Setting the sun...


Crowds: Mr. Tang Part Two

Hello Armoury! Happy Monday and welcome to Mr. Tang Part Two! Enjoy and don’t forget to subscribe and comment with your thoughts below, [pretty please!]


Mr. Tang had met his wife at a colleague’s wedding. He wasn’t really an academic – he left that to his younger sisters and decided to train as a mechanic. One of his close work mates was getting married at the time and he was thrilled to be invited. Not having anyone to take with him other than his family, he went alone and was placed on the singles table. Mr. Tang remembered the first time he saw Mae, and as he closed his eyes to recall the memory, it was as if he had just lived it.
She wore a simple conservative baby pink dress, her hair cropped short to her chin. Mae looked liked the type of woman that would never glance at him, she looked like a perfect rose in a garden that was untouchable. He was seated opposite her on the table, and like a jeweler to the most precious gem, he couldn’t take his eyes off her. She noticed him staring and she tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear as her cheeks begun to rouge. After a few glasses of wine and once main course had been cleared, he worked up the courage to introduce himself. But even on a full stomach and alcohol racing through him, he was still a stumbling, fumbling mess. He heard his Dad’s voice in his head coaching him, “You can do this son! I believe in you!” his Mum cheering with joy, “I can just see you together, oh Trung, she is so pretty! This is wonderful!” and both his younger sisters giving him calculated and insightful advice, “Go easy. Open up with asking how she is,” and “Don’t go straight in to asking her dance! Get to know her first.”
He picked up his red wine, swished it to look fancy, straightened his tie and made the move. However, as he tried to sit on the chair beside her, he missed and fell straight to the floor. His wine spilt all over her baby pink dress and, for a moment, he felt that she was sure to yell at him.
“I’m so sorry!” he remembered her chuckling as she held out her hand for him. “Forgive me if I’m being rude, but that has to be the cutest and clumsiest thing that I’ve ever seen!”
He opened his eyes and he begun to laugh at the memory on the open street in Springvale.
The next thing he knew he was in love. They married three years later, and had the first of their five children that year after that. After raising their children right up until they were all in school, Mae returned her position at the bank, and together they lived a wonderful, meaningful (and at times a crazy and chaotic) life.
Mr. Tang had made the walk down Springvale, through the junction and up Police Road that would eventually take him to the bakery that Mae loved. It was run by an older lady who he could never quite remember the name of. She was from somewhere in India and made the most delicious custards tarts that he’d ever eaten, Mae’s being the exception. He loved when she baked, the sound of her humming when she’d bake would make his heart soar. It had been Mae’s dream to open up her own cake and sweets shop – baking was her absolute passion. Scones, slices, tarts, pies and pastries; he had his wife’s mouth-watering sweets to thank for his large tummy.
Sunday’s were the most wonderful day in the Tang household. Mae would wake up to bake bread and he’d get up with her and they’d walk along the cold corridor filled with the sounds of their sleeping children. He’d make them coffee and then he’d sit with the radio on in the background and they’d just chat. The sounds of the kettle bubbling, the chatter of the radio and the click of the timer of the oven was the most peaceful thing that he could ever hear. They’d talk over their week, about their children and the upcoming and exciting things they’d have plans for. Sometimes he’d surprise Mae with an impromptu romantic dance in their dressing gowns – their slipper bottoms would stick to the ground as he’d sway her around on the kitchen tiles.
“How romantic of you, my sweet potato,” she’d remark. “I’m so grateful you fell in front of me at that wedding all those years ago.”
“I fell in front of you, and then I fell for you,” he patted her greying hair.
He entered the bakery and the memory faded.
“Mr. Tang, how are you?” The lady behind the counter asked.
“Very good!” He shuffled over to the counter, his little yellow balloon trailing behind him.
“Nice balloon,” she commented.
“Yes, for my wife,” he gleamed. “She’s just down a few shops down getting her hair done.”
“Oh, nice,” the lady said a little awkwardly. “So ah, custard tart?”
“Please,” he answered getting out his wallet. “Oh and piece of carrot cake for my wife.”
“Of course,” the lady wrapped up the two treats as he handed over the money.
“Keep the change, please,” he nodded. “Take care.”
“You too, Mr. Tang!”
He pried his way out of the plastic strips and stepped back onto the street. He felt rude for not remembering the lady’s name.
As he continued walking, he found himself forgetting where it was he was meant to be going. Turning left to right, he realized he had led himself to the hairdressers, and looking inside confusion spread across his face when he saw that it was empty. It was boarded up, the inside filled with piles of dust and discarded equipment. He scratched his head as he tried to remember what it was that he was meant to be doing.

  • Mr. Tangs’s story [Part Three] continues on [MON/OCT/05].
  • This narrative was edited by my wonderful editor: Kayla Marie Murphy. Contact: for any inquiries.
  • Creative Credit for Mr. Tangs’s image goes to the wonderful and supremely talented Jinny Park, whose Instagram feed you can check out at: Thank you so much Jinny for this wonderful collaboration!
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