83 CH83: Memory of a mother

    "I don't know about the food your mother makes for you,

    especially when it's something that anyone can make -.

    pancakes, meatloaf, tuna salad -

    but it carries a certain taste of memory."

    - Mitch Albom


    Sunday evening.

    Delilah was reading a novel on her bed, with her legs up, lying on her stomach when she heard a beeping sound from her mobile phone. Placing the paperback facedown on the bed, beside her, she stretched her arm towards her bedside table to grab her phone.

    Grunting, she kept trying to stretch her arm but instead of being able to reach her phone, she successfully pushed the phone to the floor.

    Cursing out loud, she was a bit thankful that her room was carpeted or she probably would have cracked her phone.

    She reluctantly got up from her bed, groaning. She bent down to grab her phone which had fallen beside the bedside table. She quickly checked her phone to see whether there were any cracks and was relieved to find none. She then swiped her phone open to read the message.

    Apparently, it was a text message from Aubree.

    The text from Aubree reads, 'Hi Delilah. Sorry to text you at this late hour. And also, sorry to tell you this at a very last minute. Amy will be going on an emergency leave for a couple of days. And it seems like there's no one to replace her at the other branch. I was wondering whether you can relieve her of her tasks for these three days? Since you know more about her tasks as well.'

    Way before Amy was hired, Delilah used to work at the other branch and she was the one who trained Amy with the admin works. Hence, it was the right move of Aubree to ask Delilah about this.

    Delilah tilted her head thoughtfully as she pondered on. Recently, her sister has been having her lunch at their dad's restaurant after picking up her son from school. The restaurant used to be a joint partnership between their parents. But after their mother had passed away, the restaurant was fully owned by their father. The restaurant was an Indian style restaurant where they specialized in curry, roti and other Indian cuisines.

    Because Miya's son loved to eat roti there, they usually had their lunch there. Many times Delilah wanted to join but because the restaurant was more than thirty minutes drive, which includes the traffic time, she had to miss out the fun.

    But now, she probably could join them. The other branch of the Kang company was actually near her dad's restaurant. In fact, it was only a few minutes walk away.

    Not noticing an evil smirk appearing on her face, Delilah rubbed her chin gleefully. She then quickly replied 'Alright' to Aubree's text. She placed her phone back on her bedside table and flopped back down on her bed.

    Lying on her stomach, she reached out for her paperback and continued to read.

    The next morning.

    As she drove her way to the other branch, she felt like the day was going to be great. Not only was the weather great; not too hot and there was no sign of rain coming, the traffic was smooth as well. Did Delilah once say that the other branch office was near to her house, compared to the headquarters? No? You readers must have forgotten about it.

    After parking her car at a designated parking lot, Delilah grabbed her things from the car. Other than her work bag, she also brought along her large water bottle, tumbler which contained hot green tea, her lunch bag and computer bag.

    Walking towards the office building, she was really quite a sight to see. There were so many things on her body that an employee from her office could not help but took a pity on her and tried to help.

    However, Delilah shook her head, smiling, rejecting his help. She does not feel comfortable with strangers holding her personal things, even if he was someone from the office. She thanked him for opening the door for her.

    Since the office was actually on the first floor, she had to climb the stairs to get to the office. It was fortunate that there weren't many people working at this branch, compared to the headquarters. As mentioned before, the only departments that were in the other branch were the General Affairs department, Logistics department and the Safety department.

    For the three days, Delilah would be working in the General Affairs department, where Amy's department was.

    And since she would be relieving Amy's tasks, she would be working at the front desk.

    Unpacking her things and arranging her things on the table, she made herself comfortable. Once she was done placing all her personal things on the table, people walking past the front desk would probably think she might stay there forever with so many things there.

    She was about to look for any notes that Amy might have left for her to see when Howard walked in through the office.

    Noticing Delilah sitting behind the front desk, he walked over with a huge smile. "Delilah! Long time no see!" he greeted.

    Looking up with a smile, Delilah greeted back. But when she saw what he was wearing, she inwardly cringed before forcing another smile on her face. "Hey Howard! How are you?"

    That morning, Howard was wearing a bright yellow shirt with green flowery design on the bottom of the shirt. He was also wearing light cream slacks, which only made him more bright. Delilah does not know how he was able to dress himself in that.

    "I'm doing good. Are you here to relieve Amy?" he asked, leaning against the front desk.

    Delilah nodded. "Yes, I'm just trying to find my balance now," she said, chuckling as she rummaged around the area to look for a note of tasks.

    Howard grinned. "Then I'll leave you to it. See you later," he said, waving as he headed over to his office.

