It’s blessing enough to be living in a house on a ridge, with an unobstructed view of Mount Agung and the sunrise just beyond, a pool down below, a spacious kitchen and a bright, expansive and open living space with more than enough comfy cushions.
But even more poignant and serendipitous is the blessing of sharing this space with a young, independent and spiritually-evolving Balinese woman. And B, her seven year old son.
Not since I spent nearly a year recovering in my older sister’s house with her husband and two children, have I co-habited with a kid.
I’ve temporarily appropriated B’s room (while he sleeps in his mother’s room).
Now I’m surrounded by his toys and clothes.
Clues of childhood are everywhere: a stuffed Nemo, train set, pirate stickers on the walls, drapery patterned with racing cars.
Kid-friendly snacks in the fridge. The occasional tantrum. A play date turns slightly sour when the boys can’t share.
B’s young eyes are fixated on a flat-screen television permanently set to the Disney channel. His gaze shifts automatically, at commercials, to a playlist of YouTube videos running non-stop on an iPad nearby. His eyes are glued to fast-moving images, blinking almost non-existent.
B once spent an entire weekend in front of the tube. Cartoons, cartoons and more cartoons. I joined him for part of the viewing marathon. I think of it as our non-verbal bonding moment. By now, even I’ve caught up with the latest episodes of Tom and Jerry.
Of all the cartoon series that run seemingly on a loop, I’ve learned that B’s favorite is a Malaysian production called Upin and Ipin about a pair of 5-year old Malay twins living in a kampung (village). Another show, also produced in Malaysia (or Indonesia) has little girls dressed up in full Muslim dress, including head wraps. It’s an animated show. Takes some getting used to… or not. B doesn’t bat an eye.
This morning, as I quietly lay on the big comfy couch eating a bowl of cereal, B suddenly pranced out of his mother’s room… in his birthday suit. He froze when he saw me, his eyes growing wide at being caught literally with his pants down, then darted back into the room hollering away in Balinese.
Apparently he’d temporarily forgotten that I was around.
I hope B won’t be traumatized by this morning’s incident. And that he won’t completely ignore me when he returns from school.
I just returned from the supermarket where I bought him a tube of Pringles chips; I have a distinct feeling that they will bring a smile to his face, bridge any lingering awkwardness and help seal our peace.