For the One I can’t forget

Once upon a time, back in 80’s, when I was about 3 years old, I live in the back of the barn turn into an entertainment room. The barn had a huge heavy television screen where the barn owner showed film every night for 4 hours (2 or 3 films).

The audience sat in the benches facing the TV, and in the back of the benches was a bamboo bed about 100cm x 200cm. That’s where we live. Our clothes and other stuff are under the bed. My father and my 2-year-old brother lay on the bed day in and day out because of malaria and whenever the evening comes, we become a part of the shows for people who comes in to watch films. My brother hated the loud sound and it was up to me to soothe him since my mother is out the whole day until the evening trying to get some small income. I barely have anything to eat too and spend my free time waiting for other kids to drop their empty snack wrapper, hoping that I can scrapped some of the leftover.

Because of improper care (which I blame myself for a long time) my one-year-younger brother died. He caught many other sicknesses. That day, my mother went out like normal and I was happy to see that my brother seemed to be in peace. He usually cries and whine but that day he sleeps with a peaceful look on his face. Despite the hunger of not eating the whole day, my naïve 3-year-old self-covered his cold body with blanket and kiss his forehead, just to be horrified later when my mother return with other people. They stuffed my brother in a wooden box and locked it with nails. No one explained anything to me, my mother just yelled at me while I tried to stop them. It was a nightmare. I was convinced that the men who put my brother in the box was reason he died.

I thought I’d never get over it. But I did. A short time after his death, my father recovered. Life got better. I moved on, but the pain each time I think of my brother, I feel like crying. How bad he must have felt back then. No food, no medicine, and on top of it suffering from malaria and other sicknesses.


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