Campaka 1.2.2 (3 min read) (science fiction)

in bali •  7 months ago

Gede wrestled with Blackie, our Labrador/Bali mutt dog, so I followed, skipping over the mazy rocks.
Two more bags full of eggs, chicken, garlic, and the ceaseless rice, hung from the hook above the scooter’s floorboard. Gede lifted the sacks and carried them into the kitchen as if his dinner depended on it, because it did. He spent as much time at Rumah Lucu as Cole did at Gede’s family compound. Mumma and Ibu Putu had long since given up separating the boys for more than one night.
I headed back in with my helmet and another bag full of celeriac, cassava leaves and peppers. Gede stepped aside with a grin as I struggled through the door. “Permisi, Campaka.”
“Don’t you dare call me that.” My voice tremored like a rusty drum. My fingers shot numb and my face must have looked like a balloon full of hot lava. As I spun on my heels, I glanced at Gede. Shock, disappointment, confusion.
“And if I ever hear you speak that name again, I’ll make you regret it!”
Gede hung his head in surrender.
Cole laughed from across the room, “Eshin’!”
I dropped the bag and flounced across the ceramic tiles towards my room.
I yearned for the old hardwood floors back home, perfect for stomping mad.
I blinked on my weeYoke and flung myself down on the bed.
Unlike Izzie, my weeYoke was stationary, much more powerful, and utilized my blank wall for two dimensional immersions. Most weeYokes were strong enough to yoke the entire family into one, like multiplayer.
It was past time for my daily Kudzu; my faithful followers expected a regular broadcast. Kudzu had overtaken TubeU years ago as the social video medium of choice. With only seven live seconds allowed per upyoke, it fit perfectly into the attention deficit public’s idea of good socialization.
On a sentimental day I chose Campaka for my Kudzu profile, which I regretted an hour later. It was a stupid nickname.
But I loved my Kudzu fans. Today, I was stumped. Nothing about this boring environment inspired me. Nada, nothing.
I craned my neck around from where I lay under my half open mosquito net.
A single wall light served as the primary abode of an athletic cetcet. At least he was a hungry little lizard, devouring all the insects otherwise destined to eat me.
My three-drawer dresser contained every stitch of clothing I owned. Which said more about tropical fabrics than our current lack of materialism. Four seasons worth of clothes in South Carolina, and lots of bulky winter gear. But for the equatorial seasons of hot and dry or hot and wet, I didn’t need much: my school uniform, a handful of t-shirts and shorts, some layers, swimsuits, pajamas. That’s it. I actually own two dresses, but since I haven’t worn them in nearly a year they probably didn’t fit.
Maybe I should Kudzu that?
‘Dresses are worthless to me now.’
That was pathetic. No one wanted to hear that my clothes had self-esteem issues.
Next to the blank wall, ornate iron barred my open windows. Most Balinese compounds were completely enclosed by concrete walls, but that’s not enough to keep out the Ogoh Ogoh. So croaking frogs and an exquisite cage flanked my bed, instead of my magnolia tree.
Atleast water gurgled by both.
A small bookcase displayed my most prized possessions, which claimed the biggest difference between my room here at Rumah Lucu and the one back in South Carolina. I can’t remember everything on my bookcase back home. I didn’t know to appreciate it before it disappeared. Here, a handful of books: my Mother’s yoga book, Little Women, one on Cleopatra’s life, boring stuff.
Now, I treasured my incense holder, and I think incense stinks. But it belonged to my Mother, so I’ll be keeping it forever.
I’m fourteen years old and weird, or at least, compared to my friends back home. Some of them experience a life I’ll never know, like cheerleading. But I’ve done things they might never get to either, like take my grandmother to the local market every morning on a scooter, fly internationally by myself, speak fluent Bahasa Indonesia, or cook a five course meal for a dozen people.
Mother used to say that maturity was a gyroscope.
I’m young enough to search for puddles to splash in, but way too old to jump.

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