The Smile in the Garden

It happened as I was hurrying through a tiny, litter-peppered park enclosed within an HDB precinct.

I noticed out of the corner of my eye someone walking towards me. He was a cleaner – broom in hand, South Asian descent. He slowed to a stop as he looked past me. I threw a furtive glance in that direction and saw a domestic helper with a fair toddler in her arms.

The toddler was smiling at the man, waving animatedly with twinkling eyes. The man hesitated before sheepishly waving back at the child.

In that moment, the man, the woman and I shared a quiet communion. We had witnessed a winter of oblivion shedding into spring, life sprouting from beneath concrete.

The child turned to look at the playground some distance away. The moment passed; our fellowship dispersed.

I slowly left that tiny budding garden, my heart blooming a thousand golden petals.

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