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Preye, was a very tall and mighty male creature. He was also a cute stammerer. Words sounded from his mouth the way water sounded in my mouth when I gargled in the sink on school mornings. His house was a few blocks away from ours– it was painted in brick red. Preye came by to our house very often. Our house that stood amongst every other building looking more like a school, with various colours of paints on its walls. Whenever Preye came around, he always talked with daddy. I used to think that they were good friends. I was nine years old.
One Saturday morning, as the sun grew blisteringly hot, daddy asked Preye to help him wash his dirty clothes. Daddy seemed to be older than Preye (even though he looked smaller than Preye). Daddy was to go out that morning. Before he left, he offered Preye his transistor radio, just so that he wouldn’t get bored as he washed. He then came over to me and said, ” remember to collect my transistor radio from him when he’s done.” I nodded.
That Saturday I wore a chiffon dress with green and white polka dots. I think grandma got that one for me. It was a favourite…until it had a smudge of scarlet stain on it..
Preye, mother and I were left to see to the house keeping. Preye’s role was basically to wash daddy’s dirty clothes, mother’s was to wash the other dirty clothes, and mine was to remember to collect daddy’s transistor radio from Preye. All three of us, seemed really busy that Saturday morning as the sun grew blisteringly hot. Preye did quite a nice job washing those clothes. Too bad I wasn’t closely watching him; I can only imagine him fiercely scrubbing daddy’s jeans as he bobbed his head to radio music. Like I said, all three of us were really busy that morning. I, for one, was too engrossed with my day dreaming. And there’s certainly no telling how unconcerned I was at that time with daddy’s transistor radio.
When Preye was done, our clothing line looked like it would cut with a snap! It was crammed with sodden clothes. Preye soon left, leaving my mother and I.
By noon, daddy was back. “G! G!”, almost immediately, he called out. On hearing him, I abandoned my daydreaming to find him. Not waiting to hear my greeting, he asked, ” where is my radio??”
“I…I..I forgot. It’s with Preye”, I stuttered. I had just pulled the trigger and hoped to not hear the gun fire.
Daddy, did not even bother to take off his shoes before he whisked me into grandpa’s parlour with a cane in hand. He bolted all brown doors, flogged my mother away when she tried to peer into the window and slid the windows shut, so he could beat me, uninterrupted, with the cane.
I edged into a corner of the parlour with fear, as I watched the bamboo cane, that glistened with menace. Soon it was flying and crashing all over me. Shrieking with my lungs and trembling with my limbs, I received major torture that afternoon, while the sun grew blisteringly hot. When daddy was done, my lips dripped with blood. Blood, that strained my chiffon dress with its green and white polka dots. It was a favourite. Not until it had a smudge of scarlet stain on it.
My skin held cane blisters that shone eerily under the sun. My heart quaked with fear as I walked wearily to P Preye’s house, a few blocks away from ours, to retrieve daddy’s transistor radio.