Friday, February 05, 2010

Memory Box 1: Gaining a brother

This is the last day my nani will collect me from the bus stop, bundle me into the car and drive me miles across the city to the hospital where my mum and brand new baby brother are. He is tiny and not shiny like a new toy. Instead he is all wrinkly and his hands are balled into fists. His tiny hands were joined at the wrists by a tiny piece of skin that he has now illustriously pulled apart, leaving little blue birthmarks that need to be observed.

My nani will sit with me in the hospital gardens and as we stare up at the big big building my six year old self is impatiently fidgeting for lunch. Everyday this week it is podi-sandwiches, a treat of thick white bread slathered with butter and sprinkled with tongue burning podi, clearly called gunpowder for a reason. If we were at home I would be made to eat something sensible that probably inludes vegetables, so I am relishing every bite of this forbidden lunch.

After lunch we will go in and see mama who is resting. And then walk to the nursery to look at the Nik through a window, lying in his bassinet, all bundled up. Even though I like coming here, in no small part because of the sandwiches, I want everyone to come home. This commuting is boring and takes away from my play time. Also I imagine my brother will instantly be a captive candidate for my endless games of teacher - student. A live one to make the dull toy dolls seem a bit more real and give my game some credence. Isn't that the entire purpose of having a sibling?

I clearly have no idea that I will get chicken pox within days of everyone coming home and be quarantined to my room across the hall. And that I will stand in the door every day demanding to know when the scabs will dry and fall off and I will be allowed to play with Nik. Agreeing uncomplainingly to another layer of lacto-calamine being applied. All this time I never realise that even once the quarantine has passed the Nik is not nearly big enough for my games. And when he finally is big enough I will have outgrown them. Childhood is fraught with random memories like this one.

1 comment:

  1. a lovely recollection! :) no matter what people believe, when it comes to memory and reminiscence, its not the black or white, but the hazy shades of grey that stick out.