I realized one day that my brother Adam sleeps late at night. A boy at 12 should not sleep at 12 midnight or 1 in the morning. During my time, mother will force me to sleep at 10 pm, right after MacGyver or The A-Team. Occasionally, father will sneak me out from the bedroom later at night to watch Eddie Lawson racing Freddie Spencer or even Ultimate Warrior kicking Hulk Hogan’s ass and of course watching Eric Cantona’s magic while wearing the white Admiral jersey. That was then.

A few months back I asked mother, “Why is Adam sleeping late? Unless there are special occasions in the morning, 1 am is not the right bedtime for a kid his age. Do you remember when I was his age?”

Mother replied, “Back then you have all the time you want with your father. Not Adam. If he sleeps early, the only time he’ll get to spend with your father is during the weekends, depending if your father is not working on weekends or if he’s not overseas. On weekdays, your father normally comes home at 11 pm, sometimes 12 am.”

I can’t help but to recall a fragment of my memory where a little version of me was at the front door almost every evening, jumping and shouting, “Abah balik! Abah balik!” while a grey 1985 Lancer F would cruise through the gate, into the porch. I asked again, “Father is nearing his retirement, why should he work so hard? It’s not like we really need the money.”

Mother replied again, “You know your father. You followed him to work so many times. He loves his job. People at work love him. 30 years of doing what he loves, and in another 2 he’s going to stop. What do you think?”

I don’t want to think. Is that even an answer to my question? I walked away.

I took a peek at my father’s bedroom. I saw father cuddling Adam, laughing. Both are enjoying the moment. I smiled.

Congratulations Adam on the 5As for UPSR! I really hope that you’ll save the RM100 I gave you into your education fund, rather than spending it on a laser guided BB Desert Eagle or something like that.

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