Letters by Kenny Mah

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“I said it first!”

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September 2, 2016

Hey you,

We are in a race every evening. The first to say it gets a pass; the loser has a terrible decision to make.

“What shall we have for dinner?”

Surely this can’t be that awful a task? Dinner, the final meal of the day, when the two of us are finished with work and can dine together. Surely this is a blessed time? Yes, but: What shall we have for dinner?

A home-cooked meal would be comforting and soul-salving but we are two lazy buggers. Please don’t sentence us to the kitchen to slave for half an hour or more.

We’ll eat outside, then. Chinese? Thai? Japanese? The kampung chicken rice sounds good but so does a steaming bowl of ramen. We can never agree. And neither of us is fussy enough to cast the deciding vote. And so it goes: the game is in who can mutter these triumphant words first:

“What shall we have for dinner?”

We’d argue, naturally. The refrain “I said it first” is more commonly heard than “I love you” or “You look real nice today.”

These days one of us is bound to cheat and ask it in the morning, before breakfast or while we are brushing our teeth, or the night before, just as we are going to sleep.

Of course, you know why I’m writing this; I was the loser today. Damn.

Yours always and always,

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