Certain City

Empty white wall in the guest room, i had a glance and all i see is none. The mother wants it to be filled with a monstrous framed family portrait, but to this second we haven’t really made it to the studio. Father, mother, sister et moi. Four of us nomads, we never stayed in the same place for more than 6 years in the last 20. Five domain cities, 6 “homes”, plentiful of airports, several grocery stores, 2 subway systems, dozens of schools, 3 languages, one loyal tukang becak.

He was my warrior man. A protagonist with blue towel, loose t-shirt, shorts and flip-flops everyday. He was always armed with patience and untiredness. Then he would take me to the school and back, every morning. The outbound journey consisted of a steep downhill. In the rain it was extra dangerous. Automatically on the inbound, it’s a steep uphill. He would get off of his seat and push the becak towards as much as he can. It would go on for 3-4 minutes. Everyday and he would arrive back at home in sweats while I enjoyed the view of the town.

His name I can scarcely remember, but his deeds I appreciate until now, almost 13 years later. Some people just stick in your brain that long it’s unreal.


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