My House Had Shrunk

[Sunday, 8 August, 2010]

I had a very long chat with Liyi in the morning and I went to bed after 6am. I woke up at around 1am and my elder brother was already starting to pack the first bedroom.

My house was one of the oldest HDB models – type 3I – with two bedrooms, and a single bathroom and toilet separated side by side in the kitchen. My mum’s wrong decision to build the walk-in wardrobes many years ago made my house looked even tinier and messier.

Our actual arrangement after my dad passed away was that my elder brother and I would share the first room, while my younger brother would share the other room with my mum. However, some times after my elder brother’s first girlfriend started coming over to my house, I went over to squeeze with my younger brother and my mum. I was not sure when I started completely sleeping over at the second room and having three people in a room could never be conducive. Occasionally when my elder brother’s current girlfriend did not stay over at my house, I would join him to play LANs game together and sometimes I would doze off there.

Recently, my elder brother spoke up to my mum that he wanted to swap the bedrooms. His main objectives were to accommodate his girlfriend and her belonging, and probably so that the rest of us would not be going into the room often once we had our stuffs shifted out of the room.

My elder brother moved his stuffs out of the first room before we started shifting our stuffs over from the second room. The double-decker bed frame was tedious for it required us to dismount everything in order to move it out of the second room. My elder brother did most of the work since there was only an allen key that could unscrew the screws and nuts. We tried to stack up the two thick single size mattresses so that my mum could get down and up easier. However, as my elder brother was fooling around with her, she laughed and tried to lie down, and she ended up knocking hard on the double-decker bed frame.

To me, it was all miserable for the owner of the house. My mum was old and she had to squeeze into the room with my younger brother and me, and that since we had four built-in wardrobes at one long side of the room, we could never do without the double-decker bed with the limited space. When my elder brother suggested placing the two thick mattresses stacked outside the bed frame for my mum and placing a thinner mattress under the bed frame for me so that I had to crawl in and out like a cave, my heart was shattered. The fact that he was going to bring his girlfriend, still an outsider, to enjoy the comfort of my dad’s leftover, while the rest of his family had to suffer by ourselves, and yet he could even think of something ridiculous to worsen the living condition of his real younger brother, hurt me more than ever.

In the end, my mum, in her pain on the back of her head, decided to place the two thick mattresses side by side just like how they were positioned in the original room. After the major furniture were shifted, my mum started packing her stuffs to worsen the pathetic room with lots of hooks and plastic bags hanging on the double-decker bed frame and taking up one-third of the length of a single bed. I went over to help my elder brother as much as I could even though he was going to be the one enjoying it after that, not because I was a fool, but the fact that it was also my house and that we were one family.

We went for dinner at the MacDonald’s before we started to switch the items inside the wardrobes. My stuffs were “Safe” since they were already inside the first room which my elder brother was supposed to share with me. My elder brother moved his clothes out of the wardrobe to his new room, leaving them on the bed. Then, we started shifting my younger brother’s stuffs over to the first room. Though it was kind of redundant, we tried to make sure the items were placed exactly the same so that it was easier for my younger brother upon he returned to Singapore, but it added extra stress.

When my elder brother took my younger brother’s stuffs hanging at the wall over, I was stunned and sad for there was no place to hang them anymore, inclusive of the note board. The longest side of the bedroom was fully occupied by the built-in wardrobes, the opposite side where the door was located had the bed frame, whereas another side was the air-conditioner and the other side was more or less used by windows; there was no space on the wall to hang anything. I wanted badly to wait for my younger brother to return before we started shifting so that he could make decision for his own stuffs but my mum insisted to do it before he returned since his lesson would begin the next day upon his return.

As we were trying to clear the top components of the wardrobes where my mum kept her worthless antiques at, things were lay all over the mattresses, especially on the outside one, which I was supposed to sleep on. I could feel the itchiness on my back upon seeing all the dust and dirt and I knew it was almost impossible to change all the bedsheets soon as I knew my elder brother had his queen sized bedsheet changed and his many unused yet dirty clothes were also dumped into the pail. There were far too many laundries to be done. I laughed as I recalled my mum saying about my rashes at my back.

The living room was in one of the worst conditions ever, such that even the dining table was too occupied to place any food. The fact that my work area was in the living room turned me off badly. The main differences after the move-over was that my younger brother, my mum and I were more packed inside a room with a less space, though most of our belongings were united, and that I could finally access my wardrobe without worrying that I would disturb my elder brother when his girlfriend was at my house.

Thinking of all the unhappy incidents and anticipating for the future, I could not stop sighing to myself.

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