Light draught of cool air brushes my skin.
I seek comfort from the cushion on my lap and face away.
Red turns black.
Muffled rumbling, creaks and groan. Glancing the window side, the crimson glare showers through my eyelids once more.
Nausea slithers through my nostrils, down my throat. My insides stir. The smell of toddy never agrees with me. Jerky motions of the car whip my stomach content as heat mounts. The air conditioning isn’t working right. I’m perspiring and the head is ringing.
Respite comes at the first delivery site. Dad unloads his first gallon of toddy while the family escapes the car and the heat. Outside, a breath of fresh air suffuses my lungs while my eyes drink in the green, nature’s remedy to the red of the sun. I visit a pigpen, which houses two timid residents and I take pictures of three kampong kids with cheeky grins plastered on their innocent faces. One boy helps pops retrieve water from a brook. Then he joins the boys with the task of transporting the toddy.
“You don’t lift this,” he says to his friend, indicating the weight, “you’ll grow shorter”. Kampong jest is pure wit. I wish I had their innocence. We leave the place for another delivery before heading to the city.
I wrote the experience during a movie trip with the family to the state’s capital city, Kota Kinabalu. It was a daytime trip, one we don’t normally take because of logistics. We prefer dusk when few cars roam the streets to KK. Alas, it was a Sunday that day, and the road was congested.
By the time we reached the mall, the car broke down because of a malfunctioning thermostat. Pops had to park just off an incline short of the parking gates. I felt bad for leaving him when we had to get movie tickets before they were sold out. Fancier cars were rolling past him and I could sense people staring as I walked off. But mom said he knew what he was doing; my pride was getting to me. At the counter, we found that the tickets had been sold out. We were disappointed but none of us said anything more about it. It had been a tiring ride and it was best not to dwell on regret.
We visited a few places at the mall, but window-shopping was never our objective so we headed home soon after.
The journey back was just as sweltering as before and speechless thoughts hung in the air. I didn’t know why, but I began rambling about the movie Battleship I had watched online. Excited after watching it through an illegal streaming, I finally let out how badly I wanted to watch it again. I mentioned how mindless and funny it is, compare to Transformers. Soon, infected by my non-stop prattling the family chimed in and began planning on our next trip. “After dad has fixed the car and not on a weekend,” mom stressed.
Buoyant by drowsiness and heat, I then rambled on about the Grimm series, which my sister reminded that I had already told her about it. I elaborated on the recent episode I watched and the funny scenes. Pops interjected, asking a few details. He’ll never get to watch it though, unless I hook up a CPU to the flat screen TV. We don’t have cables at home. I always source my entertainment online these days. Then the family recounted scenes from Rowan Atkinson’s solo stage play, where he acted as an Indian waiter trying to accommodate a group of drunken sports fans. The sis imitated Atkinson’s alarmed voice as he lifts an invisible guest from the floor, saying “the floor is deceptively… flat”.
Our banter dropped to a lull as fatigue set in. But we started talking again when my sister wanted to visit a furniture store. Wrapped up in conversations, dad almost drove past the store.
The sister needs a bed after she’d been frequented by centipede on her mattress. The other sister was unfortunately bitten recently.
I remember my first experience with the crawler on the bed. Alert and a swift course of action were needed to combat this creature. That fateful night, I had just slid under the covers. I felt something brushed against my calf. Too long for a roach, it got me slamming my palm down over the covers where the thing was, as I scrambled off bed. Crouched over, I removed my planted hand while peeling the covers. And there it was, medium size centipede. The next brilliant thing I did was scream for the mother.
My second experience can be read here.
Back to the furniture store, I lost my way inside the large hall, and when the assistant found me I pretended I was looking around. The family was already waiting for me outside. I had a slight suspicion that the assistant knew I was lost by her kindly face. Just past the hometown, the sister piped up that she wanted a burger. Everyone then stated what burger they wanted. We thought that we would be going home first, but then pops turned around and drove to a burger stall. By the time we got home, everyone was bushed. Nobody said that it was a wasteful trip though.