Home for the Holi(17)days

My bed is a black, leather couch in the living room. I put my great-grandmother’s hand-woven blanket underneath me when I sleep so that I don’t sweat too uncomfortably during the night. If you look carefully, there may or may not be drool on the couch next to my head.

My parents gave away my old bed, a queen, to my sister and her husband when my family moved into a different apartment complex last summer. I didn’t get to make any executive decisions during the move, and I lost the few things I owned. My Orlando Magic Dwight Howard jersey was one of them. It was a pinstriped jersey, a hideous thing, and even more hideous when worn on my gangly, teenage body back in the day– I bought it when I was a sophomore in high school. I wore it while riding my bike on the bike path in Hermosa Beach during the 2009 Lakers-Magic NBA Finals, and I distinctly remember a dude telling me to go suck a bag of dicks. He didn’t specify the weight.

Everyone shouts in this small, two-bedroom apartment—the most-used phrase is “Moooooom!” Mom hustles and bustles from one room to the other, folding this, cleaning that, preparing food, and bringing in laundry. She has short legs, and her feet make a light thud on the floor in quick, repetitive one-two succession. My dad calls her ahiru, Japanese for “duck,” because her butt wiggles when she walks at a fast pace. It’d be mean if they hadn’t been married for twenty-six years. Dad watches my mom run around the apartment at a frenetic pace while he holds beer and bread in his hands. The beer is an IPA, probably a Racer 5 or Lagunitas or Green Flash, and the bread is mom’s homemade wheat bread.

Dad stocks the entire inside of the refrigerator door with beer. Mom complains that there’s more beer than milk in the fridge, but Dad doesn’t see how that’s a problem. She must not be too upset about it, he argues, because she gifted him a bottle opener that is nailed to wall, one of those openers you’d see at a bar, for his birthday. He beams his big, ol’ smile, with the top half of his teeth in order and the bottom half looking like Godzilla’s, as he sits at the dinner table in his long johns and t-shirt and orders me to bring a glass to pour his beer into.

I used to know where all the plates and cups and silverware were. This is my first time at the new apartment though, so I’m at the mercy of the Yasuko Davidson System of Categorization. It’s a completely arbitrary system that only Mom understands; without her, nobody knows where anything is. The big plates are with the soup bowls, but the little plates are with the cups; the spoons and forks are in one drawer, but the other silverwares are in a drawer on the other side. I asked her why she organizes in this way. She responded that she knows where everything is, so it’s okay, or daijoubu, as she puts it.

Woodrow pokes his head from his room to see what all the commotion is about. Woodrow is going through that teenage phase where his parents are lame and embarrassing because they’re on Facebook. He doesn’t bother wearing a shirt or shorts, so he walks around all day in his boxers. He puts on a blanket to cover himself up, sometimes. He’s more interested in science than in girls, which is why as a sophomore, he’s a better student than I was at his age.

“When are you going back?” he asks. His voice is deep, and his voice sounds a lot like Dad’s.

“Wednesday evening,” I answer.

“It’ll be nice to finally sleep in your own bed, huh?” he laughs.

“Yeah, but home is where the bed is a black, leather couch.”


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