city. Theirs.

As Mei is drifting further and further away, the key in the door turns. She snaps back to reality and runs towards the kitchen. Her boys are back. Mei goes, “Dinner’s almost ready”.

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