Sorry if this sounds like a Billy Joel song, but it's 1am on a Sunday, my dad's watching English League football playoffs in the den, my mum is dozing off on the bed, and my brother is sitting on the toilet singing and playing "Let It Be" on his guitar as I brush my teeth.
I leave home tomorrow, and if there's one thing I hate about coming home, it's the 36 hours before leaving. I hardly trust myself to speak throughout this time, because my voice isn't always steady. It started with saying goodbye to my softball friends after almost an entire night of mahjong. After three hours of sleep, I went to visit both my grandfathers -- Yeye at the Leong San Temple where his spirit rests within an ancestral plaque in a serene and peaceful courtyard and Kongkong at the United Nursing Home, where he is lying on a bed by a window with a slight breeze, trying to speak and open his eyes. Then I went grocery shopping with my mum, one of those trips she makes every couple of months where she buys 10 of every cleaning implement from fabric softener to bathroom scum remover -- for the record, I think it's shopping as only a megalomanic clean freak knows how to orchestrate. Then we went over to Ah Ma's for dinner, where we ate Mum's famous gigantic fried red snapper with shallots. There was also assam fish curry, garlic prawns, braised spare ribs and a pickled vegetable stew. Then my entire extended family (well, sans Aunty Regina's family in Toronto and Kevin and Cheryl gallivanting somewhere in Cuba) ate fruitcake and kueh that Ah Niong made and watched "Singapore Idol." Just like any other day of spending time with family, except it's the day before I leave home.
Almost ten years later, it feels just like the first time.