It was the summer of 1996. I was 13. A very old 13, I daresay. I watched as my mother gently picked the last item of clothing off the wooden alna, folded it, and placed it inside a trunk.
We were moving. I was leaving the house I had grown up in. My heart was breaking, slowly, but I affixed a smile on my face and busied myself in packing the spice jars, wrapping them with newspaper to keep them from breaking while traveling.
We were going away. My father had assured me that it would be no more than a few months, but somehow, his fragile smile and guilt-ridden face had told its own story and I knew I had to understand.
I always understood. It was my destiny, probably.
Maudlin, I walked downstairs and looked at the big brown house from outside. When they had asked for a partition down the middle, so that both parties got a bit of each floor, I had laughed and told my father to paint our side pink, and their side white, and then call our home “Two-in-One”, naming it after the ice cream. But now, a lump lodged in my throat. I would miss my corner room, where I stored all the books. Those books were now inside my aunt’s suitcase –I did not know if the new house would be big enough for them, so I had given them all to her for safekeeping.
At last, the packers finished, and the truck chugged away. We followed shortly after.
We were left standing outside a big building with flats in it. I held my sister in my arms, looking up to the fourth floor where we would be residing. The building did not have a lift. I could see a few curious faces peering down at us. I squelched the urge to scream and walked bravely inside.
It was a nice apartment – I admitted grudgingly after we entered. I could see my mother’s handiwork. She had set the beds and the sofa up. One room was small, with a tiny bathroom and balcony attached to it. The other room was larger, with large balcony which looked out into the back, and I saw a large pond and coconut trees. I turned back, washed some rice, and set it in a pot to boil with some potatoes, for lunch.
We mostly ate in silence, father trying his best to cheer us up. We won’t spend too many days here. As soon as the house is renovated, we will go back.
But I knew better. Our part of the house would be practically torn down and then rebuilt. It would take months, years… I thought in despair.
My face probably showed my exhaustion, because at this point ma ordered me to go to bed. I walked off to the room assigned to me and lay down on the bed. I was exhausted, but I could not sleep. I kept on staring up at the ceiling, my mind could not help but compare and dismiss this house.
Suddenly, the bed depressed, and I saw my mother sit down on the edge of it.
“I have something for you.” She looked at me and smiled. Then she pulled up the edge of the bed cover and pulled out something from under the bed.
It was my trunk filled with books.
Disclaimer: This post is in association with Housing and Indiblogger.