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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Being the odd one out

Being the odd one out

I took a final look at myself in the mirror before I put on my high heeled shoes. I thought I looked presentable enough. My brother was furiously sounding the horn hurrying me up. I went down the steps with difficulty due to my shoes. The minute I stepped into the car, he sped off, not caring that my heart had leapt into my mouth.

He was to meet his friends for a barbecue. He hated to take me along on such occasions. He said that I was a spoil-sport tagging along behind him. However, he had to bring me because my mother insisted. She said that every time he needed to use my father’s car at night, he must take me along. Well, whether he liked it or not, he had to oblige. I was to one who had to bear his deafening nags while we traveled to and fro in the car.

He stopped at the East Coast Park and told me to get down. I was nearly in tears because I thought the barbecue was to be held at friend’s house. If I had known that it was to be at the beach, I would have at least put on my pants and flat sandals. I would never dream of going to such an occasion in party skirt and high-heeled shoes. Oh… why didn’t he inform me? Although I was very angry with him, I kept my peace. I knew better than to say anything.

I hurried behind him towards the beach. When we reached the location, I was utterly shocked to find that there was not a single female soul around. His friends stared at me. I felt strange, although I still cannot interpret their stare. I looked down shyly, and my eyes met my skirt. At that moment, I felt like tearing it to pieces.

The boys did not say anything to me. I realized that my presence was not welcomed. I felt admixed feeling of embarrassment and anger. Who should I blame? I thought everybody was to blame; my mother, my brother and I. My thought was rudely interrupted by a rough voice offering me a seat on an overturned pot. I thanked him and sat, looking at the pitch black, moonless sky against the dark blue, calm waters.

I had been in the company of boys for a number of times but the occasions were never as forbidding as this one. At home, my mother and I live among seven males. They are my father, two of his brothers, my elder brother and three younger brothers. I love their company.

I was again interrupted by the rough voice. This time he offered me some mutton cubes pierced in an iron skewer. Without thinking, I took it and began to eat. I shouted in pain when the burning skewer touched my lips. My unsympathetic brother turned around to look at me. Instead of doing something, he gave me a threatening look and turned away. I heard him telling his friends that I was a spoil-sport. I felt tears in my eyes but I would not permit them to fall.

I waited patiently till 11.30 p.m. At exactly 11.30 p.m. my brother signaled me to go to the car. I walked away alone, without saying goodbye to anybody. This time warm tears really poured down my cheeks. I quickly wiped them away as I heard my brother coming up behind me. Then, I realized that being the odd one out was indeed trying. I thanked God that it was all over.

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