An-Mei Li looked much older than she'd seemed, last year at this time. The small Chinese woman, who looked like an older version of Su, with shorter hair, called out the name of the boy whom her daughter had been such close friends with, when Su was still alive. He looked thinner and paler than before, his eyes no longer boyish.
"Mummy Li!" exclaimed Kevin in the same affectionate way he had addressed her so many times before. "Oh! I wasn't expecting you!" With that, Kevin adandon all concern for his trunk and rushed over to her, encircling her small figure in his large arms. She was like a second mother to him and always would be, with or without Su.
"Kai-ven," Mrs. Li's voice never quite lost its characteristic Chinese accent, and she patted the boy... man's back. Biting her lip and keeping her voice soft, she pulled back and said solemnly, "Su would have wanted me be here."
"I want you here," he added in a firm tone, pulling back and looking down at her amiably. His grin, while warm, had yet to lose its goofy quaility, but he didn't quite care at this point. Mummy Li was the closest thing to Su he had now, and he wasn't about to let her disappear from his sight.
The petite Chinese woman gave a slightly sad smile, "Su was always ha-ppy wis you, boy. And Mummy Li never had son. But you like family.'
"I'm more than family," said Kevin, giving the older woman a polite, but warm, kiss on the cheek.
Mrs. Li nodded, and then pushed a rather large parcel into Kevin's hands. Her voice, at last, had lost its carefully kept calm, and shook a little as she looked up into Kevin's face. "For you."
More than a bit surprised, Kevin blinked as the package found its way into his sweaty palms. "Mummy Li...what's this?" He looked from the woman to the package and back again.
"This is... domplings. And steam meat buns. And sesame balls," Mrs. Li said quietly, "I make this morning for you, know that you like them."
Food. No one ever personified the statement that a way to a man's heart was through his stomach more than Kevin. And knowing that she had made it - especially for him - made the package all the more significant. "Mummy Li," he began, voice not quite as solid as he would have liked, "you shouldn't have...I...but...thank you."
"I remember you eat a lot last time you visit Su," An-Mei said quietly, her face sad, "I hope you still like."
"Of course I still like! My love for food never dies!" exclaimed Kevin quickly, cuddling the box as if it contained a rare and expensive treasure. "Just like my love for Su."
At that, Mrs. Li's eyes brimmed over slightly, but only for a moment. And then she blinked the eyes that were so much like Su's, and gave him a smile, "She love you too. Always talk about you. You her best friend. Like brother. More than."
With her simple statement, Kevin nodded in full agreement and understanding. "Su will always have a special place in my heart," he told her mother solemnly, "She was everything to me."
"And you to her, Kai-ven," Mrs. Li whispered, looking around. "I see your mother over dere," she nodded towards where an Irishwoman was standing a short distance away, "Heavens bless, Kai-ven... come visit some time if you want."
"I'll owl you as often as I can," promised the young man, throwing his arms around Su's mother one last time. "Thank you, Mummy Li."
The small Chinese woman backed off with a solemn nod, and, her shoulders shaking slightly, turned around and slowly walked away. It was mere moments, and she disappeared into the crowd.
Kevin wiped his eyes with the back of his hand before sighing and turning around to greet his own Mum.