We’ve moved into a new place. A bit of a change since the new house has 2 floors instead of the sprawling L-shaped single floor plan we’ve been accustomed to over the years in Kemunting.
The thing I’m going to miss most is the 6 am duel between the surau and the hindu temple next to the field along a substantial stretch of Jalan Kemunting. The call and beat of the faithful. A solemn, unadorned azan before or after the parp and thump from the belly of the temple.
The old house had monitor lizards and squirrels and lanky black foxes that climb down from the tree next to the zinc-roofed park shed. I found a green snake once in the main bathroom. The porcelain blue sink broke providing entry for serpent to wiggle in from the drainage. I panicked and told Abah and he panicked as well. Both of us pathetic little boys, grossed out by creepy crawlies. I hesitated on calling the fire brigade; it would be acquiescence to my cowardice. Abah took the old yellow bike and went to a neighbours to maybe ask for help. He got distracted and just made small talk with Pak Cik Ali or whatever his name is. I finally went over to the field opposite our house and offerred a bunch of kids some money if they could catch the little serpent whereupon a middle-aged chinese gentleman took hold of the situation and bumped the snake on the head with arwah Nenek’s walking cane.
My wife hurt her ankle in our room in Kemunting. She was on a chair, trying to get hold of a suitcase on the wardrobe so that she can pack up and leave me. The plastic chair broke, she fell and tore a part of the skin covering the flexor hallucis longus tendon above her right ankle. The yellow walls bore witness to blood and tears. There’s a heart-shaped scar tissue (happy belated valentines’, baby) where the old wound healed to mark my guilt.
I wasn’t even home. I was the snake in the drainage, breathlessly gliding towards the light to escape from the filth below only to confront the error of my ways. Thumped on the head.