    Delilah nodded again. "See you!"

    It took her a few minutes to familiarise herself with the things around. Though it was expected that as soon as the office opened, they would be busy, including Delilah. And the work that she had done in just one morning was enough to keep her on her toes.

    While she was working, she did not forget to text her sister whether she would be eating at their dad's restaurant. It took nearly an hour before she received a reply from Miya, who replied 'yes'.

    Delilah quickly replied back that she would be joining them and that Miya should text her back once they were on their way to the restaurant. At least, she would be able to estimate what time she should leave the office.

    After getting another confirmation from Miya, she returned to her work.

    Glancing up at the wall clock, she noticed there was still another hour to lunch time so she should be able to finish some tasks here.

    Amy was working as a receptionist/admin so there were a lot of tasks that she had to do. And being today as the first day of the week, Delilah felt it was a miracle that she was not overwhelmed by all these. Probably because she doesn't mind being busy. Other than updating the heads of departments and supervisors on upcoming meetings, she also had to handle enquiries and arrange schedule training dates, tasks from her HR duties.

    Although there were some tasks that she could not finish at that time, since she had to wait for the other recipients' replies, she decided to put that off in the afternoon, after she returned from lunch.

    Looking up at the wall clock, she saw that it was nearly lunch time. She then looked over at her phone, there was still no text message from her sister. But knowing that they should be on their way, she decided to try her luck and call her.

    She frowned when her call was rejected. Before she could send a text message, asking whether they had left, a text message came in, instead. She inwardly rolled her eyes when she saw that it was a picture message from her sister, with a picture of some food and the caption reads, 'We're here'.

    Delilah quickly tidied her things around the desk. She took some of her personal items and locked them in a drawer. She then walked out of the office, following the other employees who were on their way to lunch, as well

    Some waved hello at her and some even invited her to lunch. But Delilah politely rejected their invitations, saying that she already had lunch plans.

    Walking out of the office and onto the main street, she walked for a few minutes before finally reaching her dad's restaurant.

    The restaurant was nearly crowded with patrons who came there for lunch. Chatters and loud merriment resounded throughout the place, making the atmosphere lively and busy. There were waitresses and waiters walking here and there, serving and taking orders. Some of them recognized Delilah as the boss' daughter as they greeted her 'hello'. Those who did not know looked at her curiously but welcomed her politely as well.

    She looked around for her sister and nephew. Luckily, a friendly waitress who recognized her, too, knew who she was looking for as she pointed in the right direction.

    Thanking the waitress, Delilah followed the direction and saw her two family members already enjoying their meal.

    Sitting across them, she accepted the menu given to her by the same waitress who followed her.

    Noticing someone was sitting across them, Kael looked up and grinned. "Aunt Dee!" he exclaimed happily. "What are you doing here?" he asked.

    "Nothing. Just sitting here, looking at you," Delilah replied sarcastically while reading the menu.

    Kael stared at her with an 'o' on his mouth. His hands were still tearing the roti up as he ate.

    Miya glared at Delilah. "Stop teasing your nephew," she scolded.

    Delilah shrugged. She then ordered her meal.

    While she was waiting for her meal to arrive, she chatted with her sister, talking about things at work and home. Her nephew continued to eat his roti with his hands as he watched a cartoon from his mother's mobile phone.

    Few minutes later, her food arrived. She had ordered Indian chicken korma [1] with rice. She loved the aroma of the korma. It smells delicious and the gravy was thick and creamy. She picked up her dining utensils and cut through the chicken. The chicken was still hot as steam can be seen coming out from the meat.

    Even though the chicken korma has a lot of spices in it, it does not taste spicy. Rather, it was very flavourful, rich in tastes and seasoning. She mixed the gravy together with the rice, watching how the rice mixed well with the sauce. She took a bite and moaned inwardly, savouring the delight of the taste. She loved how the rice became flavourful with the sauce. The chicken was juicy and tender as well. Together with the gravy, it added more taste and zest to the chicken. She swiped parts of the chicken meat to the gravy and ate it.

    As she continued to eat, she suddenly recalled her late mother. Chicken korma was one of her specialty dishes. Although the chicken korma that she was currently eating was delicious, it does not beat her mother's cooking.

    Looking at how wistful she suddenly looked, Miya frowned in confusion. "What's wrong?" she asked.

    Delilah smiled ruefully as she ate. "I just thought of mom."

    Miya too smiled sadly.

    No matter how many years she had passed on, one could never forget the taste of a mother's cooking.


    [1] creamy chicken dish from India.
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