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Jan 17, 2023



I decide to go home after all. I mean initially, after getting to know about... my mom and her new 'relationship', the entirety of it, I didn't think I could go back home. I didn't think I could even face her. But apparently all I needed was some time to cool off. Plus, I can't put off the inevitable, one way or other I would have to face her at some point.

I thought Dan would be finally relieved to be rid of me when I tell him that I am gonna take off, but he doesn't seem to be all that lightened. Instead, he seems almost concerned about me, but that can be because I'd told him what happened, even though it is nice to see him like that.

"Are you sure?" he asks me. "You don't have to go back, if you don't want to,"

I can't help but smile, is he actually willingly inviting me to stay a little bit longer.

"I mean I'm sure Val would be back by now, we can go to my house, and you can talk to her," he quickly adds, as if to cover up his concerns.

Too late, I think, smiling to myself.

I shake my head, "Nah, it's alright. I have to talk to my mom anyways," I smile reassuringly, and he nods, and then we part ways.

I sigh as I reach my house. Dan let me borrow Valerie's bike, so it didn't take all that long to reach my home even though I took the longer route back. My mother's car is parked on the outside, so I guess she is home. I don't go inside immediately though; I just stand outside staring at the place I call home. I wonder if I can still call it a home even.

It's certainly doesn't feel like one — it hasn't for some years now, I realise bitterly.

I hear the door open, and see that it is my mother. She must have noticed me standing outside.

"I was so worried," she calls out, her voice wavering a little towards the end, "Where were you?"

I just shrug, and walk past her inside the house. I can feel the anger, and more importantly the disappointment and hurt from the previous night returning.


"I'm just gonna go take a bath first, okay," I tell her as calmly as I can and go up the stairs to my room.

To be honest, I don't know what it is I am supposed to do, or say. I am mad at her, yes, and very much upset. She has been seeing my best friend's father, her friend's husband behind everyone's back.

How can she do that to me? How can she do that to herself?

Suddenly it seems like I have no idea who this woman I call my mother is.

I know that my mom has been seeing someone else, she admitted that herself not long ago. But whenever I asked more about it, she'd always shied away from the topic, making all sorts of excuses. I should have beware then itself, but how can I have possibly known this?

The hot water from the shower does almost next to nothing in dissolving my qualms. Instead, I can only feel myself growing more agitated by the second.

I should've just stayed with Dan instead. Just thinking about him involuntarily brings a smile to my face. I sigh, there's another issue I have to possibly deal with soon.

When did my life become so filled with issues? I inwardly groan as I put on a t-shirt and a pair of shorts, and brace myself to face my mother once more.

She is sitting on the edge of the arm chair in the living room, I notice as I came downstairs. She doesn't notice me however as I step into the living room or even when I sit down across her.


She jolts out of her thoughts upon hearing my voice, "Oh Zach. I'm sorry I didn't notice you," she shakes her head.

"What are you thinking about?"

"Nothing," she shrugs.

There isn't nothing anymore. We have to talk about it. I have to talk about it. 

"Okay," I nod, "So I guess we should probably talk, huh?" I go ahead and address the huge elephant in the room directly, instead of beating around the bush.

"I'm sorry, hon–"

"How long exactly has this been going on?"

"What?" she has to know what I am talking about, but still I elaborate.

"Your relationship with Mr Goldmann. How long–"

"It is stupid, I know, and I'm sorry–"

I shake my head, "Just tell me ma, please. I have to know," my voice cracks at the end, and I have to look up to stop the oncoming tears — this is one of the many reasons I hate being mad. I tend to cry when I'm mad, and I can never quite get my anger across. 

"I never meant for any of this to happen," she says reaching for my hand, but I pull my hand back. 

I still can't understand anything, my head hasn't quite wrapped around the... news.

"How did it even happen, ma?"

"I–...I don't know," she hunches her shoulders forward, and then tears start falling down her cheeks. As heart-breaking as it is to watch her cry, I don't reach for her.

I need to know about this. She has to tell me about it. I want to understand.

"I was at the supermarket this one day when I wasn't feeling so well, and I don't know I guess I must have fainted or something, and Martin–" that is Mr Goldmann, "–he happened to be there, and he helped me," she takes a deep breath in and out before continuing, "It was around the time of your father's birthday, and I don't know... I hadn't eaten, and I just got weak,"

"How come you haven't told me any of this?"

"I don't want you to worry about me. You already take care of me so much. I just wanted you to focus on your studies and games,"

"Ma, I want to be there for you,"

"You are, sayangku," she smiles for a moment, and then shifts her focus to picking at a thread at the armrest.
([Indonesian] translation: my dear)

"He prescribed some medicines for me and after that, he insisted on buying me lunch and I couldn't say no. I was feeling alone, and he was just there, Zach," she shakes her head, "I knew it was wrong, but... I just– Honestly, I wasn't even thinking anymore. After your father... I was so tired of being alone and I just didn't want to be alone anymore,"

I can't stay mad at her any more, not when she looks so fragile in front of me. I stand up, go to her and wrap my arms around her.

"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry," she sobs, as I rub her back.

I only let her go, when she has somewhat calmed down. Even then I sit down on the floor below her, holding onto her hand.

"I know how this all makes me sound, believe me. And you probably hate me right now,"

"I can never hate you, mama," I shake my head.

