Share A Se­cret

Women's Weekly (Malaysia) - - Contents -

My mum and I have al­ways shared a close re­la­tion­ship – prob­a­bly be­cause she gave birth to me in her early twen­ties, and raised me her­self after my dad passed away from a sud­den heart at­tack. We have sim­i­lar in­ter­ests and tastes, and would of­ten go out to­gether – strangers we met even thought we were sis­ters! But the real se­cret to her beauty and youth­ful­ness was a shock­ing one, even to me...

I thank our fam­ily’s lucky genes for my nat­u­ral beauty, but I would still go for fa­cials and un­dergo med­i­cal aes­thetic pro­ce­dures to treat and cor­rect mi­nor skin im­per­fec­tions. My mum loved mas­sages and fa­cials, but shied away from aes­thetic treat­ments as she feared that they might be painful and ex­pen­sive.

In Oc­to­ber last year, I had my mum try out the medi-spa clinic I fre­quented by pay­ing for a min­i­mally in­va­sive eye treat­ment, con­vinc­ing her that it was a spe­cial 50th birth­day gift for “the most im­por­tant BFF in my life, ever”. Be­cause of these “lov­ing” state­ments – and her worry that crow’s feet were start­ing to show more – she gave in and went for the treat­ment.

I ac­com­pa­nied my mum for her first con­sul­ta­tion with Dr Yung*, who was both my trusted doc­tor and a for­mer col­lege­mate. To my sur­prise, the ses­sion went well. My mum and Dr Yung got along per­fectly – she asked if his good looks were a show­case of his work, and he kept com­pli­ment­ing her on her beauty. By the end of the visit, my mum had signed up for a pack­age. It was money well spent; now my mum and I would be­come closer as “beauty BFFs”!

In the next few months, my mum sup­pos­edly signed up for more treat­ments, not only for her face but body too, and even tried out the lat­est, most tech­no­log­i­cally ad­vanced ones I had never even heard of. I had cre­ated a mon­ster ob­sessed with youth and beauty! I feared she was go­ing over­board and spoke to her about not spend­ing be­yond her means. She promised she wasn’t and that she was just help­ing Dr Yung test new pro­ce­dures, and in re­turn, the ses­sions were free.

How­ever, I started notic­ing her odd be­hav­iour – she would go to the clinic more of­ten without me, “con­sulted” Dr Yung over the phone for long pe­ri­ods, and stranger still, spoke less of how she looked than be­fore, even though she was sup­posed to be un­der­go­ing more beauty treat­ments. And the ses­sions weren’t ex­actly help­ing – she looked more en­er­gised, but her laugh lines be­came more ap­par­ent!

One day, I was early for a bright­en­ing fa­cial ap­point­ment and de­cided to head to a cafe nearby to wait. What I saw there turned my face whiter than any beauty treat­ment could – it was my mum, sit­ting at the same ta­ble with Dr Yung, and they were touch­ing hands! De­spite look­ing like an id­iot in pub­lic, I hid my­self be­hind a pil­lar and watched them as they chat­ted an­i­mat­edly, smil­ing and laugh­ing with each other.

In­stead of con­fronting them, I de­cided to in­ves­ti­gate more. I found out from the clinic’s staff that my mum was not go­ing for beauty treat­ments as she had told me, and that she of­ten met Dr Yung dur­ing his breaks. I even de­cided to look through my mum’s mo­bile phone when I had an op­por­tu­nity – there were dozens of self­ies of her and Dr Yung din­ing, and in their flirty pri­vate mes­sages, she called him “Dr McDreamy” (after Pa­trick Dempsey’s char­ac­ter in Grey’s Anatomy) while she was nick­named “Mrs Robin­son” (in­spired by the clas­sic May-De­cem­ber ro­mance film, The Grad­u­ate).

I was un­sure about the age gap be­tween my mum and Dr Yung, and where this was all lead­ing. I knew Dr Yung was kind and trust­wor­thy, and I did not want to sab­o­tage my mum’s hap­pi­ness. I felt con­flicted and it showed – lit­er­ally, as my com­plex­ion suf­fered a break­out!

I’m not sure if it was due to my mother’s in­tu­ition that I knew her se­cret, but in the past cou­ple of months, my mum asked Dr Yung to join us for our mother-daugh­ter out­ings. She gave the ex­cuse that Dr Yung should ex­am­ine my skin con­di­tion on his own time, as a “by-the­way” favour.

We have been on four out­ings so far, with just the three of us en­joy­ing each other’s com­pany. I have de­cided to calm my­self (and my skin), and wait for my mum to say what she needs to, when she feels it is right. As she once re­marked to me be­fore: “Hap­pi­ness is not skin deep; like real beauty, it comes from within.”

*Name changed to pro­tect pri­vacy.

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