As I heard the thumbing and dum-dumming of her little feet running towards the door, a smile jumped easily to my mouth and I answered her single “Who?” with an equally single “Me!”. She opened quickly and I jumped in for a hug as she recoiled back in feigned horror, pointing at my still full head of hair, saying her customary greeting: “You haven’t shaved your head yet!!!”. I laughed and insisted on my hug, which she gave me reluctantly, albeit with a proud smile. Thus, my monthly two days of tortuous bliss with my little sister began. For the uninitiated, I’ve written about my little sister before. Though she is five now.
“Oh”, she said, frustrated, “you didn’t get me the guitar!”.
“I told you, that’s for next year, I already got you a piano two months back. I have another gift for you though”, I said.
“Oh, another necklace!! But… I still have the first one! You know, I wear it every time I’m scared. I take good care of it in my tent, do you wanna see?”
“Oh, let’s!”, I said, touched that she still does, and remembering Lin.
“What did you say the necklace had inside it again? Some power?”, she asked, en route to the tent.
“It’s a secret protective seal. It has all the power of my love for you, condensed, so it repels all the monsters at night.”
The story of this necklace was a suggestion from Lin, our mutual secret friend, that only Siri and I get to talk to(the secrecy makes it exciting for Siri, though this will be the first time Lin finds out she is a well kept secret). One day, Siri was really scared at night and didn’t want to go to bed without me. She sleeps between mom and dad, so it wasn’t possible for me to squeeze in. I tried comforting her and promising to stand guard outside her room all night. I acted, with a fly swatter, how fearless I’d fight the monsters for her.
I didn’t quite manage to assure her that there was nothing to be afraid of, and it didn’t help that I was always away, and only spend a couple of days a month with her. Telling the whole affair to my friend Lin afterwards, she suggested to me the brilliant idea of the necklace, which I keep thanking her for so much that she is probably wishing she never said anything just so I’d stop.
After lunch, we both coloured a Mandala, in a book of Mandalas I had brought home with me. She coloured terribly, made me redo all her work, then gloatingly laughed at me for finishing ‘second’. I was extremely depressed by her comments that I started singing a sad song about how miserable my life is, and how cruel Siri is being to me.
She sang back, with no prose or rhymes, how she is actually a peach and I’m a monster. I sang back:
Your rhymes suck
And you wear no shoes
(Those rhymed in Arabic)
I’m not even in the streets
And you can’t sing please stop
(That doesn’t rhyme in Arabic, though she still sings it)
I sang back:
I sing so well
The birds and squirrels make my bed in the morning
(Yeah, that rhymed too, and it’s a Snowwhite reference!!)
Noo, Oo Oo, you suuu ah aaak
And you have no braaaain
I totally have a braaaain
and I could beat you uuu ah aaap
(Only for the rhymes, folks, only for the rhymes)
You might be stronger
But I’m smarter
That got me laughing pretty good. We kept going for a while, a really long while, and then she decided that we’d have a gymnastics competition to determine who’s better at singing. Since I’m not good at gymnastic-ing, I promptly withdrew and am therefore the worse singer even though all of my lines rhymed. *sobs in the corner*
Not long after, we engaged in a surprisingly detailed discussion of my expenses, salary and my savings. She had written with a marker on my pants, and I sternly told her that was a bad thing to do. She was upset by my sudden switch from playful to stern, she was close to tears. I dramatically explained to her how if that doesn’t come off, I’d have to go buy another one and that they cost a ton of money. I believe the phrasing I used was that I take my salary and go buy one pant with all of it. My theatrics made her laugh, but my not-so-airtight reasoning failed to convince her. She became curious about my salary, expenses and my rent. After a lengthy discussion, and countless suggestions on how I could save a little bit every month to buy new pants, or perhaps, not paying rent one month and buying a new pant, and so on, she told me that I should do with pants the same thing I do with my apartment; that is, rent the pants instead of buying them, since they are so expensive.
The final act of the first day/night with her was Mothering. For some reason she decided I was her baby. She started calling me ‘love’ and ‘lovely’, showering me with kisses and caresses, and telling me how beautiful I was and how much she loved me. She made me a cup of milk, a real cup of milk not a pretend one, which was uncannily good. She made my bed from sofa cushions, covered me with a dirty rug as a blanket, put me to bed, and told me a bed time story that went “There was a beauuuuuutiful boy who went to sleep, the end”. She then woke me up for school the next day, and called me a lazy boy. She prepared my bag, lunch box and water bottle, and ordered me to change. I had to change my clothes for realsies, so I’m citing this as my first method acting experience from now on.
At school she was my teacher. She gave me real maths problems to solve, and I would snicker slyly because I had my calculator secretly open on my phone and could solve any addition problems she could find in her book. She also gave me class work to write the numbers from One to a Hundred. She then stopped me when I was at 52(firmly putting down my protests of why she won’t let me go to a hundred) and started grading me, giving me a low grade for not finishing the hundred like she said and gave me punishment time in the corner, facing the wall. For an actual ten minutes, which, now that I think about it, is abusive! She let me rest my head against the wall though, which had a nice cool to it, and let me think about my actions and re-evaluate my life.
After school was over, she ordered me to wait for the bus, and went to mom’s bedroom and came back with one of her scarves, wearing it like a skirt, and took me home. She did my homework with me, which was a little difficult this time because she has a strict no-phones-while-homeworking policy.
I started singing again and she went to the kitchen, brought back scissors and threatened me she’d cut my hair if I don’t stop. I think she might not like me singing much. Huh.