She just smiles back, ruffling my hair, "I should've broken off things with him as soon as it started, but..." she shrugs, "I'm not going to make any more excuses for my very, very poor judgements but I just hope you can forgive me, anak,"
([Indonesian] translation: son)

"I'm going to need some more time for that," I admit the truth. Sure, I may not be feeling actively mad right then, but that doesn't mean I am suddenly okay with everything. There is no way I am going to be okay with what my mother has done, however, I am hoping that I will learn to forgive her, "But we'll be okay, ma,"

"Thanks, kiddo,"

"Just one more thing," I hesitatingly add.

"Anything," she nods, not missing a beat.

"Can you promise me to not be involved with Mr Goldmann anymore?"

"I won't be repeating that mistake again, Zach. Don't worry,"

I nod, and rest my head on my mother's laps as her fingers card through my hair. For now, this should do.



Reaching home, I walk up straight into my sister's room.

"You need to talk to Zach" I blurt out.

"Hello to you too," she greets, then pats on her bed, gesturing at me to sit down.

She used to be annoyed whenever I would barge in her room without knocking, but nowadays she doesn't seem to mind. Instead, she has decided to do the same thing, barging into my room without knocking whenever she feels like it. It used to be a petty competition seeing who would learn to knock first, but now neither of us minded. 

I sit down beside her, "Did you hear what I just said? You need to talk to him,"

She nods, "Yeah, I know. Been calling him since last night, he didn't pick up, but he did text me back saying that he's alright and will talk later,"

"Okay," I nod relieved. The relief is very much short-lived, "Wait, so you know?"

"About his mother and Mr Goldmann? Yeah, Josh came over last night and told me,"

"Last night?"

"Yeah," she nods. "A bit after I came home from the party. You weren't at home, you must have gone out already,"

"No, that's not–" I shake my head, and then turn to look at her, "You've known about this since last night, and you haven't talked to Zach. Why?"

I am getting angry, I can tell. I recognise the familiar feeling all too well. It has been some time since I lost control over my emotions and I surely don't want to break that streak today, but the picked-up pace of my heart, muscles tensing up; it isn't really helping at all.

Having seen one too many of my episodes, Valerie is quite familiar with the symptoms herself. Sitting up a little, she looks at me with growing concern, "Dan, are you–"

"He's your friend, Val, isn't he?" I cut her off and speak calmly, totally in opposition to what I am feeling inside.

I stand up and walk a few steps away from her, breathing in and out slowly. I can't let the rage get the better of me, I know it but it is hard to pay attention to what I care about and don't when I am very quickly losing control of my own emotions. 

"In fact, he's your best friend," I turn towards her and speak, "And yet, when he was in a tough spot, you weren't there for him,"

I remember him not being able to look me in the eye when he stood at the door. I remember how his eyes looked, red and swollen. And then I remember how he pretty much freaked out at the mansion and then shrugging it off as if everything was fine. It is not. Everything is not fine.

And there is my sister, his best friend, sitting so casually on her bed, doing God-knows-what, without even bothering to check up on her friend. What is wrong with her? Does she not care? Is he not her friend?

"Dan," she softly calls out, "Danesh," I can hear the tremor in her voice, but still, she stands up from her bed and approaches me slowly, "Inge paaru. I called him, okay," she tells me, "And I am going to talk to him,"
([Tamil] translation: Look here)

"He's alone. He was all alone last night," I walk away from my sister, not wanting to hurt her.

I would never purposely hurt her, of course, but my violent tendencies tend to overgrow during these episodes, and there is a high risk that I might accidentally hurt her.

I am trying really hard to gain back my senses but it proves to be tough. I just need to break something, punch something.

"He wasn't though. You were with him,"

And that's all it takes.

All the control I was trying so hard to hold onto, gone. I reach for the nearest thing beside me which happens to be a lamp and smash it.

"What good am I, Val?" I yell. "I am not his friend," I continue to reach for other things and smashing them on the floor, the breaking sound doing little to appease my anger, "He needed his friends, someone who cared, someone who can be there for him–" I continue yelling, and smashing, and then punching the wall when I can't find anything.

"Pa!" meanwhile Val starts yelling for our father, I don't know when but she has started to cry, "Appa! Amma!"

Within seconds they are there, my dad stops me from punching the wall further, pulling me back and try calming me down, meanwhile my mom tends to my sister.

"Danesh, breathe," my dad tells me. "Relax. It's okay. Ni nalla irukke,"
([Tamil] translation: You are fine)

I try to focus on my breathing as my father tells me to do so. In and out. In and out.

And I don't know how but I failed. I failed them yet again. I can see the disappointment in all their eyes. And my sister, I can't even bring myself to look at her. I can hear her sob, while my mom soothes her; it just twists at my heart.

I move away from my dad, shaking my head. He reaches for me, telling me that's it alright, but I just can't. I fucked up yet again.

"I'm sorry," I manage to choke out, before rushing out of the house.


a/n: the languages spoken: in Zach's pov it's Indonesian (yes, he's half Indonesian, you'll see more of his background later) (and personally i don't speak the Indonesian language, but i do speak Malay which is a bit similar to Indonesian, so hehe)

in Danesh's pov, it's Tamil (i do speak Tamil, i like to think i’ve gotten very fluent, and i like to think the people who know me will agree)


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