by KB (kebe.tumblr.com)
written September 28, 2010
I didn’t want to go. How come I’m here?
Watching my little brother smear ketchup on his white Power Ranger shirt.
Watching my mom pass the dish of atchara to my dad who is reminding my granma not to eat the burnt parts of her pork barbecue.
Watching my grandad cough over his cup of soup.
Watching myself feeling bitter about being here. I could have been watching TV at home. My favorite show is probably airing its best episode right now. Or I could have been reading one more Nancy Drew book in my bed.
I tear a bit of the banana leaf on my bamboo plate.
"Hey, why aren’t you eating anything?"
Not now, Mom. Not now.
"Later," I say but she still hands over a stick of grilled gizzard.
Can my mom get any more pushy? I know she knows I don’t like it. Gizzard rhymes with lizard, which is enough to make me gag.
I’m still also mad at her for dragging me out here. I mean, this is nice and all. Quality time with family. Having dinner by the sea….
… smelling like fish while we’re eating grilled legged animals. Mom, question. Why are we here when you can cook and we have a dining room and air conditioning at home?
"Can you pass me one more barbecue, please?"
Trust my brother to interrupt my peace. Ew, he now has ketchup all over his mouth and cheeks. He is so weird. Barbecue is supposed to be dipped in soy sauce. I pass him a stick from my plate, anyway.
"How come you’re not eating yet??? You don’t like the food??? What do you want??? Look, your daughter’s not eating anything!!! Is she sick??? Do you feel sick???" I think Granma may have laser eyes. And laser voice.
"I’m just not hungry." I stand up. "I have to go pee."
I walk towards the back of the restaurant. I feel a bit heavy, a bit dizzy, a bit lazy.
Even I don’t know what is wrong with me. I usually like going out. Usually like eating out. Usually like being out with family. Usually like dining in seaside restaurants. Usually like the sea. Usually like barbecue.
I reach the restroom. I sit on the toilet. I stare at the door and my underwear while I do my thing. Gross, I know, staring at my underwear.
My underwear. Oh my, what is that? What is on it?
Had I accidentally spilled ketchup on my lap and it soaked through? But I wasn’t eating.
Did my brother creep up to me under the table? Well, he can be that disgusting. But I would have known it, would have felt it. Besides, I was watching him eat, coloring Power Ranger Blue’s white boots red.
I look again. I really am gross.
Am I sick? Maybe I should tell my mother. I pull up my shorts, step out of the cubicle and run back to our table.
"What’s wrong?" My face must have shown it. Oh, Dad. I don’t think I can tell you.
I turn to Mom. “Let’s go home. Please. I’m not feeling so well. We might need to go to the hospital.”
She reaches out and puts a hand on my forehead. “You’re not running a fever. What is wrong?”
I lean over and whisper, “There’s something… on my underwear… in the toilet.”
"You found a stain on your underwear?"
"What??? What is it???" Great! Now I have Granma’s attention. I didn’t know she also had laser hearing.
"Was it red? Did it look like blood? Something like this?" Mom holds up a table napkin she must have used to wipe my brother’s mouth.
I keep quiet. For a long time. Then they laugh. All of them. Wait, did I miss something?
"Awwwww. I think you just have gotten your period! Probably why you are acting all cranky. Come on, let’s go to the rest room again. Let me take a look."
Oh, nooooo. Mom, don’t drag me again. I don’t want to go. I don’t want to know.