Wednesday, 1 May 2013

4. PACK UP A DESOLATION

“I’m happy you’re home, bro… life’s dull without you.” 
Scholl holiday begins. I welcomed my brother home with a warm feeling. Our arms reaching each other with a happy smile upon our faces. 

“I missed you, too. Wow, looks like you lost weight.”
“Ah, no. I worked out regularly these days.”
“Work out, hmm... There must be something encouraging you. You didn’t even jog, now you are telling me you have a new routine?”
“It was before. Time has changed, everything is changing, so do I. Don’t I look better?” I pulled the sleeve of my shirt showing him the muscle. He laughed as he punched my arm.

“Adriana, Adrian, we have a formal occasion, this evening. Get ready before eight, please.” 
My dad joined us as he passed on his order, taking his seat, followed by my mum a few seconds later to complete the company. Adrian stood up, bowing to them and stepped forward, reaching out mum’s hand and kiss them. Thenceforward, he did the same to daddy. I was just watching. The expression on my parents’ faces showed how much they love this boy. I know they are very proud of Adrian, of his achievement, his manners. Yea, he sets out only the best things in life, not like me who carries all the defects. Adrian afterwards, took back his seat, next to me. Mum and dad were looking at us, one after another.

“So, what are we celebrating tonight, sir?” I asked. For some reasons, whatever occasion invited by my father never sounds interesting to me. And this one must be so mind-numbing, as well. Like a few events, I was forced to join before. However, as usual, a command remains a command, and nobody can ever deny a command from the General.
“Well, it is for my 25 years’ service achievement in the company. Amanda and Anastasia will come along too, and I expect nobody to decline."

My heart heaved a sigh while my mind was actively drafting plans to prevent myself from getting involved in the event.

“Oh, that sounds great, sir. Congratulation. Time moves on so fast. We are all grown up now and you are forever our hero, daddy.” Adrian always knows the right word to choose, while me in silence figuring out the way to avoid the event. Pointless to say, I hate such an occasion.
“Adriana, you must wear something formal tonight. I don’t tolerate jeans and shirt in my special event.” Another command to be obeyed.
“But sir… I… I…” His eyes staring at me firmly slew down my words to my throat.
“You what? Don’t have a dress to wear?”

I have no idea how to spurt myself from this substance. He fixed his eager eyes on me. Requesting assistance, I turned my look to my mum. She didn’t say a word, just threw a smile at me. They know I have no dress to wear. They know I can’t stand wearing such things. The last time we went to my father's event, I had to borrow a dress from my cousin as requested, and it held only for ten minutes or so. I couldn’t help myself but run away from the party. That was when I was 12. Now I am 18. I won't justify anyone forcing me to do something against my will.  I hate that. God, I hate to put on such things on my body. They make me look totally like a buffoon. Maybe my dad enjoys seeing me be one. Perhaps to him, I am one. I felt so trapped in this condition.

“I have a tux, sir. I expect it’s acceptable.” I saw my mum giggled while Adrian remains silent.
“A tux? Hmm? And my company will ask me, where are your twins? The girl? Oh… There she is... the one who’s wearing a tux. Hmm?” My dad declined. I bowed my head, feeling so weak and always easily defeated from the look of his deep eyes and voice.
The ring of my cell phone helped me out from the discussion for a few moments.
“Excuse me, sir, madam.”

It was Rina who’s calling me. Great.

“Honey, are you free tonight?”
“I hope so, what are you up to?”
“It’s been three straight days since the school break, and you didn’t send me a word. Was wondering if you’d like to spend an evening with me.” That was a sounding idea to escape my dad’s occasion but how do I manage this?
“Miss, I’d love to, but my dad commanded us for a celebration tonight… I truly am not happy to be there, but, he insisted.”
“Oh, I see… so, you don’t want to join your family?”
“It’s not my thing, miss… Gosh. But I can’t say no, and he declined my request to wear a tux.” I heard her laughing at the end of the line.
“Poor little thing… Well, in that case, fulfil your daddy’s request, honey. It’s his day. Would be impolite if you didn’t attend.” Well, obviously, no one can help me out.

I went back to the hall, to take part in the conversation. Now my two younger sisters were also there. The whole family gathered.

