That Home

Words by: Xenia Sanut
Art by: John Paul Macatol

I wake up to butterflies. Paper butterflies circle the ceiling above me. With the butterflies, photographs hang from thin strings. They mark the places I’ve been, the friends I’ve made and lost, my family — whether they be in the room next to me, an ocean away, or looking down at me — either from heaven or from those photographed moments in time

I hear my brother’s shouts and squeals of laughter in our study down the hall. I catch him saying that he’s “riding the storm” and “lagging” into his microphone before I hear a clamorous pop and a scream. I heave myself up into a seated position and look out the window; my mum’s standing in the backyard next to the barbeque. With tongs in hand and a big inhale, she steps into the fray once more, snatching the dried fish from the pot of boiling cooking oil and placing it on the plate beside her. Triumphant, she turns off the gas and goes back inside, her slippers clapping on the floor. I roll out of bed, straighten my bedsheets and stumble into the kitchen as my dad opens the rice cooker and releases all the steam in an aromatic cloud. I listen to the scraping of spoons on porcelain as my mum mixes her yoghurt and muesli, while my dad piles rice onto the space on his plate next to some dried fish. A door in the hall bursts open and my brother runs to the pantry, snatching the cereal box from the shelf and trying to wrestle me to the side as he tries to grab a bowl from the cupboard. I smile. If I wake up to butterflies, then this home must be the cocoon.

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