July 2, 2018
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July 2, 2018
When your sister murders three hundred people, you can’t help but wonder why – especially if you were one of the intended victims. Though I do forgive her, if you can believe it. I tried my best to deny the strength of family ties when everyone was still alive, but now I realise the truth of the cliché: blood does run thick. Even if poison trumps all.
It was caught on surveillance tape, so there’s no denying that Estella was the culprit. I haven’t seen the footage myself – can’t see at all in my present condition – but I can imagine it with great clarity. At the mouth of the corridor leading from the hotel ballroom to the adjoining kitchen, my sister appears. The angle of the camera makes it difficult to see her face, obscured by the enormous hairsprayed chignon atop her head, but I’d recognise those calves anywhere – peasant’s legs, our mother always jokingly called them, disproportionately bulky for Estella’s otherwise slender frame. Graceful in stilettoes, despite her country-bumpkin appendages, she glides out of one camera’s purview into another’s. My mind’s eye sees her in the kitchen now, speaking to one of the staff, who grants her immediate entry upon learning that she’s Irwan Sulinado’s granddaughter. Graciously, she offers a pretext (a mission to reassure a germ-phobic aunt, perhaps – any excuse would have served since, in Indonesia, the wealthy don’t need reasons). They allow her free passage, ‘Silakan, Ibu’ – ma’am, as you please – and let her sail on, past flaming woks and stainless-steel bins of pre-sliced meats and vegetables, fielding deferential nods from surprised and frazzled cooks. Only when they resume their duties does she strike, pulling a tiny vial from inside the high, stiff collar of her silk cheongsam and scattering its contents into the great steaming tureen of shark’s fin soup with a flick of a jade-bangled wrist.Continue Reading