“Sorry for the interruption, it was my teacher.” I looked at Adrian.
“Teacher?” He frowned with a curious expression. I nodded.
“Miss Catherina Joseph, my economics teacher. She asked if I would come over. I actually have tuition tonight and she needed to change the place. She called to inform me where the tuition would be conducted tonight.” I lied, I had to.
“What a great teacher you have. It’s just the third day of the school holiday, you still need to attend the tuition?” My mum showed her curiosity.
“Asha, it's not a surprise, my darling. As you can see on her card, all those marks… for sure she needs an intensive class. It is not a good sign, Adriana. I don’t want to see such grades again on your report card after this.” Added my dad, responded to my mum’s opinion.
“Yes, sir. That’s why the teacher asked me if I would attend the tuition this evening.”
An idea suddenly popped out. Unfortunately...
“Well, you can attend the tuition any other day as you wish, but tonight you’ve got to accept my invitation.” 
My dad made his move followed by my mum, left me no choice.

“I’m sorry.” Adrian patted my shoulder.
“Too bad... I wonder where the tuition would be conducted tonight.” He smiled. My twin knows me really well. I winked at him.
“Don’t be sorry, I love challenges. Well, I believe Rina has good taste, anyway.”
“So, what are you going to wear?” We left the living room, going upstairs. Adrian followed me to my bedroom.
As your concern, I have no dress. If dad left me no choice, I have no other option but to leave him none.” I opened my wardrobe, pulling out my tux. There are three, actually. I don’t need such clothing in my life.
“So, which one is better?” I requested my twin brother’s opinion. He stepped forward and took a look one by one, of the three choices I have.

I remember I got that tux for attending my bro’s birthday party, last year. I mean, we share a birthday, but that party was especially for him since I don't fancy to throw a celebration like that. The other two I bought without any particular reason. Just wanted to see how I look wearing formal attire. Well, honestly, I always hold a dream to take a girl out for a dance. Sad to say, I haven’t got one so far. This has brought my head spinning around Sophia. Two weeks holidays seem to be a long way to walk through. I miss that teacher and worse luck, I don’t have the number to call her up for a coffee, maybe a dinner. Possibly Rina has? Should I aks her help to get to Sophia?

“This one fits you handsomely,” Adrian woke me up from the visualisation, holding a black tux with a dark blue vest and a tie.
“Beside… I think your Rina would fall for you, head over heels.”

My twin added to his comment. We laughed. I haven’t even told him about the conversation I had with Rina and of course I let the details of her interest in me to myself, but it seemed that my twin has a dependable pair of eyes and nozzle.


My mother came down to the hall of our big house where my brother and I were waiting for our sisters. whose both are three and five years younger than us. Mum looked dazzlingly beautiful, like always. Adrian catches her hand immediately as she entered the room.

“You look ten years younger mama. Daddy is so lucky to have a beautiful wife like you.” 
Charming like always, I bet Adrian can easily catch any girl he desires. Mum flashed him a bright smile, but she frowned as her eyes laid on me.

“Andrey, you know that your dad won’t like this. Why do you need to create trouble?”
“Mum, I have no dress, you know that. Besides, I don’t feel comfortable wearing a dress.”
“It is understandable a formal occasion, Andrey.”
“I don’t go then. Is that better?”
“Behave yourself.” Told my mum as she stepped inside the car.

The event looked extravagance with a luxury setting, selection of high-flavoured music, mouth-watering fine banquet and of course surrounded by the fine people with style and reputation. Feeling out of place, I chose to stand alone in a corner near the window. Looking outside, I tried to isolate myself from the crowd, especially from dad’s eyes. Feeling out of place, uncomfortable, this sort of environment suffocates me smoothly.

It is well-understood that my dad might feel embarrassed and conceivably mum too, regarding my attire. Perhaps having a daughter like me disappoint them, my appearance is not a pleasure. The conflicts I have inside, nobody ever cares to give an ear to listen to. Only Adrian. Adrian is the only one who cares. The only one who respects and accepts me as I am. Although I haven’t spoken to him about the conflict battling inside me, I know he comprehends. I think its time to let him know who I truly am. I should share this with him. As a brother, I certainly can count on him, that’s a fact and as far as I concern, Adrian aware the issues I am facing. I mean, about my feelings, the crisis within, about my sexuality and orientation.

