First day back in Chengdu after a month.
Leila hesitates before descending a slope.
Leila: Mum. [Re] Member me, I fall down here?
How the hell did you remember that? I remember Leila! A few months ago, you fell down this steep slope.
Leila: I cry mummy.
Me: You’re bigger now. You can do it this time.
Maher buys bread at a bakery / café. We wait outside, with Rahul asleep in the stroller.
Leila: [Re] Member me, yesterday, I eat cake with you here. Inside.
Me: Oh yes
now I remember! You and I came here one afternoon. Many months ago. We shared a piece of cake. You chose it. We sat there. (I point at the corner table.)
Leila: Big cushion, mama.
Me: Yes that’s right! We put a big cushion on the chair so you could reach the plate.
Leila: No Wrahul, No papa.
Me: That’s right, it was just the two of us. You and me together. Rahul was at home with papa. And before we left, you chose a cake for them. And the ayi
(aunt – lady behind the counter), packed it in a box.
As we walk by our favorite Japanese restaurant.
Leila: Hey mum! Wemember me, Wrahul, you, papa, Imad, Pascaline, Liu Yan, Marwan go here to eat. We sit down. We eat a lot.
Me: Yes my love, we ate here many times. We sat together and ate lots of noodles, fish, and spinach.
Leila: Many times.
Leila looks at the weighing scale.
Leila: Wemember me, I baby, I lie down here. And Rahul also.
Maher: Oui, bien sur mon bebe, je me rapelle!
Leila: Wrahul cwy, Leila cwy.
Maher: Oui c’est vrai, quand vous etiez tout petits vous pleuriez quand on vous pesait.
At a fountain in our housing complex.
Leila: You wemember me, Leila and Wrahul sitting here, on the step. Wrahul stick. Leila eating.
Me: Yes I remember baby girl. You were sitting next to each other. Rahul was playing with a stick.