My name is James Salim and I am six and my brother Miki is eleven. My Daddy is a businessman and he is always busy so we don’t see him very often at home. The only person at home is Mommy because she takes care of us. When Daddy comes home at night, he and Mommy would argue a lot. I don’t like it when they argue, because they are really loud and it keeps Miki and me awake. I also don’t like it when they finish arguing, because Mom would cry a lot and that makes me really sad. And really scared. Because Mom gets really angry and scary and hits us a lot when she cries.
I am nine. Miki is fourteen. I don’t like Mom, but I don’t hate her either. But I really hate Dad, because he used to make Mom cry. Actually, Mom still cries a lot because of Dad, but she doesn’t hit Miki and me too much anymore. Slowly, I realise that Dad has been hitting Mom longer than she had been hitting us. He doesn’t hit her like she hits us – he does something that’s even worse. And one day, Dad starts hitting us – no, it’s beating us up – as things ‘got bad’ for him, all the while smelling like a thousand cigarettes and really weird flowery smells and breathing alcohol on our faces. Yes, Dad was much, much worse.
I am eleven years old, in my last year of elementary school. Miki is sixteen, in his second year of high school. Mom finally stops beating us up and instead tries to protect us from Dad, but she would always end up regretting it in the end. We’ve gotten used to her shouts and complaints, but never her cries. I think that Mom is a strong person, but when Miki and I came home from school early on that Wednesday, we couldn’t find Mom anywhere. We opened the front door and heard someone singing very loudly with an orchestra, and wondered if Mom knew about it. But the music never stopped, and Mom never came to ask. We climbed up the stairs to her room, but she wasn’t in there. And then we heard the sound of running water through the open bathroom door.
And then we see her there Mom is sitting on the bathroom floor and the music is really loud right now and her hand inside the bathtub and the water is overflowing and her wrist is open and what is that red thing and why are you covering up my eyes Miki –
When Shilla Salim finally became Shilla Warouw once more, I was thirteen and Miki was eighteen. Our father was no longer our father. We were no longer the Salim family. There was no more pain and violence; no more smell of cigarettes, or faint perfumes, or alcohol. And Mom no longer cried, although she was still quite scary. She’s become scarier than ever because she actually fought back against Mr. Salim and won and kicked him out of the house.
Alright, time to wake up wake up wake up –
Mom disappeared. Miki disappeared. The doctors, nurses, patients, white walls, white floors, light, disinfectant smell, beeping, and cold artificial air – they disappeared, too. How was it possible that I could sense nothing, yet sense everything at the same time? Even the spit in my mouth had no substance. I was left only with my thoughts, drifting through empty space.
And yet, in this hollowness, I was able to comprehend things I would never have thought about. As cliché as it sounded, I have, by losing all my five senses, awakened the powers of a sixth. The power to predict the future and understand the past. Of intuition and foresight.
Usually, I’d imagine that suddenly gaining a future-predicting sixth sense would make me jump for joy and exploit it for some loose change, but it didn’t come as much of a surprise like I thought it would. It was probably because the other five senses were the price. Come to think of it, shouldn’t I be panicking about that right now? Instead, all I’ve been doing is going back and forth from past to present, reliving and pre-living my life in full Technicolor. Unfortunately, I realised a bit too late that when something horrible happens, all you can do in the end is suck it up and salt the wound.
Thanks to this new sense of mine, I understood everything that had happened to me today and everything that connected it with my childhood. It involved, as I had seen before, that one woman that had always been plaguing the lives and minds of my brother and I.
And according to a new future broadcast that just appeared a few seconds ago, something interesting will be happening in three, two, one…