Recalling the words from my crush, I made up my mind to find some time to voice out the whole thing to my brother during the holiday. To bear the complications all by myself, I admit, it isn't a smart decision. Fighting with my-inner-self every day, trying to reconcile a confusion, I was imprisoned in my own galaxy all these while. I need someone to talk to. Someone who cares to listen. A friend. And the only friend and friendship I've ever had are Adrian. There's no idea I can summarise about what went wrong with me. Somehow making friends is not something I do best. Up until now, funny, but in reality, I have none. I've met many people, I don’t call them friends. Maybe I will never understand the meaning of friend and friendship.

“Andrey, dad asks for you,” all of a sudden Adrian came, conveying dad’s command. He smiled at my reflection, perhaps he could see the anxiety on my expression.
“It won’t be that bad, trust me.” My brother tried to comfort me as he knows that this would become an issue to dad.

“Just be yourself. Nothing is better than that.” He whispered as we reached my dad who is fenced by his company. My mum looked at me smiling, but still with a slightly unpleasant expression. I tried to ignore those looks on my parents' faces even though deep inside, I felt beaten. The disturbance tampering in their mind clearly appeared on their facial reactions.

“Sir,” I bowed. I looked up at his disagreement smile. The people around us were watching the scene.
“Well, ladies and gentlemen, introduce my twin, Adrian.” Said my dad, putting his arm around Adrian’s shoulder. “… and Adriana, the younger twin.” He didn't even take my hand. The best I can do was faking a smile, reacted at the smiles they threw at me. Why were they smiling at me? Do I look funny or do I look like a moron? I had no idea, I don't want to know.

“Well, Sir, as far as I remember, you have a fraternal twin.” One of my dad’s colleague prying with such a stupid question.
“Yes, I do have them here. Adriana, as you can see, feels contented in a tux than a dress. She wishes to be like me.” The whole room seemed to enjoy the General’s joke. I caught my mum’s eyes and then I turned my head to Adrian. He seemed to enjoy the occasion.

“Well, Adrian here, my hero, is now studying in the Science College, completing his IB programme after his victorious achievement in his O'Level.”
“My idol inspired me.” I heard Adrian added.
“And his twin sister here Adriana, on the other hand, is currently still studying in a private school in the city. She will be sitting her A'Level next year. Well, after her application for the Science College, got rejected.” Truly, I sensed that my dad needed me there nothing more than to give me a resentment. Seeing no point standing there, just to be humiliated by my own flesh and blood, I made my move out of the house. Thank you very much, daddy.

With the mixed feelings of disappointment, upset and insulted, I walked down the street thinking what has come to me? How cruel this life can be? How imprudent people can react like that to their child, in front of people? It was not my wish to be like this and I wonder how come a highly intelligent person like my parents can be so conservative sometimes. Disappointed with what occurred, I decided to go home. A celebration like that usually take long, as far as I have experienced, so it is better to reach home earlier before they are done with the party.


I sat down at a bus stop waiting for a taxi. It was 20 before 9 pm when my cell phone rang. It was no one else but the teacher.

“Hey, honey, it’s me.”
“I know. Hello Miss…” I answered carelessly. 
“It’s Rina, OK. How many times I need to remind you?”
“Yea, Rina…”
“You sound gloomy. Well, I just want to check out if everything’s fine. Are you enjoying the party? How are you feeling?”
“I’m catching a taxi home.”
“Oh, what happened honey? Where are you now?”

Rina asked me to wait for her right there, at the bus stop where I sat feeling blue about what has occurred between me and my dad. I gave nor yes, neither a no to the teacher.

Thanks to the lighter and the cigarette, my devoted companions, better than being alone. And so I passed my time sitting on the cold bench, gazing into the dark, watching vehicles passing by with an empty look. The breeze gently touched my face, flew my memory back to the good times I had with my parents, particularly my dad. Yes, it is true, life was one big playground when we were kids. Being careless without getting scolded, playing, laughing, running. Mum and dad were always there to adore you. Went to school, came home, having a good lunch and played again. Being pampered, granted everything you wish to have, problems never were problems. Isn't it great? But then, bit by bit things change as we leave our childhood, pursuing a teenager’s life, where every experiment becomes a journey.

