Photo by Francis Miguell Sta Rosa/THE FLAME

DISTANT FIGURES giggled at the sight of my sister dragging me around, as they always do.

But this time was different; I had so many things I wanted to say, yet all I could do was let her drag me around in this stifling heat.

Abang, Mom said that the bus will arrive soon,” I could only nod as I gazed into her pristine, copper eyes. She looked just like mother, but she took after our father’s eyes.

Now, I know what paman felt when father left Sade village. Paman used to tell us stories about tourists visiting different villages on Lombok Island, including ours.

“Yumi,” I blurted out, “the city life will be a new battleground for you.”

“Just like Call of Duty Abang,” her sparkling eyes almost blinded me. “Yes, just like that. You will meet different kinds of people, so you have to tread carefully. There will be landmarks between your new home and the school. Think of Domination mode and the points we must capture and the places we can hide against enemies. And just like in Frontline, always stay at home.”

I did not notice, but the bells soon chimed, one after the other. Yumi’s calming presence trampled these scrambling thoughts of mine.

As the last bell tolled, I knew that this was it. Even so, I could not bring myself to hug her.

“Bye, abang Joaquin,” she waved at me. She always loved calling me abang even though we were only half-Indonesians.

“Be safe, Yumi.” F

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