Mama slams a figurine onto the mantle by the television. I stumble back, and mama slams another figurine. Papa's hand reaches out almost immediately to sedate her, but Mama slaps his hanging hand out of her way and turns to grab the china doll in the cupboard from our night in Vietnam. It becomes pieces of skin and painted fragments on our living room floor. She points a shaking finger at Papa, her breathing laboured and rasping. "Why the hell did you change my home? What came over you? I belong here!" A glass-framed photograph sails across the room and hits the wall on the other side. My sister Poleone, who is standing by the door, her hands clutching the handle, shakes violently. A momentary look of mild puzzlement crosses Papa's face, but then, realising the situation, he lovingly berates Mama while ushering us out the door. It closes as we turn around and the click of the lock makes way for the silence that follows.
Cotton Wool Kemp is running away. Me, myself and I are chasing the winds to the bottom of the ocean. I have confidence worth months and years, I have important luggage stuffed into my pockets from all different sources, and I have money, clutched to my chest and fluttering with the wind. What made me do it is still hidden from me, but I will be back, swaggering through the door, an enviable being. No one listened, after all, when I said it. Nobody listens before a child decides to take their life, or run away, for that matter. Everybody goes about their own business, humming to themselves. Caring about no other. But now, I care about no other and though them voices that find their way to my ears are a mixture of bewilderment, confusion and anger, I ignore it. And I run, stumbling over little rocks and catching myself quickly, skimming past lingering and wandering folks, all filled with their own thoughts of singers' voices and preachers' laments. But my mind roams free, and I laugh. The laugh sounds kind of stranger-like. Like bells resounding words in my ears. Whether they are wagging fingers at me warning me to stop or waving up flags and bonnets I don't know, but it gives me a strange pleasure.
A soft voice floats through the door,and I think it's Papa calming her down. I stand by the door and wave for Poleone, who's silently climbing the stairs, to come down. "What?" she hisses, her hands clutching the rails. I wave at her again, pressing my forefinger to my lips. Poleone eyes me suspiciously, then steps down, carefully hopping over our cat, Meres, that is in a curl on the floor. "Somebody best move that cat" she groans. She stands opposite me, leaning against the wall, her arms crossed. Mama and Papa are talking inside, their voiced raised. Poleone fingers the door handle, then looks at me, "Are you listening in on them"? I hesitate, thinking I should hush her again. I nod instead. I wait for a while, straining to hear when their voices lower, then deciding it's safe enough to speak, I say "do you know why Mama got angry"? Poleone nods, one corner of her mouth smiling. "She thinks Papa's moving her".
"To another home"?
"Yeah. Another country, another place, another home".
Poleone shrugs. "I don't know".
We stand there a couple more minutes, then deciding it's time we let them peace, we head upstairs and into my room.
People are sleeping by the docks. and ships themselves seem to be sleeping as they bob on the water. I look around me, calculating the distance between the bedding areas and the exit. If I did get caught, I would be able to run away before anybody with bad intentions saw me. I map my sleeping area on the little notes book in my bag, then turn around and run down and through the exit, heading towards the chip and souvenir shops.