As for me, my dad constantly preoccupied with his duty, while mum frequently engaged with her responsibility. Who else in the family I can turn to other than Adrian? Amanda, Anastasia? They are too young to understand. Truth is, deep in my heart, I can see it, by and by, that Adrian is getting further and further from me. He is moving towards his brightly awaits future, while me… I have no picture of my future at all. One thing I know for sure, I just can’t wait to complete my study so that I can fly far away from here and after that, tracking my own life. Yea… it’s still a long way to go. A heavy exhalation came out from my lungs.

Unwittingly, there were a pair of eyes watching me all this while. The beam of the street light, leaving shadows on the asphalt. There I saw her standing as the flash fell on her face. I caught a smile as she uncrossed her arms and walked towards me. I looked down at my shoes, realising how preoccupied I was, letting my mind drifting away with those feelings and thoughts, upsetting my mood. I was totally forgotten about her phone call a few minutes ago. 

“What is it, honey?” She softly touched my shoulder as she took a seat next to me.
“Nothing…” Withholding my depression, I tried to avoid eye contact.
“Yes, there is something. I’m here to listen.” I turned my head, looking up to her face. She didn’t wear glasses tonight, her hair was untied and with those green dress she wore, I felt magic in her eyes. 
"Really nothing, Mi…”
“It’s Rina, honey.” 
“Yea...Rina…I was just bored. I told you, an event like that is so not me.”
“You look dazzling in that tux.” I received a compliment. The only compliment was given to me that evening. She completed her compliment with a smile and eyes glowing. 

“So, is it a kind of a ball or something?”
“Just an occasion, Rina. A formal occasion that requires people to mask themselves in such attire. My dad received his 25-year salutation tonight.”
“Yes, he is a General of the Air Force, I heard.” I nodded.
 “It’s quite cold here.” She crossed her arms and move a little closer to me.
“Do you want to spend a beautiful evening like this, staring at the street?” 
Immediately, I stood up, taking off my jacket and put it around her. 
“I planned to go home.”

Leaning my back on the rail of the stand, I stood up facing her, who is sitting on the cold cement bench of the bus stop, crossing her leg, one on another. She flipped her untied long brown hair behind her shoulder.

“May if I smoke?”
“As long as you do it outside my car.” We chuckled to her answer. All of a sudden, the lighter slipped out of my hand and as I reached down to pick up the lighter, my hand rested on hers. She bent down to collect the lighter up for me.
“May I?”
I gave her no answer. Slowly she stood up from the bench, facing me. The wind blew the fire off as she tried to light up my cigarette. She tried once again, then again, it got blown off. Thus, I rested my hand on hers, covering the fire and finally the smoke lit. We looked at each other, just for a moment. Somehow I can’t understand why I couldn’t stand her gaze so I opted to gaze at the street.

“It’s Saturday night and the night’s still young.”

The gentle breeze touched our faces, brought down small beads from the sky. Stirring with the smoke from my cigarette, her perfume dominated my sense of scent. There were no words are spoken out. We let the silence falls between us. She seemed trying to unite her mind with the empty look of my eyes, staring at the crowded street, to pack up some desolation.

“And it starts to rain. Come…” At long last, she added to her unanswered words while reaching my hand, leading us to her car.

“I haven’t eaten yet, care if I take you to a fine restaurant and celebrate your dad’s 25th achievement in private?” I laughed at her request.
“Anything you name it, Rina. It’s a pleasure to be at any place with a stunning woman like you.” My good mood slowly coming its way. 
“You can be so charming sometimes. Not bad, honey…” She picked my nose. 
“Do you dance?”
“Haha, dancing is so not me.” 
“Why not? It’s fun and healthy.” 
“No, Rina, I don’t dance. I look like a monkey when I dance.” 
“I never danced with a monkey, I would love to experience the sensation.”

Like I said before, she always has an answer for everything and with that answer, we broke into laughter.

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