we often heard that familiar hum of our fathers car long before we saw it. only then would our feet begin the familiar race to the door, being careful to follow the pavement so as to not leave marks in the dirt. we became good at hiding our mischievous ways. hiding the things we were not suppose to do. like playing outside, after all, we were kids, what do kids know about playing outside?
I remember how we would take turns standing on a rock near the fence, we’d take turns keeping watch. I’d be there longer wondering what happened in the world out there? what was so dangerous that we were to be kept hidden from. I also enjoyed seeing a smile on my brothers face. I never told him this, he didn’t have to know. I watched him play with the neighbors, laughing and arguing over silly rules of a game they never seemed to get tired of.
sometimes, when me and my Brother were too lazy to do the whole mission to the outside world. we’d remain indoors, I’d be hiding behind a good book if there was any, and he’d be on his bed driving a clothe hanger. we shared a room them. sometimes I would pause and listen to him. at times he would be flying, on some important mission to somewhere. other times, he’s be in a car race; he knew all the sounds the different engines made, the brakes, the sound that came from the changing of gears. sometimes he would clench his fists so hard you could see the veins by his wrists easily. I was jealous of him then, when he could escape the world without much effort.
Most of the time. parents were not around, we’d switch the TV on. for us, it was one of those forbidden treasures. we learnt to always memorize the way the wires were positioned, the channel our father left the TV on. and to never watch too long, cause if we did the decoder would heat up and if they came home early they would know.
I wouldn’t say we are good liars, but we got good at it. when placed in a situation where most of the things you do would get you in trouble, like trying to fulfill your childlike instincts, playing outside, lazing all day, watching Disney. we learnt to always include “we were studying” into a list of our activities, omitting all the things that may lead to an unwanted lashing.
my childhood wasn’t so bad. as long as we didn’t get caught it would be good but usually somewhere we would mess up. like when the veranda would be covered in dust, I would observe as I opened the door, my parents checking for footprints. sometimes, we wouldn’t hear them come in while the TV was on, a channel number was forgotten, the rice burnt, we failed a few tests, the house wasn’t clean enough, our feet had dust all over them.
there were tell tales all over. even in the way I spoke, playing with my fingers. swallowing hard, my big eyes darting about. I guess that’s why when I was older. I always found a reason to be out of the house. I had never ending group work, poetry sessions, choir practice (when I could still use that as an excuse.)
I guess this is one of them days when I miss my brother, we went through a lot of ish together even though we were quite distant. I had issues with him and he had them with me. so yeah.. all that running brought us together.
and we’ll keep running. the goal is to never go back.