Ter Soe

I can never forget my childhood moments. We were a bunch of idiots running around the neighborhood. Well not exactly “Idiots.” Just a bunch of irresponsible kids. I didn’t even notice, until thinking about it now. God’s mercy, we could’ve died behind our parent’s neck. We grew up in a poor area, a camp that was built for refugees ten or so years ago. I don’t know much about the conflicts, I guess I lived like a child not caring about anything. As long as I can recall from my childhood past, well I was eight at that time. I also had four other siblings. I was the second oldest, well the third, but my eldest brother had passed away long ago. As the second oldest you were looked down upon by your siblings because mother didn’t work me up so much. The oldest had to do all the chores, and the little ones didn’t care. You would try to make up all these excuses that didn’t make any sense. We walked barefoot all around. Shoes were very expensive, even a pair of slippers, even the cheapest would mean a lot. Oh dream after dreams, I had wondered about those shoes. We had collected broken pairs sneakers? I can’t remember all the details. But it was piles of shoes that should have been trashed long ago. Mother kept moaning about my habits. Our house wasn’t built like the ones here. It was made of wood, bamboo, and dried leaves. The smell would go through those cracks, and it would stink like skunk. I didn’t care because playing with shoes was cool. At least I had proper wear of a T-shirt and shorts, and as long as I didn’t poop my pants mother didn’t go mad. One day father came back from work, he worked far away at the crops. From far away I waved and screamed at him, he gradually moved closer. “A bamboo rope?” I had thought. I ran from the site, there was a snake tied on his arms. That night we ate snake, it wasn’t poisonous. Anything edible was normal to feast on. Mother was sick of yelling at me. One day while I was present at school school threw away all my “Toys.” When I returned, I was somber for hours. She took me to the corner store that had toys and sneakers. I could only pick one, she never did this for my other siblings. I was the first. All my brothers were jealous, they would call me names. “Cry baby,” or “Girly.” Because I cried all the time, but I didn’t care too much. I fell in love with the slippers, I would take care of them like my own child. I washed it everyday by the lake after school. All the kids at school would try to take it away from me, but I had it tight on my feet like super glue. The slippers were strips of blue and yellow. Everyday I would wake up next to those yellow-blue slippers. A year later, the shoes were worn out. No matter how much I cared for it, it was breaking down. My siblings and friends didn’t bother me anymore. It was heartbreaking. But during that summer, only good things kept on happening. There was big news that we were going somewhere. I was still sad about the slippers.