I looked at his beady little round eyes accompanied by silence in the air. I felt nothing was more important at that very moment, and so I stared and I stared. I cannot stand those eyes looking back directly at me. I had to retaliate, so I stared on. Seconds passed, pushed away by minutes. I took a deep breath when suddenly…
“Zera, put your little brother down and help me with the dishes!” A piercing voice echoed in my head from end to end.
“But mom! I’m in a staring contest with him!” I sighed.
“Again?! Just come to the kitchen Zera..” Mum’s voice got lower.
“You might win this round, and the previous one and the one before that, but I’ll get my revenge…”
I left him with a last stare and a quick kiss on the cheeks. Okay, maybe it was three. I’ll have my revenge. That was a death kiss. wait, kisses. So I went to the kitchen, leaving Amin in his crib. My hands are a bit tired, my legs are a bit weak but I put on my glasses and swiftly but gently walk to the kitchen to help mum.
Left, right, left, right. My foot leading on each other to the kitchen. As soon as I stepped on the last tile on borderline between the dining room and the kitchen…
“Surprise! Happy Birthday Zera!!” Mum, Dad, and Fifah screamed.
Oh that’s so typical of my mum. Getting me into a staring contest in the middle of the day with Amin to distract me so they could throw a mini surprise party. Oh how I love them. Moist Almond Caramel chocolate cake! I love them even more now.
“After you eat, I’m going to take you to to that place to pick out that something you really wanted to have..” Said my dad with a really confident tone.
That was awkward. My dad rarely knows what I want. For my birthday, especially. He always ends up giving me pity money after he gets me either a piece of clothing I already have, a full set of DVDs of last year’s Scrubs, or Liverpool merchandises. I hate Liverpool. Well at least, he tried. I usually spend about almost half of the pity birthday money on his birthday anyway so it’s like I pity him pitying me.
So I replied to my dad jokingly, “Really dad? Is it a Liverpool cap?? I think that would match the jersey you gave me last year…”
“Zera, be nice to your dad. He can’t screw up this time. I supervised him” I was elated. Mum always knows what to get me, even when it’s not my birthday.
To cut things short, I’ll skip the messy cake eating (and throwing) session between my family members.
We got in the car and I got to sit in the middle this time where the air conditioning is the most concentrated and Fifah has to take care of Amin just because it’s my birthday today.
So dad took the car to the city. the sights and sounds are very much familiar so I didn’t bother much on the details of the road. I was more into the surprise gift, though there was sudden stop where my dad had to hit the emergency brakes, I brushed it aside, didn’t even look outside. I continued to slouch and yawn in the car, backed up, looking at the blocked sky. The gift, is it so filled with grandeur that it can’t be given to me at home? or is it too big? too delicate? Is it a cat? Wait, no. I’m allergic to cats. Maybe a hamster? hmmm…
I hate being at the back seat. I’ve had my driving license for two years now and not once have I ever driven a car with my dad in it. He insists I just watch and learn. I learned how to bottle up my feelings. But all of that changed after 5 minutes..
Dad parked at an automobile dealership. I was euphorically surprised. Really a car? No way! I’ve been asking for one since the day I touched my license. Dad looked at me and his famous half-smile was smack carved on his face.
A car! Maybe? Couldn’t be. dad wouldn’t buy me a new car. Impossible. wierd, we walked pass the entrance. There goes my chances of owning that awfully cute pink compact car. I hope for nothing now. It’s bad enough having my heart broken on my birthday. It was my fault anyway, I hoped too much. I mean, a car? really? I kept quite and just followed dad. Nobody expects anything now, but I do suspect Fifah knows something that I don’t.
Out of the blue, dad disclosed, “You’re getting a car, Zera. But no way I’m getting you a brand new one” he smiled, adding half to the half smile earlier.
“The parking at the new car place is free, oh you know your dad..” my mum added.
So I rushed inside and screamed “Thank you! you both are the best parents in the world! This world, the underworld, even in Mars!”
They expressed their joy with me with laughter. Dad shouted “Any car below 25 thousand dear!”
I fell instantly in love with this too-good-for-reality pink compact car with light green stripes on the side. I knew that car is the reason I got a license. It was more than a calling. I dare say it’s destiny. I was touching the car all over, feeling the seats, pushing all the buttons on the radio, turning the steering left to right and back, imagining my friends at the backseat spilling coke..
“Aww.. 26!” I exhaled. One thousand separates me from the car.
“No worries dear, I think it would be okay, We’ll let your mother talk to the dealer. speaking of which…” My dad saw the dealer approaching us with some set of keys.
“Care for a test drive missy?” Out of nowhere, he said.
Care for a test drive? Oh what could be better? I grabbed the car keys from his hand and started the engine. I looked at dad and he gave me a thumbs up. Mum looked a bit concerned but I knew by the look of her eyes that she wanted me to drive. Fifah looked like she wanted to go along in the car but I told her I’m not ready to bring Amin for an unsupervised ride.
Fifah is going to get her license next year anyway so I didn’t think much of it. Was too busy being estatic.
So I drove out of the used car shop and let my parents handle the documentation. I know the road of this like the back of my hand, and I literally often look at the back of my hands. I play the drums. With ease I cornered and sped. I looked everyone with a smile, even that old bum in the corner of that coffee shop I always hang around at.
I think I sped up too much unconciously. I forgot there was a sharp corner quite near to the used car dealership, I skidded a bit, lost total control of the car and crashed into a construction site on the side of the road. The very place where my dad suddenly stopped on the way just now! It was horrible! I didn’t get to press the brakes on time, dust and tools were flying around. dust engulfed the new and almost bought car. I heard screams. Mostly curse words related.
A full 10 meters before the car fully stopped. fortunately the car was small, or it would’ve knocked more steel for sure. My foot was still on the brake pad when the car stopped completely, but my mind was unconcious. I think my head hit the windshield pretty hard. That was the last thing I remember. A good thing really, because I saw blood but didn’t feel that much pain.
Unfortunately, I did hit someone. She was the site surveyor by the name Gina. Lucky for me and her, I only brushed her left leg with the side of the car’s bumper. she fell pretty hard. A concussion, but no funeral.
“Well, that’s how I broke my arm and that’s how Gina got here I guess. I should’ve paid more attention to the road on the way to get the car, I really didn’t see the construction site! Now my dad won’t trust me with anything. How bout you? How did you end up in the hospital huh?” I said to, Syida, my room mate at the hospital..
“Well, I burned my left leg and my right arm trying to save orphans from a burning orphanage. But your story is much more interesting.”
“You talk too much Zera..” Gina added.