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Stuck together


This is the second big assignment from my writing class this last spring. This is may be fiction, but I’m pretty sure you can tell where I got the inspiration from (if you’ve been following this blog, of course). Enjoy.


Every Sunday is a family day. We were on our way to brunch in daddy’s new Mercedes-Benz, when mommy turned her head and asked, “What would you like to eat?” 
“What do we have?” said the eldest. 
“Anything and everything,” said my mommy. 
“That’s a lot of choices. ” My brother turned his head away from us, interested in the traffic outside the left car window.
“I don’t know. You decide. You’re the youngest.” My second elder brother on the right said to me.
If there are anything and everything out there, I’d still prefer a familiar taste.
“I don’t know. Thai?”
“Thai it is,” mommy affirmed.
So we went to a Thai restaurant, and the food was superb. Pineapple fried rice tasted exactly like nasi goreng, if you leave out the pineapples.



Occasionally, my father takes weekends off. He can have that because he’s the owner of our family’s import/export business, specializing in auto spare parts. That’s how he affords a Mercedes-Benz and weekly getaways to five-star hotels, like the one we’re having now.
We got a top-floor, double-bed suite. Our deck manifests the long stretch of white sands and azure waters us Balinese are proud of. It’s like a whole new world.
Back then, mom and dad slept on the same bed, and I would have my eldest brother on my left and my second brother on my right. We would get through the night in the comfort of what felt like home. Home is wherever we are, as long as we stick together.
“Daddy will sleep on the couch. You stick with momma.” My mother chirped while unpacking her toiletries.
Daddy’s practically attached to his phone all day, and my brothers were stuck in front of the TV. “Sauna?” My mother takes my hand before I said anything.
My mind wandered to places in the mist. Warm bubbles massaging my body, the loud burbles deafening my hearing. I rest my head on the edge of the tub. Everything I see starts to blur.
I don’t see mom and dad talking to each other much anymore. Maybe dad’s busy, or maybe mom’s having her period. All she talks about to me these days is period, period, period. How long is a period, again?
I got up from the tub. My mom wanted to stay there a bit. Just before I took the first step off the wet floor, I slipped, hitting myself on the head. I heard the loudest thud ringing in my ears for a moment, and everything went white. Why would they choose a glass tile for a sauna room?
I opened my eyes. My vision became clearer.
Mom was panicking. She immediately called dad, and then everything fell into place after that. “No it doesn’t hurt, mom, And dad, I’m fine,” I said.
Finally. They communicate as a happy couple would do.
Both of them were caressing me as they discuss only the terrible things in the future, like finding a doctor in Jakarta and selling the Mercedes-Benz, if ever I should slip again.


Sundays are now nights out with my mother alone. We never have weekly brunches or getaways anymore. My brothers are overseas to further their education. They each have their own lives. We get in touch through the occasional text messages, like “How are you?” and “When will you come back?” My phone’s ringing silence is the usual reply.
“Do you think it will ever be OK if mom and dad separated?” Mommy asked while we’re on our way home from dinner. She was driving the Mercedes-Benz, the old one my dad gave her as now we have two flashier cars in the garage.
I’ve gotten used to hearing mommy and daddy’s screaming voices through my wall. Over the years, the wall grew silent. Whenever I go into the master bedroom to choose a midnight snack (they have anything and everything in their fridge – I don’t have to go to the kitchen downstairs), I would watch them sleep on that same bed they’ve had for years, each head facing opposite directions.
One night, I went back into my room and decided to make my night productive.
I tore the five heads on the family photograph into separate pieces. I tore many other jagged scraps of blank papers. Then I threw them away, but the five heads stay.

I pasted the these heads together using a double-sided scotch tape at the back to hold them all into one piece. Then I used superglue to attach this piece onto an empty drawing board, a huge artboard for me to draw anything and everything I want.

And that’s how I became an artist.


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