When the bandage is taken out to be replaced, 简安‘s face looks bloated around the upper cheeks. One ear was so heavily padded the cotton protruded from its drum like a gremlin extension. Tiny slices of tissues from it had been sewn into the bridge of her nose which on a WeChat (微信) photo appears with a Band Aid. Around her eyes, they are still reddish three days after the incisions to create the effect commonly called double eyelid. Her lips have darkened somewhat.
Humans change what Nature is slow to do. Primate species, or any species, is not fixed for eternity. If specie change is inevitable, then there is no sanctity in the Origin of Species (Charles Darwin). The appearance — hence, deception — of immutability arises only because genetic and physical changes move at geologic pace, therefore invisible to the unaided human eye. This deception prove that the Allah of the Arabs and Jesus of the Jews were simultaneously fallible and mortal — the perfect human qualities that superstitious Malaiyoos and Malaysian Anglophiles still ascribe to their imported gods. In this age, voodoo beliefs still thrive in PAS and Hannah Yeoh and Elizabeth Wong and the Prime Minister’s Office and in the blog pages of Syed Akbar Ali and Kadir Jasin and Annie of the Valley.
The pain, as 简安 describes it, is like prolonged needle pricks. “Each time there is pain, I think of it as the cost of beauty.” Tomorrow, I shall wire to her five thousand yuan. The hospital has a seven-payment installment plan. But, if the surgery has turned out all right, could we settle earlier than planned? It is a thought.
Daily injections against bacteria infection are necessary. Then there is something left to be done about her teeth. I have no idea what that is. Post-surgery, there is an eight-to-ten day waiting period. I have no hopes how 简安 should look like when the bandages are removed after that. “I will look prettier,” she replies over WeChat video. “You want that, don’t you?”
“Yes,” I said without conviction but enough for the worries to slip through the voice.
“Don’t worry, Love. It is like home renovation.”
Which is true, of course: the old is stripped off, the new is installed. Where no installation is possible, it’s patched up. 简安 made the analogy only because I had watched her house in the pine and cypress forests of Sichuan patched up in that fashion.
I had made only a mild, unconvincing effort to dissuade the surgery. If appearances are, however, important to her life and her stage career, who am I to say ‘no’. “But, I can’t be there, with you. At the hospital,” I said. I reminded her: there was no possibility to leave __ City for another two weeks at least.
“I am not a child,” she protested at the thought of further delays because of my schedule. In that way, the renovation of 简安 was launched — without me. Still, there’s nothing to it; these days we have WeChat.
Something went terribly wrong from the Origin of that man’s species, above: his skin darker than the color of coffee, his nose is snubbed, the mouth of a drill monkey (below), the ears are oversized, more elongated than a wild pig’s. It ain’t his father’s fault nor the mother’s. It could be the buffoon genetics in him or possibly — look at those lips! — the arse of a buffoon. But, there is nothing slight human intervention can’t correct.