I ducked into a store when I saw Lantern at a shopping centre because I haven’t fulfilled my promise made to her, whose family seems like they’ve been put under a curse by a wicked witch. As I know her family, and am older than her, Lantern sought me for help in her desperate attempt to save her parents’ marriage.
In recent years, Lantern’s mother has become sick and homebound. Lantern’s father, a pensioner laden with the stress of caring for his wife, sadness and loneliness, has been seeing another woman who is about ten years younger.
It takes a determined witch to break into the lonesome man’s heart and dig her heels in. Lantern hoped that I could talk to the witch to remind her of the immoral model she is making for her children and grandchildren to be ashamed of.
People in the community questioned the witch’s claimed status as a widow for nearly four decades since a very young age because it didn’t add up. Now, as her age is going downhill, she robustly steals someone else’s husband.
I waited, as I wasn’t sure how to tackle the crisis. Then I heard other female elders in the witch’s circle tried individually to give her hopeful advice so that she might stop seeing Lantern’s father. One by one the elders were mocked by the witch. Worse still, the unfortunate circumstance that one elder met her now husband decades earlier, which she had trustingly divulged to the witch, was exposed to the public to shame her. Another was criticised by the witch, suggesting that her life now is karmic retribution for what she did to another wife in the past. A religious elder was labelled as speaking obscenely, and of vulgarity.
One respected member of the Vietnamese group who was willing to confront the witch later got cold feet as she felt threatened that her involvement may affect her current intimate relationship.
Another elder from the senior club had a firm and straight-to-the-point discussion with the witch, and she brazenly denied ever having an affair with Lanter’s father. She promised to never seeing Lantern’s father again and challenged people to “catch me if you can” if they could come forward with evidence. When subsequent proof presented, the witch accused people of spying on her.
On Lantern’s father’s side, one of his friend tried to talk some sense into him but was met with a stern rejection. The children of another of his friend talked their father out of pleading with him for a principled life due to his violent character.
Other elderly friends are either fearful of being scolded by Lantern’s father or too weary with their old age and ailments to be bothered with someone else’s affair.
Lantern’s father, who shows early dementia symptoms, and the witch are seeing each other and mischievously playing hide and seek with the community.
I wait and wait to see if there will be anyone else in the society to interfere or any positive development in the cheating saga because I know that the community is on the lookout to catch the adulterous pair. In my position as a junior, I see no worth in talking to the witch. This woman is a scandalous evildoer, who could simply deny what I put to her or even lie that she had never seen Lantern’s father in a long time. However I really want to help Lantern.
Now it’s been several months since I met her. I decide that I can wait no longer; I have to act on my promise.
The octopus arms of the wicked witch,
Squeeze hard and choke to death the old man’s heart.
A blind man’s guided by an artful bitch,
The tart beams gaily as the couple part.
by Harem Malik.