Breakfast is rarely a family thing any more these days. My brother eats in his room without much chastising from my mother who seems content to sit in front of the telly while the latest Indonesian soap opera/morality play comes on.
I’ve no idea where my sister is. Probably in the next room. But all that matters is that I’m here, in my bed… with my eyes still closed. It’s strange to wake up before your eyes open. The world comes into focus slowly but it’s never like the way it does in movies.
Outside, I hear the neighbour’s kids playing. They just moved in a few months ago. Mom didn’t like them much. They’re as noisy as we are quiet and they have nightly family gatherings that I think my mom envies in secret. Each time I come home from work, there are rows upon rows of shoes, carelessly heaped on top of one another outside their door. I often walk with my head low or my eyes fixed right in front of me, with earphones firmly plugged in so they would think twice about waving at me through their dining room window.
My house is as dark as theirs is always lit. Even as I nuzzle my pillow, I know that by 9pm my mother and sister would be asleep or awake, depending on whether or not my brother is home. I would be bugged at some point to ask after his whereabouts and that would annoy me to no end.
Secretly, I am like my mother. I envy the noise that comes from the house next door. It reminds me of my own childhood… though I’m not quite sure what happened between then and now. Nothing is quite as foggy and nebulous as the process of growing up. They say your brain reworks the neural pathways.
Maybe that’s why I remember little of the in-between.
I get up and walk to the bathroom, avoiding contact because the people of my house are surly in the morning. Brush my teeth and wash my face. Taking my bath in small steps because its the weekend. I hear the kids play loudly outside my door and I go downstairs to tell them off. It doesn’t help that one of them used to be a student from a class I taught the year before.
The table is set and the windows of my house are open as is the door. No wonder it seemed noisier. My sister is making tea while my brother is groggily rubbing his eyes. My mother comes out of the kitchen and tells me to go be human. Breakfast won’t wait forever and she made fried rice with eggs sunny side up. She wishes my dad was here but she doesn’t say it. She simply keeps the plate she pulled out for him and sets aside a portion, telling him about it when he calls.
I blink and agree without much of an argument. In the shower, over the sound of the water, I hear my mother telling the kids to be quiet but there was something lighter I’m pretty sure she wasn’t aware of.
Created: Apr 26, 2012herconstantglow Document Media